Health Canada blasted for threatening to share medical-pot user info with the RCMP

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      “Simply horrific” is how Micheal Vonn described a Health Canada threat to turn the personal information of medicinal-marijuana users over to the RCMP.

      “It was our impression that Health Canada was taking the only ethical stance that it could, which was that they were not in a position to release patient information,” the policy director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association told the Straight by phone from Washington, D.C. “We don’t know what has caused this turnabout.”

      According to a March 14 notice posted online, the federal government recently amended the Conservative’s new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation—which takes effect April 1—to provide for Health Canada to share information with law enforcement related to patients who are deemed noncompliant.

      Citizens licensed to possess marijuana—of which there are more than 16,000 in B.C. alone—were previously informed that they are required to dispose of any pot obtained under the old rules. Now Health Canada has said patients must provide the federal government with written notice stating how much marijuana they destroyed, regardless of whether or not they are in possession of marijuana today. Licence holders have until April 30 to meet the terms of the order.

      “If participants do not comply with the requirement to notify Health Canada, the Department will notify law enforcement,” the statement reads. “Health Canada will track receipt of notifications from Program participants and disclose a list of those who fail to comply with the notification requirement to the RCMP. The RCMP will address this information as appropriate, for example, in prioritizing which non compliant licensees to investigate.”

      Health Canada spokesperson Sean Upton told the Straight that the federal government is not granting interviews on medicinal marijuana.

      Vonn questioned the implications of patient information being passed to law enforcement.

      “Health Canada would be feeding information into a police database that we have already seen being recklessly shared [with U.S. authorities],” she said. “These are the kinds of medical-data disclosures that have prevented people who have, for example, a mental-health history, from crossing the border into the U.S.”

      Valerie Lawton, a spokesperson for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told the Straight that her office has received “several complaints” regarding the March 14 Health Canada notice. The OPCC is examining the issue, she added.



      martin in toronto

      Mar 19, 2014 at 12:59pm

      And we should trust the Harper Conservative government ... why?


      Mar 19, 2014 at 1:06pm

      "patients must provide the federal government with written notice stating how much marijuana they destroyed"

      Idiotic waste of everyone's time.


      Mar 19, 2014 at 1:35pm

      Jim Flaherty who has just resigned as finance minister for the Cons has been taking a drug called prednisone for a skin condition.This drug apparently has-like so many legal drugs-serious side effects:
      I wish Mr Flaherty well with his health issues but I wish Harper's gang would appreciate that the drugs they deem legal may sometimes do much more harm than the ones they deem illegal. Giving Health Canada info. on marijuana users to the police seems both nasty and foolish.


      Mar 19, 2014 at 3:47pm

      The government has spent so much time studying drug cartels they've become one. Common sense in our government is so rare it could be considered a super power. I'll tell you what, if all 30 some thousand of you continue growing and refuse to pay fines etc. they can not arrest you all. Our prison population is right near 15,000 and overwhelmed. Call there bluff! I don't smoke myself but I'm damn sick of the bureaucracy dribbling out insane laws at the cost of decent law abiding citizens. There only concern is monetary gain. Do they really think the mold in your house argument is valid? Strange how no other house plant on earth is banned due to the risk of mold? More crime due to house invasion? Maybe you should focus on the invaders and leave the victim alone! Toxic chemicals? They're growing weed not running meth labs! But I'm sure most of the people deciding the fait of this consider those one in the same. Fire? How many patients/legal grow ops have burned down since they started? Please stop treating citizens like toddlers! You were elected into parliament in hopes of bettering society, not profiting from it!


      Mar 19, 2014 at 4:25pm

      Flagrant disregard for standard medical ethics. Disappointing and despicable? Yes. Surprising? Hardly.


      Mar 19, 2014 at 5:37pm

      I recall reading countless pro government administrated marijuana "reform" that was a joke because it relies on a pyramid of political power not becoming dangerous and pulling stunts like this. You can never trust the state. Stop deferring to it and trying to make it work for you, or give it any more powers than it already has. It will just be used against you when the next crazy Harperlike regime takes power. Maybe if we had totally transparent democracy and a real constitution that can't be undone easily by a tinpot Premiere . We are still a colony and nothing prevents parliament from becoming a dictatorship. We've just been lucky so far, Remember that next time you suggest working with the state.

      Just annex the stupid criminal code section that makes it illegal already. Don't allow any regulations of marijuana, they will only favor corporate megagrows all run by cronies of whatever politician puts forward the bill to legalize and "regulate". It's a simple plant, should have no regulation.


      Mar 19, 2014 at 7:44pm

      A total blatant abuse of power.I cannot believe what pieces of shit Harper's government consists of.

      Judith Harrower

      Mar 20, 2014 at 3:23am

      This new stipulation is not surprising as with nearly every other decision the Harper boys have made, they have to reverse, change, alter, add to or in this case completely use fear to control citizens. Why in the world would the RCMP need to know except that this may be the beginning of their new role as Harper's privte army.

      The biggest fear is not the legalizing soft drugs but rather the hidden terms of the deal made with China. That is something the RCMP could/should look into, not keeping track of marijuana users.


      Mar 20, 2014 at 8:00am

      This is exactly why I never registered with the program - I honestly believed nothing good would come from Health Canada (and therefore the Conservatives!) being privy to my medical cannabis use - and here we are! Sad when you think of it, that many Canadians would rather take our chances with the Black Market instead of our own government.
      I am sick of being labeled a criminal by the Cons & the police based on the fact that I choose to help my body with a medicinal plant over toxic big pharma medications that were fu**ing up my liver and turning me in to a modern day zombie. Prohibition is immoral.