Canada is implementing sweeping changes to its medical marijuana program to facilitate greater access to medical pot. The country currently has over 37,000 registered medical cannabis patients, and the new rules are expected to increase that number. Here are ten things to know about the rules:
1. No more patient registry. Before the changes, patients had to obtain a medical cannabis authorization then register with Health Canada in order to legally obtain medical cannabis. Now, the Canadian government is removing itself from the equation, and medical cannabis will be between a doctor and a patient—and a pot grower, of course.
2. Sourcing options: Growers, dealers, health care practioners. Patients may obtain medical cannabis direct from the producer or from a dispensary—called a dealer in the rules—or from their health care practitioner or hospital. Anyone may possess medical cannabis that they are helping administer to an authorized patient.
3. Patients must choose one producer. Patients may have more producer options, but they can only choose one of those options at any time. Those wishing to switch between ganja growers will need to obtain a new authorization from their health care practitioner.
4. Posession limits. Health care practitioners will determine the daily dose of cannabis required by individual users. Patients may possess up to thirty times that amount, with a maximum possession amount of 150 grams, over 5 ounces. Individual containers of cannabis may not exceed 30 grams.
5. No additives or measured doses. Cannabis may not be sold with any additives—anything that isn't dried marijuana or approved pesticide residude. It also can't be sold in pill form or any measured dose.
6. No more home grow. Medical cannabis production facilities will no longer be allowed in residential homes. Producers will be required to have air filters, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, 24-hour security, and a host of sanitary practices to ensure their medicine is clean.
7. Import and export allowed. Perhaps surprising, the rules envision the import and export of cannabis with appropriate permits. Don't expect these to be granted often. The rules also include provisions to comply with Canada's international obligations under the UN Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics.
8. Outdoor cannabis prohibited. Only indoor marijuana production will be allowed.
9. Pesticides must be approved, pot must be tested. The only bug sprays growers may apply to their plants must be approved by the government for use on cannabis. Producers must have their cannabis tested, must include the THC/CBD ratios on the label, and must report any adverse reactions to their products.
10. Mail order is okay. Medical cannabis producers may sell and ship pot to dealers, to other producers, or directly to patients. No longer must one fly the prop plane out of the frigid Yukon to score legal weed.