Ottawa looking at fewer growers, says Maple Ridge MP

Patients may not to be able to grow own marijuana, will have to buy from authorized grower

Rules may be changing again for growing medical pot. Patients may have to buy from authorized grower.

Rules may be changing again for growing medical pot. Patients may have to buy from authorized grower.

Ottawa is changing the rules on medical marijuana and in a few years most patients may no longer be able to grow their own or buy it from designated growers. Instead, they’ll have to order medical marijuana from a larger, authorized grower and wait for it to arrive by courier.

MP Randy Kamp reviewed the changes for Maple Ridge council Monday, explaining that someone who’s sick will go to the doctor, and if Health Canada concurs, the doctor will write a prescription.

The patient will send the prescription to an authorized grower, who will ship it by secure courier to the patient.

“It seems to us and it seems to you that the [present] program isn’t working, that it’s being abused and that illegal growers are using it in a way that it’s not designed to be,” Kamp said.

Currently, Health Canada has issued more than 12,000 possession-only licences for medical marijuana while more than 7,000 people have a personal-use production licence.

But the system has been criticized by police, who say the medical grow ops attract crime. Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Dave Walsh said last week that formerly illegal grow ops are now licenced medical-grow operations.

Kamp said the government expects the new rules to be challenged in the courts.

Following the transition process, by about 2015, people who grow their own or those who are growing medical marijuana for others will see their yearly licences expire and “will not be part of the program.” Instead, they’ll have to get a prescription and order from the “authorized grower.”

“That will be their source, one of the authorized growers. They will not be able to grow anymore.”

Kamp said licenced growers will be able to select the varieties they produce as well as the prices they charge.

The new system will reduce the number of medical pot growers, but make them larger. “We don’t know how many, but there will be a relatively small number of authorized growers.”

Health Canada also will be able to audit and inspect those operations, he pointed out, and while the system probably could be improved, “I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.”

Kamp said pharmacies were considered as a means of distribution, but that would require a drug identification number.

“Pharmacies definitely don’t want to be part of this.”

Doctors didn’t want to be involved either, he added, but it’s difficult not to get their participation. Under the new rules, doctors would determine the amount of marijuana, just as they do with other prescriptions.

As of Oct. 30 – 12,225 people hold an “authorization to possess” dried marijuana licence under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations in Canada.

Of those, 7,277 people hold a “personal-use production licence,” while 2,163 more hold a “designated-person” licence, which allows someone else to grow their marijuana.

Coun. Al Hogarth said Maple Ridge should start determining regulations now for such operations to ensure they don’t end up in residential areas, while Coun. Cheryl Ashlie wanted to ensure Maple Ridge’s small farm lots of five acres wouldn’t be excluded from any future medical marijuana grow operations.

“This is a potential economic driver for us and I don’t want to lose out on that.”

Kirk Tousaw, B.C. president of End Prohibition, has mixed views on Health Canada’s plan. Mail order would work in remote parts of the country, but people often become accustomed to visiting the compassion clubs such as the The Always Growing Green Society in Maple Ridge, which dispenses medical marijuana.

“I’d hate to see that lost. I hope that Health Canada finds a way to bring them into the fold,” Tousaw said. “There’s a lot of healing that goes by being able to talk to others in similar circumstances.”

But he says the government may be afraid of storefront operations. “Probably because it normalizes the idea of buying marijuana at a store.”

Commercial growers don’t necessarily want to be involved in the retail aspect or direct selling, Tousaw pointed out.

The new system could also hurt patients who just grow small amounts for themselves. Now, they’ll have to pay for it.

“I’d hate to see them turned back into criminals.”

But he likes the idea of expanding the system of designated growers and taking advantage of economies of scale.

The “evolution towards a business-regulated model for the production and distribution of marijuana is a good thing and an inevitable thing.”

It’s something that should be happening for healthy people, he added.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on Hit TV. (Special to The News)
Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read