According to access to information requests provided by Health Canada, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations process is experiencing massive delays and has a backlog of applicants.

Revealed in a corporate update from unapproved licensed producer Worldwide Marijuana Inc., the MMPR program has received 1408 applications to cultivate and sell medical cannabis.

Of those applications, Health Canada has labelled 1,012 “incomplete, refused or withdrawn.”

The government currently has 351 applicants under review to move forward in the process, with 138 in enhanced screening, 51 at the refusal review stage, 68 at the security screening stage and 113 at the review phase.

Health Canada has currently approved only slightly over two-dozen licensed producers under the system, a group that are tightly limited in what they are permitted to sell and restricted to delivering products to patients through a courier network.

The current group of licensed growers have already complained that sales to patients have fallen below their expectations. 

Data provided by Health Canada calls into question the need for additional licensed producers entering the medical market under the MMPR, as reported produced and stockpiled cannabis vastly exceeds that sold to consumers in 2015.

In the most recent quarter, all combined operations produced 2,212 kilograms of medical cannabis but sold only 1,371 kilograms — with nearly 6,000 kilograms of cannabis stockpiled in the growers’ inventories.

Looking at numbers since the program began reporting in 2014, the amount of registered patients has increased over 200 per cent (currently at 23,930) but sales have been slower.

The average patient was prescribed 3.3 grams a day by licensed producers in 2015, with the average amount shipped to patients through the MMPR at 1.1 grams a day.