Medical seed law

It seems as though people have been left on their own to understand Canada’s cannabis laws, and with that has come misconceptions, such as one that denotes an open loophole to legal seed, which has yet to be resolved. This is largely due to a general legal shortage, and the fact that Health and Justice Canada’s best fragments of information are still spread too far across various webpages and acts to bring accurate information to everyone. A new organization even began trading medical seeds to adult-use consumers at the beginning of legalization, towards the end of last year. They believed their outfit was operating legally, embracing news coverage and all. The problem however was that organizations can’t trade cannabis products!

That same legal framework extends to registered medicinal patients. It forbids them from sharing medical seeds with general adult-use consumers.

Non-medical cannabis can be shared, but cannabis “for medical purposes” falls under a different set of guidelines and rules.

Medical regulations

Cannabis intended for medicinal purposes has to be used by a registered person; someone with their ACMPR. This documentation is provided by a legal health care practitioner operating within their province, and the medicine to be prescribed has been officially designated to them. This additionally also requires proper registration with Health Canada, and the cannabis must be used solely for medicinal purposes as well. Furthermore, any seeds and plants have to be ordered directly from the licensed producer, and shipped to the registered person’s address listed on their documentation, even with a designated person producing for them.

With an ACMPR license, a person can only receive seeds directly from the licensed producer, to then grow their own supply. This doesn’t come with unrestricted freedom either, there is a limit for how many seeds they can possess. They are permitted three seeds for every plant they are allowed.

A false loophole to medical seed

It is thought that because a medicinal patient can purchase seeds from their LP for medical purposes, as well as possess seeds for adult-use, they can simply deem their medical seeds as recreational and voilà, they can be shared.

In reality, medical cannabis is not allowed to be shared or offered to anyone else. Cannabis that is intended for medical use goes through many exemptions, and there are no exemption to these exemptions. It cannot be turned back into adult-use cannabis, except by a licensed producer drafting in their initial genetics in a one-time bid. Something granted for personal medical use must be intended for medical use.

A duty tax distinction

According to a publication on the Justice Canada’s webpage, “An excise stamp must be present on all cannabis products that have been legally produced and are available for purchase.”

The Excise Act itself has a few exclusions to that rule. These products cannot be sold but still fall under separate distinctions. Adult-use and medicinal cannabis grown by individuals are detailed under two different exemptions. The first regards homegrown cannabis, but it does not include medicinal purposes. It simply states, “cannabis products that are produced in Canada by an individual for the personal use of the individual and in accordance with the Cannabis Act…”

The next element that has been dismantled from the Excise Act is more specific,

“Cannabis products that are produced in Canada by an individual for the medical purposes of the individual and in accordance with the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the Cannabis Act, …”

Medical seed restriction

Sharing seeds intended for medical purposes, or otherwise is certainly the farthest thing from a public safety risk and happens frequently without heavy scrutiny. Nonetheless, no laws permit the activity. The registered person can have their ACMPR permissions revised, and even revoked, if any violations are noticed by Health Canada. Patients are completely prohibited from sharing their medicine. According to the Cannabis Act, cannabis that was, “sold, produced or distributed (shared) by a person prohibited from doing so under this Act or any provincial Act,” becomes ‘illicit cannabis.”

“Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to cultivate, propagate or harvest, or to offer to cultivate, propagate or harvest,

  • (a) a cannabis plant that is from a seed or plant material that they know is illicit cannabis; or
  • (b) more than four cannabis plants at any one time in their dwelling-house.”

A medicinal need for medical seed

This means any medical cannabis, including seeds, that have been shared with the intention of non-medicinal use is deemed illicit. There is, however, a right for a person to have access to a medicine they need. This is the legal and moral leverage dispensaries are fighting with. If one patient doesn’t have the financial ability to provide for themselves, it should be legal for another patient to provide that access directly in the form of cannabis. This is a hard case to fight, and even harder for a non-medical user without any leverage. Morality may bring just cause to action in time, unfortunately though, the law is not built on these set of principles.

Does such an easy risk for a patient’s jeopardy really seem fair, though?

Reliant on a good word

A person can be ‘lawfully unknowing’ and grow illicit seed without violating the law if they can prove they truly believed those seeds to be legal due to counterfeit packaging, for example. Regardless, the cannabis and its seeds will still be deemed illicit. Yet, they can be shared without the knowledge of their true status, therefore, who really knows if the seeds John was sharing were legal or not. All the evidence anyone aside from the scammer would have is, these seeds are legal. We do not endorse this action.

Photo Courtesy of Lgcamb