February 1, 1999



Dear Member of Parliament

I am writing concerning a motion (M-381) aimed at legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. A Commons subcommittee will decide Wednesday (February 3) if it meets the criteria to go to a vote by MPs.

I am involved in the Universal Compassion Club that is opening in Calgary, Alberta with Grant Krieger as acting director. Our aim is to conduct research into the effects of various strains on various illness, etc. and to provide and distribute medicinal cannabis to the sick across Canada. We are in the process of setting up: quality and price controls, distribution, and a website to refer doctors. patients, caregivers, politicians, family members, etc.,to, for forms or health-related information.

It is unfortunate that citizens like us must risk losing their freedom to provide this service for our ill - but the rewards of helping many find relief far outweigh the consequences. Ask Hilary Black at http://www.thecompassionclub.org or Lynn Harichy at http://www.worlddrive.com/~artemis/LCCC/main.htm or MMRC http://www.interlog.com/~thcdom/mmrc.htm While our club is not officially functioning yet, the first several people to contact us were elderly persons, who have never used cannabis before, but are not finding relief in the medications they are using. Many who saw David Suzuki on the "Nature of Things" episode that featured medicinal cannabis are looking for a club that will supply them or their loved ones with this alternative medicine.

The number of people who use cannabis as medicine will continue to rise and the government must protect the health of citizens by insuring quality control measures are in place. I urge all representatives to support the legalization of medicinal cannabis as polls indicate 83 % of Canadians support this measure.

Not one death has been attributed to cannabis in over 5,000 years of recorded use, and if you know of another medicine that can make that claim please forward to me for our research. So can we assume that the only risk at this point to ingesting or possessing cannabis is with the laws regarding its use, which you have the ability to change. Perhaps you can help end the hypocrisy. Please do.

Regards

Debra Harper
Universal Compassion Club


(Attachment)


Source: Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal
(Official journal of the Canadian Pharmacists Association)
Pubdate: February 1998 (Volume 131 Number 1)
Section: Editorial, page 3
Author: Andrew Reinboldt
Contact: cpj@cyberus.ca
Note: The cover story 'The Case for Medical Marijuana,' discussed in this
editorial is at:
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n768.a07.html

POT AND POLICY

A cover story on medical marijuana seemed risky at first. Risky because this
is a healthcare journal, and despite all the excitement in the newspapers,
the only thing we know for certain about pot is that it gets people high.
And possibly arrested.

So our interest in the subject might annoy some readers.

But if the polls are correct, a strong majority (83%) of Canadians support
legalizing marijuana for medical use, while 51 per cent want it legalized
outright. There is some backing in the courts as well, an Ontario judge
ruling in December that it is unconstitutional to deprive Terry Parker, a
42-year-old epileptic man, of marijuana for his illness.

The decision sends a strong message, and only the most stubborn critics can
slight the ruling or the claims of AIDS patients, and those with multiple
sclerosis or cancer, who say that smoking pot eases their suffering. Current
medical research is uncertain.

Meanwhile, some activists plan to supply patients with marijuana despite the
penalties, and they can be severe punishments under Canadian law range as
high as life imprisonment.

(United States' law enforcement agencies have so far turned a blind eye to
similar efforts there, where about 30 "cannabis buyers' clubs," mostly in
California, provide marijuana for medical use.)

If the anti-marijuana camp is offended by this development, it has a point.
There are laws, after all. But as long as Parliament declines to act, the
majority of Canadians who want the laws changed should be offended also.

A rational, open debate on marijuana is welcome and long overdue.

Incidentally, in researching his article, staff writer Steve McLaren learned
that pharmacists, ready or not, could soon be drawn into the fray. We look
forward to your comments.








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