Canadian potheads, ill and otherwise, are abuzz as the emerging market for legal “medical” marijuana begins to take shape. As of April this year, cannabis sold in Canada may be produced industrially. So far, thirteen firms are licensed to produce the drug commercially across the country, but dozens more are making applications and could join the market in the coming months.
The growth in industrial supply coincides with a massive increase in the number of licensed medical users. A decade ago, the number of licensees was less than a thousand nationwide. As of this month, there are more than 40,000, and the population of licit cannabis users will grow to more than 300,000 by 2024.
As predicted by many observers, the federal medical marijuana policy is quickly turning into a legal marijuana regime. The National Post reported on a dispensary in Vancouver where an on-staff naturopath “prescribes” the drug to any customer willing to claim they have any one of a diverse set of maladies. The demand from these faux-medical dispensaries seems to be growing so fast as to outstrip supply.
It’s possible that medical marijuana legalization in theory leads to legal recreational marijuana in practice because, in fact, marijuana is not a medicine.
The New York Times recently reported that researchers in the US are baffled by the political popularity of “medical marijuana”, arguing that compared to pharmaceutical drugs, marijuana has not undergone rigorous testing, and has never been proven to effectively treat the diseases its proponents claim it does—in fact, for patients with certain illnesses, doctors say that smoking marijuana actually has an iatrogenic effect, aggravating the affliction it is meant to treat.
Earlier this year, the American Medical Association reemphasized its opposition to legal marijuana. The Canadian Medical Association continues to aver that “physicians should not be put in the untenable position of gatekeepers” for marijuana, because the drug “has not undergone established regulatory review processes as required for all other prescription medicines.”
“Medical marijuana” policy expands across the Western world, however, in almost total oblivion to medical reality. Canadians shouldn’t be fooled: activists, not doctors, are behind the new drug regime. And getting high, not getting well, is what inspires them.