We urge you to put these questions to those who come to your door, or at all candidates meetings, and to not accept "I don't know" or "I'll get back to you, give me your email" as an answer.
We are one year away from recreational 'legalization' and any party that does not yet have a plan for dealing with this issue is now a year behind, and will never meet the deadline. The ramifications for patients are daunting.
Questions for prospective MLAs
1. Given the impending federal legalization of recreational cannabis, what is your party's plan for distribution and how will you approach enforcement of the new regulatory framework?
2. With the federal government estimating 5 million recreational users by 2020, how will your government protect the medical supply of cannabis for patients with many Licensed Producers switching over to recreational production? (Background: Currently there are 132,000 licensed patients being serviced by 43 Licensed Producers. Those 43 LPs are unable to supply patients with the medicine they need. The system was created for patients and LPs exist only because of the needs of patients, by government and court decree. This will change completely in one year and patients will be reduced to less than 1.5% of the market.)
3. As most patients are on some form of fixed income, how will your government address the needs of patients who cannot afford their medication? Will your government move to add a DIN number to cannabis and place it in the NS Formulary so patients can claim their medical expenses with their insurance companies and NS Pharmacare?
4. If your party were to form the next provincial government, how will you ensure that patients requiring medical cannabis are provided reasonable access while institutionalized in health care, long term care or correctional facilities?
5. If your party were to form the next provincial government, how would you ensure that appropriate, science-based education materials and curriculum regarding cannabis is developed and implemented at all levels of the education system from elementary schools to health care professionals?
6. Justice Phelan of the Federal Court of Canada, in the Allard decision last year, stated that 'Although dispensaries were not a focus of the parties’ submissions, I find Ms. Shaw’s evidence to be extremely important as dispensaries are at the heart of cannabis access. Although not legal under any past or previous medical marihuana regulations, current trends in dispensary growth suggest a connection between the restrictions to access under the MMPR and the need for patients to obtain their medical marihuana from illicit sources.'
If your party were to form the next provincial government, how would you approach the licensing and regulating of dispensaries that are deemed essential by the federal court to patients' reasonable access and legal compliance on the part of the federal government as mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada?