Some comments on my piece in today’s National Post, where I argue that the new regulations are a step backwards for medical cannabis patients.

  • Throughout my editing process I should have recognized that the Allard decision was not a Supreme Court case, but instead a federal court case out of British Columbia. The federal Liberals declined to appeal that ruling, which set the stage for the new regulations unveiled yesterday. As soon as I discovered the error, alerted by noted cannabis lawyer Kirk Tousaw on Twitter, I sent a note to the editor at the National Post asking them to change the online version.

  • I misread the initial press release from Canopy Growth Corp, which read “our Company has garnered the trust and support of over 20,000 Canadians, representing more than half of all those who ever joined the MMAR system in its 13 years of existence.” In my piece I interpreted that to mean “more than half of the country’s legally registered cannabis patients” when instead it means that CGC have the trust of more than half of those who were patients during the time home growing was previously allowed, between 2001 and 2014. I apologize for the mistake.
  • I am a Tweed customer; I am not interested in a war of words with the country’s largest LP. The purpose of the piece was not to go after Tweed, but was instead intended to show just how easily an LP can manipulate the ruling for their own gain. While the top part of CGC’s Media Release paints a rosy picture, celebrating the new rules which allow patients to grow their own plants at home, the core of the company’s plan is at the bottom of the release. From there I pulled the “Home Grow with out your Home” line and program description, which seems to strongly suggest that the company plans to “use its power to hold patients hostage, refusing to allow them to grow their own plants, in their own homes.” I stand by my analysis, though I do hope that I turn out to be wrong.
  • As I noted on my appearance on the Eric Drozd Show this morning, the new rules continue to place access to medicine in the hands of a few corporate entities, playing loose with the court’s ruling that patients should have the right to grow their own medical cannabis at home.

I am grateful to the editors of the National Post for providing me this platform to reach out to our federal government with a specific message: if you intend on following through on your election promises to support both medical and recreational cannabis users, please develop a system that provides for fair and equitable access to a competitive Canadian marketplace. So far, I haven’t seen any indication this will actually happen.

When the new rules are unveiled in 2017, Canada will become the first G7 country to implement a national legalized cannabis program. The stakes are simply too high to write the rules on the back of a napkin.