Got to love the spin from the Harper Government(TM) on the new medical marijuana regulations that go into effect this week. See for example Canada Medical Marijuana: Health Canada Presides Over Birth Of Billion-Dollar Free Market.
Ooh, yay for the economy! Free market! Whooo!
The new regulations may sound like an appeal to big business (while shutting down small business), but they're much more about shutting down the whole thing. Under the old regime, Health Canada approved individual users who could then order/produce as needed. Under the new regime, Health Canada's only involvement is to approve (all) producers. It's up to physicians to effectively 'prescribe' certain amounts like they would with other medications.
Unfortunately, with no rigorous evidence-based studies on effectiveness of particular strengths and quantities for particular usages, and all liability risks as to the appropriateness of the decision to 'prescribe' and subsequent consequences placed solely on the physicians, pretty much every organization in the country that advocates for, regulates, or indemnifies physicians is warning them to stay as far away from this as they can.
Net result? Under the new regime it will be pretty much impossible for anyone to actually get medical marijuana because they won't be able to find a physician willing to 'prescribe'. Business will get no benefit because of no demand. Harper government can crow about their business friendly stance, show how the free market indicates there is no demand for this, and eventually kill the program altogether.
Death (or unnecessary suffering) by 1000 cuts (much more than 1000 independent producers). Hurray for ideology.