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Canada's Pot Laws Go Up In Smoke


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If the federal government doesn't fix the medical marijuana system, pot will be legal to grow and possess in less than 90 days. Will Cheech and Chong head north?

BONG! Some reports say that's the sound an Ontario judge's gavel made when he ruled our pot laws unconstitutional earlier this week.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Donald Taliano found that the medical marijuana system in Canada doesn't work.

Sick people are unable to find doctors willing to give them a licence to possess pot, and since the government hasn't done anything to improve the situation, the laws prohibiting growing or possessing the weed should no longer apply.

There's plenty of fodder here for jokes about Doritos sales skyrocketing or people using the judge's paperwork as giant rolling papers, but there's a serious principle at stake.

Let's leave out the pot and look at the root cause, so to speak.

Would we accept a more socially acceptable drug being withheld from those in need? Probably not. Politics is at play.

The definition of negligence is knowing there's problem, yet doing nothing about it.

In the case of medical pot, the federal government — namely Health Canada — has known the system of doctor authorizations is broken, and has done nothing to fix it.

During the case heard by Taliano, people suffering from fibromyalgia, seizures, and other afflictions spoke about visits to as many as 37 doctors, all of whom turned them down when they sought authorization for a licence to possess weed. The Canadian Medical Association has asked the federal government not to make doctors the gatekeepers of licences, but they were ignored too.

And getting that licence is just the first hurdle. If a sick person is approved for a licence, the delay in getting final authorization from Health Canada could be as long as nine months.

Legitimately sick people shouldn't have to deal with a sick system, and that's what Taliano concluded. He understood that the federal government will only act when forced to do so.

The ruling comes within days of an American report that says one per cent of U.S. power consumption is used to grow pot.

The sobering report concluded that the generators often used to power all the lights and fans for indoor grow-ops produce 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. It takes more than 250 liters of diesel fuel to produce one indoor pot plant.

That means a single joint represents two pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news: efficiency improvements of 75 per cent are conceivable, the author writes, just by moving the growing plants outdoors.

So if we combine our Canadian court case and the American grow-op report, the solution becomes clear. We would all be better off if pot is grown outdoors and legally.

Allow small-scale production and small-scale possession of marijuana, and you enjoy: reduced demands on our courts, removal of organized crime from distribution, hydro conservation and reduced greenhouse gases. And best of all, easy access for people who need the drug.

Do the positives of pot legalization outweigh the negatives? What effect do you think legalized pot would have in the long run?

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Author: Nevil Hunt
Source: news.sympatico.ca
Copyright: Bell Canada, 2011
Contact: Home
Website: Canada's pot laws go up in smoke
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