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Lawyer Says Patients Ought To Be Able To Pick Own Grower

Lawyers for Canadian users of medical marijuana who want Ottawa to ease restrictions on where they get their drugs told a Federal Court judge yesterday that government-approved pot doesn't compare to higher-quality strains available on the street.

Patients ought to be able to pick their own grower, said lawyer Alan Young, who accused Ottawa of rushing into drafting a program in 2003 that ultimately forced patients to use a substandard product -- a violation of their constitutional rights.

"When the dust settles, what you're left with is a government simply decreeing that this is the way you are going to get your medicine," Young said in wrapping up their case.

But since launching its controversial medicinal marijuana program, Health Canada has significantly improved the quality of its product compared with earlier batches, meaning the case against the government doesn't stand up, said Health Canada lawyer Christopher Leafloor.

The applicants in the case haven't tried the most recent batches of cannabis grown by the contractor Prairie Plant Systems ( PPS ), which is based in Flin Flon, Man., Leafloor said.

"Our position is that you can't really take seriously their claim that the PPS product isn't good enough in terms of strength when they haven't even tried it."

Leafloor said that only one applicant in the case had tried the PPS product, and that trial was several years ago. "That was an early version."

Yesterday's hearing marks the procedural culmination of a three-and-a-half year process which Young hopes will eventually give experienced cannabis growers the opportunity to supply products specifically tailored to the needs of medical users.

The court could issue a ruling by the spring, he added.

Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 Canoe Limited Partnership
Contact: mailto:editor@tor.sunpub.com
Website: TorontoSun.com
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