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Issues: Marijuana Feature Part V – Canada’s Medical Access Marijuana
By Shaheen Shivji. In the final segment of our series on marijuana we look at our Marijuana Medical Access Regulation (MMAR). [Click On Image For Full Story]
Currently, Canada’s MMAR allows distribution of dried marijuana to people with a terminal illness and those who have:
Under Canada’s MMAR, as of December 2011, 12,225 individuals were authorized to possess dried marijuana, with the majority residing in British Columbia (4,798) and Ontario (4,312).
- Number authorized to grow their own marijuana, as of January 2010: 3,576
- Number that had a personal-use production license: 2,822
- Number that had a designated-person production license: 754
- Average daily use of dried marijuana for medical use: 1 to 3 grams. Those authorized to possess marijuana are allowed to possess a maximum 30-day supply. If a patient’s daily dose is three grams, he or she is allowed to possess 90 grams.
- Cost of 30 seeds from Health Canada’s supplier (Plant Prairie Systems): $20.00
- Dried marijuana per gram: $5.00
Source: Health Canada
In addition to marijuana, other forms of cannabinoids available in Canada are:
- Dronabinol: A synthetic THC in pill form that is marketed as Marinol;
- Nabilone: A synthetic derivative of THC in pill form that is marketed as Cesamet; and
- Cannabidiol: Although not used medically by itself, it is a constituent of an oral spray containing equal portions of TCH and cannabidiol that is marketed as Sativex.
Source: Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
It is estimated that thousands of other Canadians may also be using marijuana for medical reasons, but because the application process is rigorous they have not applied for authorization. An applicant who wants to use marijuana for medical reasons is required to submit a lengthy and detailed application including two passport-sized photographs, one of which is to be signed by their doctor. Their physician must also complete a medical report that indicates the patient’s illness and symptoms that would require the use of marijuana.Health Canada’s sole provider of dried marijuana and seeds for medical use is Prairie Plant Systems. The Saskatchewan-based supplier is a pharmaceutical and research company that grows, harvests and processes plants.
Approved individuals can obtain the drug by purchasing dried marijuana from Health Canada, grow their own supply or have a “designated person” grow it for them. Should the latter be the case, the designated grower must apply for a license, be 18 years of age or older, and pass a criminal-record check.
Later this year, Health Canada is expected to release improvements to MMAR that will reduce the risk of exploitation by organized crime groups.
Banman said, “The war on drugs is not being won because the very nature of humans. If you look at drug addicts, most people are doing it to suppress emotions and escape their past.”