September 4th, 2012 marks the 10-year anniversary of the landmark 2002 "Senate Report on Cannabis" and NORML Canada is commemorating this anniversary with a campaign that includes a new website dedicated to educating Canadians by making the findings in this report easily accessible.
Visit the campaign website to see for yourself, and, for Canada's sake, please get behind this effort to educate Canadians and to bring about a national, honest conversation about cannabis policy. It's long overdue.
Now that the first Calgary MMAR Patient Support Group (some say Alberta’s first legal medical cannabis vapour lounge) meeting was announced and is history. It has come to my attention there is some concern and even confusion in regards to my physical presence at that gathering. People are correct that for many years now I have publicly (media, public events and so on) admitted to consuming cannabis for decades and publicly refuse to apply for a Health Canada Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) exemption. Why would I do this? I felt I needed to make a strong statement of my own. The whole time the Health Canada MMAR program has been in operation it was setup by the Canadian government to fail miserably. Still over a decade later nothing has change even after 1000’s of deaths and numerous Canadian court ruling, to many to list here, clearly stating the Health Canada MMAR program unconstitutional and that the government has a year to fix it. Still very little has changed for the betterment of sick and dying Canadian’s and of course the court battles still continue sadly.
Keith Fagin has been consuming cannabis for 40 years for pain. The Calgary man, who is active in the medicinal marijuana movement, has helped people get a Health Canada exemption, but he refuses to apply for one himself, "because it is unconstitutional."
Many of you will already know Calgary and Alberta is still a strong hold of loyal Harper conservatives even today.
"Opposition to decriminalization is strongest in Alberta, where 42 per cent of people don't like the idea."
Debbie and I have had a goal to open a location where like minded people could meet and work on education, social justice strategies, advocacy, activism and consume cannabis openly with other like minded people without fear. In fact we did make this happen in Calgary for a short time at least. Late 2008 Calgary 420 got lucky when a member donated a 1000 sq. ft. space with all bills paid for a period of 7 months. In fact the Calgary Police Service would stop for a friendly chat if we were outside. The City of Calgary even addressed a letter to us there. The letter said they had created a new bylaw and our event, the 5th Calgary Global Marijuana March no less, would not be allowed. See the City of Calgary (silly hall) letter http://calgary420.ca/cityhall/cityhall_2009.pdf in fact we got another silly hall letter in 2010 as well. Of course our annual Global Marijuana March 420 community events still went ahead as advertised and with out any more issues from silly hall.
The point is they knew where and what Calgary 420 was up to during those months and left our awesome community of volunteers to keep it open 7 days a week unrestricted. We have continued since working with a lot of strong supporters in our community many of our long time sponsors included to open cannabis vapour lounges in Calgary as well as other locations in Alberta.
Now with that bit of information is out of the way I feel I can better explain why I was allowed to attend the first Calgary MMAR Patient Support Group gathering when it is clearly advertised a valid Health Canada MMAR exemption is required. I know this is strictly enforced as Debbie and I were there start to end. So clearly I must have a valid Health Canada MMAR exemption now.
Why and when did Keith Fagin apply for a Health Canada MMAR exemption?
Debbie and I came to realise to achieve our communities permanent vapour lounge goals we would need to find a way we could open and stay open just like other cities in Canada that have a number of choices in regards to a cannabis vapour lounges. By now you know this is going to be difficult to do in Calgary and Alberta. We need to take a much different approach in Alberta then other provinces in Canada. The permanent vapour lounge to open later this year will have to remain restricted to Health Canada Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) exemption holders only at least for the near future. In 2011 Lisa Kirkman was having much success educating Alberta Health Services about why Health Canada MMAR exemption holders should be allowed to vaporize their cannabis medication in Alberta hospitals. Lisa then started to work on Alberta Health Services and Sheldon Chumir Health Centre to donate a well equipped free space for Health Canada MMAR exemption holders to socialize and also be allowed to medicate responsibly in the Sheldon Chumir building during these gatherings. I then promised Lisa and Debbie I would apply for a Health Canada MMAR exemption so I could help more to move this ground breaking project forward in Canada. Alberta Health has recognized chronically ill people who get out of the house and socialize at least in some capacity on a regular basis do better in general and require less intervention by the healthcare and social welfare systems. Some say Alberta’s first legal medical cannabis vapour lounge has been created in Calgary with the strong support of the Alberta Health Services, the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre and DKF Med Care! That is one of the many important reasons why I finally applied for a Health Canada MMAR exemption.
So lets get to the when I applied for a Health Canada MMAR exemption.
March 12 / 2012 (Bill C-10 voted on parliament) I placed my Health Canada MMAR application in the mail.
Thank you to all the many people that have had a part in all our communities positive actions!