Chief Beer Supports New Regulations On Medicinal Marijuana

By February 12, 2013Abbotsford News

From Fire Chief Don Beer. The type of fire experienced this morning can be very dangerous for citizens as well as firefighters due to the electrocution hazard it presents.

Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, recently announced that after a broad consultation process, the Government of Canada intends to make changes to the way Canadians access marihuana for medical purposes.

“Current medical marihuana regulations have left the system open to abuse,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “We have heard real concerns from law enforcement, fire officials, and municipalities about how people are hiding behind these rules to conduct illegal activity, and putting health and safety of Canadians at risk. These changes will make it far more difficult for people to game the system.”

In the past decade, Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Program has grown exponentially, from under 500 authorized persons in 2002 to over 26,000 today.

This rapid increase has had unintended consequences for public health, safety and security as a result of allowing individuals to produce marihuana in their homes.

The proposed new regulations will protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and their communities by eliminating the production of marihuana in homes.

“An average of one in 22 marihuana grow operations (legal and illegal) catch fire, which is 24 times higher than the average home,” said Stephen Gamble, President of the Canadians Association of Fire Chiefs. “We applaud the Government of Canada for strengthening Health Canada’s regulations for marihuana for medical purposes to enhance the safety of Canada’s firefighters and the communities they protect.”

The Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia (FCABC) said the change will improve safety in residential neighbourhoods. “The fire service across Canada has been raising the alarm about the fire and safety risks associated with growing marihuana indoors for many years,” said FCABC President Len Garis.

FCABC President Garis stressed the fire service has never been concerned about the use of marihuana for medical purposes. “Our focus is on how medical marihuana is grown,” he said. “The fact is, medical marihuana has typically been grown in a residential setting, which is not suitable or safe for growing marihuana.”

Abbotsford Fire Chief Don Beer

Abbotsford Fire Chief Don Beer

Fire Chief Don Beer agrees with FCABC President Garis statement, “taking marihuana production out of homes and into a licensed commercial environment is a step in the right direction, and that we are happy to see Health Canada commit to inspecting and auditing medical marihuana producers to make sure they comply with all regulatory requirements”.

“We would like to see them take a further step and ensure that all previous residential growing sites are remediated, and that future buyers are made aware that these homes were previously used to grow marihuana.”

The federal Ministry of Health said it intends to implement the system by March 31, 2014, at which point all current licenses to possess or produce pot would expire.

The details of the proposed regulations are available at:

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