Health Canada released a set of game-changing cannabis guidelines that aim to replace recommendations from Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Called Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), the new rulings were created after the Federal Court decided that MMPR restricted a patient’s access to the plant earlier this year.
Under ACMPR, which will come into full effect at the end of the month, registered medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow their own cannabis plants. If they are unfit to take care of the plant, a designated grower could help them cultivate the crop (as long as the individual passes relevant background and criminal checks). The appointed grower must not have been convicted of a drug-related offense in the last decade. Furthermore, he or she is only allowed to grow for two people.
Before a qualified patient can start growing weed, he or she must first submit an application and register with the regulatory committee (in this case, Health Canada). The group also requires patients to provide detailed information on the location of the growing house, as well as where the herb will be stored after harvest. This suggests that officials will be heavily monitoring personal cultivation efforts across the country.
“Health Canada believes that the addition of these provisions enabling individuals to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes will provide for accessibility and affordability, and address the issue of reasonable access identified by the Federal Court,” said Health Canada in an online announcement.
The number of plants an individual can cultivate varies, depending on the amount of weed the patient is prescribed by a physician. For example (as explained by CBC News), a patient who is prescribed a gram of medical marijuana per day to treat chronic pain would be allowed to grow a total of two plants outdoors or up to five plants indoors to maintain a consistent supply. The group explained that the number of plants for indoor and outdoor cultivation differs, because outdoor plants have the potential to produce larger yields, compared to plants grown in indoor environments.
The Third Option
Alternatively, patients could also purchase weed from any of the 34 approved producers in the area. At the moment, Health Canada verified that licensed growing houses are supplying over 70,000 Canadian patients in the country. In order to support such operations while encouraging private cannabis cultivation, the group will also be enforcing strict laws surrounding the purchase of seeds and plants.
The new regulations only allow patients to buy seeds and plants from licensed producers. Registered producers could also “float” patients along the initial growing period, while waiting for their privately cultivated plants to mature.
“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,” highlighted Health Canada.