Medical marijuana users forced to black market


i wanna be cool too!
Oct 22, 2005
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Winnipeg is home to Canada's only legal supply of pot.

It's grown, picked and dried in the bottom of an old Manitoba mine for
people like Michael Day.

Thanks to the pot he's the picture of health, but his health card is not
helping him much.

"I have a tumor wrapped around the right eye and cancer going up into
the brain. I've tried everything and the cannabis seems to work the best"

But recently his supply has been cut off.

He can't pay the 14,000 dollar bill he owes Health Canada, but he
doesn't really want what the government grows anyway.
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"Its not very good, you can cook with it, which is what I do to manage
my cancer."

Patients with no way to pay and questionable quality are just a few of
the problems plaguing what's Canada's Medicial Marijuana access program.

The program came about as a court order, not an act of compassion from
the government and what we're seeing is the fallout of that.

Only 1,300 Canadians are registered with the program that has cost tax
payers $23 million to set up and more patients are relying on compassion
clubs than the government.

Phillipe Lucas is one of those that has set up a compassion club.

"Compassion clubs are serving more people than Health Canada, we're
creating a better supply than Health Canada. And we're doing more
legitimate research than Health Canada and we're doing all of this at no
cost to the tax payer."

Global National has learned through a federal access to information
request that one-third of cannabis purchased by 2004 was returned.

Lucas says it's simply because it's poor quality.

While Valerie Lasher of the Medical Marijuana Access program disagrees.

"The quality is second to none, it's tested it's consistent."

In fact, his compassion club has been growing it's own and he says that
this is how it compares to what Health Canada is providing that it's
routinely of lower potency than what's labelled on package.

"What they've done is taken these aids patients, these cancer patients
these really sick and suffering folks back to the black market."

Health Canada say it is taking another look at the program, potentially
making pot available through the pharmacy, which for now is a last
resort for their marijuana therapy.

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