Canadian Cannabis

2014, Drugs  -   21 Comments
Ratings: 7.70/10 from 50 users.

Vice's episodic documentary Canadian Cannabis examines the impact of a recently updated medical marijuana law on Canadians suffering from a variety of ailments. Reporter Damian Abraham, himself a user of medicinal marijuana, explores the topic by visiting grow operations and dispensaries. In addition to touring these facilities he enjoys casual but enlightening chats with professional cultivators, legal experts, and patients.

The Canadian medical marijuana legislation, first enacted about fifteen years ago, allowed users to either grow their own weed, purchase it from an independent licensed provider (LP), or purchase it through an LP contracted by Health Canada. Changes introduced in April, 2014 hindered sales through independent LPs, in turn enabling the increasing corporatization of Canada's medical marijuana industry.

In the first installment Abraham delights in touring two Ontario-based production facilities, where luscious green plants populate pristine and spacious grow rooms. While both the quality and quantities of the crops being produced are jaw-droppingly impressive, the devastation to many patients as a result of the new law becomes evident throughout the series. Through conversations with lawyer John Conroy and activist Jodie Emery it is convincingly argued that the industrialization of medicinal marijuana creates undue difficulties for patients who were once safely medicating under the previous legislation.

In Episode 2 Abraham checks out Jim's Weeds, a dispensary in Vancouver, where he enjoys the spoils of a legal weed lounge while learning more about the use of medicinal marijuana by senior citizens and children. Specializing in edible and smoke-free forms of consumption such as drinks and baked goods, Jim's aims to provide products that are safe for patients at all stages of life.

The final episode most directly illustrates the ways in which patients have suffered as a result of the new medical marijuana program. Abraham speaks to a man living with multiple sclerosis, another with HIV, and a couple whose young baby relies on cannabinoid extract to manage a seizure disorder. Together their stories present a compelling case for the benefits of medical marijuana and the importance of safe, legal access to it. A captivating, humorous, and informative series, Canadian Cannabis successfully humanizes the issue of medical marijuana.

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21 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Glen from Canada

    Pot should be legal. That's obvious. But it kinda irks me when I here these stoners calling it "medicine", or referring to themselves as "patients" (most often with that coy little smirk on their faces). It's medicine when that KID that has crazy-a** multiple seizures daily, and uses the non-psychotropic variety to vastly reduce them, not for us garden-variety stoners. So quit with the "medical" bulls*it and just say that which is obvious. You wanna get stoned (just like your grandpa wanted to get drunk) and not be tagged as a criminal in the process. Or better yet, put down your hacky-sac for a couple sec's next election, grab your bros from the drum circle, and go vote for Justin Trudeau.

    1. LoggerheadShrike

      That guy is in all the same pockets as Harper, and he'll be doing the same thing: trying to make sure agricultural and pharmaceutical corporate giants get total control, by writing laws to illegalize - or at least hamper - independant production.
      He'll promise something different, but that's what it'll be in the end. The amount of money at stake here is easily in the billions.

  2. Sick of everything

    We are, just a slow process. To many decades of bs like "Reefer Madness".

  3. Richard Neva

    Too bad the USA does not wise up on this subject!

  4. dmxi

    as usual a great doc to a great topic!

    1. bringmeredwine

      Yes, this was rather enlightening and educational, although I found the presenter annoying.
      Nobody really seems to know what's going on here as far as the new regulations go. The Arsey MP and Health Canada don't seem to have a clue, either.
      For example, how come Jim's Weeds was shut down but Mega Ill wasn't?
      I really sympathize with patients who benefit from marijuana, and the small legal growers who try to help them.
      I couldn't believe all the nonsense about how patients were expected to get rid of their supply after the new regulations were passed. Are they really that out to lunch at Health Canada? How embarrassing! My taxes support that kind of crap!
      It's maddening and illogical that a patient cannot simply grow his or her own supply, if they have the resources..
      The MS patient's observations rang true. In Northern Ontario, it's very difficult to find a doctor willing to write a prescription.
      It's also daunting to try and set up a grow-op, because you will meet with barriers from the municipalities (not in our back yard!), federal government bureaucracy bs and confused law enforcement, more often than not.
      I think it will be many years before all of this mess is sorted out. But I suspect the huge LP's will win out in the end.
      Because it's all about money and control.

  5. trumpsahead

    This is occurring all over the world at this time more than any other time in modern history, that is the premise of the film, that the gods of government have decreed that Purveyors of marijuana "must be licensed by the govt" - so much for "legalization".
    All the giant corporations and pharmaceuticals will be licensed, but govt is raiding, confiscating all money, merchandise, and any and all equipment these little solitary pot shops own.
    It seems to me most govts are acting this same dictatorial way towards the citizens of the particular country, as in America. In China this very week, police were tear-gassing in overwhelmingly aggressive fashion a protest gathering whose civil rights have been infringed.
    The entire world is becoming socialistic and controlled by a central unseen govt. Waking up to the reality of a police state is one thing, the next step is to do something about it.
    The answer is CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. To the extent we are able, every human being who in good conscience feels oppressed by govt regulations into our private lives, our Constitutional rights, as in this case: govt controlling what we smoke, eat, grow and much more, must disobey the oppressive and unConstitutional govt laws. Disobeying a "bad" law is instant Freedom from oppression. According to our Founding Fathers, when a law imposed by govt without the consent of the people infringes on the rights of We the People, it is not only a good idea, but a Duty of every citizen to disobey that law which is unConstitutional on its face.

    1. Fabien L

      I don't really understand why licensing by the government pauses no problem to you for several other medicines you need a prescription for and can only obtain in a drug store but becomes a huge deal for marijuana.

    2. LoggerheadShrike

      Those are patented drugs which pharmaceutical companies own the rights to. They're not just plants you can grow at home. Why should you have to pay corporations to grow for you? It's fine if someone wants to just buy instead, but using the state to force everyone to buy from your pals and illegalizing their competition so they can kick you back some benefits, is simply corruption and cronyism.

    3. Fabien L

      Nope, most drugs sold in drug store are generics with patents that expired long ago. I don't want anyone on the street to be able to grow poppies to sell me opiates made in their basement neither cannabis oil with naphta or whatever they feell like adding to it. Don't try to make me believe drug dealers aren't corrupt, the only thing that matters to them is how much money they can make.

    4. LoggerheadShrike

      So YOU don't want to buy home brew beer because you're scared, then it should be illegal, right? And so should all small breweries. They should all be made to get expensive licenses that only the biggest brewers can afford. That's basically what you're advocated here, under the excuse that some guy brewing in his basement should be stopped before he adds something to it, and sent to jail for everyone's safety (when you illegalize something, that IS what you're talking about). How paranoid, how nanny state, how ridiculous. They just want to do this so Big Pharma can suck up all the profits.
      Drug dealers? You're handing everything to them. Big Pharma is drug dealers these days. I guess you never heard how hard they pushed oxycontin over so many objections, how much they spent on lobbying to do it, how they sprinkled it so liberally everywhere knowing it would create an epidemic of junkies (and big profits, of course). You are very naieve!

    5. Fabien L

      lol, there is a huge discrepancy between drug dealers that mix their chemicals in a basement or shed high on whatever they take and medications made in a clean laboratory by professionals with standards of operation. I don't care if some guy high on whatever is selling leaves of a plant, my problem is when that guy starts to mix chemicals to make oil, powders and pills.

    6. LoggerheadShrike

      There is a huge discrepancy between home brewers who mix their batch in the basement or shed drunk on their brew and alcohol made in a clean Molsons' factory too, but it still doesn't answer why you think home brew should be illegal. And alcohol is much easier to tamper with and has been tampered with far more often - in fact, a home brewer doesn't even have to be trying to make the stuff dangerous, he can just screw up.

      Yet you think it should be illegal for marijuana to be produced by farmers or hobbyists, something which is more difficult to tamper with, and cannot result in poisoning by accident, unlike home brew alcohol. Instead, it should only be grown by giant foreign corporations who simply happen to give lots of money to politicians. No, it's regular people we need the government to protect us from. Mr. Harper says you need to be saved from Bill Smith down the street, who might grow weed in his basement, because he'll probably add cyanide for no reason at all - but pay no attention to this new batch of Monsanto weed. Your kids will have probably have some extra fingers and 1-3 ears each if you smoke it, but hey, Simon says, right?

      So far, you've failed to provide reasonable justification for why it should be different.

    7. Fabien L

      Where did I say that it should be illegal? As far as I know, it's not illegal for anyone to start a beer brewery and sell their beer if they respect production and commerce laws, there are hundreds of micro-breweries in North America. And there are dozens of Medical Cannabis producers too. Just look at the Canadian Medical Marijuana Producers website, It's definitely not 100% owned and operated by big pharma.

    8. LoggerheadShrike

      If you think anyone should be able to grow, the same as anyone can home brew wine or beer, without having to jump through bureaucratic hoops and pay money-grab licensing fees, then we are in agreement and this debate may be concluded.

      I could live with licensing for commercial crops. I'm mostly concerned with whether you can grow a simple plant at home without Harper waving his finger and sticking his nose into it, playing nanny, purely out of cronyism.

    9. Fabien L

      Just like homemade beer, sure you can make your own but need to follow laws that require up to code facilities and protect the public from poisoning if you are going to sell it. Would you allow anyone to sell food without monitoring just because they can do it?

    10. LoggerheadShrike

      Sorry but homemade beer doesn't require "up to code facilities". Anyone can make beer at home, there are no inspections, no licenses, and no code to be up to.
      Would I allow anyone to grow food at home without monitoring? Yes, but we already do. Do you want Harper to send inspectors to my grandmother's vegetable garden and make sure she's up to code? Because that would be a new and radical and very unpopular and expensive policy that would not really benefit anything. A solution in search of a problem.

    11. Fabien L

      Yes but they can't open a shop and start selling it.

    12. LoggerheadShrike

      I'm not against regulating retail. I would even be cool with illegalizing all retail and allowing only private home growers, no sales for cash. Or have it only sold through government outlets - maybe they could just sell it at the LCBO in Ontario. It would certainly be better than relying on gas station attendants or Shopper's Drug Mart girls not to sell marijuana to minors.

      That's certainly not the direction we're moving. The current government is taking us in the complete opposite direction, and banning home growth in order to force people to buy retail, from a select group of private companies that face little inspection or taxation. That's what I'm against.

    13. Fabien L

      Ok, I'll make my point really clear, I am tired of dancing around with you really.

      1) I don't care if you grow pot for your own usage like you can grow tomatoes or peppers.

      2) I have a problem when some guy concocts mixtures in his basement or shed like cannabis oil that can blow the house like it happened a few years ago in my hometown. Just like I don't want some i*iot to distill alcool next door and set the block on fire.

      3) If cannabis products become legal, I expect the government to make sure that Mr Pothead that grows it in his basement isn't spraying it with 3 times the necessary dose of insecticide because he had a few aphids on some plants and I want to be sure that m*ron isn't shooting it with just about any chemical because he thinks it gives a better buzz.

      4) I expect it to get taxed as much as cigarettes since it's smoking.

    14. LoggerheadShrike

      Good! Point 1 is a direct rejection of current plans. Home growing was permitted for medical users until a few months back, when Harper decided its illegal, in order to force them to buy from companies that he's in bed with.

      2 yes I'm aware of the new and dangerous methods they're using to make oil. I agree some regulation is necessary here.

      3 that's more likely to happen when Monsanto grows it. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed that's what they will be doing. You'll be much better off buying local from a Mr. Pothead with a good reputation, same as you're better off buying food local. I would expect it to closely resemble other agricultural products - clean and organic and local for the urban elites, shitty gmo weed doused in pesticides for everybody else. Once the big money comes in, Walmart (or its equivalent) will be buying cannabis in China in massive quantities, to sell in the North American market. They will be retailing very cheap processed products (eg not raw cannabis, but oils and such) at prices no other competitor will be willing to match - they'll have the edge on processing simply by virtue of economy of scale, and once they do it, swiftly dominate the market for processed cannabis. Them or whoever takes their role in the future. It seems crazy, but by following what must happen, I have absolutely no doubt this will happen.
      In Canada, with the way the government is moving now, there will be *only* Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart and such. You won't be able to get real, raw marijuana that's not been tampered with.

      4 or more. I think, given time, the mass market will be processed, the niche markets organic, so I think what would be in the best public interest is to make the niche more affordable for more people because it'll be healthier. I.E. tax the living shit out of secondary, processed products and encourage and protect (rather than discourage and forbid) local buying, for both economic and health reasons. Remember: it's an agricultural product, not just a drug, and in terms of production especially it will more closely resemble agriculture than pharmaceuticals. More field than factory (but a bit of that too).