Justin Trudeau says Stephen Harper is wrong on medical marijuana, offers alternatives

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Justin Trudeau is unimpressed with the Harper government's approach to medical marijuana.

During an appearance at the University of Manitoba on Wednesday (October 9), he told the assembled crowd that he would like to see medical marijuana patients retain the ability to grow their own pot.

"The current approach is not working," the federal Liberal leader told the group after being asked what his stance was on medical marijuana and the rights of patients to grow their own supply.

Under the outgoing Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), a person must apply for a permit to possess marijuana. If approved, they then have the options of either producing their own product or purchasing it from a licensed grower or Health Canada. But as of April 1, 2014, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) will come into effect, and patients will only be able to obtain medical marijuana from licensed producers.

The federal government claims the MMPR will "provide access to quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions". However, as it eliminates the ability for medical marijuana patients to grow their own pot, activist fear many people will no longer have access to specialized strains they have relied on. As well, dispensaries and many compassion clubs will have to close under the new rules, and there are fears the new system will increase prices.

"It's actually amazing to see the kinds of specialization and research that is beginning to be done into what strains actually address which problems very effectively in many, many cases," Trudeau said. "And our worries are that the current hypercontrolled approach around medical marijuana that actually removes from individuals the capacity to grow their own is not going in the right direction. It neither respects freedom or the kind of care that people need."

Trudeau advocated a legalization system similar to how alcohol is controlled in Canada. "If someone wants to brew their own beer or make their own wine, they're more than welcome to. But the vast majority of consumers are happy to go to a liquor store to purchase their alcohol because its of known quality. And the choices available to consumers and the knowledge of what it is that goes into what you're buying empowers consumers," he told the crowd.

"This is the kind of approach we need to take: one grounded in evidence, one grounded in science, one grounded in liberty."

While Trudeau stressed the need to protect the developing brains of teenagers from using marijuana ("like alcohol and cigarettes"), he reiterated that individuals should have freedom of choice when it comes to accessing medical marijuana.

"We don't need to be all nanny state about it the way Stephen Harper is with his prohibition," Trudeau said.

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33 Comments

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Alex T

Oct 11, 2013 at 12:40pm

"We don't need to be all nanny state about it the way Stephen Harper is with his prohibition," Trudeau said.

I love that! Jab the Tories in their soft underbelly by accusing them (rightly!) for being a big-government nanny state. Too funny.

Travis Watters

Oct 11, 2013 at 2:02pm

Trudeau nails it!

bb54

Oct 11, 2013 at 4:17pm

Justin Trudeau views on marijuana are a bit of fresh air in 2013.Marijuana History in Canada being written right now.What so exciting appeared in 2013 on the marijuana scene ? Well It's the year Justin Trudeau made his political views on marijuana known to the public.
Better than nothing at all.

Brian S

Oct 11, 2013 at 4:50pm

Finally a liberal I can vote for.
This attitude on pot wins me over.

Mary J Wanna

Oct 11, 2013 at 7:07pm

he talks the talk...

Foz

Oct 12, 2013 at 4:21am

Justin Trudeau definitely has my vote!! I cannot fathom who in their right mind gave Stephen Harper a majority government so he could screw people over that by changing something that was working. He's been trying to change the medical marijuana policy since 2003. He has got to be one of the worst leaders of Canada that I have ever seen. He likes to bend the rules whenever he is in trouble(proroguing parliament....etc.). We should be able to get him out of office immediately before he does more damage.

mitch

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:00am

What's thomas mulcair of the NDP stance on this issue?I voted for JACK LAYTON.NOW I'm not so sure about voting NDP.

BCBud

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:40am

If this was the only issue facing Canada he would be good. Canada's memories of his father may prevent him from filling the position of our great nation. His father's rein was when I was a little Bud, very young. I do not personally remember any of it except for when he gave Canada the bird.

Meh. I might vote for him due to this but that image of his Dad's one fingered wave to a young kid like me is hard to shake. I know he was giving it to my family and contacts too, as well as yours but I took it personally.

Canada belongs to the people, get out and elect it back to us in the next election at every level! Run for office yourself if none of the candidates fit your impression of our shared future.

Vote to keep me out of office, I may run someday. The only requirements of government are citizenship, social standing / understanding. I am a legend in my own mind. My campaign would be totally concerned with legalizing Pot and encouraging Industrial Hemp cultivation in 2 percent of Canada's agriculture reserve.

Greg Weldon

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:57am

The only real problem with cannabis (When will people learn that therm marijuana is politically incorrect) is that it can make things like cancer and bad government seem acceptable. I'm not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure that when a Government implements legislation that imposes mandatory minimum sentences we have changed our judicial system from case law to statute law and I think it can be said quite honestly that Canada is now officially a Police State. It is now up to the police to decide who goes to jail.

missed opportunity

Oct 12, 2013 at 10:02am

re-post from straight article:
Marijuana dispensaries may survive on the West Coast, Vancouver councillor says
by Travis Lupick on Oct 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

missed opportunity
Oct 3, 2013 at 9:28 am
If you had a collective of mom & pop stores or a small company that had grown to be a chain, the distribution is already set up, production is in full swing, the product is already being purchased and the collective or chain are attractive as an investment. To found a fully operational, mature business enterprise is a good thing. The government is destroying what took years to build. Again, the current dispensary system is in play BECAUSE of the mismanagement of the feds in their reluctance to comply with Supreme Court rulings. Ordinary citizens would be thrown in jail if they ignored a court order. A profitable, well run company is a desirable thing and greatly contributes to local economies. Shows the feds have absolutely no idea as to what constitutes good business practice. Shame on them for forcing supply into the hands of corporate entities. Government approved pot has already proven to be substandard. Why would anyone in their right minds give them a contract to continue to grow medicinal marijuana? Report card says FAIL. The whole thing stinks and it ain't the weed that is causing the bad smell. The industry will be driven underground where it cannot be regulated and while we're at it, WHY can't people grow their own?! Ridiculous rationale. I don't understand the argument that the current system is profiting illegal entities when our own federal government is full of senators, etc., being or have been investigated for their own illegal activities which have been to the detriment of Canadians across the country. I call foul. HEAVE STEVE!

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