How to get a medical marijuana card in Canada:
Canadians believe in the medicinal powers of medical marijuana. That’s why thousands of people are licensed by the federal government to possess and use medical cannabis anywhere in the country. Experts say it’s a safe alternative to treating various medical conditions without using pharmaceutical drugs.
In Canada, it’s legal to use and possess medical marijuana, as long as you have a license. New patients can obtain a license by applying through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
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Canada’s New Patients: Obtaining a Medical Cannabis Card
Medical marijuana laws in Canada are regulated by the ACMPR program. This puts the decision to use cannabis for medicinal purposes solely in the hands of the patient and his/her physician. Most Canadian medical clinics require that a patient’s diagnosis be no older than five years old. And, it must come from a physician practicing medicine within the country.
To be eligible, the patient’s condition must be monitored by a specialist or family doctor within the last year. There are multiple walk-in clinics with doctors who qualify to approve you for the program.
All related medical documents must be accessible for eligibility. This includes documentation for the walk-in clinic, records department, hospital, health care practitioner and physician who treated you for your qualifying condition. The medical documentation must confirm your diagnosis.
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Who Decides If I’m Eligible for Canada’s ACMPR Program?
An authorized health care practitioner must access your ACMPR program eligibility. So, your medical records must be within a specific time frame. This is based on the professional’s discretion, which is generally based on the medical condition. The medical professional will then verify all of the documentation you provided.
What is an authorized health care practitioner? That would be someone who’s either a nurse practitioner or a physician. The one you choose must meet the requirements below:
- Physician – Must be a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The membership must be in good standing. Must also hold a valid license issued by their local province/territory licensing authority. This must be the area where they practice medicine and hold a valid Class 1 narcotics license.
- Nurse Practitioner – Canada medical marijuana laws now allow these medical professionals to authorize and sign prescriptions under ACMPR by Health Canada. This, experts say, will greatly benefit their clients, while enhancing their medical practices.
Speaking with Your Doctor to Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Canada
To obtain a medical marijuana card, the quickest option is to consult a physician who already knows your medical history. Make sure the doctor knows about any other therapies and treatments you’re considering, including the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
In some cases, people run into physicians who are unfamiliar with or simply don’t believe in the medicinal powers of cannabis. These doctors are often hesitant to prescribe the drug for conditions and symptoms to include in comprehensive treatment plans. When these situations arise, it’s vital that you act as your own advocate for medical marijuana:
- Make a list of the various therapies and medications you’ve already tried
- Identify which ones failed to effectively treat your symptoms and conditions
- Offer some documentation that explains the science behind how cannabis could help
- Clearly show how your symptoms could be managed better with the use of marijuana
Be sure to describe the symptoms you’re experiencing with complete accuracy. This will help the physician make a more educated decision about your case. The more information you provide, the better your chances of being approved to possess and use medical marijuana in Canada.
Questions to Have Answers to Before Seeing a Physician
Having answers to the following questions when you go to see a medical professional will increase your chances of obtaining a medical cannabis license:
- How does the condition and its symptoms negatively affect your life?
- What various conventional treatments have you already tried?
- In what ways did those conventional treatments fail to do the job?
- If granted an ACMPR license, how do you plan to use marijuana? (IE, smoking with papers, blunts or pipe, vaporizing, edibles, etc.…
- If you already use cannabis for medicinal purposes, explain how much you use, how often, how it’s used and the way it affects you
If your doctor is unable to or won’t help you obtain a medical cannabis prescription, you have other options. Simply choose another physician to visit. This time, make sure the medical professional is also a medical cannabis specialist.
Finding a “Green” Doctor in Canada
Multiple online networks assist with helping patients find medical cannabis-friendly physician’s in Canada. These networks are designed to help you gain access to the country’s medical marijuana program through Health Canada. Most offer a 3-step process to finding a physician and becoming a licensed patient:
- Pre-qualify for the program online
- Register for an evaluation online
- Consult with a physician or nurse practitioner about your condition
Those who make it through the pre-qualification process may complete an online application to become a medical cannabis patient in Canada. You’ll then meet with a specialist, who will evaluate your condition to determine your eligibility into the program.
How to Obtain a License to Grow Medical Marijuana in Canada
ACMPR also allows licensed users to become registered medical marijuana growers within the country under Health Canada. This means they have the legal right to grow cannabis plants for the own personal medical use at their homes. There are limits to the amount of plants each individual may grow and produce.
Once licensed, these medical cannabis growers may also cultivate the plants commercially, and operate as businesses. ACMPR allows for various types of growing licensed to be issued, allowing cultivators to legally grow marijuana in Canada.
There are currently 39 licensed producers (LP’s) legally operating under Canada’s ACMPR program. Of them, 23 have the legal right to sell medical cannabis directly to authorized patients.
Click here for more information on Canada’s ACMPR medical marijuana home growing rules, and to register as a cultivator online.