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Letter: Legal gardening of pot should be supported
To the editor:
I am writing to you in opposition to the proposed bylaw that would eliminate medical marijuana gardens within the municipality of Kelowna.
I am a disabled person and have had both a license to possess cannabis and produce it for medical purposes for the last seven years. To impose such a bylaw would immediately eliminate access to federal government sanctioned medication and impose an immense hardship and suffering on sick and dying Canadians.
This not only would be grossly unfair but we are sure that several hundred persons with Health Canada medical marijuana exemptions in Kelowna would be without their much needed medications.
This would immediately result in massive law suits against the city and others involved in such actions. We are positive that the courts will rule that these bylaws are unconstitutional and invalid, resulting in huge costs incurred by the City of Kelowna.
We medical exemption holders have gone to great lengths to insure we are operating legally to obtain our physician-prescribed medication, and to add such a ridiculous bylaw would only add insult to injury .
We respectfully ask that you immediately reconsider your current course of action and not be persuaded by law enforcement and fire departments that our gardens create any more risk than someone growing legal tomatoes or cucumbers personally or commercially indoors. Most, if not all medical marijuana gardens that I have seen have been wired properly to code and vented properly to insure against mold and other contaminants. These gardens pose no greater fire risk than the tomato or cucumber commercial gardens seen all over the Lower Mainland.
Additionally we also have had to go through a rigorous process and expense to adopt security measures that meet Health Canada’s standards to be even issued a license to produce our medicine in the first place. Surely if the federal government and the Supreme Court of Canada have sanctioned our actions to produce our own medicine legally, then a city council should respect and abide by these same laws and not impose undue and unconstitutional measures upon the sick and dying taxpayers who have opted to use cannabis as medicine.
We look forward to your response to this most urgent matter at your earliest convenience.
Frequently we see media reports with the RCMP and city police forces stating they have “no access” to information about what an illegal grow-op is vs. a legal medical marijuana garden.
The facts are as follows: Health Canada maintains a 24-hour hotline phone number open to law enforcement so that they can call and verify if the suspected address they are attending is a legal medical garden or not. This was told to me by the former head of the Marihuana Medical Access Division, Mr. Ronald Denault, who stated that he carries a pager that will let him have direct contact, 24 hours a day, to police that need this information.
In fact, my lawyer says that there is a protocol within the RCMP to call Health Canada before getting any warrant prior to attending a suspected illegal grow-op. For some reason the RCMP fail to do this and then blame it on Health Canada.
On Feb. 17, a Health Canada spokesman cited recent amendments to the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, which allows police limited access to information. “Amending the regulations will enable Canadian law enforcement to access limited information to prevent unnecessary law enforcement action,” the spokesman relayed in an email. “Information will be provided only in the context of a law enforcement activity, for example, if you are stopped in your car and marijuana is found in your possession or if the police visit your home in connection with a break and enter and discover marijuana.”