Opportunity up in smoke?

It’s the most amazing thing — the medical marijuana phenomenon in Canada. To serve a relatively small number of clientèle/patients across Canada, about 40,000, Health Canada has received about 450 applications from people wanting to produce the product on a large scale. On top of that, about 25 applications are coming in a week.

It’s the most amazing thing — the medical marijuana phenomenon in Canada.

To serve a relatively small number of clientèle/patients across Canada, about 40,000, Health Canada has received about 450 applications from people wanting to produce the product on a large scale. On top of that, about 25 applications are coming in a week.

That’s incredible interest, considering the number of medical pot users is a tiny portion of the Canadian population.

The number of patients expected to use the product in one form or another — for example smoke it, drink it, eat it — is expected to eventually grow to about only three or four times the current size of Red Deer, to 300,000 to 400,000, in about 10 years. This would represent only about one per cent of Canadians. Something smells skunky.

Meanwhile, municipalities are already scrambling to consider whether they should allow these controversial legal grow-ops (they don’t like to be called that), or whether they can even prevent them from establishing once they have a Health Canada licence to produce.

Residents have concerns that legal medicinal pot producers will attract the criminal element.

Aptly-named Releaf Inc. recently ran into opposition in the Mountain View County, just south of Red Deer County.

Releaf was issued a 50,000-square-foot building permit on an agricultural basis without having to go the development permit route that would have required a public hearing. The company can build a facility in a remote rural area, about eight km northwest of Cremona.

Going forward, after public concerns, the county has changed its bylaws so that any other medical marijuana facilities will only be permitted in easily visible and accessible sites. But Releaf will be a go if it meets Health Canada’s approval standards.

The Health Canada-approved producers become the middle men, cutting out the little sick guy, who the government intends to force out of growing his own, for cheaper, personal use.

Medicinal users do need a doctor’s prescription.

Users say the benefits of medicinal pot include, among other things, improving appetite, and alleviating pain and symptoms of illnesses like multiple sclerosis.

As of today, only approved Health Canada commercial operators are supposed to be able to produce medical marijuana. But a recent court injunction has allowed those who grow their own to continue to do so while a broader court challenge unfolds.

Health Canada says it is worried that those who grow their own pot might end up with a bad batch that would do further harm to already ill people. It’s a bit like saying don’t grow your own tomatoes, buy them from a commercial producer, it’s safer.

Why all this silly foofaraw around medical marijuana?

How about this: It would be simpler and smarter to just change the laws, as Colorado and Washington have done, and legalize medicinal and recreational personal use of marijuana.

In January, the first month of the legal selling of pot in Colorado, the state received $2 million in taxes.

What is the state is going to spend the first $40 million in pot taxes on? What else — building new schools.

Medicinal pot in Canada is a “panama red” herring.

Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more provincial funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by FCSS

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month