Opinion

Editorial — Safe supply of legal pot

The curious series of circumstances over a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in Langley City highlights a significant flaw in the laws surrounding marijuana use.

The dispensary, which had been selling various marijuana-based products to people with valid licences to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, was raided by Langley RCMP and shut down last month. Police said they had received complaints about the business, operated by longtime marijuana activist Randy Caine.

Now this is not a standard police raid of a marijuana grow-op. It is far from it.

For starters, the marijuana consumers of this business have been given a legal right by the federal government to consume marijuana. Not all of them smoke it. Many use it in various other forms, such as ointments.

Some people with medicinal marijuana licences grow their own. RCMP have indicated in the past that they are concerned about this, because they fear this could lead to “grow-rips,” a not-uncommon occurrence where marijuana is stolen from its cultivation place. They are also concerned that those with licences may abuse the privilege, and grow and sell marijuana to those without licences.

Many people who use it for pain relief don’t want to grow marijuana. So how do they get a safe supply? This is where government has fallen down.

There is no specified place where users can get a safe supply, other than at dispensaries like the one Caine set up. Pharmacies don’t sell marijuana products, nor can they legally be ordered online.

The federal government needs to find a way that those with medicinal marijuana licences can obtain a safe, secure and crime-free supply of marijuana. Pharmacies seem like one of the best bets, but dispensaries like Caine’s could serve as well. In the U.S., where drug laws are much more stringent, dispensaries are very common in many states.

Marijuana is a more benign method of pain relief from chronic illnesses than opiate-based drugs like morphine. Ottawa needs to have all aspects of its medicinal marijuana policy in order.

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