MMJ prescriptions soar while laws for recreational use still undecided

The number of medical cannabis users has quadrupled since Justin Trudeau became prime minister.

Canadians who have registered to use medical marijuana has gone up from 30,000 in the month before the October 2015 federal election to almost 130,000 today, despite the federal government’s assurances that recreational adult-use will soon be legalized.

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In light of police raids on unregulated dispensaries, the surge in numbers may be due to people choosing to obtain marijuana legally by seeking prescriptions from doctors at clinics so they can register with Health Canada and get pot grown by licensed producers in the mail.

“You do see across Canada a number of clinics opening up that charge money to sign people up with licensed producers,” said activist Jodie Emery, who along with her husband Marc were arrested last week as part of a series of raids led by Toronto Police at their Cannabis Culture outlets in several different cities.

The couple’s bail conditions prohibit them from using cannabis without a prescription.

If recreational users are gaming the system to get pot legally, Health Canada says it’s not getting involved.

“The decision …. rests between the patient and health professional,” Health Minister Jane Philpott’s office said. The federal government has said it will introduce legalization legislation this spring.

The medical cannabis industry counters the increase in numbers of prescription-holders is due to more well-informed doctors and patients about its benefits in treating a wide range of ailments.