Medical Marijuana Rights: Calgarians challenge City Hall

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( - Re: Calgary City Hall wants to know the exact location of all legal Health Canada Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR) gardens within city limits. Calgary 420 says this is nonsense.

The fact is, Health Canada cannot release private medical information, including the location of the production site of a licensee's medicine. That should be the end of the story, however City Council has recently made an announcement demanding Mayor Naheed Nenshi send a letter to Health Canada requesting this protected information.

The cities of Abbotsford and Surrey, B.C. have already wasted years and valuable tax-payer dollars trying to find a way around these Federal privacy laws in regards to Health Canada MMAR gardens and have failed.

We have asked the City of Calgary to work with our cannabis community in regards to finding solutions to these cannabis-related issues in years past and have received nothing but resistance, as evidenced by previous correspondence from City Hall. Our community has acted in good faith in trying to educate the City by providing the Calgary Police Service, past Councils and the former mayor with factual information about medicinal cannabis and the MMAR program, truth and facts backed by science and history. Even with this information and support available to them, along with the general information available to all Canadians through our Federal government, Council has the gall to make a request of license holders to divulge the location of their legal, licensed production sites. Several federally licensed medicinal cannabis producers have also contacted the City of Calgary individually, asking for guidance on safety standards and even going as far as inviting a City-sanctioned inspector to visit their gardens. The City of Calgary's non-response to these inquiries was flat-out refusals to work toward the safety and well being of the community.

The City of Calgary essentially threw a vulnerable patient/medicinal grower with serious medical issues out of his home and into the street last year because of the ignorance Council has chosen to hold onto. Just this year, a woman who had lost her husband just days prior was told by the City that she, too, must abandon her home and garden and to top it all off, the City is demanding thousands of dollars of her in unnecessary inspection fees. It seems that the City of Calgary continues to put up as many hurdles as they possibly can to resolving these issues, to the dismay and frustration of a very vulnerable group of sick Calgarians and their caregivers.

It is long overdue that Calgary's municipal politicians step up and open a dialogue with the cannabis community, in order to seek out reasonable, responsible and solid solutions through mature, productive, face-to-face discussion. City Hall is doing more harm than good by doing otherwise, actually working against their own mandate by making our communities less safe in the process. The outdated, debunked "reefer madness" rhetoric put forth by Council and the Mayor must end. Talk with us, the Calgary 420 cannabis community, just as the Calgary Police Service has for many years now. With this city-run service organization already working with us toward a common goal of safe, healthy communities, there is no reasonable explanation as to why the rest of Calgary's municipal government continues to refuse to do the same, year after year.

In light of how Mayor Naheed Nenshi has shown a fresh approach to looking for real, solid solutions to all manner of issues our city faces, the Calgary 420 cannabis community would like to believe he will guide Council toward being responsible politicians, working toward reducing harm and increasing safety and overall well-being of the citizens of our beloved city. Time will tell, of course.

Keith Fagin, Calgary 420 Cannabis Community (2005) founder and director - Phone: 403 863 2071 - Web:
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