New Medical Cannabis Regulations Go into Effect in Canada
The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) replaced the older framework Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in Canada on Aug. 11. These new regs are a response to the Allard v. Canada Supreme Court of Canada case, which in February ruled that medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to grow their own cannabis and are no longer required to purchase it from licensed producers.
“The AMCPR is designed to provide an immediate solution required to address the Court judgment,” the agency reported. “Moving forward, Health Canada will evaluate how a system of medical access to cannabis should function alongside the Government’s commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana.”
Those who wish to grow their own medical cannabis must register with Health Canada. The number of plants a patient can cultivate will depend on his or her doctor’s recommendation and plant yields.
Laurie MacEachern, director of Medicinal Cannabis Patients Alliance of Canada, uses medical cannabis to treat nerve damage, irritable bowel syndrome and a spinal injury. Growing her own cannabis costs about $300 a year, while buying the same amount from a licensed producer runs upwards of $11,000 a year. She credits cannabis for getting her off of pharmaceuticals like OxyContin and Percocet—at one point she was taking 27 pills a day.
“I’ve been trying to prove a point,” she told the Ottawa Citizen. “I have less than nothing and it takes less than nothing to do this.”
However, patients who apply under the new rules cannot have had a drug offense in the past 10 years. Clayton Goodwin, a veteran and medical cannabis patient, has a possession charge on his record. “As a stigmatized veteran, who has a record for growing my own marijuana because of problems with pharmaceutical drugs, I don’t know what to think,” he told CTV News.
Others say licensed producers will abuse the new system. The country’s largest LP, Canopy Growth, announced a “home grow without your home” program. An op-ed in the National Post argued that the company is “using its power to hold patients hostage, refusing to allow them to grow their own plants, in their own homes.”
But some are welcoming the new rules, like Lisa Campbell, who recently organized a “potluck” in Toronto to celebrate the regulations. ACMPR, she said, is a “huge win” for patients.
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