Medical marijuana to be available in Canada on open market.

Ailing Canadians were only hours away from being able to legally buy marijuana for medical purposes on the free market, officials said Monday.

As of Tuesday, Health Canada will phase out a system of homegrown marijuana for a factory-style operation that will grow, package and distribute a variety of marijuana, the Toronto Star reported Sunday.

 About 37,400 patients use medical marijuana, Health Canada says. That number is expected to rise to as many as 450,000 by 2024.

The sanctioned growers are required to raise the plants indoors and have vaults and security systems to prevent thefts of their products, which could be sold on the black market. One firm plans to initially produce 20 strains.

Recreational use of marijuana will still be banned.

Since June, 156 companies have applied for licenses. The first two were awarded last week.

Under the system being phased out, about 4,200 people were licensed to grow marijuana on their property for no more than two patients each. That type of cottage industry will now be banned. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has charged such operations were fronts for illegal activity.

The price of legal weed is expected to soon undercut the stuff sold on the streets, where it goes for about $10 a gram, or about $280 an ounce. Health Canada projects the factory-grown marijuana will retail next year for about $7.60 a gram, or $215 an ounce. Within 10 years, industry revenues are projected to reach $1.3 billion a year.

Sophie Galarneau, a senior Health Canada official, said she expects competition to eventually get the price down to $3 a gram, or about $85 an ounce.



Medical Cannabis: The Ethical Conundrum Associated With Recreational ‘Legalization’ of Marijuana.

Despite a degree of continued controversy, medical cannabis appears to be here to stay as a part of the armamentaria of physicians treating chronic pain. With the recent election, Massachusetts became the 18th state (in addition to the District of Columbia) to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. Although not everyone in the pain community has accepted cannabis as a viable form of treatment for chronic pain, the number of states allowing physicians to “prescribe” cannabis is increasing, with progressively more physicians considering treatment with cannabinoids a viable and safer alternative to much-maligned chronic opioid therapy, [1] despite concerns among some providers that the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis have not yet been adequately evaluated. [2] Although many physicians recognize the benefits of medical cannabis for purposes of pain management and a number of studies [3-6] have supported this efficacy, physician supporters of medical cannabis still often question the risk-benefit ratio as well as the strength of the evidence base of this approach to pain management. [7]

Medical use of cannabis has been legally controversial since California became the first state to allow its use for medical purposes with the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. Its use still represents a violation of the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies it as Schedule 1 substance (ie, having high potential for dependence with no “accepted” medical use). [8] Cannabis has remained a Schedule 1 drug despite calls by the American Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the American College of Physicians to reschedule it. [9] Notwithstanding being federally illegal, there were only limited challenges to the use of medicinal cannabis immediately following the passage of Proposition 215. However, with the George W. Bush administration, the federal government’s stance and behavior regarding medical cannabis changed drastically. While the Clinton administration, for the most part, assumed the position that the Controlled Substances Act did not apply to Schedule 1 drugs such as marijuana in states with medical marijuana laws in place, the Bush administration chose to eliminate its predecessor’s exception for medical use. [10]

Despite 2000 campaign claims that medical marijuana laws ought to be determined by individual states, the Bush administration aggressively suppressed states’ rights regarding this issue. Within Bush’s first year as president, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized medical records of cannabis-using patients in California, destroyed the marijuana gardens of cancer and AIDS patients, and closed dispensaries providing medicinal cannabis to thousands of patients. [11] In September 2002, 30 DEA agents armed with M-16s burst into a medical marijuana hospice in Santa Cruz, California, and arrested its owners and a wheelchair-bound polio patient, thereby increasing the contention between the Bush administration and state leaders. [12] A month prior to the Santa Cruz raid, the DEA raided the home of Diane Monson, a California woman suffering from chronic low back pain due to a degenerative disease, and confiscated and destroyed 6 marijuana plants. Ms. Monson and Angel Raich, a California woman suffering from a malignant brain tumor who also used medical marijuana, then brought suit to prevent future raids. Although they lost their case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in their favor. In (US Attorney General) Gonzalez v Raich, however, the US Supreme Court reversed the Appeals decision, stating that Congress has the right to “criminalize the private possession and medicinal use of cannabis, even on a licensed physician’s recommendation and under the protection of state law.” [13]

While campaigning for the Presidency in 2008, Barack Obama indicated that he did not support the use of federal resources as a means of circumventing individual states’ medical cannabis laws. [14] Within 2 months of President Obama’s inauguration, his newly appointed Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that the administration would only pursue those who attempted to use state medical marijuana laws as a shield in order to pursue activities inconsistent with the intention of the state laws. [14] In October 2009, Holder appeared even more strongly in favor of medical cannabis rights when he acknowledged that although state programs violated federal law, pursuit of caregivers and patients compliant with the state laws would be given low priority. [15] However, the Department of Justice’s “nonenforcement policy” has not necessarily been consistently applied. While the number of dispensary raids has decreased markedly since the era of the Bush Department of Justice, raids still do occur. A rash of dispensary raids by the DEA in 2011 and 2012 has left state governments as well as suppliers and users of medical marijuana confused and angry. [16,17] In fact, over the past year, federal authorities shut down over 600 dispensaries in California alone. [18] Despite the increasing number of states permitting the sale and use of marijuana for patients under a physician’s care, the status of medical cannabis in the United States was, at best, somewhat perplexing even prior to the November 6, 2012 elections.


  1. Lucas P. Cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for opiates in the treatment of chronic pain. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2012;44:125-133. Abstract
  2. Clark PA, Capuzzi K, Fick C. Medical marijuana: medical necessity versus political agenda. Med Sci Monit. 2011;17:RA249-261. Abstract
  3. Rog DJ, Nurmikko TJ, Friede T, Young CA. Randomized, controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in central pain in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2005;65:812-819. Abstract
  4. Abrams DI, Jay CA, Shade SB, et al. Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology. 2007;68:515-521. Abstract
  5. Wilsey B, Marcotte T, Tsodikov A, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of cannabis cigarettes in neuropathic pain. J Pain. 2008;9:506-521. Abstract
  6. Reiman A. Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs. Harm Reduction J. 2009;6:35.
  7. Martín Fontelles MI, Goicoechea García C. Role of cannabinoids in the management of neuropathic pain. CNS Drugs. 2008;22:645-653. Abstract
  8. Controlled Substances Act. 21 USC §802 (1970).
  9. Hoffman DE, Weber E. Medical marijuana and the law. N Engl J Med. 2010;362:1453-1457. Abstract
  10. Rosenbaum S. Gonzales v. Raich: implications for public health policy. Public Health Rep. 2005;120:680-682. Abstract
  11. Kopel DB, Krause M. The drug war against civil liberty and human rights. A paper presented at the International Conference organized by the Liberal Institute, Friederich Naumann Foundation, Potsdam, Germany, September 18, 2004. Accessed November 9, 2012.
  12. Kreit A. The future of medical marijuana: should states grow their own? U PA Law Rev. 2002;151:1787-1826.
  13. Carcieri MD. Gonzalez v. Raich: Congressional tyranny and irrelevance in the war on drugs. U PA J Const Law. 2007;9:1131-1165.
  14. Sekhon V. Highly uncertain times: an analysis of the executive branch’s decision to not investigate or prosecute individuals in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. Hastings Const Law Q. 2010;37:553-563.
  15. Gibson DT. Spreading the wealth: is asset forfeiture the key to enticing local agencies to enforce federal drug laws? Hastings Const Law Q. 2012;39:569-591.
  16. Yardley W. New federal crackdown confounds states that allow medical marijuana. New York Times. May 8, 2011;a13.
  17. Furlow B. States and US government spar over medical marijuana. Lancet Oncol. 2012;13:450.
  18. Bazelon E. High noon on marijuana laws. Philadelphia Inquirer/ November 9, 2012.

    Accessed November 11, 2012.

  19. Healy J. Voters ease marijuana laws in 2 states, but legal questions remain. New York Times. November 7, 2012;p15.
  20. Dobuzinskis A. Marijuana legalization victories could be short-lived. The Huffington Post, November 7, 2012. Accessed November 10, 2012.
  21. Patton M. The legalization of marijuana: a dead- end or the high road to fiscal solvency? Berkeley J Criminal Law. 2010;15:163-203. Abstract
  22. Roberts C. Unlike in 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder stays silent on marijuana legalization. SF Weekly. November 6, 2012.

    Accessed November 11, 2012.

  23. Controlled Substances Act. 21 U.S.C. §811(a)(2) (1970).
  24. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws v DEA, 559 F.2d 753 (D.C. Cir. 1977).
  25. Leung L. Cannabis and its derivatives: review of medical use. J Am Board Fam Med. 2011;24:452-462. Abstract
  26. Maldonado R, Berrendero F, Ozaita A, Robledo P. Neurochemical basis of cannabis addiction. Neuroscience. 2011;181:1-17. Abstract
  27. American Medical Association. American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 1.02: The Relation of Law and Ethics. 1994.

    ethics/ Accessed November 10, 2012.



About Marijuana.

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.

Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, “The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.”

NORML supports the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This policy, known as decriminalization, removes the consumer — the marijuana smoker — from the criminal justice system.

More than 30 percent of the U.S. population lives under some form of marijuana decriminalization, and according to government and academic studies, these laws have not contributed to an increase in marijuana consumption nor negatively impacted adolescent attitudes toward drug use.

See Personal Use for more information.

Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 853,000 individuals per year — far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent,750,591Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 103,247 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. In past years, roughly 30 percent of those arrested were age 19 or younger.

NORML supports the eventual development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source. This policy, generally known as legalization, exists on various levels in a handful of European countries like The Netherlands and Switzerland, both of which enjoy lower rates of adolescent marijuana use than the U.S. Such a system would reduce many of the problems presently associated with the prohibition of marijuana, including the crime, corruption and violence associated with a “black market.”


Medical Use


Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded.

Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.

Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications.[4] These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders.[5] Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia.[6] Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors[7] and are neuroprotective.

Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.

Legal Issues

Driven by the Drug War, the U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as most Western European nations. The United States is a close second only to Russia in its rate of incarceration per 100,000 people. In 2005, more than 786,000 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related offenses alone.

Marijuana prohibition causes more problems than it solves, and ruins thousands more lives than it supposedly tries to save. The NORML Legal Committee provides legal support and assistance to victims of the current marijuana laws. NORML also monitors developments in state and federal law, and files appellate and amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in cases which may affect the interpretation of existing marijuana laws, or which will, hopefully, change them.

Industrial Hemp


Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant similar to flax or kenaf. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products.

Hemp produces a much higher yield per acre than do common substitutes such as cotton and requires few pesticides. In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting.

The hemp plant is currently harvested for commercial purposes in over 30 nations, including Canada, Japan and the European Union. Although it grows wild across much of America and presents no public health or safety threat, hemp is nevertheless routinely uprooted and destroyed by law enforcement. Each year, approximately 98% of all the marijuana eliminated by the DEA’s “Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program” is actually hemp.