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Canadian Government To Begin Distributing Medical Marijuana To Eligible Patients

Diseased Strain

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The Canadian government announced that it will begin distributing medical marijuana to eligible patients. The Toronto Star reported on July 9, 2003 ( "Medical Marijuana Can Be Distributed") that "The federal government will ask doctors to distribute medical marijuana grown in a Manitoba lab, CTV News reported yesterday. While officials had claimed the quality of the marijuana was too inconsistent to use, they now say 370 kilograms has passed the test, sources told CTV."

According to a story on the Reuters News Service wire dated July 9, 2003 ( "Canada To Sell Medical Marijuana To Seriously Ill"), "Ottawa announced in July 2001 that some patients would be able to use marijuana provided by the government. But plans to grow official pot hit a series of snags, prompting a court in Ontario to give Ottawa until July 10 to come up with a solution. The new plan is Ottawa's response to that ruling. Federal officials said more research into the claimed benefits of medical pot was needed and they would therefore appeal the court ruling, a decision that angered critics. 'My first obligation is to ensure the safety and efficacy of this product. Marijuana is not a proven therapeutic product,' said Health Minister Anne McLellan. I remain committed to ( Ottawa's ( medical marijuana research program, which promotes research on the medical value of marijuana while taking a compassionate approach to Canadians who suffer from serious medical conditions.' The 582 sufferers granted dispensation from criminal laws to use the drug will be able to buy dried marijuana for $3.70 per 0.04 ounce -- about half the current black-market rate -- or a pack of 30 seeds for $20 so they can grow their own plants. 'Although this interim policy can be amended or suspended at any time, it is anticipated that it will remain in effect until...( Ottawa's ) roles and responsibilities with respect to a supply of marijuana for medical purposes have been clarified by the courts,' the health ministry said in a statement."

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"Too Tired To Fight On": England Prosecutes Patient For Supplying Medical Marijuana To Other Patients; The Defendant, An MS Victim, Plans To Take Her Own Life After Trial

A medical cannabis patient and activist says she will take her own life after her court cases are concluded. Elizabeth 'Biz' Ivol was put on trial in England on June 18, 2003. As reported by The Scotsman on June 19, 2003 ( "MS Victim 'Sent Cannabis Chocolates To Fellow Sufferer'"), "Constable Michael Don said he obtained a search warrant to go to Elizabeth Ivol's home in Orkney on 6 August, 2001, after she attracted some media attention. He found tobacco, a quantity of rolled cigarettes and several recorded delivery slips, as well as the letter. Mr Don, of Northern Constabulary, told the court that when he interviewed Mrs Ivol, she told him: 'I send out information packs first and they usually contact me again if they wanted to try out the chocolate. I then send out a package of chocolates with nothing indicating where it has come from.' Mrs Ivol, 55, a wheelchair-bound MS sufferer from South Ronaldsay, denies one charge of possession of cannabis, one charge of supplying cannabis and one charge of cultivating the drug."

Mrs. Ivol is getting a great deal of support throughout the UK. As The Scotsman reported, "Meanwhile, the Scottish Socialist Party has tabled a motion urging the Scottish Parliament to send a message of support to Mrs Ivol. An internet petition was also started this week by the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and has already received 12 pages of messages of support, and letters have been sent to the justice minister and Home Secretary."

The case against Mrs. Ivol has gotten a great deal of attention in part because it may mean the end of Mrs. Ivol's life -- no matter what the verdict. The Scotsman reported on June 13, 2003 ( "Cannabis Campaigner To Take Her Own Life") that "A wheelchair-bound cannabis campaigner plans to take her own life with an overdose of paracetamol and champagne after putting her case to legalise the drug at a court case next week. Biz Ivol, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is already planning her own funeral and has had a cardboard coffin delivered to her home in Orkney. She says she desperately wants to end her life because of the crippling pain from the illness which makes her feel like a prisoner in her own body. However, she has pledged that she will first of all fight her charges of possessing and supplying cannabis, which she claims alleviates her suffering."

The Scotsman reported that "Yesterday, as a friend assembled the eco-friendly coffin, which arrived in a flat pack, she said: 'I'm going to use it as soon as the court case is over. I'm too tired now to fight on. I feel no-one is doing anything to make things better for people with MS and that I no longer have any quality of life. I can't do my garden. I can't knit and I can't sew because my hands are dying. I can't read because my eyes are going - there's nothing worth staying for anymore on this earth.' She added: 'I'm not frightened about what might happen to me. They can't put me in jail because of the condition I'm in. They can't fine me anything because I haven't got any money. And I'm already a prisoner, trapped inside a body that's full of pain and doesn't work anymore.' Mrs Ivol, who says her pain is like barbed wire being dragged through her spine, began a campaign six years ago for the legalisation of the drug for medicinal use by people with MS and other conditions. It followed an earlier court case, when she was admonished after police found cannabis plants growing at her home. She said: 'I've lost count of the number of phone calls I've had from people telling me not to give up the fight. But the court case will be my last stand. I'm fed up with fighting now. It's taken them two years to take me to court. It's been niggling away at the back of my mind - once it's over, I know I can't go on any longer.'"

For more information on the Ivol case as well as other developments in England and the United Kingdom, check out the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.
 

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