Canada’s legal weed market is a little more than a week underway, and while business has certainly been booming, there has already been controversy in one province.
Nova Scotia Man on Hunger Strike to Protest High Prices of Cannabis
Bob Dillman, a longtime medical marijuana patient under Health Canada, has taken issue with Canada’s burgeoning recreational market. Dillman, who suffered a lower back injury at work back in 2008, and has since suffered a plethora of internal problems such as organ problems and digestive issues, blames the increased demand from recreational patients for a lack of quantity—and quality— of medical-grade flower.
As a result, Dillman has been on a hunger strike since Monday in order to protest the rising costs of his medicine. According to Dillman, who is from the province of Nova Scotia, the cannabis market in has been monopolized by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp [NSLC], making it increasingly difficult to access the medicine.
Dillman says that his supply has been cut short in several instances over the past decade, but now things are worse than ever. Per Dillman, the NSLC has allegedly been shutting down dispensaries left and right.
“They’re cutting us off at every access point,” Dillman said. “We have no access. That’s what medical cannabis was supposed to be all about. That’s why we have licenses, and police are ignoring legitimate licenses.”
Since the NSLC took total control of the industry since legalization, Dillman said the quality of flower has gone down drastically. He argues that he cannot consume the current product because it is “tainted with pesticides.”
“The stuff they have at the liquor store, it’ll kill me. I have proof of that because there’s people I know that have tried that stuff and got sick,” Dillman said. “I have to have organic cannabis, that I know where it came from. If I don’t know where it came from, I can’t smoke it.”
Recreational Cannabis to Blame?
While this has apparently been an on-going issue for the Sheet Harbour resident, things have become particularly worse under the new legal landscape. While he’s taken issue with both the lack of supply and the eroding quality of the plant, he also claims he cannot afford his medication due to the rising cost of legal cannabis.
NSLC cannabis prices start at $6.33 a gram, and according to Dillman, this is far more than products from pre-legalization dispensaries. As it stands, Dillman receives $1,492 a month from the Workers Compensation Board, which only provides him, on average, about three grams of cannabis a day. Dillman claims his required dosage is around 5 grams daily.
Despite the pleading of Dillman, Justice Department spokesperson Heather Fairbairn told The Chronicle Herald that the provincial government is simply following federal law.
“Storefronts selling cannabis are doing so illegally. This includes those who purport to sell cannabis only to authorized users,” said Fairbairn. “In shutting down these illegal storefronts, police are enforcing federal law.”