Canadian patients authorised to use medical cannabis will be celebrating – they’ll soon have the option of cultivating their own plants (in small quantities).
Announced late this week, the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) will replace the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) from the 24th of this month.
Those wanting to produce their own cannabis for personal medical consumption, or to nominate someone to cultivate it for them, will need to obtain authorization from their doctor and register with Health Canada.
The change is in response to the Federal Court of Canada’s decision in Allard v. Canada, which upheld the rights of patients to grow their own medical marijuana instead of being forced to source it from licensed producers. The Federal Court stated this violated liberty and security rights protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
So how much will a patient be able to grow?
That will be based on a formula taking into account the individual’s daily dose as authorized by their physician and the average yield of a plant under certain growing conditions, i.e. whether it will be indoor or outdoor growing.
It’s a big win for patients, but what about the licensed producers?
Health Canada says the 34 licensed producers across the county, which are supplying nearly 70,000 Canadians at the present time, are expected to continue to be the main source of medicines. They will also be the only legal source for those who wish to grow their own to gain access to starting materials such as seeds and plants.
Dispensaries and “compassion clubs” will continue to be illegal in Canada – and authorities have been cracking down of late. By August 9, Toronto police had raided 50 dispensaries in the city in its latest sweep, but hundreds continue to operate.
The Cannabis Canada Association stated it supports the government’s attempt to meet the court’s demands and of increased access to medical cannabis for all Canadians; but is concerned the policy will fuel the black market.
Further information on the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) can be viewed here.