Statement from Health Canada concerning access to cannabis for medical purposes
August 11, 2016
In response to the Federal Court of Canada's decision in Allard v. Canada, Health Canada today announced the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The ACMPR will replace the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) as the regulations governing Canada's medical cannabis program, and will come into force on August 24, 2016.
Health Canada is confident that the ACMPR provides reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes and addresses the issue identified by the Federal Court.
Under the ACMPR, Canadians who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes will be able to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them. They will also continue to have the option of purchasing safe, quality-controlled cannabis from one of the 34 producers licensed by Health Canada.
Individuals wishing to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or to designate someone to produce it for them, will need to obtain authorization from their health care practitioner and register with Health Canada. Additional information on how to register and legally purchase starting materials will be available on Health Canada's website on August 24.
Health Canada will work closely with provincial authorities, which regulate health care practitioners, to share data and information, such as the quantities of cannabis being authorized for medical purposes in their jurisdiction. Health Canada will also continue to support law enforcement representatives by providing a dedicated phone line that is accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week to confirm, when necessary, that specific individuals are authorized to possess or produce a limited amount of cannabis for medical purposes.
The ACMPR will continue to be evaluated in an effort to ensure that individuals authorized to access cannabis for their own medical purposes have reasonable access. Health Canada is also committed to studying other models, including pharmacy distribution, to provide access to cannabis for medical purposes.
Canadians are reminded that access to cannabis for medical purposes is only permitted under the terms and conditions set out in these regulations. Storefronts selling marijuana, commonly known as "dispensaries" and "compassion clubs" are not authorized to sell cannabis for medical or any other purposes. These operations are illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe. Illegal storefront distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada are subject to law enforcement action.
The ACMPR are designed to provide an immediate solution required to address the Court judgement. These regulatory changes should not be interpreted as being the longer-term plan for the regulation of access to cannabis for medical purposes, which is presently being determined as part of the Government's commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana.