Medical Marijuana Regulations
Canadian federal government regulations on the possession and production of medical marijuana for personal use went into effect on July 30, 2001. The regulations are an attempt to provide some relief to those suffering from debilitating diseases and those who are terminally ill.
The regulations are also a result of an Ontario Court of Appeals ruling in July 2000 which, in effect, said that unless the federal government put a law in place within a year to allow people to use marijuana for legitimate medical needs, then it would no longer be a crime to smoke or grow marijuana in Ontario.
Before the new regulations took effect, candidates for medical marijuana had to apply to the Minister of Health for an exemption under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Possession of Medical Marijuana
Three categories of people can now apply to Health Canada to possess marijuana:
- those with a terminal illness, with a prognosis of less than 12 months to live
- those with specific symptoms, such as severe pain, associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and disease, AIDS/HIV, severe forms of arthritis and epilepsy
- those with symptoms from another serious medical condition not covered in the first two categories.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Licences
All applications must be supported by declarations from medical practitioners.
Patients can get information on the medical marijuana regulations and application forms from Health Canada's Marihuana Medical Access Division. Information is also available on how to get a license to produce marijuana for those who want to grow their own, and for those who have designated someone to grow it for them. Health Canada will acknowledge receipt of a completed application within 10 days. Applications from patients with terminal conditions will be handled first.
Patients who receive authorization will be allowed possession of a maximum 30-day supply of marijuana. Designated growers must be at least 18 years old, and will get a production license and identification card.
Health Canada has also issued a guide for physicians.