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Medical marijuana group says Ottawa’s proposed changes would cause more illegal activity

A medical marijuana user rolls a joint of BC bud in Vancouver November 8, 2012.

John Lehmann/John Lehmann/Globe and Mail

A group representing medical marijuana users says the Conservative government's proposed changes to the medicinal pot system will lead to more law breaking, not less.

In December, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that medical marijuana licences would no longer be granted by the government and pot would be prescribed only by doctors.

However medical professionals say they're reluctant to prescribe marijuana because its use is not backed by clinical evidence.

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Canada's 26,000 licenced medical pot users and their designates will also no longer be able to grow their own when the new laws take effect next year, but will have to rely on pricier government-sanctioned growers.

The Medicinal Cannabis Patients' Alliance of Canada says many doctors won't write pot prescriptions, but tell their patients to continue using marijuana if it relieves their symptoms.

Laurie MacEachern, the director of the alliance, says doctors are advising their patients to break the law, and says luck and cash should not be the prerequisite for getting health care in Canada.

The medicinal cannabis alliance argues marijuana should be removed from Controlled Substances Act.

The government, which began a 75-day public comment period in mid-December, says it proposed the changes after a broad consultation process with stakeholders, including police and fire officials.

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