Since the October election that propelled Justin Trudeau to the country’s top post, the collective consciousness of Canadians has been centred on legalization. Muffled at times by the volume of that conversation has been the important topic of medical cannabis. As Ottawa readies to unveil changes to the country’s industry regulations later this month, and introduce new recreational legislation next spring, Bedrocan is supporting community stakeholders to ensure patients’ needs are considered by policymakers in the lead-up to reform.
Earlier this year, a group of patient advocates and medical cannabis experts hosted a reception for MPs on Parliament Hill to advocate for the needs of patients. Dr. Danial Schecter of our medical advisory board participated in the event, as did Hilary Black, Director of Patient and Community Services. Hilary worked with a group of experts to develop a set of recommendations to address the themes of affordability, access and research.
Presented by Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, The Arthritis Society and supported by The Canadian AIDS Society, the recommendations were affirmed by representatives from each organization and the three medical cannabis patients on hand for the engagement. The recommendations presented were as follows:
• regulate cannabis in a manner that allows for insurance coverage
• remove the unjust sales tax
• ensure the highest standard of education for patients
• allow for specialized medical cannabis centres to distribute cannabis person-to-person
• allow for small-scale personal production at home
• ease licensing restrictions to facilitate research
• fund research that creates clinical evidence to break down barriers to access
• create a centre for excellence in cannabis research at a Canadian university
Among an audience of passionate and knowledgeable advocates, a group of roughly 20 members of Parliament were present, many of whom expressed an interest in taking care of medical patients when new legislation is drafted by the federal government. In the meantime, we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that policymakers factor in the rights and needs and medical cannabis patients as the cannabis landscape evolves over the coming years.