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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:44 am
Posts: 9993
Location: Ontario
OTTAWA (CP) - Like any dope dealer, Health Canada has its share of marijuana customers who just don't pay their bills.

But unlike street pushers, the department avoids tire irons and switchblades to recover its bad debts in favour of stern letters and collection agencies.

As of last month, 127 people authorized to buy government-certified marijuana for various medical problems were officially in arrears, with bills unpaid for more than 90 days.

That's almost half the 278 patients who currently receive Health Canada marijuana or seeds, most of them buying 30-gram bags of ground buds for $150. A package of 30 seeds goes for $20.

Altogether, patients in arrears now owe $168,879 to Health Canada for medical marijuana, produced on contract by Prairie Plant Systems Inc. for the federal government.

The arrears amount has swollen by more than $100,000 over the last year alone, as department officials realized that their medical marijuana policy never indicated to patients the consequences of not paying their drug bills.

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