BCCCS working for inclusion of dispensaries in federal medical marijuana regulations

Since the announcement of proposed changes to the federal medical marijuana regulations by Health Canada in June,  the BCCCS has been working hard in a major campaign to ensure medical cannabis dispensaries and the patients they serve are included in changes to the legal framework.

At the end of June, we launched the 'Dispensaries Are Indispensable' campaign together with 9 participating dispensaries across Canada. At the recent roundtable meeting with Health Canada on September 7, we presented a two-foot high stack of over 2,000 patient endorsement statements to Health Canada officials. This grassroots campaign was conducted without any advertising budget and each endorsement represented a face-to-face conversation with an individual patient. Many thanks to the Toronto Compassion Centre, Cannabis As Living Medicine, Vancouver Island Compassionate Society, The Always Growing Green Society and the other dispensaries who participated in this important nation-wide effort.

The 'Dispensaries Are Indispensable' endorsement campaign is continuing through the year, so if you haven't signed your patient endorsement yet, you can still do so either at the BCCCS or another participating dispensary, or on-line here: http://www.thecompassionclub.org/endorsementcampaign
We have recently launched phase 2 of the campaign focused on garnering endorsements from physicians and health care organizations that have referred patients or clients to our services.

In July, we prepared a 23-page report that was our official submission to Health Canada regarding how to make the new medical marijuana regulations actually work for patients. In it, we shared the model we have developed over the past 14 years and the benefits that they provide to patients. You can download and read our complete submission to Health Canada here.

On September 7, we participated in roundtable meetings in Vancouver between dispensaries and Health Canada. Together with other advocates, we made clear the shortcomings of Health Canada's proposed changes as well as the important role that the patient-centred model developed by dispensaries can provide in improving the federal program to meet patient needs. We offered the expertise we have gained over 14 years of operation towards this purpose. The BCCCS also endorsed the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) as the appropriate body to set nation-wide standards for dispensaries through its certification process to guarantee the consistency and quality of service provided to patients across Canada.

As an active participant in the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, we will continue on to meetings in Ottawa in October & November with Health Canada as well as MPs, Ministers & other policy-makers. We will be explaining the important services that dispensaries provide and how the federal program will benefit from including dispensaries as a fully legal option for patients. We will also be campaigning with third-party stakeholders such as the police, fire, municipalities & Canadian Medical Association to ensure they understand the important role that dispensaries can play in ensuring patient and community safety.

You can support our work to make a historic and necessary change to federal regulations! Please consider donating to the BCCCS or supporting the work of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. We must guarantee legal recognition and protection for medical cannabis dispensaries, the staff who provide their services and the patients who rely on them!