Canada introduces legal access

In 2001, the Canadian Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR) granted legal access to cannabis for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Authorized patients could grow their own cannabis, obtain it from designated growers or from Health Canada.

In 2013, new regulations were introduced to change the Canadian medical marijuana access rules, shifting commercial growers towards becoming the main suppliers, and moving away from home grown, unlicensed cannabis production [1]. The purpose of these regulations is to manage marijuana like any other narcotic used for medical purposes, and create a commercial industry responsible for its production and distribution. This new commercial industry follows strict guidelines and regulations established by the Canadian federal government.

Canada Introduces MMPR in April 2014

As of April 1st, 2014 the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) was repealed and replaced with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Under the MMPR, patients must purchase cannabis from licensed producers who are accredited by Health Canada.

Patients require an authorized health care practitioner to sign and date a medical document if they wish to receive medical cannabis. Authorized health care practitioners are: physicians in all provinces and territories, and nurse practitioners in provinces and territories where prescribing dried cannabis for medical purposes is permitted under their scope of practice.

Health Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purpose Regulation (MMPR) relies on commercial production of cannabis in order to achieve purity and quality of the finished dried cannabis product.

Health Canada has provided licenses to medical cannabis producers, called Licensed Producers, who are inspected and found in compliance with applicable sections of the following Canadian acts and regulations:

  • Food and Drug Act (FDA)
  • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
  • Food and Drug Regulations (FDR)
  • Natural Health Product Regulations (NHPR)
  • Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR)
  • Marihuana for Medical Purposes (MMPR) (introduced June 19, 2013)

Under MMPR, licensed producers must also abide by standards set in Good Production Practices (GPP), ensuring a controlled, procedure-driven cultivation, processing and testing systems.

[1] ‘Marijuana: Key Dates in the Evolution of Canadian Attitudes, Laws.’ CTV News. The Canadian Press, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.