Marijuana Growers’ Kids In Better Health According To Canadian Study

Canada grow roomBy Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

A new study from Canada flies in the face of stereotypes regarding the offspring of marijuana-growing parents. Children from homes where cannabis is grown were healthy and drug-free, according to the study — in fact, healthier than other children — leading to questions about why such kids are often removed from their homes.

The research from the Motherisk Program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children indicates the automatic removal of kids from marijuana-growing parents can be worse for the children than allowing them to stay at home, according to Gideon Koren, a University of Toronto professor and the program’s director, reports CBC News.

“After examining 75 of the kids over several years, we came to very clear conclusions that a vast majority of these kids are doing well,” Koren said. “Well fed, well kept, doing well in school and developing well.”

“In fact, the health problems found in this population were actually fewer than those in the general Canadian population,” according to a news release from the Hospital for Sick Children.

Children often enjoyed the lifestyle benefits of having high-income parents — even though that income is made illegally — and taking them away often “does a lot of damage,” Koren said.

“Taking a small child from his or her parents in a well-adapted environment causes fear, anxiety, confusion and sadness — everything that comes from separation,” he said.

When children are found in homes identified as marijuana-growing operations, they are usually removed, separating them from their parents and often placing them into foster care.

The Hospital for Sick Children examined 75 kids between 2006 and 2010 from Ontario’s York Region, just north of Toronto.

canada marijuanaSince 2006, child-welfare workers have learned more about the effects marijuana grow-ops have on children and have changed how they maintain the children’s safety, according to Patrick Lake, executive director of the York Region Children’s Aid Society.

“We have developed a more customize and comprehensive process to determine best response, on a case-by-case basis, while looking for ways to safely maintain children with their parents or relatives,” Lake said.

This was the first study done on the topic, and the findings mean authorities will now see these children differently, according to Koren.

“When police and children’s aid go into that situation, they have to look much more carefully on what happened to that child, and now blanket-wise moving kids out of their homes,” he said.

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.

Canada: Medical Marijuana Shop Owner Slams Police After Raid

The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Langley, British Columbia is protesting a police raid during which officers confiscated about four kilograms of cannabis meant for sick people.

Randy Caine, 57, who once challenged Canada’s marijuana laws all the way to the Supreme Court, said helping people with chronic pain should not be a crime, reports Kent Spencer at The Province.
“If my greatest fault was being overly helpful to sick people, is that a criminal offense?” Caine, owner of Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary, said on Friday.
“I have been transparent about medical assistance with the authorities from the start,” Caine said. “I had no idea they were this concerned. I was blindsided.”
Five RCMP officers wearing bulletproof jackets executed a search warrant on July 19, claiming they’d received “numerous” complaints about Caine’s operation.

Photo: Langley Advance
Randy Caine in front of the Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary
​Constable Jillian Roberts said up to four kilograms of marijuana was seized, as well as cannabis-infused brownies and cookies.
She said the dispensary is not legally authorized “by any authority or legislation in Canada.”
But Caine said he has legitimacy — a license issued by Health Canada. The agency has issued 10,000 medical marijuana licenses.
However, Caine admits he was distributing to some 200 patients, even though his license permitted only two.
He justified the difference on the basis of a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court decision concerning a case about patients’ rights.
In that case, Madam Justice M. Marvyn Koenigsberg struck down a section of law which said, in effect, that designated growers can only grow for a single person.
Dispensary manager Carol Gwilt admitted the relevant laws are unclear.
“Medical marijuana is a gray market, but it’s a necessary market,” Gwilt said. “We’re a small business operated as a community-based model.”
Caine said he got his marijuana from small private growers who are not connected to the illegal gang-based cannabis trade in B.C.
He said clients come by appointment only and must have a doctor’s recommendation in writing.
Caine was not granted a business license by City Hall for the tidy-looking premises located on the second floor of a commercial building on Fraser Highway. The lower entrance is secured by a coded lock.
Gwilt said the dispensary would continue serving patients, whose diseases include cvancer, AIDS and epilepsy.
“We have clients who need service in a huge way,” Gwilt said. “They are suffering.”
Caine, who was reared in nearby Surrey, said he knows the community “has a heart.”
“I think this will be a defining moment about how this community takes care of its sick,” Caine said.

Mounties Let ‘Honest’ Pot-Smoking Driver Through Checkpoint

Photo: The Wyckoff Journal
​A Canadian man who smoked a joint while an RCMP officer chatted with drivers a few cars ahead of him at a roadside checkpoint last week was allowed to continue on his way after he gave up his small stash of marijuana.
The man, from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, was upfront when asked if he had “smoked any dope recently,” reports Brian Medel at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Yes, he said — about 30 seconds ago.
But at least his seat belt was fastened, and he was courteous and cooperative. Even though the aroma of freshly smoked cannabis wafted up through the air as the officers waved him up, “he seemed fine,” so after he put his small weed stash into the outstretched hand of a Mountie, he was on his way.

However!! Smoking a joint while waiting in line at an RCMP checkpoint isn’t exactly recommended behavior, according to Cpl. Andy Hamilton of the RCMP’s western traffic services.
“I don’t know the exact distance, but it wasn’t very far (back in the line),” Hamilton said.
“I can’t get into the guy’s mind, but he felt comfortable enough to light a joint within eyesight of the police, probably figuring he’d finish it off before he gets there and no one will be the wiser.”
The joint was gone by the time he got to the front of the line, but the Mounties noticed “other evidence.”
“He was honest,” said Hamilton, who wasn’t at the scene but read the report later.
The mellow motorist was briefly detained, but released without being charged, although according to Hamilton, charges are still possible.
The Mounties — who decided the man was OK to drive after questioning him — don’t often charge cases involving only a gram or two of cannabis.
“The main reason we don’t is because whenever we present those cases to the Crown, they usually don’t go forward with them,” Hamilton said.
The fact that a driver was toking up at a checkpoint did not surprise Hamilton. Officers often smell marijuana after pulling a car over, and the driver usually claims he or she smoked a joint “the night before.”
“They’re very nonchalant about it,” Hamilton said.
So if a driver with one or two grams of pot isn’t likely to be charged, is the same likely to be true of a driver with one open bottle of beer?
“You have to go case by case,” Hamilton said.
Susan MacAskill of MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) claimed that marijuana-smoking drivers cause accidents.
“It mellows a person out so they don’t realize they’re a risk,” MacAskill claimed. “They think they’re more relaxed, and we’ve had many people who claim ‘I’m a better drive when I’ve smoked a joint,’ and that’s just absolutely not true.
“:People who are impaired by marijuana can cause as horrific crash,” MacAskill claimed.
“It is really quite bold to be smoking a drug that’s illegal … at a traffic stop,” she said.

Canadian Province Ordered To Pay For Patients Medical Marijuana Grow

Oh Cannabis

The Nova Scotia government has been ordered to pay the costs associated with medical marijuana growing operations of a woman who said she could not afford to grow and maintain her alloted medicine.

The Income Assistance Appeals Board ruling says that the province’s department of community services must pay $2,500 in start-up costs as well as a $100 quarterly fee for growing supplies of $100.

According to a CBC report, the unidentified couple who live in Amherst have licences from Health Canada to grow up to 25 plants, but they can only afford to grow six and sometimes run low on their supply.

Medical Marijuana

The appeals board said Her need for marijuana was real and that having the government pay for the grow-op equipment was preferable to paying another licensed grower.

The woman’s husband, who also uses medical marijuana, is currently suing community services, the cabinet minister responsible for the department, Denise Peterson-Rafuse, and the appeals board over the same issue.

Community services’ legal department is now weighing its options and said it would not make any statements at this time.

It is not known whether this ruling will affect his decision to proceed with his lawsuit.

Canada Would Rather Pay Legal Costs Instead of Assisting Medical Marijuana Patients

                                                          Image via UPI

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corperation, a couple Sam & Tanya (who asked that their last names be excluded from a fear of thieves) asked the Nova Scotia Supreme Court if they would have the Maritime Province to provide $2,500 for the couple to be set up and $100 assistance every 3 months to help offset the cost of buying things they need to grow their medication. The licenses they possess from Health Canada permits them to grow no more then 25 plants for their own personal use. When Sam heard from a lawyer that the Department of Community Services has already spent about $200,000 fighting their proposal he had this to say:

That just goes to show you that there’s something wrong with the system when they’re willing to spend that amount of money to stop two disabled people from getting their medication…It’s pathetic and sickening.

Before you disregard this as a couple looking for a quick come-up through a loophole, think about the numbers. If Canada was to agree to the couple’s request and we assume that the couple lives and smokes until they are 90 and are 40 now, the $200,000 Canada could have covered their supply necessities for 98,750 years.

Note that both Sam and Tanya are on income assistance said to have disabilities which aren’t named in the article.

Medical Marijuana May Be Easier To Get In Canada Soon

The Canadian government was reviewing its options on Wednesday after a judge said it may have to rewrite the country’s medical marijuana laws to make it easier for patients to obtain the drug.

Marijuana growing, possession and distribution are illegal in Canada, but the government was ordered by the courts a decade ago to allow its use for medical purposes by people who have a doctor’s approval.
An Ontario judge sided this week with a man who wants the drug for medical purposes, and argued his rights were violated because he was forced to raise it illegally when he was unable to find a doctor willing to prescribe it.
The government appears to be using a shortage of doctors willing to support the drug for medical purposes as a way to limit patient access to it, Ontario Superior Court justice Donald Taliano ruled on Monday.
“Rather than promote health, the regulations have the opposite effect. Rather than promote effective drug control the regulations drive the critically ill to the black market,” Taliano wrote in the 109-page ruling.

Legalization Around the World: Canada

This file photo from 2010 shows a Toronto protest against a raid on a medical marijuana club.This file photo from 2010 shows a Toronto protest against a raid on a medical marijuana club.

Colin McConnell/Toronto Star File Photo

Jennifer Yang Staff Reporter

An Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled that the federal medical marijuana program is unconstitutional, giving the government three months to fix the problem before pot is effectively legalized.

In an April 11 ruling, Justice Donald Taliano found that doctors across the country have “massively boycotted” the medical marijuana program and largely refuse to sign off on forms giving sick people access to necessary medication.

As a result, legitimately sick people cannot access medical marijuana through appropriate means and must resort to illegal actions.

Doctors’ “overwhelming refusal to participate in the medicinal marijuana program completely undermines the effectiveness of the program,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“The effect of this blind delegation is that seriously ill people who need marijuana to treat their symptoms are branded criminals simply because they are unable to overcome the barriers to legal access put in place by the legislative scheme.”

Taliano declared the program to be invalid, as well as the criminal laws prohibiting possession and production of cannabis. He suspended his ruling for three months, giving Ottawa until mid-July to fix the program or face the prospect of effectively legalizing possession and production of cannabis.

The judge’s decision comes in a criminal case involving Matthew Mernagh, 37, of St. Catharines who suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, seizures and depression.

Marijuana is the most effective treatment of Mernagh’s pain. But despite years of effort, he has been unable to find a doctor to support his application for a medical marijuana licence.

Mernagh resorted to growing his own cannabis and was charged with producing the drug.

Taliano found doctors essentially act as gatekeepers to the medical marijuana program but lack the necessary knowledge to adequately give advice or recommend the drug. He also found that Health Canada has made “no real attempt to deal with this lack of knowledge.”

Taliano said the issue is Canada-wide.

Twenty-one patients from across the country testified in the case, saying they were rejected by doctors a total of 113 times.

One Alberta patient was refused by 26 doctors; another in Vancouver approached 37 physicians without finding a single one to sign off on the form.

Patients also face lengthy delays — as long as nine months — in having their medical marijuana applications processed by Health Canada.

“The body of evidence from Mr. Mernagh and the other patient witnesses is troubling,” Taliano wrote. “The evidence of the patient witnesses, which I accept, showed that patients have to go to extraordinary lengths to acquire the marijuana they need.”

Lawyer Alan Young, a longtime advocate of marijuana legalization, said the ruling is a step in the right direction.

“It’s significant because it’s a Superior Court ruling which has binding effect across the province,” Young said.

“By enacting a dysfunctional medical program the government now has to pay the high cost of losing the constitutional authority to criminalize marijuana.”

He said the real test, however, will be whether the judgment stands up in the Ontario Court of Appeal.

“If the government is not successful on appeal, they are going to be caught between a rock and a hard place because they don’t have an alternative program in mind,” he said. “They don’t have a plan B. They’re in trouble.”

The medical profession has been wary of the medical marijuana program since it came into effect in August 2001.

On May 7, 2001, the Canadian Medical Association wrote a letter to the federal health minister expressing concerns with recommending a drug that has had little scientific evidence to support its medicinal benefits.

“Physicians must not be expected to act as gatekeepers to this therapy, yet this is precisely the role Health Canada had thrust upon them,” the letter stated.

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