Paul Calandra, MPP for Markham-Stouffville calls on the Government of Canada to review Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Scheme
For Immediate Release
Last week, York Regional Police arrested and charged three men for allegedly illegally growing over 6,000 cannabis plants at a facility in Stouffville. I thank our police and emergency services for their continued efforts. This is a very serious problem that has expanded far beyond this one facility.
Today, I am calling on the federal government to review their Access to Medical Cannabis scheme especially in light of the legal channels through which marijuana is now widely available across Canada.
This facility had been operating with licenses issued under an old federal medical regime which allows individuals to grow their cannabis or designate a person to do so.
In the case of this facility they were licensed to produce 1,752 plants for only four medical users – that is 438 plants per person.
York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said: “These investigations raise significant concerns, as there is once again a blatant disregard for licensed grow limits.”
Licenses like this, called Personal-use Production Licenses (PPLs), are common throughout our communities and pose serious public safety concerns.
In 2015 I learned of a single-family detached home in Markham, across from an elementary, school which was being used to produce over 145 plants. The house is no one’s residence – instead, the entire house is used to grow marijuana producing an odour which regularly descends on the school playground.
When I served as a federal Member of Parliament, our government moved to repeal these antiquated rules for medical-purpose growing to protect communities, but the current federal government has opted to continue this dangerous practice.
I want to work together with the federal government to ensure that our province can meet the cannabis needs of medical users while ending the dangerous practice of granting licenses to individuals to grow hundreds of plants. As we have seen, many times these licenses have been abused to grow cannabis for illegal distribution, propping up the black market for cannabis.
In Canada, an individual cannot manufacture their own medicine, whether it is Asprin or an antibiotic – now is the time to end this practice for medical marijuana.