As medical marijuana is becoming legalized globally, Canadians are always pondering over the question whether it is legal in Canada or not. Surprisingly Canada happens to be the first nation to legalize marijuana and that too in 2001 after the prohibition of medical marijuana was declared unconstitutional.
Canada and Cannabis – Past:
The actual regulation which made it possible for patients to medical marijuana in Canada was called the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and was passed in 2001.
According to this regulation, patients were allowed the possession of flower or bud of marijuana with a Government issued license and the physician signed application. A single government supplier could sell a single strain to the patient but patients could grow their own plants or designate a grower for supply of medicine with an optional license.
This helped the patients in getting different strains whose properties could be matched with the conditions of the patient. The regulation was restricted to two categories of patients which covered the most severe conditions and excluded the common but devastating symptoms. As the process of application was lengthy and complicated, MMAR came to a close in March 2014 as the number of patients peaked at 38,000.
Canada and Cannabis – Present:
The act of MMAR was replaced by Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) sanctioned on 1st April, 2014. This current program enables the patients to possess dried marijuana flower or bud with a prescription that is issued by a practicing Canadian physician. This does not require any government issued license to be kept with you. Over a number of 30 Health Canada approved have the medicine available who are licensed producers (L.P) as well. Concentrates and edibles are considered illegal for sale to medical marijuana patients. Recently cannabis oil has been approved for sale by the authorized L.Ps.
As of 24th of August 2016, the MMPR has been replaced with Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR).
This law includes the legislation which is found satisfactory according to the latest decision of the Supreme Court to permit the patients who have a prescription from a doctor, to grow their own marijuana for treatment. Patients could grow it themselves or authorize someone else to grow it for them. The maximum limit is of 5 outdoor plants or 2 indoor plants but the number of the plants to be kept is determined according to the prescribed amount by the doctor. Patients are required to be registered with Health Canada so that they can obtained a license for growing their own medicine.
Canada and Cannabis – Future:
The legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational purpose has been officially recommended by the current Canadian government. A legislation that is being enacted will enable marijuana to be sold in the same way alcohol is sold through different Provincial Liquor Control Boards retail outlets. Large pharmaceutical retailers are already applying for licenses so that they can sell medical marijuana along with other medicines too.
Canada and Cannabis – Dispensaries:
The dispensaries happen to be operating in an unclear way within a grey area within the law. Under the current regulation dispensaries happen to operate illegally as only the licensed producers are permitted to sell marijuana and to patients. At the same time, whenever a dispensary is brought to court for a trial, they fail to convince the jury and thus leave the dispensaries to function with no actual risk of conviction for their illegal activity.
Regulated product from licensed producers is not sold at dispensaries. Patients who opt to purchase medicine from dispensary do so at the risk of possible impurity from pests, fertilizers, pesticides, pathogens and heavy metals.