health canada's new medical
marijuana regulations may make getting pot for medical purposes more difficult than it is now for sick people, says weed crusader Terry Parker.
The way the new regulations are written, authorizations to possess pot for medical purposes will be issued by Health Canada only to patients who have a terminal illness and are expected to die within 12 months.
Patients who suffer from serious medical conditions will need approval from a doctor and two specialists to receive permission from Health Canada to possess pot, and then only after "conventional treatments have been tried or at least considered and found not medically appropriate," according to the regulations.
"It's a step backward, not forward," says Parker, who won a landmark case a few years ago that allows him to possess pot to treat his epilepsy. He says the last time he went to a specialist to ask for a prescription, he suggested Parker undergo more brain surgery.
Parker's lawyer, Aaron Harnett, says the new regs impose an unrealistic hurdle for medical marijuana users -- if they can find a doctor to prescribe pot at all.
He says the medical establishment has been reluctant to accept the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. Under the old regime, medical marijuana users only needed an exemption from Health Canada.
Rosalyn Tremblay, a spokesperson for Health Canada, says the new regs are only proposals at this point and there may be changes after public input has been received.