Wednesday, April 14, 1999
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA FOR HEALTH AND MEDICAL PURPOSES
Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, PC):
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to commend the hon. member for Rosemont for putting
this private members'
motion before the House and for the key role he has played these last few weeks in
urging the federal government to take concrete measures to support the use of marijuana
for therapeutic and medical purposes.
I also want to congratulate all those who, in their own way, have constantly put pressure
on the elected representatives so that this debate could be held and concrete measures
could be implemented to help the people who need to use marijuana for medical purposes, who need to find some relief from pain and suffering or to deal with the
symptoms of chronic or terminal illnesses.
Of course, I am glad to join all those who have worked together to urge the federal
government to have the political courage and the leadership to recognize the medicinal
value of marijuana by immediately implementing
measures to legalize the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
As my colleague from New Brunswick Southwest said, this issue must be addressed from
a compassionate point of view. We must keep an open mind and show compassion throughout
We have to keep in mind that for the sick who need marijuana for therapeutic purposes,
every day they suffer is one day too many. Do not think I am talking in abstractions.
I know what I am talking about, because
my mother died of cancer after many long years of suffering. I will never forget how
useless I felt as I watched her suffer and I wish I had known the therapeutic effects
of marijuana at the time.
However, it was unfortunately only a few years later that I learned about its therapeutic
use, and I support the actions of those fighting for its medical use.
I will tell you that this decision was very easy when I learned that the leaders of
this campaign were those who were themselves sick and had to obtain marijuana illegally
at the risk of being arrested.
I think it is totally unacceptable that someone who is chronically ill or in the final
stages of AIDS is being penalized for medical treatment that many doctors would recommend
if they could.
Experiments have shown and a significant number of health care professionals have
recognized it publicly that the use of cannabis has beneficial effects in the case
of at least four serious diseases. First, by
lowering eye pressure, it controls glaucoma. Second, it reduces spasms in victims
of MS. Third, it reduces nausea and suffering of those with cancer. Finally, it helps
those with AIDS fight depression and regain the appetite they need to survive.
It is also felt that marijuana can help those suffering from certain diseases such
as migraines and emphysema.
The other factor working considerably in favour of the use of marijuana for medical
purposes is that it produces no side effects, as too often occur with other treatments
and which can be of such intensity as to discourage those who are ill from taking
their medication, despite their suffering.
The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but the time provided
for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired. The order is
dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.
[.] 1830 [+] [-]
Mr. Bernard Bigras:
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the unanimous consent of the House in order for the Hon.
member for Shefford to finish her speech.
The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Shefford will have six minutes to complete
her speech the next time the motion is debated in the House.