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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Medical Marijuana user says police need further education on his medicine

Medical Marijuana user says police need further education on his medicine

A Canadian medical marijuana user who has had his license from Health Canada to legally use marijuana for the past three years is calling for further education for the police force after discovering officers that arrested him were unaware of the license. A license from Health Canada entitles a medical marijuana user to carry 150 grams of cannabis, or the equivalent of one month’s supply, at any time and to grow for medical use. Only around 2,000 people in Canada currently have a license from Health Canada.

On February 4th in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada a medical marijuana user who only wants to be called James was pulled over by Police officers. During what was referred to as a routine stop, James while searching for his driving documents took three grams of marijuana out of his glove box and placed it on the seat beside him. After stepping out of his truck and following police procedure to place his arms on the vehicle, James informed the officers of his license and he even produced it for them.

James was searched and placed in the back of the police cruiser for around 20 minutes while the officers searched his truck for more marijuana. None was found and James was eventually allowed to go home, James later told a reporter for the Leader-Post that it was the worst feeling he had in his life after being treated like a criminal. The next day after the incident James went to the police station to file a complaint as he wants to raise awareness about medical marijuana. To his shock James found out at the station that the officers had no idea what the license card was, which is strange considering it legally allows people with the card to carry and grow marijuana.

Lara Guzik Rostad a spokeswoman for Regina Police Service there aren’t any rules specific to medical marijuana and traffic stops, and officers must consider many factors. Regina police currently do not have in-house training specific to medical cannabis the spokeswomen also told the Leader-Post reporter.

Yes it’s true an officer stopping someone and seeing or smelling marijuana cannot tell if the person in question is a medical or recreational user of marijuana but you would like to think that police officers are aware of the laws they protect. I think its especially important they are aware of laws that protect sick people, a law that allows them much needed medicine.

While marijuana is only recognized in a few countries around the world as a legitimate medicine it is vital where the law actually protects ill people that those who enforce the laws are aware of the laws.

One thing is for certain though, at least James has a license to carry his marijuana because if this happened somewhere else to a medical user without permission to use his medicine things could have been worse than around 20 minutes spent in the back of a police cruiser.

That is not to say I justify this medical marijuana user being treated like a criminal. I also cannot find it acceptable that police officers are unaware of this license and I feel more education on medical marijuana is badly needed globally.

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