We heard a rumor that the founder of National Access Cannabis - advocate and champion Alex Abellan was in Toronto recently after the recent 420 celebration to meet with Toronto Mayor John Tory and MP Joe Cressy to discuss the direction Toronto is going to take over the next year in our slow and steady march towards legalization in Canada. A lot depends on the position that the Federal Government takes and how they intend to regulate cannabis across Canada. This is the information that cities like Toronto seem to be waiting for. This is a rumor people are discussing in association with who Ontario will select to regulate this new complex and booming industry.
One question that is on everyone's mind is whether it be a big pharmaceutical company or perhaps even the LCBO instead of the local choice of one of our own. If the LCBO is allowed to step in and manage medical and recreational marijuana - it is this editor's opinion that it will be a nightmare. Alcohol has no place next to something like Cannabis - Yes - Cannabis is used recreationally but it has far outgrown that ignorant stigma of being solely a 'party' drug used by stoners and drop-outs. It is now widely held that Cannabis is something that is used to heal and ground and stabilize and has more medicinal purposes and uses than we have space to list here. It's not meant to sit next to vodka, tequila and beer. Speaking recently to our many community partners I've come to the conclusion that there's only one real direction for us to take if we do not want the LCBO stepping up and taking control of our industry. We need to look within our own industry to see if there is an existing infrastructure that already has the national connections with both political and medical fronts to successfully act as a regulating body for medicinal and eventually recreational cannabis.
The existing Canadian organization National Access Cannabis with its headquarters in Ontario seems to be the logical choice, in our opinion, with one foot in municipal, provincial and federal political arenas and another firmly rooted in Canadian Cannabis culture with direct links to doctors, nurses, dispensaries, microbreweries, growers, LPs and other associated canna-related businesses. National Access Cannabis is leading the way in Ontario and in British Columbia in advocacy, lobbying all levels of government and connecting this disparate group of businesses under one banner as they rigorously promote testing, self-regulation, health and wellness. They are about the patient and the community and I for one would like to have someone representing my interests that actually understands what cannabis really is. Now National Access Cannabis may be smaller than the LCBO but it wouldn't take much time to set up a location in every city and link in to every community across Ontario - allowing Licensed Producers and independent licensed growers to wholesale to licensed, regulated shops that will in turn dispense properly-tested cannabis-related medication to medical marijuana patients and then when the federal law does shift to recreational use they will be positioned to deal with it appropriately.
In light of the measures of Bill 45 as well as is with going on with Bill 178 with its smoke free Ontario amendment - I feel it's important for all the kinds of canna-businesses that are out there - as well as people who are out there who are actively interested in how legalization is going to go down - to step forward and say "no we do not want big Pharma or big Tobacco or the LCBO taking over our industry". If I I have to choose someone to represent my interests as a medical marijuana user on a provincial and federal level than I would like to nominate national access cannabis to be our representative and our advocate. Actively pursuing Canadian patient wellness, actively building a national network of like-minded individuals groups, organizations and businesses, and on the forefront of diversion, testing and quality control. National Access Cannabis could very well be the perfect fit for what we need.
I encourage you to actively write your MPP, your favorite member of Parliament, your local politician and let them know that the LCBO cannot be allowed to come in and regulate an industry they do not understand. Let them know how important it is that members of our own community represent us and our interests.
Cy Williams PUBLISHER