Aurora Cannabis and Tilray have initiated a petition urging the federal government of Canada to designate medical cannabis with the title of ‘essential service’. Both companies stress how its accessibility can be of vital importance for patients. The Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana non-profit organization, Arthritis Society, and the Canadian Aid Society are also collaborating to the initiative. Aurora has also been doing its part to contribute to the relief operations in the Alberta province, where the company resides. On March 26th, 2020, the company communicated via Twitter that they had just donated 200 N95 masks. Moreover, the company added, in the same post, that it would have continued to make efforts “to find ways to support our government partners nationally”.
This petition invites the people to request from the House of Commons to deliberate, on a federal level, for medical cannabis to become a constitutionally protected service. The designation would affect all activities associated with guaranteeing the patients’ access to medical cannabis via government-controlled channels. The very core demand of both companies’demands is fairly simple. During these difficult times, the government has to take all measures to ensure, regardless of mail service restrictions, the regular delivery of all necessary medicines. And this includes medical marijuana.
The appeal underlines how the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic is putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people at critical risk. Both firms are alarmed that the decline of the situation could rapidly increment the potential rate of coronavirus infection among the general public. In addition, they also refer to how the country is currently going through an intense opioid crisis, and to the strong medical evidence pointing out to cannabis as a valid medicament to counteract addiction to opiates. The only way to access medical cannabis is directly from licensed medical sellers via the mail, and any kind of disruption in mail service might lay barriers for the patients and put their lives at risk. Therefore, this could indirectly end up putting extra pressure on the healthcare system in a moment where it is already reaching to its maximum capacity.
Aurora Cannabis and Tilray strongly believe that such designation would relevantly improve the relief operations deployed by the Canadian government against the pandemic.