Canada is regressing. In 2001, Canada became the first country to institute a federally-run medical marijuana program, allowing patients to grow their own medicine. The government also operates a grow facility in Manitoba to supply patients unable to grow their own. Sadly, under the conservative Harper administration, Health Canada has announced that as of April 1st, 2014, the Manitoba growroom will be shut down, and all cannabis cultivation by patients will be banned. Only licensed growers in the private sector will be allowed to continue operating.

The ban will leave more than 30,000 legally authorized medical pot patients scrambling to find licensed growers in their area. And the growers that are permitted to continue supplying much-needed marijuana will be subject to increased scrutiny by the government, with tightened security measures, greater accountability, and more inspections. The new regulations heavily favor law enforcement, reflecting the right-wing leanings of the Harper administration. Staff Inspector Randy Franks of the Toronto Drug Squad accused patients who grow their own of selling their extra medicine to the black market, saying, “There’s far too much potential and actual abuse within the current scheme… These home-grown operations are able to produce far more than they need to and they have to do something with it, so they sell it mainstream.”

We had no idea that legal pot patients are actually opportunistic schemers. What a travesty to deprive people in need of their federally authorized medicine! Here’s hoping Canada votes Harper and his policies out of office in the next election.