The Green Party is committed to being honest about the problems we face and always acting with integrity. We work across party lines and with advocacy groups to achieve common goals.
In this spirit, Waterloo Region Greens fully supports the goals of the #DoneWaiting campaign. We commend the Canadian Labour Congress for pushing for an end to wage discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, and the chronic underfunding of child care.
Our plan for a provincial child care strategy in Ontario builds on the 2015 federal Green platform for high-quality affordable child care for all Canadians.
Greens understand that we need strong legislation to shrink the inexcusable wage gap, and to deliver a living wage for all workers. At the same time, we will help small businesses shoulder these costs by doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption limit.
Greens support a basic income guarantee that will provide stability for workers who are moving between jobs or starting a family.
These policies are not only a response to current events; they have been part of our platform in election after election.
Greens have always been committed to doing politics differently, and we’re happy to re-affirm that we’re done waiting, too.
Waterloo Region Greens represents the provincial and federal Green Party riding associations for Waterloo, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener South-Hespeler, Kitchener-Conestoga, and Cambridge.
Cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses.
Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.
Other plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we now know as marijuana.
The war on drugs put an end to medicinal cannabis in Canada..
But pain management has always been critically important for the quality of life of many who have suffered injury or chronic illness.
Although Canadians can access a wide variety of drugs through a doctor’s prescription, there are many variables. When it comes to medicine, one size does not fit all:
what works for some patients doesn’t work for others.
long term use can decrease the effectiveness of pain killers, and
addiction and other side effects can reduce a patient’s quality of life.
Even as the emerging 20th Century pharmaceutical industry exploded into a rainbow of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, analgesics and the like, not every patient or disease is adequately served by prescription medicines.
And so, illegal or not, in the latter part of the 20th Century, growing numbers of Canadians sought pain relief from cannabis.
“Compassion clubs came to Canada in the late 1990s, based on similar medicinal marijuana clubs in the United States. The goal of compassion clubs is to provide safe access to medicinal, or medical, marijuana when there is no government-sanctioned program, or when such a program is not effectively meeting the need.
“Compassion clubs exist to provide medical marijuana to people in need, but not all their members are licensed by Health Canada. While the clubs usually have their own strict guidelines for membership and providing cannabis—for chronic conditions, most clubs require a doctor’s note confirming a patient’s condition; for some conditions, a doctor’s prescription may be required—this does not make unlicensed members’ use legal. So, fear of prosecution is still a concern.
“Compassion club operations, in fact, are illegal under Canadian law.”
One day before the expiration of the court ordered time limit (July 30, 2001) the government implemented the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) (PDF). The MMAR created a framework that allowed (only) patients suffering from designated severe and extreme conditions to go through a lengthy and complicated application process that might result in a government license allowing them to possess and use marijuana legally.
Worse, the regulations failed to provide patients with any way to actually obtain a legal cannabis supply. This serious deficiency resulted in a succession of court challenges that eventually resulted in amendments that allowed patients to:
purchase dried marijuana from a single government supplier, or
grow their own, or
select a grower to grow cannabis for them
Many patients found the quality of theHealth Canada’s cannabis to be inferiorto cannabis available through Compassion Clubs or even the black market. The nonprofit BC Compassion Club (BCCCS) was founded in 1997, and has built a good reputation using knowledge and expertise to help patients find the best strain to address their health needs.
“Most of the harm associated with cannabis is actually due to the act of combusting,” notes [Jay Leung,communications coordinator for the BCCCS]. He adds that BCCCS has vaporizers for their clients to use, which produce the same effects as smoking without the health risks. The club also provides non-smoking options such as cannabis-infused oils and butter, tinctures (cannabinoids are extracted into an alcohol or glycerine base, then dropped or sprayed orally) and a variety of baked goods. And the dispensary sells items such as the vaporizers, forest-friendly rolling papers, glass pipes and more, which help members consume cannabis safely and effectively.”
When police found large amounts of cannabis-infused olive oil and cookies in the apartment of Owen Smith, former head baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, Smith was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations. At the time, Canadian Law only allowed patients to consume Medical Marijuana by smoking it in dried form in spite of numerous studies about the health risks associated with smoking.
In 2014 the Harper Government changed the regulations, replacing the MMAR with Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) on April 1st, 2014. The new regulations prohibited patients from growing their own, instead, they were required to purchase their supply of medicine from licensed commercial growers.
The 2015 federal election gave the Justin Trudeau Liberals a “majority” government with a mandate to legalize cannabis in Canada. The new government placed the legalization file in the hands of rookie MP Bill Blair, better known as Toronto’s top cop during the infamous Toronto G20. Understandably cannabis activists have not been reassured by this choice.
Given that Cannabis was criminalized here without anything resembling scientific evidence, debate, or even any need for such a policy in 1923, Canada has undertaken little or no legitimate scientific study of the prohibited plant. As a result, the scarcity of official empirical evidence frees opponents of legalization to make unfounded and often ridiculous claims in support of their own preconceived notions.
Frightening tales without any basis in fact repeated over and over during the decades of Cannabis Prohibition are blindly accepted by some. Sometimes even counsellors tell “friend-of-a-friend” stories— urban legends—about people dying from eating pot brownies.
There have even been cases like the one where a professional pathologist imagined someone died from smoking a joint. The reality is that there’s no evidence cannabis use has ever killed anyone. On the contrary, the evidence we do have indicates such a thing is not possible.
“7. Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.
“8. At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.
“9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”
Former sources of information once considered to be an authority in substance use are being questioned with good reason: “Reefer Madness” has taken on new forms to serve corporate special interests. As legalization approaches, the need for credible education is desperate.
In spite of promises of legalization by July 2018, heavy handed law enforcement crack downs on grey market dispensaries are justified by the government because Cannabis is still illegal.
But the “offense of compassion” committed by medical marijuana dispensaries’ clearly has public support. Justices tasked with sentencing the owners of these facilities are giving absolute discharges.
Producers Licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulationshave been recalling product mailed to patients. It’s the users who are suffering most. Unsurprisingly people seeking access through medical marijuana dispensaries are being pushed back into the black market. What is the point of that?
Grey market dispensaries, like the Toronto Compassion Club, have been managing physician prescribed access to medical marijuana since 1997. The majority of public safety concerns stem from a lack of understanding of the values which created these grey markets in the first place.
Lisa Campbell, chairwoman of Women Grow Toronto, told VICE she’s hoping there will be a constructive conversation about regulating recreational versus medical dispensaries instead of having knee-jerk policies put in place. NormlCanada declares that the criminal prohibition of the cultivation and use of cannabis is no longer the most suitable measure for protecting public health and welfare and preventing the diversion of drugs into illicit traffic.
The City of Kitchener has not been very responsive to those seeking permits to offer safe access to cannabis, or lounges for consumption. Dispensaries that had been operating within the region were threatened with fines. Some closed their doors, while others continued to supply patients until they were raided.
ACCA believes that craft cannabis, like craft beer, has a place in the market; their primary goal is to educate the public, which includes the acknowledgement there is good and bad everywhere.
“Everyone wants it (a lounge), but no one wants their name on it.”
— Tony Millar
Court decisions continue to uphold patient rights, while the the Minister of Health claims the government needs more time to work on designing an appropriate regulatory system to develop and implement regulations. ACCA acknowledges information provided by Health Canada is updated regularly, and cite current publications in order to maintain credibility.
Professor David Hammondat the University of Waterloo, has been a great resource for ACCA, with his graduate and student supervision. Hammond, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health, focuses his research on chronic disease prevention and global health in the areas of tobacco control policy, health diets and obesity prevention, as well as harm reduction and drug policy. Professor Hammond is studying the effects of vaporizing cannabis, to better support students with related research interests in cannabis and harm reduction related research interests.
ACCA began hosting information sessions at UC VapeSeptember 15th 2017.
The first information night was inspired by Lisa Campbell’s presentation to the Toronto Business Licensing Committee and R v Smith.
The second information night included live demonstrations with a hydraulic rosin press by Rosin Artsand a live ice water extraction using Bubble Bags. These presses and bags will potentially be made available for rental in the near future. Another partner,Blue River will be the supplier of terpenes. According to their website, Blue River “offers the widest selection of award winning full spectrum essential oils naturally derived from whole plant cultivars. Our prices are based on grade, yield, and availability. Our pure essential oil products are designed to be used as a diluent for aromatherapy and vaporization.”
Abi Roach reminisced about when she started renting out a vaporizer back in 2003, to people looking for a place to consume their cannabis. The Hotbox Cafe in Toronto is celebrating it’s 14th year in operation. In the evenings “Hot Box Afterdark” hosts music and special events after 7pm. The Afterdark promotes itself as a great alternative to the bar scene. Abi spoke about how people need to consider what they’re advocating against, and that people shouldn’t have to get their pot from bikers.
Canna Relief, a product that will soon to be on shelves at your local Shoppers Drug Mart, was available for sample. The CBD drink is a specially formulated supplement containing a synergistic blend of vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and 20mg of pure CO2 extracted CBD derived from hemp stalk and seed. CannaSafety are confident that CannaRelief will help you control and manage THC anxiety so that you can safely and therapeutically benefit from your personal medicine.
Patients First “Action Plan for Heath Care” [download PDF] aims to bridge the gap for patients to Access, Connect, Inform, Protect.
“Although dispensaries were not a focus of the parties’ submissions, I find Ms. Shaw’s evidence [as a representative of the dispensaries] to be extremely important as dispensaries are at the heart of cannabis access,”
—Justice Michael Phelan, Reasons for Judgment (February 2016) Allard decision [download PDF]
“Municipalities seem to want to help, but don’t want to put themselves at risk” said Millar. Provinces are going to have to manage the regulatory aspects, but the proposed framework for new legislation does not leave room for the current market. On their website, the Liberal Party says “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”
New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars, along with a “zero-tolerance approach” to drug-impaired driving, and a “robust” public awareness campaign.
“Because there were no advocates for the treatment of drug users prior to the late 1950s, it was easy for enforcement-related interests to implement harsh anti-drug legislation. This also meant that although drug users were often thought of as “sick,” imprisonment was a priority over treatment (Blackwell 1988:163).
“In addition, because habitual drug use was associated mostly with Chinese immigrants, many Canadians felt they were “immune from the effects of harsh drug legislation” (Alexander 1990:32).”
Canadians deserve evidence based harm reduction strategies. Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness is working with front runners in the early stages of a legal market, to provide the most up to date information, and in the near future, a place where the culture can thrive. Safe consumption sites will help integrate the shift in consciousness, as stigma is replaced by awareness.
Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.
Not only did it not stop otherwise law abiding people from consuming alcohol, the costs — to the economy, the justice system and society — were staggering.
Although the American Prohibition against alcohol never made drinking it illegal, the same was not true of cannabis prohibition in Canada, where users could be fined and imprisoned. As the 20th century wore on, the punishments became more severe, especially as Canada (again) followed the American lead.
The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.
During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.
Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different.
Although the Justin Trudeau Government says it will legalize cannabis, its about half way through its term and they keep arresting people.
The Green Party has better policy:
4.9 Ending the war on drugs
Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.
Green Party MPs will:
Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;
Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;
Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;
Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;
Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;
Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;
Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.
On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:
“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.
Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.
The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.
The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.
This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”