I have begun to believe my mind is full of tiny little topics that act like pimples.

No one can predict the order they start to fester in, or when they’ll get ripe and burst.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A Very Simple Question for All Federal Election Candidates

I Could Not Believe It.

I am TheSmeeGoanGuy
Marijuana Blogger and Loudmouth

I am also a member of the Liberal party of Canada and I am going to the Liberal Leadership Debate in Vancouver next Sunday.  $20? I couldn’t pass it up

You can imagine my delight as an attendee to get an e-mail from the party inviting me to submit a question that I would like to get answered by the candidates What did I want and expected from the leader candidate to earn my vote. This was a sort of competition and a winner of the submissions might be invited to actually get of the podium and address the audience and ask his question and why he posed it. Any of you followers realize that there was NO way this honey bear could avoid getting his head stuck into the pot.

I sat down and wrote a brilliant summation of the catastrophe coming from any increase in the price of Medical Cannabis. I described the currents situation, I predicted what I foresaw coming that amounted to a complete destruction of the ability of the people who needed it most: to afford their daily medical requirement. I backed it up with facts, valid estimates and statistics wrapped in a presentation of arguments analysis that could be followed and what I thought was common sense reasoning. I finally came to the end of my 1500 odd word presentation and the most pleasant surprise End of the Rainbow reward:

I boiled that entire head scratching down to a final realization of what my goal in all this controversy is about. My concluding question to the Leadership Candidates was one statement and question. I stated the ultimate objective of my advocacy and I asked what they would do to help all me get there.

I sat with pride and went to the place to submit my question only to find out  that I hadn’t read the fine print and Cannabis or Medical Marijuana were not one the topics accepted for discussion. Bummer. Total waste of %$#&$% time!!

I sat and sulked for a while and had a couple of major tokes to get over the shock of losing the opportunity to ask anyone in the party where they stood and I came to a brilliant realization! The leadership of the parties really were not the ones who whom it should be asked. It should be asked of every candidate for a seat in parliament because given 20000 licensees divided by 308 = 65 sick voters / candidate. There is some Medical Marijuana Licensee or applicant voter in each riding who deserves a direct answer from the person who is asking for his vote. It acknowledges the problem of a constituent and advises what assistance he and his office can render. Failure to respond deserves the consequences and I have many in mind.

Accordingly I readdressed this message to every one of the Federal Candidates to remind them of their responsibility to equally consider the plight of all their electorate as individuals with a right to protection;

I have modified my statement to address each of you as a member of the collective pool of candidates and present you with my question as to how you would represent me as a constituent needing Medical cannabis in the event o the successful implementation of your goals re Cannabis management in the future. It is asked of all of you regardless of party on behalf of a very vulnerable group of voters

Unfortunately you now have to read the 1500 words of argumentation and logic I wrote before I reveal my concluding question to them and the end result I want to obtain.

What I want from my MP

To All the Federal Candidates regardless of party affiliation

Gentlemen and Ladies:

I have a problem with all of the Federal Parties on the matter of Medical Marijuana.

1.     Hypocrit Harpo: The Fearless Leader now in power, is determined to ram through the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in defiance of all common sense or reason.
2.     The Opposition Candidates are becoming unified in an effort to go even further. All propose to legalize or decriminalize cannabis and garner the benefits of the increased economic potential in Hemp production and product innovation in terms of employment and commercial benefit. The primary goal is the gold at the end of the rainbow: the huge influx of revenue that will be realized from the production and taxes of a legal recreational drug market.

This is wonderful stuff, rosy projections of all the future benefits: totally oblivious to the fact that successful implementation of any of your plans will completely eliminate the possibility that anyone needing Cannabis for Medical purposes will be able to obtain it. The worst problem of the current system is not the legality or criminality involved. It is the simple fact that if it is not from a PPL/DPL source, virtually all Licensees are unable to purchased the amount they currently require and are authorized to buy. The Government at least has the honesty to admit a price increase will be inevitable but projected the price for Medical cannabis will stabilize around $8/gram compared to the ridiculous $1.80-$5.00/gram range they claim is the current cost. I question the source of that $1.80 figure. He had to be smoking Health Canada pot: I’ve never witnessed criminal stuff being quite that polluted with hallucinogenic contaminants.

Regardless of the size of the forthcoming increase it is simply unacceptable.
As historical background The Marihuana Medical Access Program was a brilliant and compassionate idea that never ever had a chance of succeeding from the start. The Government as usual, failed to consider the financial position of the clientele they were trying to help. No one knows or has determined what the demographics of the Licensees are, but I think we can safely conclude that given the fact they have been sick long enough to warrant a License, they are probably at the poverty level and mostly dependant on Pension or Welfare income. 

The bureaucracy in its infinite wisdom decided to set the price of Legal pot at 50% of the $10/gram street price
Statistics Canada defines the "poverty line" (or low-income cut off) for a single person living in a major city in 2007 as $21,666 (before tax), or $1805/month. The majority of all Licensees are single individuals’ dependent on fixed pension income from the Government. Licensees are all sick and either retired or disabled, or one of the very few still able to earn an income. These single individuals have only OAS and CPP as income and in the best possible income is available only to a retired recipient who is collecting maximum OAS of $537.97, who is so physically destroyed by illness to qualify for the maximum CPP Disability of $1,153.37. These fortunate individuals qualify for $1691.34/month before tax and almost make it to the poverty line: Almost but not quite. The worst damage is to those Licensees with dependants. Without the Old Age Security pension the only Federal Government assistance available is the CPP Maximum. There is no provision for support of dependents and they fall into the Welfare pit of their Province.

The government issues Licenses to Possess for daily use of amounts from anywhere from a minimum of 1 gram/day to more than 50 grams. Regardless of the number authorized, a one gram minimum plus HST costs $168 for a one month 30 gram supply. This is more than 10% of the maximum income available to Licensees from pension as well as those still able to work. A full time minimum wage job yields the same before tax income as the best case retiree. Very few Licensees can afford to purchase the amount they are authorized to use for symptom relief and wind up short changed on a sufficient amount to relieve their suffering.

As a classic example I am one of the fortunate who has a License, a minimal 2 gram/day authorization and to this point the ability to afford my dosage. That ability is now in question and any future price increase is prohibitive. I am a Married Senior with combined OAS, CPP, US Social Security and a WCB Pensions for a total fixed family retirement income of about $38000. Until October of last year I was able to work as a Part time Security Guard for extra income that has now vanished. I was able to afford my Cannabis until now because I was one of the very fortunate few that found a Designated Grower who compassionately sold me at just over his cost at $100/oz., just over $3/gram.

As a comparison to the unfortunate many, let’s calculate the cost of an average 5 gram/day Rx and the ability of the average licensee (with the maximum Federal Pension Assistance) to pay for it. To buy at the lowest available price from Health Canada his medication will cost $25/day x 365 = $9125 per annum and represents nearly 50% of his annual income of $21,666 which was already below the poverty line set 6 years ago in a much healthier economy. A price increase to the $8 estimate of the Government will cost this poor guy an additional $5475 per year that has to be wrenched from the balance of his current survival money. He must now some how survive on the $7000 of his remaining income to pay for the essentials for survival. Impossible!

What if he is really in need of a 20g/day allowance? There is no way he can afford it. Now we are talking a minimum daily cost of $100 that is going to rise to $160 or nearly $60000 annually. To pay for medication that will cost more than three times his annual income is an impossibility.

So what do I want from my candidate and his approach to Cannabis.

1.     recognition that the rosy picture he is painting of his program actually has a dark side.
2.     An understanding that while the darkness only will affect a very small number of voters with no political influence; its impact will be catastrophic to their survival needs.
3.     Realization that to permit this to happen is not only inhuman, it is inhumane!
4.     If such action is not taken, I feel the Supreme Court will show consistency and decide that once again the patients’ rights to access will be violated. They will be blocked by a predicted prohibitive price for which there is no accommodation or exemption allowed and that is simply not Canadian.
5.     Above all: a pledge to foster the design and implementation of some sort of subsidy or assistance to ameliorate and minimize the impact of any price increase on the people who it will damage.

You do not have to believe anything I have said, all you have to do is use real numbers and do the math yourself. My predictions of doom are pretty safe. I have a B.A. in Statistics and 1+1 still equals 2.

I can’t understand Conservative thinking. Harpomath never did make sense to me but they all must be firm believers in his fiction. How else could they come up with all the weird financial bullshit they exude without provocation?

There I end. You know what I want. Where do you stand and how will you respond to the following;

Based on the recognition that major harm will result from any price increase no matters the size from the successful adoption of your proposals I would like you to attempt to create an end result simply
where a Qualified Medical Cannabis Licensee can 
legally purchase the quantity of Cannabis needed for his relief 


My Question to you all?
What can I expect in return for my loyalty and vote or is that too much to ask?.

 Now it’s your turn.
Go for the Big Gold Ring- My vote.
Blaine Barrett