At a recent Maple Ridge council meeting with Member of Parliament, Randy Kamp, the proposed changes to the federal Marijuana Medicinal Access regulations  were discussed. Mr. Kamp highlighted that the government is proposing to have changes in place by 2014, which will essentially move the growing of medicinal weed from individual’s homes and government growers into the hands of licensed commercial growers. While municipalities have been pressuring the federal government to clean up their legislation, due to the existing gaps that have led to jurisdictional confusion in regards to policing the medicinal grow operations, the changes, although welcome, may continue to cause angst for all involved. Especially doctors, as they now appear to be the official gatekeepers of who shall and shall not have access to the highly sought after BC bud–at least where disease is of concern. 

It appears that municipalities are to determine the zones in which the growing of the medicinal product will take place–ie. commercial, industrial, or agricultural zones. Considering Maple Ridge’s Agriculture Plan emphasizes small lot farming as the future of our agriculture industry, we had best hope that the federal government deems small lot farms as suitable for commercial growing of the famed medicinal BC bud.

The federal government is proposing that different strains may be preferred by the consumer, allowing for free enterprise to prevail as growers compete to win over the consumers of the medicinal plant. Not knowing anything about growing the bud, one can only hope that the soil needs of it do match that of blueberries.

I don’t want to make light of the subject, as it is a passionate one for many. I understand people have found relief from symptoms and chronic pain that accompanies certain diseases by injesting medicinal pot; many also preferring it during the end stages of  a terminal illness. So who am I to judge those in circumstances that I pray I never have to face, as I think I would want all means of relief afforded to me or my loved ones.

However, I do believe the new regulations will take a long time to work through the system, since personal use growers are already stating they will fight changes through a Charter challenge, and the medical profession and all other stakeholders, municipalities included, need to be properly consulted to ensure this round of regulations actually work; making 2014 potentially wishful thinking on the part of the feds.

In the meantime, all you small lot Maple Ridge farmers might want to start digging in the manure and checking out your soil capacity, as the government is getting out of the medicinal marijuana program and giving it over to farmers and doctors–I have heard gardening is good for your health.