This summer, because of my convictions about access for everyone, I was honoured to accept when I was voted in as President of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners (CMCP) a non-profit society that is the voice for over 3500 patients and caregivers. I have always fought for the rights of patients, being one myself, as well as the rights of everyone out there and this group’s mandate is something I can really run with. I want to thank the board of directors for the opportunity!
As part of the CMCP, Jennifer Collett, activist and advocate extraordinaire from Peterborough, Ontario, is embarking on her yearly Freedom Walk. This year it is from Peterborough to Ottawa with a team of patients, caregivers, and others working for change in how the country’s medical marijuana program is managed.
I met Jenn many years ago and since then all I have ever heard from her is how everyone should be able to access and afford their medicine. Me, I think marijuana should be accessible and affordable for everyone, medical or not! We tend to agree to disagree on some things, but overall we are set towards one goal: there is no room for anything but fair and equal access that is dignified and meets people’s needs.
As well as the Freedom Walk, Jennifer bringing other proposals to law enforcement and her city and has worked tirelessly within the community to find alternatives for patients, and for affordable, reasonable and compassionate access. She is a complementary healthcare provider in her professional life and a mom first and foremost.
Peterborough to Ottawa will be a 262 kilometre walk for a group of caring and dedicated people who happen to use marijuana as medicine or care about someone who does. Medical cannabis users are walking for awareness, their needs, and the hope of a better quality of life with this proposal. Without a ruling in the Allard case, we are out of options and we are all living on borrowed time. With the coming October election, timing for this is everything. We need it now.
The team will relay the Dignified Access Proposal, which Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners has been lobbying for and expanding to meet the growing needs of patients over the last five years. We will to deliver the proposal to as many MP candidates as we can while letting regular people know there is an solution to the problem if they will just look at it. There is a press conference set for September 22nd in the Charles Lynch Press Conference Room (130-S) after arrival.
The proposal was originally created in 2010 by Joy Davies as previous directors of the CMCP began to open the dialogue about decentralizing the medical cannabis program. As more input was collected from activists and health professionals across the country, the Dignified Access Proposal came into being and the Dignified Access Initiative was born. Joy is now the Liberal Candidate for South Surrey–White Rock in BC and we wish her the best of luck!
This past year, CMCP partnered with the Medicinal Cannabis Patients Alliance of Canada (MCPAC) to include their Harmonized Access Proposal, which align with the federal aspect of the Dignified Access Proposal. The MCPAC is also a not for profit with the aim of providing a strong patients’ voice. The Initiative also grew to include MUMM, MFT, and many other supporting groups and companies across Canada. You can see more on the initiative and partnerships in it, at
Election season is a stressful time for any political junkie or activist fighting for a cause; it breaks friendships and causes arguments within families. From what I have been researching and watching through mainstream media, cannabis is a major voting point in this election and we seem to be getting different messages from all parties but one.
The fact that Conservatives are still attacking our community, and anyone that thinks we must change unjust laws, on any level, is wrong.
Campaign promises are being thrown about: ‘the answer is decriminalization — as soon as we are in office!’ Again, a great first step, but we want freedom. The first time Jenn walked that was exactly what it was: a Cannabis Freedom walk when Neil Magnuson went from one end of the country to the other, talking about freedom and our Charter rights.
We hope the Freedom Tour and Freedom Walks bring awareness and change to this election. If you’re in the Peterborough – Ottawa area between September 13 – 22, 2015, Jennifer and our team can use volunteers with time, vehicles, and other necessities to help deliver this message to the right people: all people.
And if you want to actively participate, sponsors and walkers are still needed. Come on out and walk your talk!