The offices of two Manitoba Members of Parliament were targeted by protestors on Thursday, Feb. 21. They are upset about proposed changes to the way Canadians access medical marijuana. They say it could make it more expensive to obtain the drug legally and could force them to turn to the black market for their medicine.

The existing laws allow people with licenses to grow their own medical marijuana. Under the new legislation that will no longer be allowed. Instead, people with a prescription for marijuana would have to purchase it from a government licensed distributor

Steven Stairs showed up to protest the changes.

“They let us spend thousands of dollars setting up systems where we can produce our own medicine and now they’re saying we can’t do it anymore,” he said.

Greg, who asked to be identified by first name only, is in constant pain due to a spinal cord injury. He says he spent more than $10,000 on his system for cultivating medical marijuana. He says he made the investment because he believes marijuana is better for his health than the pharmaceutical alternatives.

“Medical marijuana has done a lot more for me pain wise than all the other 15 prescription narcotics I’m on right now,” he said.

But Saint Boniface MP Shelly Glover says too many current operations pose fire risks or are infested with mould. She says the changes will allow private companies to produce medical marijuana in a way that allows Health Canada to ensure it is safe.

“We want to make it accessible to those who suffer from pain and who are using medical marijuana to reduce the pain,” she said. “And we want to do it in a safe and secure way.”

Greg insists his operation is completely safe and says he wishes the government would start an inspection program instead of preventing him from growing his own medicine.

He says the private companies will put profits before patients and many won’t be able to afford their prices. He says that could force patients to buy the drug from criminals.