By Laura Baziuk, Postmedia News June 1, 2011 2:40 AM
published by the Vancouver Sun
Francois Arcand says he doesn’t want gravely ill people to think of medical marijuana as their last hope because of all the red tape that surrounds it.
The 42-year-old had to first find a doctor who would help him get a Health Canada licence to use marijuana to ease his epilepsy. Then he waited a year for approval.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa man found quicker and more personalized relief at a cannabis dispensary.
“Cannabis should have been my front-line therapy and not a desperate last resort,”
Arcand said, adding that Health Canada needs to issue more licences.
Arcand said he supported calls in Ottawa on Tuesday by medical marijuana advocates for the federal government to legalize pot dispensaries, as activists launched a national organization to help regulate the businesses.
“Dispensaries should be legally regulated and recognized as a legitimate health care service,”
said Rade Kovacevic, co-founder of the new Canadian Association of Medical Dispensaries.
“We are asking the government to recognize our experience and to work with us to develop a regulatory framework for medical cannabis.”
The non-profit association aims to oversee the country’s estimated 30 dispensaries, which sell a range of cannabis products and strains to buyers who show a doctor’s note and meet other requirements.
Staff plan to accredit the dispensaries -many of which are currently set up as illegal storefronts -in areas such as patient eligibility, dispensing practices, quality of cannabis and community safety, with a goal of ensuring high standards of care.
Marijuana remains illegal in Canada, but residents suffering from illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy can apply to use pot as supplied by Health Canada’s growers or a licensed individual grower.
read the entire article: Activists establish regulator for dispensaries