Medical Weed Growers in Canada Are Ready for a Fight
If you haven’t heard of marijuana activist and grower Mik Mann, he’s the articulate hippie and Frank Zappa look-alike we interviewed for our documentary BC Bud. He lives out in Port Alberni, a pretty remote town on Vancouver Island where he grows medicinal weed from the comfort of his basement garden.
For the last decade, Mik has enjoyed the benefits of a legal marijuana-growing license under Canada’s now-defunct federal Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). He’s been floating on a healthy dose of seven grams of marijuana a day, which he cultivates from 35 plants with a doctor’s prescription for various debilitating conditions like spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease. All that is officially set to change under the newly implemented and conservative-devised Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which, among other things, makes it illegal for users to personally grow their own pot. Instead, medical users like Mik, who predominantly make less than $30,000 a year and suffer from various diseases, will be forced to purchase corporate dope: only for-profit companies can afford the extensive requirement for licenses to grow in the new system.
Right now, patients pay an average of $1.80 a gram for marijuana. That will rise to $8.80 a gram when the MMPR takes effect in 2014. Estimates slap those same patients with an additional $166 million a year for the next ten years. In other words, the 28,115 Canadians using marijuana to ease chronic pain will be forced to rely on pricier government-sanctioned companies instead of personally growing it themselves for basically nothing.