About Medical Cannabis
What is MMAR
Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) was introduced in 2001 and enabled individuals with the authorization of their health care practitioner to access dried marijuana for medical purposes, i) by producing their own marijuana plants, ii) designating someone to produce for them or iii) purchasing Health Canada supply.
What is MMPR
in 2014, the government of Canada introduced the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) which replaced the MMAR. The MMPR created conditions for a commercial industry responsible for the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Under the MMPR, individuals with a medical need could access quality-controlled dried marijuana produced under secure and sanitary condition. Under the new regulation, patients could no longer grow cannabis themselves or have it grown for them.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada, decided that restricting legal access to only dried marijuana was unconstitutional. The Court decided that individuals with a medical need have the right to use and make other cannabis products. To eliminate uncertainty around a legal source of supply of cannabis, the Minister of Health issued licensed producers to produce and sell cannabis oil and fresh marijuana buds and leaves in addition to dried marijuana, and to allow authorized users to possess and alter different forms of cannabis.
What is ACMPR
The ACMPR is Canada’s response to the Federal Court of Canada’s February 2016 decision in Allard v. Canada. This decision found that requiring individuals to get their marijuana only from licensed producers violated liberty and security rights protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court found that individuals who require marijuana for medical purposes did not have “reasonable access”. Under the ACMPR:
- Health Canada may accept applications from individuals who wish to register to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes or to designate someone to produce cannabis for them.
- Health Canada may continue to accept and process applications to become a licensed producer that were submitted under the former MMPR.
- All licenses and security clearances granted under the MMPR will continue under the ACMPR, allowing licensed producers to continue to register and supply clients with cannabis for medical purposes.
- New applicants may continue to apply for licenses to produce under the ACMPR.
What is the Cannabis Act
This act was enacted on October 17, 2018 and replaced the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
The new Act governs all things cannabis, from hemp to medical cannabis to non-medical cannabis. Under the new act, changes have been made to improve patient access and introduced a framework for recreational ( non-medical) cannabis cultivation, production, sales and possession . The new regulation allows recreational cannabis to be legally purchased from authorized provincial online stores. Some provinces have allowed for retail access to recreational cannabis through dispensaries while in Ontario all storefront and dispensaries are currently not permitted.
Under the Cannabis Act, patients registered under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) do not need to do anything at this time. Current registrations are transitioned automatically to the Cannabis Act and new regulations. Patients authorized by their health care provider are still able to access cannabis for medical purposes by:
- Buying directly from a federally licensed seller
- Registering with Health Canada to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes
- Designating someone to produce it for them
A few other things to note
Currently Medical cannabis is not covered by OHIP however some private insurance companies cover it.
Medical Cannabis is tax-deductible as a medical expense, so make sure you save your receipts to claim it under your annual income tax return.
Please visit the Health Canada website for information about rules and regulations.
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