Protect Patients and Their Medical Cannabis Providers to Keep Communities Safe

Ottawa, ON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) is concerned by Bill C-10 which was tabled Tuesday that will impose mandatory prison sentences for individuals growing as few as 6 cannabis plants.

“This legislation will gravely impact patients and those who provide their medical cannabis, while failing to create safer communities,” said Adam Greenblatt, a director of CAMCD. “We are concerned that patients and their providers will be victimized by these laws, and that patients will be denied access to a medical product that has proven health benefits for many chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Courts across the country have repeatedly ruled that the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) does not sufficiently protect patients and their providers. CAMCD has been engaging in Health Canada’s consultation process–announced by the Hon. Minister Leona Aglukkaq in June–with the goal of amending the regulatory framework to include medical cannabis dispensaries. However, changes to the MMAP are not expected to come into force until early 2014, creating a period where medical cannabis patients and their providers could face mandatory imprisonment.

“Under Bill C-10, judges will no longer have the discretion to make compassionate rulings considering the medical context of patients and their providers,” said Jeet-Kei Leung, a CAMCD director. “Licensing and regulating medical cannabis dispensaries will ensure safe access for patients, while reducing crime and keeping our communities safe. The introduction of Bill C-10 highlights the urgent need for safe, legal access to this medical product.”

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
Adam Greenblatt: 514 830 1331

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Protéger les patients et leur fournisseurs de cannabis thérapeutique pour la sécurité de nos communautés

Ottawa, ON

Pour diffusion immédiate

L’ Association canadienne de dispensaires de cannabis médical (ACDCM) s’inquiète du projet de loi C-10, présenté mardi, qui imposera des peines d’emprisonnement obligatoires pour des personnes cultivant aussi peu que six plantes de cannabis.

“Cette législation aura un effet néfaste sur les patients et leurs fournisseurs de cannabis médical, sans toutefois créer des communautés plus sécuritaires”, dit Adam Greenblaat, un des directeurs du l’ACDCM. “Nous sommes inquiets que les patients et leurs fournisseurs deviennent victimes de ces lois, de plus, que les patients se retrouvent sans accès à un produit thérapeutique prouvé efficace contre plusieurs conditions chroniques, telles que la sclérose en plaques, le VIH-SIDA, le cancer et le trouble de stress post-traumatique. ”

Plusieurs tribunaux ont déclaré que le Règlement sur l’accès à la marihuana à des fins médicales (RAMM) ne protège pas suffisamment les patients et leurs fournisseurs. L’ACDCM est présentement inclus au processus de consultation avec Santé Canada, tel qu’annoncé par l’Honorable Leona Aglukkaq en juin. Ce processus a pour but de modifier le règlement pour y inclure les dispensaires de cannabis médical. Par contre, l’entrée en vigueur de ces changements est attendue pour le début de l’année 2014, créant ainsi une période lors de laquelle les patients et leurs fournisseurs feraient face à des peines d’emprisonnement obligatoires.

“Sous la loi C-10, les juges n’auront aucun pouvoir discrétionnaire face des causes où le contexte médical des patients et de leurs fournisseurs pourrait être considéré pour rendre leur décisions”, dit Jeet-Kei Leung, un des directeurs de l’ACDCM. “La concession de licences et la réglementation des dispensaires de cannabis médical assureront aux patients un accès sécuritaire, tout en réduisant la criminalité. Nos communautés seront, par le fait même, plus sécuritaires. La présentation du projet de loi C-10 ne fait que démontrer le besoin urgent d’un accès légal et sécuritaire à ce produit thérapeutique. ”

L’ Association canadienne de dispensaires de cannabis médical est un organisme sans but lucratif établit pour faire la promotion d’une approche communautaire à l’accès au cannabis médical, ainsi que d’assister les dispensaires de cannabis médical en la disposition de soins de première qualité pour les patients à travers le Canada.

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Relations médias:
Adam Greenblatt: 514 830 1331

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Ontario Medical Cannabis Dispensaries to Build on Previous Roundtables with Health Canada

Toronto, ON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ontario-based directors of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) will be meeting with Health Canada today in Toronto. They will discuss the proposed changes to the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) and strategies to integrate medical cannabis dispensaries into the new regulatory framework.

“Previous meetings have provided a collaborative environment, allowing for discussion and the free flow of ideas,” said CAMCD director Rade Kovacevic. “Today’s meeting is an opportunity to build on the previous discussions and to continue providing our expertise to Health Canada during this consultative process. Dispensaries are the ideal candidates to conduct the commercial production and distribution of medical cannabis in Canada under the reformed MMAP.”

In June of this year, the Hon. Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq released the consultative document Proposed Improvements to Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Program, outlining an array of changes to the MMAP. CAMCD provided a submission to Health Canada and has participated in roundtable meetings held in Montreal and Vancouver.

“Dispensaries have been providing high quality patient care that greatly surpasses that provided by Health Canada,” emphasized Rade Kovacevic. “By acknowledging dispensaries as key stakeholders with valuable expertise, Health Canada has created an opportunity to finally create a regulatory framework that can provide the quality of care and safe access that Canadians with disabilities and terminal illnesses so desperately need.”

CAMCD and Health Canada have a common goal to provide high quality patient care. “We have been pleased to see stakeholders in this process providing collaborative and solution-oriented feedback,” said Rade Kovacevic. “The reform of the MMAP has been called for by every stakeholder involved in the program. We look forward to continuing our work with the Minister and Health Canada to create a program of the highest quality for patients which addresses all stakeholder concerns.”

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
Rade Kovacevic: 519-780-7830

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Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Continue Meetings with Health Canada

Vancouver, BC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) will be meeting with Health Canada officials in Vancouver to discuss the proposed changes to the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP). The roundtables are part of a consultation process launched by the federal government in June of this year. The meetings today in Vancouver follow meetings held in Montreal in mid-August.

“Medical Cannabis Dispensaries have been in operation for over a decade and have been providing a high standard of care for patients, filling the gaps in Health Canada’s program”, said Rielle Capler, an advisory board member of CAMCD. “CAMCD looks forward to lending our expertise to Health Canada in order to develop a regulatory framework that is patient centred and resolves the current constitutional quagmire.”

CAMCD is formalizing standards and certification for medical cannabis dispensaries across Canada. “The proposed amendments to the MMAP are in line with CAMCD’s standards and certification,” according to Rielle Capler. “Health Canada and CAMCD are both working to address stakeholder concerns”.

“By including dispensaries in the regulatory framework, Health Canada will ensure that patients have safe and reliable access to this medicine,” articulated Rielle Capler. “CAMCD is pleased to continue contributing its expertise towards the development of the new regulatory framework”.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
Rielle Capler, MHA: 604-818-4082

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Cannabis Dispensaries meet with Health Canada Officials on Marihuana Medical Access Program

Montreal, QC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cannabis Dispensaries meet with Health Canada Officials on Marihuana Medical Access Program

Representatives of Canada’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, also known as “compassion clubs”, met with Health Canada officials today in Montreal as part of the Government’s consultation process to discuss much needed amendments to the federal Marihuana Medical Access Program.

In 1999, Health Canada established the Marihuana Medical Access Program to provide seriously ill Canadians suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses with access to a legal source of dried cannabis for medical purposes. Over the years there have been numerous problems associated with the Program and the ability of patients to access cannabis for their medical conditions.

“We believe the proposed improvements put forward by the Government are in-line with our own community‐based dispensary model,” said Adam Greenblatt, a representative from the Medical Cannabis Access Society and a Director of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD). “The remaining gaps can be filled by including dispensaries in the new framework,” Greenblatt said.

The Montreal Roundtable provided an important venue for dispensaries to provide advice on how to improve the Marihuana Medical Access Program through enhanced industry standards and best practices. Dispensaries also provide specialized education on the safe and effective use of medical cannabis, in addition to other ancillary health and social services.

CAMCD believes that its Standards and Certification process will provide the ideal platform to merge the current national network of medical cannabis dispensaries with an improved Marihuana Medical Access Program. “Our best practices go above and beyond the scope of the proposed amendments to the Program,” Greenblatt said. “Our standards will ensure higher quality patient care, improve access, safety and security, while reducing costs to government.”

CAMCD supports federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in creating a legal framework that includes medical cannabis dispensaries in order to provide the highest quality of patient care. “It is heartening to see the Government finally drawing on our considerable expertise in this field,” said Greenblatt. “We look forward to meaningful participation throughout the consultation process.”

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Media Contact:
Adam Greenblatt (514) 830-1331

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Les dispensaires rencontrent Santé Canada concernant le règlement d’accès à la marijuana médicale

17 août 2011

MONTREAL, QC

L’association canadienne de dispensaires de cannabis médical croit que les amendements proposés au règlement d’accès à la marijuana vont dans le sens du modèle de dispensaires communautaires. Les lacunes peuvent être comblées en incluant les dispensaires dans une nouvelle réglementation. Les dispensaires fournissent un accès fiable et sécuritaire au cannabis médical. “Nous sommes heureux de fournir notre expertise et nous anticipons une participation assidue au processus de consultation” dit Adam Greenblatt, un directeur de l’ACDCM, établi à Montréal.

Patients Across the Country Ask Health Canada to Recognize Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

July 28, 2011

For Immediate Release

Patients Across Country Ask Health Canada to Recognize Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

As Health Canada’s public consultation period for their proposed changes to the medical marijuana regulations comes to a close, endorsements by patients requesting that dispensaries be recognized in the legal framework are pouring in from across the country.

The endorsements are part of a national campaign, dubbed “Dispensaries Are Indispensable”, launched by the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) in response to Health Canada’s proposed changes. “The endorsement campaign is in 20 dispensaries across Canada now and the first waves of endorsements are coming in from around the country,” said Adam Greenblatt, a director of CAMCD.

“This has been an enormous omission,” said Jeet-Kei Leung, a director of CAMCD. “Medical cannabis dispensaries have been providing valuable services for the past 15 years and over 30,000 patients have chosen dispensaries to provide their medicine. They must be included in the legal framework and, to do otherwise, would be a great disservice.”

On June 17, Health Canada announced plans to phase out personal production licenses and not renew its contract with Prairie Plant Systems, instead proposing that “licensed commercial producers” will supply medical marijuana patients through the mail.

“Patients have indicated overwhelmingly that they find great value from many benefits and resources they receive through a qualified dispensary,” said Leung. “These include education on effective use, one-on-one consultations, increased strain diversity, non-smoking options, and a safe, supportive community environment.”

“We are very much on the front-line of caring for patients with serious or terminal illnesses,” said Leung. “You won’t get any of that from a package in the mail.”

Greenblatt said, “The next phase of the campaign will focus on garnering endorsements from physicians, as well as health care organizations and providers.”

Organizations such as the Canadian AIDS Society and BC Civil Liberties Association have already stepped forward, endorsing the dispensary model in their submissions to Health Canada.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) has been recently established to promote a regulated community-based approach to providing medical cannabis and to support dispensaries in providing the highest quality of care.

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Media Contact:
Jeet-Kei Leung (604)875-0448
Adam Greenblatt (514)830-1331

Dispensaries are Indispensable! Join the National Endorsement Campaign

On June 17, Health Canada announced proposed changes to the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). They have initiated a “Consultation Period” until July 31st, 2011.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) has launched the ‘Dispensaries are Indispensable’ National Endorsement Campaign for patients, doctors and health care providers across Canada to express their support for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries as legal providers of medical cannabis.

We believe ‘Dispensaries Are Indispensable.’ Medical Cannabis Dispensaries offer specialized education, care and support around the provision of medical cannabis. It’s time for these valuable organizations, the staff and volunteers who operate them, and the members who benefit from them to be legally recognized and protected.

Together, we can seize this opportunity to claim the rightful role we have earned as qualified providers of medical cannabis to patients across Canada.

PLEASE CONSIDER ADDING YOUR ENDORSEMENT If you are:

1) a patient who is a current MMAR license holder, sign your endorsement here.

2) a medical cannabis patient who does not currently have an MMAR license, sign your endorsement here.

With Thanks,

Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD)

Medical marijuana: Health Canada admits program needs fixing

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) responds to news that the federal medical marijuana program will undergo a massive overhaul.

CAMCD was recently established to promote a regulated approach to medical cannabis access and is currently creating a certification system for dispensaries to ensure that high-quality care is available for patients across the country.

“Health Canada should be commended for recognizing what we have been saying all along: they should not be in the business of selling marijuana,” said Marc Boris St-Maurice, director of CAMCD. As Health Canada continues to tweak a failed program, medical cannabis dispensaries (also known as compassion clubs) are actively taking care of Canadians in need. For fifteen years, dispensaries have been providing safe access to medical cannabis, using reliable, experienced cultivators to supply them.

Legitimate concerns around medical cannabis could be solved by proper regulation and licensing of dispensaries. Our certification process can guarantee that nation-wide services and standards will be met.

Yesterday the health minister’s spokesman, Steve Outhouse, said “At this point in time, we will be looking to consult on changes that we hope will balance patient access with safety and security.”

To which Jeet-Kei Leung, director of CAMCD responded, “A complete and thorough consultation process must involve dispensaries. CAMCD directors represent over 20,000 patients and have extensive expertise in this sector.”

CAMCD is also concerned about any plans to take away the right for patients to produce their own cannabis. “Many patients have spent years finding the proper strains that work best for their conditions, and have invested significant resources in their gardens,” said Adam Greenblatt, director of CAMCD. “We sincerely hope Health Canada will continue to allow patients the option to produce their own cannabis.”

We will be following up with the minister’s office, and Health Canada, urging them to draw upon our unique experience in this field. We look forward to the consultative process and working to shape policies in the best interest of Canadians.

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Canada’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Unite to Establish National Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canada’s Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Unite to Establish National Standards

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) has been established to ensure consistently high quality patient care is available across the country. This new association is creating a certification system for dispensaries as a viable solution to Health Canada’s failed medical marijuana program.

Health Canada’s medical marijuana program was recently dealt another critical setback in Ontario Superior Court on April 11th of this year. Seven court cases to date have found the federal program constitutionally inadequate during its decade of operation.

“Our innovative service delivery model has been successful for 15 years. Now is a crucial time to come together to create a nation-wide system to ensure the highest standard of care for patients,” said Rade Kovacevic, a founding director of CAMCD from the Medical Cannabis Centre of Guelph Inc. Together the nine founding directors and advisory board members represent over 20,000 patients who access dispensaries.

According to Rielle Capler, a health care administrator and advisory board member, CAMCD is comparable to a professional association or college that supports and regulates its membership according to best practices developed in an industry. “Our association is dedicated to facilitating the transition of medical cannabis dispensaries to a fully licit and regulated healthcare service,” said Capler. “The need for this has been identified by health care providers and patients alike.”

“The provision of medical cannabis should be recognized as an important health care service,” said Marc-Boris St. Maurice, a founding director of CAMCD from the Montreal Compassion Centre. “We want to relieve the government of this burden. Dispensaries are a cost-effective alternative health care delivery option. Our model offers better quality medicine, better support for patients and provides a solution to all these expensive court cases.”

“We look forward to working with law enforcement, patient and health care provider groups, different levels of government and other stakeholders,” declared Kovacevic, who said the association will be sending out invitations for input. “We want to seize this opportunity to bring medical marijuana out of the legal grey zones and constitutional quagmires, and into the light of a well-regulated, accountable industry that can fully meet the needs of the many thousands of patients who benefit from this medicine.”

CAMCD announced its launch today at the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa.

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