at the end of the month, canada becomes the first country in the world to sanction and regulate the use of medicinal marijuana.To prevent police hassles, patients and designated growers will be issued photo ID cards from Health Canada.
But while official Ottawa pats itself on the back, activists across the country are skeptical about the whole program.
"There's a huge privacy concern here," says Hilary Black, director of Vancouver's Compassion Club.
Lower courts in both Ontario and Alberta have substantially weakened Canada's marijuana laws in recent months, but the Supreme Court has yet to deal with the matter.
Later this year the court will hear a triumvirate of cases that, if successful, could overturn the marijuana laws permanently.
BC lawyer John Conroy, a founding member of NORML-Canada, represents two of the three cases heading for the Supreme Court.
"The sole reason for photo ID," he muses over the phone, "seems to identify one class of marijuana user from another -- the sanctioned and the illicit. You don't need photo ID for morphine or Demerol or any other prescribed medicine."