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Health Canada going after medical pot users for

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#1 Kegan


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Posted 05 February 2006 - 05:07 PM

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Health Canada going after medical pot users
for almost $170,000 in bad debts

Dean Beeby, Canadian Press

Published: Sunday, February 05, 2006 Article tools

OTTAWA (CP) - Like any dope dealer, Health Canada has its share of marijuana customers who just don't pay their bills.

But unlike street pushers, the department avoids tire irons and switchblades to recover its bad debts in favour of stern letters and collection agencies.

As of last month, 127 people authorized to buy government-certified marijuana for various medical problems were officially in arrears, with bills unpaid for more than 90 days.

That's almost half the 278 patients who currently receive Health Canada marijuana or seeds, most of them buying 30-gram bags of ground buds for $150. A package of 30 seeds goes for $20.

Altogether, patients in arrears now owe $168,879 to Health Canada for medical marijuana, produced on contract by Prairie Plant Systems Inc. for the federal government.

The arrears amount has swollen by more than $100,000 over the last year alone, as department officials realized that their medical marijuana policy never indicated to patients the consequences of not paying their drug bills.

Spokesman Chris Williams says these patients now receive reminder letters and telephone calls from civil servants in the department's corporate services branch, and are given an opportunity to set up a repayment schedule.

"If all that is rejected, the supply would be halted," he said in an interview. So far, 19 users have been cut off from further shipments because of non-payment.

After 180 days, a final letter is sent and if no money arrives within 10 days, the matter is turned over to a collection agency, as would any other individual's stale account with Ottawa.

One medical marijuana user and activist slammed the Health Department for requiring often-impoverished patients to buy the product, saying taxpayers have already footed the bill once.

"The Canadian people have already paid for it - I think it's absolutely horrible that we're charging them twice," said Alison Myrden of Burlington, Ont., who has lived with multiple sclerosis for more than a decade.

"We have no money as it is. Most of us are on full disability for life . . . It's a choice between marijuana or food for most of us."

The first shipments of government marijuana in the fall of 2003 were of such poor quality, many medical users gagged, coughed and promptly returned the product. The batch was weak, dry, ground up too fine and included the less potent leaves and stems.

In May 2004, a new batch was released, eliminating the stem and leaves. Made of flowering tops only, the new dope had a higher moisture content and stronger levels of THC, the main active ingredient, though the buds were still ground up to ensure consistency.

Some users complained but others appeared to be content about the improved quality, though Myrden says the new batch still falls short of what's available on the street. She does not buy government dope.

Prairie Plant Systems, which grows the weed in a Flin Flon, Man., mineshaft, recently got a six-month extension of its $5.75-million contract with Health Canada, to June 30. The extension is worth another $670,000.

The federal government plans to put out the next contract to tender later this year, though it's unclear how the entire medical marijuana program will fare under the new Tory government to be sworn in Monday.

Former Tory health critic Stephen Fletcher, who has raised tough questions about the program in the Commons, declined to comment when asked about the new government's policy.

"I can't speak for the party any more on these issues until the leader picks the new health minister," he said in an interview.

Health Canada is also trying to set up a pilot project that would allow registered users to buy government marijuana at pharmacies without a prescription.

The already-delayed project, which was to have begun early this year, has been delayed again until at least the summer.

"A lot of these policies were put on hold until the election is over," Williams said.

The Canadian Press 2006

#2 medpot



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Posted 05 February 2006 - 05:24 PM

It wasn't "Hellth" Canada that paid for this PPS-Cannasat pot, but ALL Canadian taxpayers..including people who pay income taxes on their disability pension...like me!

Why should sick and dying Canadians living with a meager monthly disability pension be charged for this pot a second time when it was already paid for?

Where do these profits go, who's collecting, and what do they do with this money?

Is the money going back to taxpayers or it's going in the pockets of crooked bureaucrats?

"Hellth" Canada will have to answer ALOT of questions very soon...and possibly some criminal accusations against them too!

I think that ALL Exemptees who paid for this pot should get an immediate refund and a letter of appology.

As for those 19 Exemptees that were cut-off their marijuana medication, when they applied for that pot, they signed a sworned statement that they cannot buy marijuana from any other sources and they also had to renounce their right to grow their own.

Some people might die because of this horrible "POTSCAM" and government neglect!


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