Health Canada is struggling to police its medical marijuana program, which permits over 15,000 people to legally grow their own plants. CBC News has learned that the department has no record of inspecting any individual growers, who apply in writing and must provide documentation that shows they have a “grave and debilitating” illness. Those who qualify can grow marijuana for medicinal purposes or have someone grow it for them under a designated-person production licence. The job of enforcing safety and compliance falls to 15 Health Canada inspectors, who are also responsible for inspecting all legal drugs and pharmaceuticals in Canada. Some police organizations have raised concerns about the program and the limitations of the background checks required to qualify for it. A 2010 RCMP report contains evidence that 37 convicted traffickers have obtained licenses and that some growers have abused the system or have ties to organized crime. Officials have admitted that Health Canada has no real enforcement capacity and that they rarely suspend or revoke licenses. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the program is in need of reform, and that the department is considering a system of mail-order medical pot, to be produced by industrial growers. “We are moving to eliminate personal grow-ops which will not require inspection,” she said. “We are moving forward in looking at medical marijuana in terms of how any other prescription drug is accessed.” Ottawa isn’t expected to unveil the new medical marijuana rules until 2014. In the meantime, Health Canada will keep issuing individual growing permits. One grower told CBC News that those who do not abuse the system should not be penalized because of those who do. “I liken it to many people who drink and drive and kill people, but just because you have a driver’s licence doesn’t mean you can’t buy alcohol.” Are you concerned about the limited oversight of individual marijuana growers? If so, you think the solution is to set up a mail-order system and stop issuing individual growing permits? Why or why not?
via : cbc
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