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CBC: Consult with medical cannabis users on legislation, NDP urges province

March 24, 2017 — 

As CBC reports:

The Manitoba NDP has added its voice to a handful of critics with concerns about how the province’s proposed new cannabis legislation will affect medical users. 

NDP justice critic Andrew Swan argued on Thursday the proposed legislation ignores the needs of medical cannabis users in the province and requested the province consult with medical users before the bill goes further….

Critics of the legislation have said it needs refining to get at the nuances of cannabis….

University of Manitoba nursing professor Lynda Balneaves echoed [a UBC professor’s] concerns about stigma, saying the legislation was a “good first step,” but fails to acknowledge the complexity of cannabis.

Schedule Two of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act refers to “cannabis, its preparations and derivatives.” That includes close relatives like cannabidiol and Nabilone, which Balneaves said can be used to manage conditions ranging from epilepsy to nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

The proposed legislation would prohibit cannabis from being stored in a vehicle, unless it’s in the trunk or behind a rear seat — not a good idea, Balneaves said, for some medical forms of the drug.

“If you put Nabilone in a trunk in a hot summer day in Manitoba and try to drive for a few hours, it could actually reduce its medicinal properties,” Balneaves said in an interview on CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio on Tuesday.

“I also feel that the legislation applies to cannabis being provided in mental health institutions and other health-care facilities, which, again, could really restrict its use for people that could actually benefit from cannabis as a medical agent.

Balneaves said it’s still unclear how much cannabis drivers can have in their system before it impairs their ability to drive. The drug can stay in the body for up to seven days, she said.

“We really need to tease apart what level would be needed to cause impairment. Do you just have a zero tolerance law or do you have a per se law where you set an arbitrary level that is perceived to cause impairment?” Balneaves said.

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