As the Trudeau Government continues to determine how and where recreational cannabis will be available, questions on the existing medical marijuana system and its level of necessity have come up. One group in particular who has much to say on the subject, particularly because it is directly related to their interests, is Canadian Doctors.
The Canadian Medical Association surveyed their doctors on a wide range of issues regarding cannabis. These questions were not about whether doctors wanted recreational marijuana as legalization is a certainty, they were more along the lines of how recreational weed should be distributed and what place if any, MMJ will have in this brave new world.
Of the 788 physicians who responded to the online survey sent out earlier this summer (which was approximately 20% of those who received it) 43% of them believe there should be no distinction between medical and recreational marijuana and it should be one single cannabis regime, while 39% of physicians feel that both medical and recreational should exist together.
Doctors were also asked where marijuana should be available to Canadians and tourists alike, and 56% said it should be sold in a non-healthcare type scenario such as retail outlets like liquor stores and a sizeable 47% feel it should be in dedicated outlets and legal storefronts such as dispensaries. The remainder would like to see marijuana sold in pharmacies or by mail. Physicians were evenly divided on whether or not people should be allowed to grow at home.
In regards to the minimum age limit that someone can buy cannabis in Canada, 45% of doctors felt that it should be 21 or older with 35% saying it should be 18 or 19. The reason that the larger number favoured the higher minimum age is due to the potential effects marijuana might have on the developing brain.
Interestingly enough, 72% of doctors surveyed feel that recreational marijuana should have regulated levels of THC, which could be a potential lifeline for the MMJ system in Canada. Patients who are now receiving medicine at higher levels such as 20 to 22%, will likely continue purchasing through their prescription as opposed to recreational marijuana that for example, might be capped at 18% THC.
The CMA represents 83,000 physicians across the country and they will be presenting their recommendations for cannabis distribution to the marijuana task force.
The recreational marijuana train will be heading down the track roughly in spring of 2017 as per the Trudeau government’s plan. After that, time will tell if Canada’s MMJ program gets derailed.