In the beginning
There are countless stories on the Inernet that cite references in history to cannabis. There are claims that there were references to cannabis in the Bible as well as many anecdotal stories of cannabis used in ancient medicine. It is difficult to acertain the accuracy of this information so for now we will focus on the more current period. For a complete cannabis timelne please visit PeoCon.org. https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000026
The military allegedly used cannabis as a weapon or war, both on their soldiers and other countries soldiers to manipulate and confuse so they could study the effects. I found no quick evidence they had any scientific information to work from, such as what is in cannabis. Feel free to Google this information for a more clear picture.
For now the focus will be that THC was first discovered and tested for medicinal purposes in 1966, by Raphael Mechoulam in Israel. Mechoulam and his team successfully isolated and synthesized THC, as well as the endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG. These cannabinoids represent our bodies innate ability to heal itself. THC binds to receptors in our brain and body activating a wealth of medical benefits. Another important discovery was CBD and Mechoulam went on to discover that CBD was effective at treating Dravet’s syndrome and other forms of epilepsy. Although he passed on his findings to the scientific and medical community, nothing ever came from it. He is often charachterized as the “Father of Cannabis” for his discoveries of why weed makes you high.
Cannabis was criminalized in Canada in 1923, and thus began Prohibition. There was no debate in the House of Commons, they simply added this new drug into the schedule.” How did this happen? Prohibition impedes and competes with research, education, prevention, harm reduction and treatment. What has a near century of prohibition accomplished?
French explorer Jacques Cartier first saw wild hemp growing in Canada between 1535 and 1541, but the first known experimental planting of cannabis didn’t occur until 1606. The marijuana was planted in Nova Scotia by Louis Hébert, the apothecary to the founder of Quebec. By 1666, King Louis XIV’s representative Jean Talon was desperate to grow cannabis in Quebec to send back to France for textile exports, but farmers in the province were hesitant to grow cannabis, so Talon forced them to by taking their thread. Then, Britain took control of Canada in 1763, when the country needed cannabis the most, so they sent 2,000 bushels of cannabis seeds to farmers in Quebec to grow. The industry continued to thrive and “came of age” in Nova Scotia by the 1800s, but these positive views of the medicinal effects of marijuana changed by the 1920s, when all of Canada prohibited cannabis in 1923 by adding it to the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. Now, Canada is undoing these prohibition laws as it continues to roll out recreational marijuana legalization throughout the country.
Between 1840 and 1900, cannabis was used throughout North America by physicians to treat rabies, rheumatism, epilepsy and tetanus. It was also used as a muscle relaxant. In the 19th century, cannabis was available in patent medicines sold at pharmacies or via prescription. Recreational users began by smoking the resin from the plant until the 1920s when Mexican immigrants introduced the technique of smoking the leaves. This association of the drug with unpopular groups of users undermined its legitimacy as a medical resource for decades. Up until the 1920’s cannabis extracts were used in patent medicines to treat about twenty different ailments. Queen Victoria herself was an avid advocate of cannabis medicine in her lifetime, as well as feeding it [hemp seed] to all the songbirds and rare birds in the Royal Sanctuaries. During this period three states in the US had made cannabis illegal, all without the benefit of any scientific studies. These laws were put in place to harass and deport the minority groups who favoured different drugs than those of the European population. These unfounded and racist laws were to find their way into Canada, assisted by Maclean’s Magazine, which in the early 1920’s ran a series of articles about the illicit drug trade in Canada.
These articles were written by Mrs. Emily Murphy under the pen name of “Janey Canuck”, and were later compiled into a larger book entitled The Black Candle. Emily Murphy was Canada’s first female police magistrate judge, and was also a leader of the Irish Orange Order, a religious group which then wanted a pure white Canada. Emily Murphy was a Canadian woman’s rights activist, jurist, and author. In a book she wrote in 1922 about illegal drugs she likened cannabis to far more serious drugs, like heroin and opium. There seems to be many stories that indicate she had some influence over the passing of legislation to add marijuana to the schedule. She also seemed to be instrumental in launching a widespread movement towards the “war on drug mentality”
Drug prohibition has been described as an experiment of the 20th century. Until 1908 in Canada, it was possible to buy opium, cocaine and morphine from a pharmacy; Prairie farmers once planted hemp as a windbreaker for crops.
In the 19th century there was a dramatic re-discovery of the benefits of cannabis drugs, which were the number-one medicine in America prior to 1863. It was replaced by morphine when the new injectable needle became the rage, but not before cannabis brought with it healthful elixirs and patent medicines, luxuriant Turkish Smoking Parlors and with them a fountain of literary creativity. Cannabis remained the number-two medicine until 1901 when it was replaced by aspirin.
In 1973, the Le Dain Commission urged the Pierre Trudeau government to repeal the offense of possession of marijuana, and gradually move toward the wise exercise of freedom of choice.
The commissioners found unequivocally that the harms of criminalizing marijuana — encouraging illicit markets, obliging pot smokers to engage in crime, diverting police from more important tasks — outweighed the harms of use. While the commissioners varied in their prescriptions — Le Dain, Stein, and Lehmann recommended decriminalization, Bertrand recommended legalization, Campbell recommended ticketing — all five found that possession “does not justify imprisonment in any circumstance.”
The Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (
When Health Canada announced their new medical cannabis program in June 2013, both the old program, the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), and the new program, the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), were to operate concurrently until a supposed deadline of April 1, 2014. Under the old program (MMAR), patients could access cannabis for medical purposes in three ways. They could purchase from Health Canada, they could grow for themselves, or they could designate a third party to grow for them.
Now, under the new regulations (MMPR), the only legal way to obtain medical cannabis is through companies authorized by Health Canada—referred to as Licensed Producers, or LPs, that has been licensed by Health Canada. Patients did not have the option to grow their own cannabis under the MMPR, unlike the initial MMAR. This resulted in a court case Allard v Canada that ruled the former regulations, the MMPR infringed on Canadian patient’s right to reasonable access to medical cannabis.
On August 24, 2016 Health Canada announced they were replacing the MMPR ( Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations ), with a new set of rules – the ACMPR. the ACMPR allows Canadian patients to register and obtain their medical cannabis from Health Canada approved Licensed Producers, but it also allows Canadians the option to grow a limited amount of cannabis for themselves, or designate someone to grow and produce their medical cannabis for them.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spent an estimated $5.7 billion on cannabis last year, with the illegal recreational cannabis accounting for the vast majority of that sum at $4.6 billion. That leaves quite a large gap for the LP’s to fill, but supply alone will not suffice. The LP’s would have to be prepared to sell it for 3-5$/gram if they ever hope to take over that established market.