Canada's contradictory approach to regulating medical marijuana was recently criticized soundly by Quebec's Health Minister Réjean Hébert, who objects to the new federal policy announced in February that will no longer permit patients to grow their own cannabis. Under the new policy, patients must obtain a doctor’s prescription in order to receive their medicine from privately contracted cultivators.
Last week Hébert told reporters: "The federal government has put us in an impossible situation … asking doctors to prescribe marijuana but [the government does] not recognize marijuana as a medication, properly speaking."
Hébert insisted that Health Canada officially designate pot as a medicine to enable doctors to prescribe it: "Because marijuana is not recognized by Ottawa (Canada's capital) as a drug, there is no drug identification number … the first step for a drug to be prescribed by a doctor.” Only then, Hébert noted, can a given province's prescription drug program ascertain if they would provide coverage for medical cannabis.
Hébert 's passionate logic was echoed by Marc-Boris Saint-Maurice of the Montreal Compassion Centre, who told reporters that, despite the Canadian government's desire to wash their hands of medicinal marijuana, courts have previously ruled that preventing patient access to legal medical pot is unconstitutional.
Saint-Maurice said his organization believes that it should be the government and not doctors determining if cannabis is indeed a legitimate prescription drug.
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