In Canada, Your Doctor Can Now Prescribe You Pot
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In Canada, Your Doctor Can Now Prescribe You Pot


> on March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California.Hey, guess what? If you live in Canada, doctors can now prescribe you pot—and they can do it legally! We know you’re clapping your hands and bouncing off the wall with glee but please, take a sec to calm yourself.

The Regulatory Low Down

The whole situation is sticky, controversial and incredibly confusing, so bear with us. Basically, on April 1st, new Canadian federal regulations on medical marijuana went into action but were stopped at the last minute by a lawyer named John Conroy, who argued that the new law would “limit sick people’s access to medicine so drastically that it’s unconstitutional.”

Those new regulations would have made it so the nation’s 40,000 medical marijuana users could no longer grow their own weed. Instead, they’d have to obtain a prescription from a medical doctor in order to buy marijuana but only from a licensed provider. At-home users who also grow their own pot would be forced to shut down their operations and kill their plants.

Stockpiling Plants

All this chaos is prompting Canadian medical marijuana users to stock up now, while they can, out of fear that their access may soon be revoked. But in reality, all the legal back-and-forth might actually make medical marijuana easier to come by in the long term. Though most doctors there seem “wary of prescribing cannabis to Canadians in any sort of widespread fashion,” Canadian marijuana is now being legally grown there on a huge commercial scale by large corporations, meaning more and more 420-friendly docs are likely to pop up (and, ostensibly, more pot prescriptions doled out).

How It Shakes out Stateside

Here in the States, legal access to medical cannabis has been controversial for decades, since the first pro-medical marijuana laws were passed in the ’70s. It’s currently legal in DC and 20 states, and according to NORML, “eight out of 10 Americans support the medical use of marijuana, and nearly three out of four Americans support a fine-only (no jail) for recreational smokers.”

Naturally it’s also controversial among recovery circles;  sober 12-steppers consider pot an addictive substance to be avoided. Still, there’s fairly widespread “undercover” marijuana use in many AA fellowships—the so-called “marijuana maintenance program.” Whether you can consider yourself “sober” while continuing to use pot medically or recreationally is, like many aspects of what qualifies someone as an “addict,” a personal decision (one that prompts passionate debate, like many things in the recovery world).

Whatever your stance on medical marijuana, it’s worth keeping an eye on how the battle plays out with our neighbors up North.

Photo courtesy of NJ1015

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.