is marijuana legal in canada

Is Marijuana Legal in Canada?

Medical marijuana is slowly becoming globally accepted as medicine and most Canadians are asking the big question, “Is Marijuana Legal in Canada?”  You may be surprised to find out that Canada was actually the first nation to legalize marijuana for medical use back in 2001 after the Canadian Court of Appeal declared medical marijuana prohibition unconstitutional.  However, marijuana for recreational use still remains illegal with Uruguay becoming the first nation to claim that achievement when it passed regulation in 2014 that allowed residents to purchase, grow, and possess limited amounts.

is marijuana legal in canada

Is marijuana legal in Canada?

The Past: Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR)

The original regulation that allowed patients to access medical marijuana in Canada was enacted in 2001 and called the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR).  This regulation allowed patients to possess dried marijuana flower/bud with a license issued by the Government with the application being signed off by a physician. A single strain of medicine was available for purchase from a single government supplier but optional licenses were available for patients to grow their own plants or to designate a grower to supply medicine to them. This allowed patients to obtain various strains whose characteristics could be better matched to a patients condition. This regulation was limited to patients that fell under two distinct classification schedules which covered only the most severe and extreme conditions and excluded some very common but still debilitating conditions and symptoms. The application process itself was complicated and lengthy and total patients nationwide, peaked at about 38,000 by the time the MMAR came to a close in March of 2014.

The Present: Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR)

The MMAR was repealed and replaced by the current Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) which was enacted on April 1, 2014. The current program allows patients to possess dried marijuana flower/bud with a prescription issued by a practising Canadian physician. A government issued license is no longer required. Medicine is available from over 30 Health Canada approved, licensed producers (LP).  Edibles and concentrates are not legal for sale to medical marijuana patients however Cannabis Oil has been recently approved to be sold by authorized LP’s.

As of August 24, 2016 the MMPR will be replaced with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR). This new regulation includes legislation that satisfies the latest Supreme Court decision to allow patients who possess a prescription from a doctor to grow their own medicine.  Patients who choose to grow their own medicine can grow it themselves or designated a grower to grow it for them.  The maximum limit is 5 outdoor plants or 2 indoor plants but the number of plants is determined by a formula that is based on the prescribed amount from the doctor.  Patients must register with Health Canada in order to obtain a license to grow their own medicine.

The Future: Decriminalization or Legalization

The current Canadian Government has officially recommend legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use.  There is legislation being drafted that will allow marijuana to be sold in a similar way to alcohol, through the various provincial liquor control boards retail outlets. Some larger pharmaceutical retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart are applying for retail licenses to sell medical marijuana as well.   If legalization or decriminalization finally takes place, Canadians will no longer be asking, “Is marijuana legal in Canada?”

The grey area: Dispensaries

Dispensaries are operating within a grey area of the law.  Under the current regulation dispensaries are operating illegally since only licensed producers are allowed to sell marijuana to patients however any time a dispensary is brought to trial the courts have not been convicted and thus leaving the dispensaries to operate with no real risk of conviction for their illegal activity. It should be noted that dispensaries do not sell regulated product from licensed producers and patients who choose to purchase medicine from a dispensary is doing so at the risk of possible contamination from pests, pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, and pathogens.

So the next time someone asks you the question “Is marijuana legal in Canada?”, you can answer them with a resounding, “Yes!”

  1. April 27, 2016

    I have been legal since 2004. Got off the transplant list. I only take 1 pill now, 4 sleep if needed. I like a strong nativa @ bed time. Sitiva my day time boost. 4 energy & keeps the head straight. & helps with the pain.

  2. Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to
    make a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  3. June 19, 2016

    I live in the uk so no hope realy am so jelous of people who live in colarado ect I don’t think they will ever let us have legality

  4. August 28, 2016

    I signed the petition from change or to make growing 8 plants and possession of 25 once of smokable cannabis and so much concentrates .any way I got a email of the government saying they will never legalise or decriminalise any product containing thc they said it makes you mental ill and the same old shit they always say no mention of any benefits I give up I thought what with it being legal in the us now and portagul and Germany soon I think I thought I just might happen here but no not in my life not for at least 50 years

    • December 8, 2016

      The use of marijuana… it is actually better for you to smoke marijuana whether being recreational or medical use. Ex: You have a lower chance of getting lung cancer smoking marijuana than if you were not smoking it at all… your government reminds me of mine a few years ago where it was so taboo to even talk about it in public. Im from idaho, USA and the state refuses to even let us vote on the legalization of marijuana whether for recreational use or for medical useages. recently we were supposed to have a vote on the legalization of marijuana (2016, november) and it didnt even have a ballot here. personally, im thinking it is the religious communities we have here dictating what we can and cannot do as usual. but if Idaho say, did legalize it they would have money for schools and get a higher education standard comparing to the rest of the united states. if i remember right we are bottom 40 somewhere cause we cant even afford to give children a half decent education.

      not even going to mention that where i currently live the Law enforcement litterally think its not an issue and 90%+ of the city smokes openly. one reason… they as one question: “Have you ever seen a disgruntled stoner? i sure as hell havn’t.”

      and it is not an issue. i say idaho needs to wake up before we take 50th on our performance in the USA. im open to comments and corrections to this statement of anything here is wrong… more im educated the better hahahaha have a nice day 🙂

  5. August 29, 2016

    For medical marijuana, yes they allow it but marijuana is not yet fully legal in Canada. They have to legalize recreational marijuana too and regulate it like alcohol for me to say that marijuana is LEGAL in Canada.

  6. October 10, 2016

    Marijuana is very helpful to cure diseases.

  7. October 11, 2016

    Good post. I will be dealing with many of these issues as well..

  8. October 30, 2016

    Who the hell needd 56 grans of weed per day ?

  9. January 31, 2017

    #420 #blazeit #devil’slettuce #wakenbake #dontdrinkanddrive,smokeandfly #reefer #loudgas #talltrees #sweetgreen #ilovehashish #whackkytobackky

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