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Weston, Raiser at odds over marijuana ruling

MP, Squamish dispensary owner discuss Supreme Court decision

John Weston is not pleased with the medical marijuana ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada last week.

The ruling, which came down June 11, means medical marijuana patients will be able to use edible marijuana and other extracts and derivatives, in addition to being able to smoke it.

“It is unfortunate that judges feel they can displace Health Canada as our health regulator and decide what drugs are medicines,” said Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country.

“Never before in Canadian history has a drug become a medicine just because judges said so.” 

Weston said the ruling also sends a misleading message about the potential dangers of marijuana. 

“It ignores mental health issues like psychosis and schizophrenia that are being increasingly associated with marijuana use – particularly long-term marijuana use begun at an early age,” he said. 

The ruling does, not surprisingly, hearten former district councillor and Squamish medical marijuana dispensary owner Bryan Raiser.

“Oh boy, is it an exciting time,” said Raiser. 

“It shows Canada is moving in the right direction, and common sense is prevailing.”

Raiser said it made no sense that previously even lung cancer patients would be forced to smoke the medical marijuana prescribed for them by their doctor.

“It doesn’t matter your political stripes or where you come from, that is simply insane.”

Since Squamish RCMP threatened to close his 99 North Medical Cannabis Dispensary in March, Raiser said he has been operating his shop as a resource centre for people curious about the laws and issues around the drug. 

The Supreme Court ruling doesn’t change much for dispensaries, Raiser said, because most were offering edibles anyway.

“What it does is show everyone this is the direction we are moving in,” he said. 

The City of Vancouver council’s current consideration of regulating illegal marijuana dispensaries within its boundaries will have more of an impact on his potential business, he said, because it would stand as an example of legitimizing storefront dispensaries. 

A federal ruling expected next month that will decide if patients can legally grow their own pot will also be important in the medical marijuana debate, Raiser said.

He is hopeful the court will be in favour of the home growers.

“Trying to throw our most vulnerable citizens in prison for growing and using a plant that provides relief, it’s baffling,” he said.

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