On Monday July 25, 2016 I held a forum on Cannabis Dispensaries regulations.
Below you will find statements that have been supplied to me by debutants.
Also you can see the whole video of the forum Click here
Heather Huff Deposition – Toronto Cannabis Forum, July 25, 2016
Hello and thank you for having me today. My name is Heather Huff, I am a medical marijuana patient, a patient advocate and volunteer Representive of the Toronto Dispensaries Coalition.
I would like to use my time today to share the personal reasons I am involved in the medical marijuana industry. Each patient has their own story, but for the most part the beginning and the end are the same. Pain, followed by relief. Thanks to medical marijuana.
Contrary to the ‘marijuana culture’ that we are often show in the media, I take medical cannabis very seriously as the reason I use it is very serious.
I was diagnosed with Chron’s Disease in my early twenties, a difficult and often embarrassing disease which is diagnosed in one of every 150 people in Canada, the highest incidence rate in the world. The symptoms of Chron’s Disease include abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fever, rapid weight loss, anemia, skin rashes, arthritis, and chronic fatigue, as someone with Chron’s disease I have a much high likelihood of being diagnosed with bowel cancer. I suffered through these complications for years until I finally gained access to medical marijuana. I use medical marijuana, assist other patients in their usage and work in the industry not because it’s fun, not for profit but because medical marijuana provides much needed relief to the indignities of pain and suffering. Two years later my brother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he began using Cannabis as an alternative to needles and pills. My family considers ourselves very lucky that he has been able to use medical marijuana rather than follow the unfortunate path of so many others with serious illness who have grown dependent on heavy duty pharmaceuticals which are commonly used for treatment.
I wish I could say our story ended there. Unfortunately access to medical marijuana has been and continues to be challenging in this country due to the incredibly flawed Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Patients who rely on medical marijuana face chronic delays, product shortages, lack of variety and certain products which are just plain unavailable.
The shortcomings of the current regulation have been recognized by The Federal Court where in the Allard Decision they have been declared invalid. The federal government must update these regulations by the end of August, we aren’t hopeful that the MMPR will be modernized to an acceptable level to ensure patient dignity and reliable access.
These reasons are exactly why we are calling on council to adopt safe, sensible and reasonable regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. City Hall has the opportunity to lead the way in ensuring that medical marijuana patients have safe, dignified access.
I have seen first hand how beneficial dispensaries have been to myself as well as the thousands of other patients who just don’t know where to begin with the current confusing and inaccessible system.
Everyone here knows that governments can be slow to catch up to the needs and demands of the public. Rather than using police to enforce outdated laws that are set to be taken off the books, government should update and modernize regulations – beginning here at City Hall. Unlike, the profits over patients licensed producers, dispensaries provide education and knowledge for patients who require it. When working behind the counter at a Dispensary I took great pride in being able to educate patients because I was once in their shoes, in pain and unable to deal with a flawed system.
It would be encouraging to see lawmakers work with their community of patients who choose to medicate with Cannabis instead of turning them back to the black markets or pills and needles.
There is plenty of room within Toronto and surrounding areas for dispensaries to operate ensuring that patients within all regions of the city have reliable access to the medicine which they rely on.
Toronto now has the opportunity to remain modern, by joining Vancouver, Victoria and other jurisdictions in adopting safe, sensible and reasonable regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. This isn’t about profit, it’s about dignity and relief for patients. If that’s not enough for Council, they should also consider the potential tax revenues which could be captured by leading the way on regulation for medical purposes now and when marijuana becomes legal for recreational purposes.
Thank you for your time and please consider helping the thousands of Torontonians who rely on medical marijuana get from pain to relief a little more easily.