Health Canada today announced that the MMPR system, which the Allard v. Canada ruling was found violated the rights of medical patients, would be replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), beginning Aug. 24.
The new system allows patients to produce a “a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them” along with still providing access to licensed producers created under the MMPR regime.
The amount of plants patients are authorized to grow will be determined by a formula based on their daily, physician approved, dosage and average plant yields under indoor or outdoor growing conditions.
Every gram of dried cannabis authorized will allow for five plants grown indoors or two plants outdoors. Patients growing themselves must indicate if they intend to grow indoors, outdoors or a mixture of both.
Outdoor grows must confirm that their production site is not next to a “school, public playground, daycare or other public place mainly frequented by children.”
Those authorized to grow under the MMAR system will be allowed to continue to do so “until the Court orders otherwise.”
Health Canada will also allow MMAR patients covered under a previous court injunction to change the address or designated grower on their license, but only by registering with under the new regulations.
Home growers under the new system will need to have authorization from a health care provider and register with Health Canada.
Health Canada will also expand the scope of licensed producers in the country under the new rules, designating them the only legal source of seeds or plants for home growers.
A release from Health Canada said that the registration process, along with how to “legally purchase starting materials” will be detailed on their website, Aug. 24.
Designated cannabis growers for patients have been limited to produce for no more than “two people registered with Health Canada, including him/herself, for whom he/she is authorized to produce in a registration.”
The government stressed that this new system is only an immediate solution to a court judgement and “should not be interpreted as being the longer-term plan for the regulation of access to cannabis for medical purposes, which is presently being determined as part of the Government’s commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana.”
“Health Canada is confident that the ACMPR provides reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes and addresses the issue identified by the Federal Court,” a release stated, saying that the system will be continually evaluated and expanded, as needed — with pharmacies mentioned as a potential distribution network for cannabis in the future.
The release said that the government will open a 24-hour-a-day phone line for law enforcement to check if individuals are authorized to possess or produce cannabis for medical purposes.
There was no softening of the language around dispensaries in the release, with Health Canada calling out the store fronts as unauthorized to sell cannabis.
“These operations are illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe,” the release stated. “Illegal storefront distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada are subject to law enforcement action.”