Prescription pot pretense ending

Medical marijuana growing licences have run out of control, and police now have to sort out the criminals exploiting the system

Thousands of medical licences for marijuana grow ops are cancelled as of April 1

Thousands of medical licences for marijuana grow ops are cancelled as of April 1

VICTORIA – On April 1, medical marijuana growing licences expire across the country, and only licensed commercial growers will be able to legally fill a prescription for pot.

Ottawa is moving to clean up the mess it created by issuing medical licences all over the country. Since then, municipalities have complained that small-scale medical licences have been greatly exceeded, with many used as fronts for a criminal drug trade that has made B.C. infamous around the world.

How big is the problem? There are about 38,000 Canadians licensed to carry marijuana for medical purposes, and half of them live in B.C. Their permission to grow their own or buy it from designated small-scale growers is withdrawn in a couple of months.

Here’s a look at the community level. Police in the Fraser Valley suburb of Maple Ridge estimate that it alone has 500 properties licensed to grow pot. No, Maple Ridge is not a world hotspot for glaucoma or arthritis. It is historically known for its secluded properties and as a base for B.C.’s prison system and the province’s Hells Angels.

Police have only an estimate because Ottawa’s bungled medical pot scheme conceals the location of licensed growers from provincial and local governments.

RCMP Insp. Dave Fleugel told Maple Ridge council last week that his detachment will first target medical growers they know are linked to organized crime. But it’s difficult to determine which are legal and which are not.

“This has the potential to cripple the courts,” Fleugel said. “Something is going to have to take a back seat if we are going to go after all of them.”

The police and fire department have proposed an amnesty or grace period, allowing people to disclose their location and have it properly dismantled without penalty, to help deal with the volume.

This mess was created by Ottawa in response to a court ruling that forced them to make medical pot available. The Harper government remains trapped in a failed war-on-drugs mentality that prevents any innovation or even common sense.

Then there is the circus in Vancouver, where self-styled princes of pot exploit the confusion of the medical marijuana law to run an Amsterdam-style retail trade.

Cannabis Culture, the pot and propaganda empire built by Marc Emery before he was jailed in the U.S., rants about the government’s “war on patients,” amid garish ads for “pot by post” and exotic weed varieties.

“By Health Canada’s own estimate, the cost will increase from $5 per gram to $8.80 per gram – going up by nearly 400 per cent,” its website warns. Apparently smoking lots of weed really is bad for your math skills.

Dana Larsen, who spearheaded the ill-conceived and failed decriminalization petition last year, heads up the serious-looking “Medical Cannabis Dispensary.” It has done so well at its location in the drug bazaar of East Hastings Street that it’s got a branch office in downtown Vancouver.

Its official-looking forms have a long list of conditions where only a confirmation of diagnosis is required. In addition to genuine conditions such as side effects of chemotherapy, it includes anxiety, psoriasis, spinal cord injury and even “substance addictions/withdrawal.”

And did you know you can get a vet’s note to buy medical pot for your pet?

Larsen has boasted about the exotic offerings of his stores, including “watermelon hash oil” at $150 for 2.5 grams. Wow man, that’s like 400 million per cent higher!

Fittingly, this farce goes back underground on April Fool’s Day. Medical users can only order shipments from an approved commercial producer.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Follow on twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

The price of gas is way up in many parts of Greater Victoria after a Monday afternoon surge sent it to 162.9 cents per litre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gas prices surge to 162.9 cents a litre at some Greater Victoria stations

Prices jumped up more than 10 cents Monday afternoon

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Sale of oceanfront property in Metchosin yields new record for Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch sold to an undisclosed buyer

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Influx of skilled tradespeople falling behind Greater Victoria construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Research into the city of Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic shows things to be moving in the right direction. (Photo courtesy City of Victoria)
Data shows Victoria experiencing gradual economic recovery

Statistics for early 2021 show promising returns as Victoria 3.0 begins to take hold

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read