Tuesday, October 2, 2007

2001 - The Need for Weed: Medical Marijuana

Amina Ali

"I'm 39 years old… and, yes, of course I tried it before, I mean obviously.” These are the words of Canada’s Federal Justice Minister Martin Caucho, uttered during a press conference on July 2002. Surprising, right?

Canada currently has a very liberal and tolerant view towards the medicinal use of marijuana. I found this article browsing through the CBC’s official homepage. It deals with a milestone event in the history of medicinal marijuana.

On July 2001, after the Ontario Court decided that making marijuana illegal for everyone was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom, Canada became the first country to adopt a system regulating the medicinal use of marijuana. The decision came after Terrence Parker, an epileptic who smoked in order to control his seizures, argued that his arrest for possession of marijuana was a violation of his right as a Canadian citizen of liberty and security. The court realized that other arrested marijuana users, much like in Parker’s case, had been exempted from legal repercussions. It was clear to them that marijuana use was justified for specific medical cases. The court’s ruling came from the desire to fix the lack of guidelines for the acquirement of the substance for these specific patients.

The ruling designed these set of standards for legal marijuana use: In order to legally acquire marijuana in Canada you need to suffer from a terminal illness or a severe chronic disease like arthritis or epilepsy. As a patient you must show that marijuana is the only option for therapy in your particular case. After receiving approval for marijuana use, you can either buy it from companies licensed by the government or you are given a specific amount of marijuana that you are allowed to grow yourself.
In 2003, these guidelines were declared unconstitutional, since they didn’t offer enough legal supply of the drug. In response to the claims, the government put in action an order to provide dried marijuana seeds to those authorized to use it as medical therapy.

Canada’s government portrayed an exemplary attitude when dealing with this issue. Authority figures throughout the government were able to ignore their prejudices and bias in order to protect the rights, liberty, and security of their citizens. When their legal principles proved not to be fair, they were willing to analyze and modify them. Regardless of your beliefs on the effects of marijuana as medical therapy, when looking at this issue you have to believe in the importance of keeping an open mind and having the willingness to change your thoughts upon reliable evidence that might disprove them.


1 comment:

Tom Harmon said...

Like Marley said. "Herb is just a plant, its good for everything". As a citizen of the supposed free world im surprised it is still not my right to consume medical marijuana as I please. I commend the Canadian government for taking the steps necessary for letting their citizens have this god given right.