By Alfa · Jun 5, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    Health Canada Gives OK, But Canada Post Says No

    Canada Post is refusing to ship medicinal marijuana between federally
    licensed growers and users despite having no basis for such a denial.

    Michel Aube, a Health Canada-approved medicinal marijuana user who lives in
    Brockville has not received a recent shipment his licensed supplier sent
    him more than a month ago.

    And, according to Canada Post spokesman John Caines, the package will not
    be delivered because it contains a controlled substance.

    However, Health Canada spokesperson Catherine Saunders said that marijuana
    being transported between licensed growers and licensed recipients is

    Such a shipment, she said, "is legal under the federal Controlled Drugs and
    Substances Act."

    The cannabis was mailed from Brian Taylor in Grand Forks, B.C. on April 22,
    but never arrived at Mr. Aube's house. It was Mr. Taylor's second shipment
    to Mr. Aube, who suffers from chronic and severe back pain.

    The first package did arrive from Canada Post, but it was battered and its
    odour easily detectable from a distance. Each package -- about one month's
    supply -- contained about three ounces of marijuana.

    Mr. Aube was frustrated with the condition of the first package, but he did
    not file a complaint with Canada Post.

    When the second package failed to arrive, he waited the 20-day minimum
    before contacting the Canada Post ombudsman.

    "Nobody would tell me where my package was and I had to go back to 120 ml
    of morphine a day. I had been down to 30."

    Without marijuana, Mr. Aube must resort to using morphine to ease suffering
    from the chronic and severe back pain he experiences due to soft tissue
    damage in the vertebrae.

    Mr. Taylor's packages were tightly wrapped with duct tape, in compliance
    with the most recent Health Canada regulations for the shipment of
    medicinal marijuana.

    Both packages were nondescript and stamped only with the three-letter
    abbreviation "CRI," for the Cannabis Research Institute, and a return address.

    On his end, Mr. Taylor, the former mayor of Grand Forks, filed a lost item
    complaint with Canada Post in Vancouver detailing the precise contents of
    the missing package.

    However, Mr. Taylor was warned by a Canada Post spokesperson that he should
    refrain from shipping medicinal marijuana through the Crown corporation
    because, if detected, it would be confiscated.

    Mr. Caines added that while Mr. Taylor had a license to grow marijuana, he
    did not have a license to ship the substance through Canada Post because
    "Purolator is the only registered carrier of the substance."

    But Ms. Saunders, of Health Canada, denied that claim.

    She said there is no separate shipping license for growers and, according
    to the Regulations Amending the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations of
    December 2003, growers may ship using any courier -- including Canada Post
    -- so long as that courier meets three criteria: a means of tracking the
    package during transit, obtaining a signed acknowledgment of receipt by the
    holder of the authorization to possess it, and safekeeping of the package
    during transit.

    Mr. Aube desperately wants to wean himself from morphine reliance, which
    has caused him to lose nearly 100 pounds due to a loss of appetite. In
    addition, while on morphine, he lives in a state of constant lethargy but
    is unable to sleep for longer than three hours a night.

    "It's killing me. If I had to go to jail to be able to smoke pot instead of
    morphine then I would. I thought this problem was behind me, that I had
    finally found a way to get my pot easily and legally."

    Canada Post said yesterday that if the package is located it will remain
    undeliverable under the corporation's non-mailable substances policy.

    The package was scanned with its tracking number in the Grand Forks post
    office, but subsequently disappeared from the system. It was not rerouted
    to Canada Post's undeliverable mail facility and the corporation has no
    knowledge of police confiscation.

    Mr. Taylor shipped a replacement dosage to Mr. Aube this week using a
    private courier that cost nearly three times the price of Canada Post, the
    primary reason he used Canada Post in the first place.

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