Medical pot regime breeds criminal, safety concerns, RCMP argues in court

The RCMP says there is an overwhelming temptation for growers of medical marijuana to supplement their income under the current system by selling extra pot.

OTTAWA — The RCMP says there is an overwhelming temptation for growers of medical marijuana to supplement their income under the current system by selling extra pot.

In an affidavit filed in the Federal Court of Canada, RCMP Cpl. Shane Holmquist says investigations have revealed various abuses of the medical marijuana program, including trafficking for personal gain, violent theft of homegrown pot and involvement of organized crime.

Health Canada plans a revamp of the medical marijuana system — in part due to concerns about criminal infiltration.

Under the existing program, to be phased out by April 1, people are issued licences to grow marijuana for their personal use to help ease the symptoms of painful conditions.

Several British Columbia residents with licences to grow their own are asking the Federal Court for an injunction that would allow them to continue doing so.

They argue the proposed new system — under which only licensed producers could grow marijuana for distribution to approved patients by mail — would deny them a safe, continuous supply at an affordable price.

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