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Medicinal Pot Grower Sees Huge Demand


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A Vancouver Island grower of organic marijuana is being inundated with pleas for pot from disease sufferers, but Health Canada says he can supply only one person, a provincial court trial has been told.

Eric Nash said he wrote to Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement with a list of 121 people, all approved by Health Canada to use marijuana as medicine and asking him to grow it for them. One of them was a former RCMP officer diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

But Nash said regulations forbid him from growing for more than one person at a time. So his company, Island Harvest, can supply only two people, one each for him and his partner, although it could easily supply more.

He was testifying at the trials of Michael Swallow, 41, and Mat Beren, 32, both charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and production of marijuana.

RCMP arrested Swallow and Beren in May 2004 during a raid on a house in Sooke used by the Vancouver Island Compassion Society to grow marijuana for its 600 members.

Compassion clubs supply marijuana as medicine to people suffering from certain diseases and conditions related to treatment for some diseases.

Lawyers for Swallow and Beren are putting forward a constitutional challenge to Canada's medical marijuana regulations, arguing the rules force people into the black market to obtain their marijuana, and that interferes with their right to security of person.

Under Canada's medical marijuana access regulations, a person can obtain government permission to use marijuana for a medical condition. That person can then buy the marijuana from the government, which is supplied by a company that grows it in an abandoned mine shaft in Flin Flon, Man.; or they can grow it for themselves; or they can designate a person to grow it for them.

But court has already heard many people are leery of government marijuana because it isn't organic and its quality is suspect.

And Nash explained regulations limit designated growers to 25 plants which makes it hard to supply even one person. "It's very difficult to provide a consistent supply for a patient," he said.

He said quality control and organic methods demand he clone a certain number of plants, but that clone cuttings might be considered to be plants, which would put him over his 25-plant limit. Nash said he has written and asked for clarification of the issue for years but received no response.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver BC)
Author: CanWest News Service
Contact: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Copyright: 2007 The Vancouver Sun
Website: Medicinal pot grower sees huge demand
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