As of October 17, 2018, cannabis is no longer considered a “controlled substance” in Canada.
The Cannabis Act legalizes marijuana for recreational use and removes the prohibition of its production, possession, and sale.
Previously, marijuana was legal for medical use only in Canada and was governed by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
Cannabis for Medical Purposes in Canada
In 2018, new regulations replaced the MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations), formerly ACMPR, with the passing of the Cannabis Act.
Patients can access cannabis for medical purposes through their health care provider.
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.
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 purchase marijuana from a licensed producer . These patients may purchase marijuana deemed to be safe and of high quality.
They also have the right to designate someone else to produce the marijuana for them . Under ACMPR, they may only grow a limited amount of cannabis at any given time.
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Accessing Cannabis Legally in Canada
You can legally possess, carry, and share up to 30 grams of cannabis in Canada.
The legal age to purchase and consume marijuana is 19 in most provinces.
It is typically sold in a government-run retail shop or a privately run dispensary. Each province/territory has its own rules on purchasing cannabis.
Prior to full legalization, you needed to take the following steps to 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
To grow your own medical cannabis you needed to register with Health Canada.
You could also designate someone else to grow the medical cannabis for you.
Compassion Clubs & Dispensaries in Canada
Prior to legalization, storefronts that sold marijuana were called compassion clubs and dispensaries.
They were not licensed by Health Canada and instead sold unregulated, untested products supplied by illegal growers.
Nowadays, storefronts that sell marijuana legally are authorized retailers in Canada.
These non-medical products include information on their packaging stating the product’s legal status.
They may have an excise stamp, specific colored packaging, a health warning label, and child-resistant packaging.
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Regulations No Longer Valid
Regulations of cannabis that previously existed under the ACMPR were repealed with the passing of the Cannabis Act.
Laws around medical and non-medical use of cannabis were amended to create consistency, improve patient access, and reduce the risk of abuse of regulations.
Amendments relating to the production, distribution, sale, importation, and exportation of cannabis for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals were announced on June 14, 2019.
They went into effect on October 17, 2019. The 12-month transition period for cannabis oil to be updated to the amendments took place from October 17, 2019, to October 16, 2020.
What is a Licence Holder in Canada?
A licence holder holds a license to grow cannabis and produce marijuana products. This license is issued to qualified applicants by Health Canada under the Cannabis Regulations.
These parties may produce quality-controlled medical marijuana under sanitary, secure conditions. They may be authorized by Health Canada to produce the following:
As of February 24, 2022, Canada had roughly 800 licensed marijuana producers legally operating in the country.
Canada’s licence holders are legally authorized to sell cannabis for retail under the control of the individual provinces and territories through government control or privatized retail systems.
- Cultivation (growing cannabis)
- Processing (making cannabis products)
- Selling cannabis for medical purposes
- Testing cannabis
- Research using cannabis
Each patient must also be registered with the licensed producer from which they wish to purchase medical marijuana.
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.