June 10, 2013
For immediate release
OTTAWA – Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced new regulations that will change the way Canadians access marihuana for medical purposes. The new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 19, 2013.
“While the courts have said that there must be reasonable access to a legal source of marihuana for medical purposes, we believe that this must be done in a controlled fashion in order to protect public safety,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “These changes will strengthen the safety of Canadian communities, while making sure patients can access what they need to treat serious illnesses.”
Since its introduction in 2001, Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) has grown exponentially, from under 500 authorized persons to over 30,000 today. This rapid increase has had unintended consequences for public health, safety and security as a result of allowing individuals to produce marihuana in their homes. Under the new regulations, production will no longer take place in homes and municipal zoning laws will need to be respected, which will further enhance public safety.
The new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations aim to treat marihuana as much as possible like other narcotics used for medical purposes. The regulations will provide access to quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to those Canadians who need it.
The regulations will also streamline the process for applicants and health care practitioners. Under the new regime, individuals will not be required to provide personal medical information to Health Canada. Health care practitioners will be able to sign a medical document enabling patients to purchase the appropriate amount related to their conditions directly from a Licensed Producer approved by Health Canada.
In order to facilitate the transition from the current program to the new regime, both will operate concurrently until March 31, 2014. Effective April 1, 2014, Health Canada will no longer produce and distribute marihuana for medical purposes. The current Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) will be repealed on March 31, 2014, when the new regime is fully implemented. Additional information on key dates will be provided to program participants and other stakeholders throughout the transition period.”
For a copy of the new regulations in advance of the June 19 publication date, please email: [email protected]