On June 19, 2013, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes
Regulations (MMPR) were published in the Canada Gazette Part
II. The MMPR provide a new way to access marihuana for medical
purposes and will operate concurrently with the old Marihuana
Medical Access Regulations until they are repealed on March
Under the new MMPR, Health Canada will no longer issue
Personal-Use Production Licences. This system will be replaced by a
system of Licensed Producers (LPs) who will grow, harvest, process
and sell dry marihuana to individuals who hold a medical
In a commitment to ensure a sufficient supply of dry marihuana
before April 1st, 2014 (the date by which individuals
will exclusively be able to access marihuana from LPs), Health
Canada has released various guidance documents to help those who are
interested applying to become a LP. The guidance documents detail
the general requirements for obtaining a licence, which are aligned
with those for controlled drugs. In fact, the new MMPR aims to
treat marihuana as much as possible like other narcotics used for
medical purposes. The goal is to provide access to
quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under
secure and sanitary conditions.
Producers licences allow LPs to perform activities such as
possess, produce, sell, provide, ship, deliver, transport and
destroy marihuana. A person can apply for all activities referred
to in the MMPR, or can choose to apply only for specific
activities, as Health Canada anticipates that specialization may
occur over time.
Under the new system, LPs can also apply for an import licence,
and source their marihuana seeds or dry marihuana from foreign
countries. However, currently Health Canada cannot issue import
licences for marihuana because of Canada's obligations under
the World Trade Organization (WTO) Single Convention on
Narcotic Drugs, 1961. This issue is currently under discussion
and might be solved as soon as this fall.
Since its introduction in 2001, use of medicinal marihuana has
grown exponentially, from under 500 authorized persons to over
30,000 today. Eventually, Health Canada predicts that there might
be as many as 600,000 individuals legally using marihuana for
medical purposes in Canada. The new LP system is better suited to
meet this demand.
With the new LP system, Health Canada intends to build a robust
supply of medicinal marihuana, increase the choice of strains, and
provide easier access to individuals that need it without undue
administrative burden. Health Canada has also expressed a hope that
the new industry might increase the level of research in the field
and, provide data to add to the body of research resulting from
Dutch and Israeli medical cannabis programs (see Information for Health Care Professionals: Cannabis
(marihuana, marijuana) and the Cannabinoids).
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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