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Medical marijuana approved

(Toronto Globe and Mail)

Thursday, June 10, 1999

OTTAWA -- The federal government has given permission for the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes for the first time in Canadian history.

Health Minister Allan Rock announced yesterday he has granted special exemptions from federal drug law to Jim Wakeford of Toronto and Jean-Charles Pariseau of Vanier, Ont., both of whom have AIDS.

"This is about showing compassion to people, often dying, suffering from grave debilitating illness," Mr. Rock told the Commons.

He said the Health Department will soon invite bids from firms interested in supplying marijuana for use in coming clinical trials.

He denied the move is a step toward legalization of marijuana: "No more than the use of heroin or morphine in hospitals is a step toward legalizing them."


Excerpt from House of Commons

Edited Hansard • Number 241

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

. . .

Ms. Maria Minna (Beaches--East York, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Back in March the member for London West asked the minister if he was supportive of approving the medical use of marijuana. The minister committed to clinical trials of marijuana, access to a safe supply and guidelines for its use. Will the minister tell the House what progress he has made to date?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, why does this somehow seem such a happier, such a saner place?

I am happy to tell the House this afternoon that a little later today I will table the government's research plan for the medical use of marijuana.

I am also happy to say that I will be exercising my power under section 56 of the relevant statute to permit exemptions to two very sick people to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Let us remember what this is about. This is about showing compassion to people, often dying, suffering from grave and debilitating illness. I want to thank the member and all the members here for pushing this issue so that we behave properly on behalf of those who are sick and dying.

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