Canadian Medical Home Grows Accused of Fueling Illicit Market

Canadian cannabis activists and law enforcement agencies both say that product from personal medical cannabis grows is being diverted into the unregulated market.

Full story after the jump.

Cannabis activists and law enforcement agencies in Canada allege that the lack of personal medical cannabis cultivation oversight by Health Canada is allowing cannabis to be diverted into the unregulated market, the CBC reports.

The agency doesn’t limit the amount of cannabis that doctors can recommend and, in all, nearly 34,000 Canadians have a license to grow under the nation’s medical cannabis rules, the report says.

Cannabis activist and medical license holder Steven Stairs says the agency’s lack of oversight “has allowed the system to be manipulated and abused by people who are only in it for their own personal benefit.”

“Over time, the allure, I would call it, of having a legitimate or legal protection under Health Canada’s medical marijuana access regulations to grow cannabis was a very tantalizing opportunity for organized crime and for those who are looking to profit off a system designed for sick people there.” – Stairs to the CBC

Health Canada says physicians are authorizing patients to use an average of 2.1 grams per day which, according to the agency’s online calculator, means those patients would be permitted to grow up to 10 plants. Some ‘pay for access’ clinics, though, are offering authorizations for up to 95 grams daily, which would allow patients to grow 463 plants, the report says.

Det. Insp. Jim Walker, deputy director of the Ontario Provincial Police Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, told the CBC that law enforcement agencies have “known for a number of years and had seen this regime abused by criminals, organized crime, criminal enterprises.”

The OPP has busted 52 large-scale grows and arrested about 200 people since July.

“We’re seeing registrations in excess of 400 plants for one individual. You take that now and the regulations allow up to four of those registrations under one address,” Walker said in the report. “Those individuals will subdivide that lot and now they can even double the amount of plants they have there.”

The government said it would revisit legalization laws three years after the reforms took effect – which means the government could set limits on plant counts for patients next year.

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