A bid by Doctors of BC to ban British Columbians from growing their own cannabis is being met with fierce backlash from activists.
The organization, which represents 14,000 medical professionals throughout the province, recently provided a list of “considerations” to the B.C. government ahead of next summer’s nationwide recreational cannabis legalization.
Namely, the group requests that the government consider banning individuals from growing recreational cannabis at home.
Under the federal Cannabis Act, Canadian adults will be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants, but Doctors of BC president-elect Dr. Eric Cadesky said there are no clear guidelines how to safely grow and use cannabis.
The organization points to a Canadian Medical Association recommendation that highlights the potential risks of home growing, including high humidity and temperatures, risk of fire, and pesticide use. They also say children may have access to the plants and there’s a lack of quality control for potency.
Kirk Tousaw, a B.C.-based barrister and cannabis advocate, came down hard on the organization when asked for comment by Civilized.
“Doctors of BC repeats the false and disproven claim that personal production of cannabis is dangerous. The reality is that it is not,” Tousaw told Civilized in an emailed statement.
“This topic was the subject of considerable evidence in Court, and a Federal Court Judge concluded (and all government experts admitted) that cannabis production, even indoors, can be done safely and without any undue risk,” added Tousaw, referencing the Federal Court Judge who, in February of 2016, struck down federal regulations limiting medical marijuana patients' ability to grow their own medicine.
“Unfortunately, these statements continue a pattern by physician groups of ignoring evidence about cannabis in favour of continued fear-mongering.”
LandlordBC, an association for landlords and tenants in the province, has also voiced concerns about cannabis home growing. Recently, the group said smoking cannabis should be banned wherever tobacco is banned, and also said landlords should have the ability to ban growing cannabis within multi-unit dwellings and rented dwellings of any size.
B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the government won’t have any word on regulation and distribution of cannabis within the province before the spring session of the legislature.
In September, B.C. Premier John Horgan suggested his government would be looking at a wide array of different options when it comes to approaching cannabis regulations.
“The dispensaries have proven to be an effective way to attracting attention. There’s also pharmacies as well for those who are focused explicitly on medicinal marijuana,” said Horgan on CKNW’s The Jon McComb Show.
“I think there’s a range of options. We’re going to look at all of them. My sense…at the start of this discussion is that any one of those individually or together is going to be an appropriate response.”
h/t Times Colonist