By Amanda Reiman

Canada has seen the light. In the game of who can move past marijuana propaganda the fastest, Canada just drew a “move 5 spaces card”, while the U.S. keeps picking “lose a turn”.

Last week, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that access to cannabis-infused products, including cookies and brownies, are a patient’s right. They further declared that these products are a necessary and less harmful alternative to smoking for many patients, especially children. The court stated that, “Inhaling marihuana can present health risks and is less effective for some conditions than administration of cannabis derivative.”

The message is simple: cannabis can be taken in many forms, different forms may work best for different people, and patients and their doctors should be the ones to make those decisions. It does not take a rocket scientist, or a cannabis scientist for that matter, to understand the need for medications to come in a variety of formulations. A quick glance at the pharmacy section of Walgreens reveals liquid, tablet, caplet, and chewable (sometimes food-based) forms for almost any over-the-counter medication, including sweetened, candy-like preparations for children so that they will be more amenable to consuming them. Nobody is questioning why vitamins have to be sold in the shape of Flinstones characters.

Indeed, this decision by the Canadian Supreme Court speaks to just how “over it” many nations are when it comes to upholding the reefer madness policies and viewpoints of 85 years ago. Many countries, including most recently Costa Rica, are trying to move past the propaganda and to invest in cannabis policies that move forward their agendas of human rights, community-building and national prosperity. But, just like that one friend who holds up the rest of the group because they can never find their keys, the United States continues to be a barrier to global cannabis progress and a black eye in the conversation about patient rights and safe access.

Cases in point. Last week the internet was buzzing with a video of several Orange County police officers raiding a medical marijuana dispensary, destroying all the cameras (or so they thought) and then proceeding to eat cannabis-infused products while joking about wanting to assault one of the patients who is in a wheel chair. Then, a decision made by the courts to allow DISH Network to fire Colorado medical marijuana patient and paraplegic Brandon Coats was upheld by the Appellate court because whether an activity is “lawful” activity in the Colorado statute is interpreted based on the status of the federal law. So, as Canada the rights of patients to ingest cannabis in the form that works best for them, the United States is affirming patient discrimination and the abhorrent conduct of local police.

One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many seriously ill people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for qualifying patients under state law.

While this represents incredible progress, it’s good to remember that there’s still a lot of work to be done – expanding the number of states with laws that allow for medical use under state law, supporting and improving existing state medical marijuana programs, protecting medical marijuana patients from criminal sanction and discrimination, and, ultimately, ending the federal ban on medical marijuana.

Amanda Reiman is the manager for marijuana law and policy for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Author: Amanda Reiman
Date Published: June 19, 2015
Published by Drug Policy Alliance

Via:: Ddrug Policy Alliance