Marijuana Laws in Canada

To date, marijuana is still a Schedule II drug in Canada. Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, no one is allowed to use, produce, possess or distribute cannabis in Canada for personal use. It is illegal to possess or sell the substance for non-medical purposes.

On August 24, 2016, marijuana became legal for medical use only in Canada. It’s governed by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Licenses are issued by Health Canada. Hemp plant cultivation is also legal for those licensed by Health Canada to produce grain, fiber, and seed.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes in Canada

In August 2016, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) was replaced by ACMPR. Its implementation is a result of the Allard v. Canada Federal Court case ruling. This allows Canadians with authorizations from their healthcare practitioners to have reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes.

Canadians who want to participate in the medical cannabis program must meet with their healthcare providers. They can discuss whether or not marijuana is a good option for their medical condition and symptoms.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes in Canada
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If the answer is yes, the practitioner will provide a medical document, or authorization, to legally obtain, possess and use cannabis to treat your condition and symptoms. This allows them to access marijuana from a licensed producer. These patients may purchase marijuana deemed to be safe and of high-quality.

Those with authorizations are also allowed to grow their own cannabis for medical purposes. They also have the right to designate someone else to produce the marijuana for them. Under ACMPR, they may only grow a limited about of cannabis at any given time.

Accessing Cannabis Legally in Canada from a Licensed Producer

Individuals in possession of authorizations may register with a licensed producer in Canada. You may only be registered with one at a time. This allows them to obtain marijuana in various forms for medical purposes, including:

  • Fresh, plant form cannabis
  • Dried, plant form cannabis
  • Cannabis oil
Accessing Cannabis Legally in Canada from a Licensed Producer
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Steps to Registering with Licensed Producer in Canada

There are two simple steps to registering to legally obtain cannabis from a licensed producer of your choice:

  • Complete that licensed producer’s registration form online or in-person
  • Provide the licensed producer with your original medical document or recommendation

Steps to Registering to Grow Your Own Medical Marijuana

To grow your own medical cannabis legally in Canada, you’ll need materials. These materials can also be obtained lawfully. Simply register with Health Canada to become authorized to produce your own marijuana for medicinal use. You can also designate someone else to grow the medical cannabis for you.

Compassion Clubs & Dispensaries in Canada

Compassion Clubs & Dispensaries in Canada
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Storefronts that sell marijuana are commonly referred to as compassion clubs and dispensaries. These places are not licensed to dispense cannabis by Health Canada.

They sell unregulated, untested products supplied by illegal growers. These products may not be safe for consumption. Therefore, it is still illegal to buy marijuana from Canada’s dispensaries and compassion clubs.

Regulations No Longer Valid

MMAR (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations) was rescinded on March 31, 2014. However, a March 21, 2014, Federal Court Order allows those previous authorized to use, possess and/or grow cannabis under the former MMAR may continue doing so. These people must meet the Federal Court injunction order’s terms. This stays in effect until the Courts rules otherwise.

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MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) was rescinded on August 24, 2016. It was responsible for regulating the commercial industry that produces and distributes cannabis for medical use. This law also gave Canadians in possession of medical cards the rights to access marijuana to treat conditions and symptoms. The products must be quality-controlled and grown in sanitary, secure conditions.

Anyone covered under this court injunction may change his or her license terms. This includes changing their designated producer, change of address, etc.… Simply register under the new ACMPR with Health Canada.

What is a Licensed Producer in Canada?

A licensed producer holds a license to grow cannabis and produce marijuana products. This license is issued to qualified applicants by Health Canada under ACMPR. These parties may produce quality-controlled medical marijuana under sanitary, secure conditions. They may be authorized by Health Canada to produce the following:

  • Fresh marijuana flowers
  • Dried marijuana flowers
  • Marijuana seeds
  • Marijuana plants
  • Cannabis oil

As of May 24, 2017, Canada had 44 licensed medical marijuana producers legally operating in the country. They must all remain in compliance with all ACMPR regulations to stay in business. Each one is regularly inspected by Health Canada.

Canada’s licensed producers are legally authorized to sell medical cannabis. The buyers must be approved to use marijuana to treat medical conditions and symptoms by their healthcare practitioner.

Licensed Producer in Canada
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Each patient must also be registered with the licensed producer from which they wish to purchase medical marijuana. Cannabis products are securely delivered to clients via courier or mail.

Here are some statistics related to the medical cannabis industry in Canada:

  • Over 153,000 people are registered to buy medical marijuana from licensed producers
  • Over 4,000 people are registered to grow limited amounts of marijuana for their own medical uses under Health Canada
  • On average, the number of individuals registered to grow cannabis increases about 10% each month
  • On average, dried marijuana sales increased by 6% each month
  • On average, cannabis oil sales rose by 16 % each month

How to Become a Licensed Producer of Cannabis in Canada

You must submit an application if you want to become a licensed producer of marijuana in Canada. All applications go through an extensive and strict review process. Each one is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Any person who plans to work as key personnel within the medical cannabis industry must go through and pass a rigorous security clearance process.

Each licensed producer applicant must show how the facility’s measures will control inventory and guarantee security. Facilities must meet all of the regulatory requirements under the country’s Good Production Practices. Inspectors from Health Canada will verify each facility’s compliance.

Avatar for Jenny Bloom

Jenny Bloom

Editor-in-Chief at I Love Growing Marijuana

Jenny is ILGM's unstoppable force when it comes to quality control for all the content on the blog. In the meantime, she manages to write many of the articles herself as well. She's not a lawyer but is well-read on all the latest marijuana legislations, which she always keeps up to date!... [Read full bio]


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