Albas: Medical marijuana; Greek debt constituent questions

Recently I have had a few questions regarding the ongoing financial crises in Greece.

In early June the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a judgement with respect to how medical marijuana may be consumed. A brief summary of this ruling is that the Supreme Court decided that medical marijuana, including extracts and derivatives, could be consumed in a variety of different methods beyond the previously defined means of being dried. In essence this ruling opens the door for oral ingestion that does not require “smoking” and allows marijuana laced baked goods, pills and other methods.  Also included are cannabis oils along with both dried and now fresh marijuana buds and leaves.

As a result of this ruling Health Canada recently has responded to the Supreme Court decision by announcing a section 56 exemption that will allow licensed producers to produce and sell cannabis oil and fresh marijuana buds and leaves in addition to dried marijuana. It should also be noted that the current regulations related to doctors in authorizing marijuana for medical use does not change as a result of this week’s Health Canada changes.

The new exemption, in place immediately, will continue to require licensed producers to ship in a safe and secure manner, with child-resistant packaging. From a technical standpoint the THC content in Cannabis oils cannot exceed 30 mg/ml. A label will also be required to disclose the THC content of the supplied product. There are also a number of administrative and transaction related requirements that will continue to apply. Currently in Canada there are 25 licensed producers in various regions across the country. Health Canada also reminds all Canadians that medical marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and has not gone through the necessary rigorous scientific trials for efficacy or safety.

Recently I have had a few questions regarding the ongoing financial crises in Greece. As many citizens are likely aware Greece has voted against the European Union’s loan extension requirements. This is a serious situation as one in four in Greece are unemployed and the country cannot pay its bills as the banking system is in near collapse. The question I have been asked is did Canada have money loaned to Greece as part of a bailout package.

The answer is no, as our government declined to loan money to Greece, a decision made by our Prime Minister that was criticized by the leader of the Official Opposition who supported loaning Canadian tax dollars for the Greek bail out.  While the current Greek financial crisis remains a serious concern it is also important to recognize the importance of all governments to live within their means. While not widely reported, late last week the Ontario government had its credit rating downgraded—that in turn can lead to increased interest on borrowing costs that can be problematic for a government not running a balanced budget.

Fortunately, closer to home the B.C. provincial government has worked aggressively to ensure that B.C.’s well respected credit rating remains unchanged. On the same theme, the federal government has also maintained its AAA credit rating, which is important to ensure that more funds can be spent in areas such as infrastructure as opposed to paying higher levels of interest.