Latest Developments in the Medical Marijuana sector in Canada
Australians and Canadian And Brits have much in common. We all have an enjoyable lifestyle compared to most countries around the world. Australian Marijuana Seed Banks often use British Columbian Strains.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant native to central and south Asia. Its use by humans as an entheogen has existed for thousands of years. Archaeological sites in Euro-Asia and Africa provide incontrovertible evidence of cannabis use in prehistoric societies.
In addition to its entheogenic qualities, cannabis is widely used in the medical field to treat various diseases. Medical use of cannabis takes advantage of its qualities as an antiemetic, and an appetite stimulant, among others. As an appetite stimulant, cannabis has been proven effective with patients who have undergone chemotherapy, and with patients with AIDS. Cannabis has also been shown to slow the process of glaucoma, by lowering intraocular pressure and blood pressure.
Yet, despite its long history of use, and mounting contemporary medical evidence of its benefits, cannabis cultivation, distribution, and even possession are illegal in most of the world. Organizations such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Medical Association have discouraged use of this versatile, health-giving plant. It is encouraging to note that in Canada, legislation has been passed which allows for the medical use of cannabis, and provides for its distribution.
A Canadian attorney, John Conroy, has been influential in opposing sanctions for cultivating and distributing cannabis. He argued that Canadian plans to halt production of medical cannabis would be unconstitutional. Conroy’s efforts were successful; the Canadian government abandoned their plans to prevent over forty thousand patients from receiving their needed medication.
Once the new ruling went into effect, Canada’s national health system underwent a sea change. An allowance was made for new patients to receive medical cannabis directly from a doctor’s prescription. This supplanted the original policy, in which new patients needed the approval of Health Canada before receiving their medication. Effectively, the national government lost control of which new patients were accepted, and the control was passed to individual health care providers.
Another change in Canadian policy on medical cannabis was the introduction of marijuana vending machines. A Vancouver dispensary installed Canada’s first medical marijuana vending machine, to allow patients easy access to their medicine. The cannabis used in the vending machines is provided by the Vancouver Pain Management Society, and is sealed in tamper-proof bags. The medicine used in the machines is sold for fifty dollars per half ounce.
The Vancouver Pain Management Society, or VPMS, is a non-profit entity which provides cannabis and cannabis products to patients who have been prescribed cannabis. Membership in the VPMS is free, but a requirement for eligibility to walk-in or mail order services. Eligible patients who are members of other dispensaries will be granted a one-month instant membership to VPMS, to enable patients to start receiving medicine immediately, while the membership process takes place.
The VPMS lists the following medical conditions for which merely a confirmation of diagnosis is needed:
- Anxiety/stress disorder
- Brain/Head injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Chronic Migraines
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Debilitating pain-chronic
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Radiation Therapy
- Seizure Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Substance Addiction and Withdrawal
According to the VPMS, the vending machines keep the medicine fresh and easy to obtain, via a new method of preservation which maintains the medicine’s high quality. This is in contrast to other dispensaries which must keep the medicine in glass jars, which promote over drying, due to frequent opening and closing. The head physician of the VPMS, Dr. Varabioff, asserts the medicine is only available to registered members of the Society. Vending machines are only available to registered members who show their ID card. Varabioff added that the Society is considering using card readers on the vending machines for even greater convenience to patients. Along with fresh, dried cannabis, the vending machines also provide cannabis-infused candy gumballs for sale between four and six dollars. Next on the list? Cannabis-infused coffee.
Since Canada’s landmark legislation, increasing numbers of companies are taking action to provide medication to patients who need it. Tweed Marijuana Inc. is the only public company which provides medical marijuana which is listed on TSX, the Toronto Stock Exchange. Other providers such as Mettrum Limited, OrganiGram Inc, Bedrocan Canada Inc, and PharmaCan Capital are in the process of going public. With more companies entering this new industry, a healthy competition should arise, which will benefit the public by providing quality medicine at affordable prices. Once these companies have all entered the public market, investors will be able to own shares in the companies, further ensuring quality medicine at competitive rates. This is good news for patients and the public at large.
At this writing, marijuana is still illegal in the United States. Consequently, Canadian marijuana providers should see increased investment activity. Inquiries from fund managers and venture capital firms have already been reported. Tweed Marijuana Inc has bought a cultivation facility in Ontario, and PharmaCan has acquired a licensed producer of its own, In The Zone Produce Ltd.
Bedrocan Canada Inc has received initial conditional approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, leading to investor speculation that Bedrocan will be the next company to go public in this nascent industry. Bedrocan is a subsidiary of a Netherlands-based company, Bedrocan BV. The company is expected to build a fifty-seven million dollar growing facility in Ontario.
Toronto-based Mettrum Limited was last listed at an estimated eighty million dollars. OrganiGram, noting the influx of producers to the British Columbia and Ontario, has opted to relocate to New Brunswick. It will be the primary producer of medical marijuana in Eastern Canada. OrganiGram has an estimated worth of thirty-five million dollars, while PharmaCan has an estimated worth of fifty million.
For Canadians who enjoy the many benefits of medical marijuana, the future looks brighter than ever.