Mulcair takes on proposed Tory health-care cuts, marijuana stance

CMA at odds with Mulcair over marijuana

The Canadian Medical Association officially warns against smoking pot as the NDP leader calls it “personal choice”


OTTAWA – Tom Mulcair defended the use of marijuana as a matter of personal choice on Wednesday, recalling his own youth puffing on “oregano” even as the Canadian Medical Association officially warned against smoking pot.

In remarks on the sidelines of the annual CMA meeting, the NDP leader stopped short of echoing Justin Trudeau’s call to legalize marijuana, saying there are still issues that need to be examined before that happens.

“The NDP for 40 years has believed that it makes no sense at all for a person to have a criminal record for possession or personal use of a small amount of marijuana,” Mulcair said when asked why his party isn’t backing Trudeau’s stance.

“But what we are also saying is that there are a lot of complex issues, including supply, that have to be looked at in a lot more detailed fashion…. There is still a fair amount of hard work to be done to be able to get to solutions.”

Mulcair didn’t specifically raise any health concerns about weed, disputing a suggestion that it’s a gateway drug. That’s a “very 1960s argument” that has been widely debunked, Mulcair told a news conference.

But just upstairs at the Ottawa Convention Centre a few hours later, two-thirds of CMA delegates voted to formally oppose the smoking of any plant substance, including cannabis.

Louis Hugo Francescutti, the outgoing head of the CMA, said smoking plants has a detrimental impact on the lungs’ “natural cleaning and repair system” and can trap toxic chemicals in the lungs.

He pointed to a 2008 study by the American Chemical Society that found marijuana fumes are rife with just as many chemicals as tobacco smoke, but in greater concentrations.

Francescutti also said the motion could add some heft to the CMA’s call for more research into medical marijuana.

Some doctors, however, worried that the anti-plant smoking resolution had a prohibitionist tone.

The delegates also gave the green light to another resolution that urged a comprehensive regulatory standard for approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes at the end of a conference in which weed was a hot-button issue.

Chris Simpson, the CMA’s new president, opined that pot could be more harmful than tobacco because weed-smokers inhale more deeply. But he reiterated the CMA’s long-standing position, similar to Mulcair’s, that marijuana should be decriminalized.

In Vancouver on Tuesday, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the federal government is still assessing whether to allow police to ticket people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of pursuing criminal charges.

Ahead of a meeting with law enforcement officials in Vancouver, MacKay said any change in legislation would have to happen within the next six months.

In his speech, Mulcair accused the Tories of unsuccessfully trying to recruit Canadian doctors in an ideological crusade against marijuana.

Three medical groups, including the CMA, recently turned down a request by Ottawa to participate in a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of marijuana use to Canadian youth. They said the issue had become a “political football.”

Trudeau called the proposed campaign a thinly veiled attack on his pro-legalization stance. Health Minister Rona Ambrose, who spoke at the conference earlier this week, scoffed at the Liberal leader’s charge.

Mulcair stated the obvious on Tuesday — public perceptions about marijuana are changing rapidly.

“Everything is moving in the same direction; even the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police is saying we should move away from the current system,” he said after his speech, the first at the CMA conference by an Opposition leader.

And he recalled his own experiences with weed.

“When I was a student it was part of the culture, but what we were smoking back then was about as strong as oregano compared to what’s on the market today,” he said.

The fact that it’s stronger now, however, doesn’t change his views, he added. “I think it’s a matter of personal choice.”


CMA at odds with Mulcair over marijuana

  1. More excuses to limit freedom and drag in religion.

    • You are the one dragging in religion. It isn’t mentioned in the article.

      • Been away from this site see Emily is still Ms.One Note

  2. Tom, you must of had a bad dealer or you either smoked Mexican weed when you were in university. I remember pot more powerful in the 60’s and 70’s. Do you remember Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Thai Stick, and African Black.

  3. “He pointed to a 2008 study by the American Chemical Society that found marijuana fumes are rife with just as many chemicals as tobacco smoke, but in greater concentrations.”

    What they do to tell you here is that cannabis contains chemical compounds called cannabinoids which are virtually identical to endogenous cannabinoid compounds in our own bodies e.g. anandamide and 2AG.

    These chemical compounds have profound impact on all sorts of health related problems e.g. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer… in a positive way. This is coming from tons of peer reviewed scientific studies, many published on the US government’s own US National Library of Medicine (

    CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta even says this…

    “The United States through it’s own department of Health and Human Services has a patent on Marijuana as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant in the brain. So on one hand, they say it has no medical application, while on the other hand they say “we have a patent on it as a medical application”. This is hypocrisy.”

    Here’s the patent.

    US Patent 6,630,507 Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants

    “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”…

    Oh, and CMA, also please pull your head out of the sand. There are many other safe and effective ways of consuming cannabis e.g. Vaporizers, ingestion, concentrated oils, tinctures…

    • Brownies for everyone! Your last point is excellent, but…
      Smokeless tobacco (chew) is just as carcinogenic as inhaling the smoke from burning tobacco. Maybe we should study the long term effects of the various methods of consuming marijuana. Are brownies safer than blunts? Interesting question, IMO.

      • You need to study the history of the plant. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years both safely and efficaciously as medicine and a mild recreational intoxicant.

        It has been studied FAR more than any of the toxic pills they push today for mega $$$$.

        Furthermore, they make it nearly impossible to do government “official” studies looking for any benefits, and only look for harms. In other words they try to paint an extremely distorted picture of it so it won’t compete with the pills of today’s so called “traditional” medicine.

        Yes, pills which are often addictive and have a whole host of negative side effects including death are traditional… plants are alternative medicine.

        More to come…

          • Some of CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Top 10 quotes on medical marijuana.

            “For 3,000 years marijuana was a legitimate medication.”

            “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States.”

            “It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications.”

            7. “It could potentially help people who really need it and it’s not being offered.”

            8. “I couldn’t find a single confirmed overdose death.”

            Dr. Gupta regularly reminds the public that prescription drug overdoses claim a life every 19 minutes.

            In contrast, Dr. Gupta told CNN’s Situation Room that he failed to find evidence of marijuana ever causing a single death. Many argue that marijuana is one of the safest substances in the world when it comes to mortality risk.


            Ask questions…. we now have this thing called the internet which is a wonderful tool for research.

  4. Gee doctors knock a drug with four times the tar in it than nicotine and people are shocked

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