When it comes to medical marijuana, Canada didn’t necessarily put the best policies in place from the get-go. Original policies left patients with low income unable to access medical marijuana due to high costs set by the only licensed provider in the country – and home growing was not an option. This lead to the laws being challenged in courts by patients who said that the law was unconstitutional, as it took away any form of affordable access.
In 2014 an injunction was put in place to allow 28,000 patients to grow a limited amount of medical marijuana at home until a decision could be made. The judge presiding over the case determined that the government would have 6 months to create regulations for creating more affordable access and allowing patients to grow at home; and those regulations have finally been announced.
Patients will be able to legally cultivate up to 2 plants outdoors or 5 plants indoors (less plants are allowed to be grown outdoors due to the fact that they will generally produce more bud). If patients are unable to grow for themselves they are allowed to appoint a caregiver who – provided they can pass a background check – will be legally allowed to grow the medical marijuana for them. Seeds and plants will be available through any of the 24 companies who are currently authorized to sell medical marijuana to patients.
“If an individual wants to produce a limited amount of cannabis for his/her own medical purposes, he/she must submit an application to register with Health Canada,” said a department background document.
“An original medical document from the health-care practitioner must be provided and the application must include information such as the location of where cannabis will be produced and stored.”
Once patients are registered, they have the option to have their medical cannabis delivered, or to grow their own. They can also purchase a supply to last until their own plants start to produce cannabis. These new laws are going into place months before Canada is expected to put full legalization regulations into effect; whether or not recreational legalization will make changes to the medical marijuana market we will have to wait and see. Until then, at least more patients will finally have affordable access to the medicine they need.