Health Canada served notice Monday it will soon invite firms to bid on a contract to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana, which is now being done in Flin Flon, Man., by Prairie Plant Systems Inc.
The winning firm will be expected to deliver a steady stream of government-approved dope to certified medical, users starting in the fall.
Health Canada has said it plans to eventually end its licensing of home-grown weed. That would force all medical users to buy their supplies directly from Ottawa, perhaps through pharmacy distribution, Ron Marzel, a Toronto lawyer who recently brought the matter before the Federal Court on behalf of a group of medical users, says he's concerned about any monopoly on legal production and supply of the drug.
"The government's just had such a horrible track record in terms of supplying medication to patients," he said "There are many different strains of cannabis out there and the government's position to date has been, 'Well, we're growing one strain and we've got one supplier and that's it. Live with it, "The pharmacological evidence is that different ailments require, and different symptomology require, treatment with different strains. And the government hasn't paid heed to that at all".
The Federal Court decision in January struck down a key restriction in the government's pot program.
A judge's ruling eased Ottawa's grip on medical marijuana by allowing growers to supply the drug to more than one user. Prior to the ruling, each licensed grower could supply only one licensed user.