Marijuana big business: legalization bridges divides between business and consumer
Plenty of us still ask the question, is pot legal in Canada? Well, currently, in Canada medical marijuana exists within a kind of “legalization limbo,” where the Canadian government does not endorse nor approve the use of dried marijuana for medicinal use. And yet, Canadian courts have mandated “reasonable access to legal marijuana when authorized by a patient’s physician.”
The answer is yes—under specific conditions—that by demonstrating a legitimate need with the approval of a doctor or doctors, medical marijuana is available for use by patients. The Federal government passed the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) into law in June 2013, in order to make cannabis sale a large-scale, regulated commercial industry, thereby raising product and distribution quality standards and undercutting illegal sale and transport of marijuana.
Under the MMPR, the medical marihuana Health Canada once supplied is no longer available; rather, only licensed commercial producers of medical marijuana can grow and sell various strains of dried cannabis to patients with prescriptions. This also means that, as of March 31, 20014, it is illegal for any newly approved patients to personally grow their own marijuana or designate some other individual to grow marijuana for them.
For the time being there is a Federal court injunction bridging the gap between the new MMPR and the older set of medical regulations (Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, or MMAR). The injunction permits those with an Authorization to Possess (ATP) that was valid as of March 21st 2014 to legally grow their own marijuana and hold no more than 150 grams of dried cannabis.
At the moment, there is no law in Canada that decriminalizes general marijuana possession. For many cannabis advocates decriminalization is a logical step toward legalization. Currently recreational marijuana is illegal in Canada.
Uses of Medical Marijuana:
Rigorous scientific studies and research have shown that medical marijuana can benefit patients suffering from a number illnesses and diseases. Pain relief from medical marijuana use can vastly enhance patients’ quality of living, whether they suffer from acute or chronic pain, with regular or sporadic frequency. Different types of medical marijuana strains or methods of use can be effective treatments for specific diseases or bring on specific desired effects for a certain kind of relief.
Conditions Treatable with Medical Marijuana:
Some of the most commonly desired benefits of using medicinal marijuana are appetite stimulation; muscle relaxation; stress relief associated with trauma or general anxiety; muscle, joint or neurological pain relief; and relief from nausea. Medical marijuana is known to be helpful in treating the following health issues and diseases:
• Mental health problems such as ADD, ADHD, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and eating disorders.
• Chronic pain and acute pain affecting the musculoskeletal system. Medical marijuana can help to alleviate pain associated with fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, specific back pain or neck pain, spinal injuries, muscle spasms, and severe migraine headaches.
• Seizures and Epilepsy
• Gastrointestinal disorders and stomach ailments, such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and chronic nausea.
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Brain injuries
• Hepatitis C
• Kidney malfunction and failure, for patients on dialysis
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Sleep Disorders
There are two ways of legally purchasing medical marihuana Health Canada allows through MMPR. The first way is for new patients who are not yet eligible and without a marijuana prescription. The second is for existing patients.
If you have experienced either one or more of the above conditions and wish to try medical marijuana, then you may be eligible. You can find out if you are eligible and reach a decision about whether you do want to use medical marijuana as a treatment by meeting and consulting with a healthcare practitioner. Specified by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, doctors and nurse practitioners are the only healthcare professionals authorized to deem you eligible for medicinal marijuana.
As a part of the eligibility assessment, new patients should be prepared to cite their specific condition(s) that may be treated with marijuana, specify the symptoms of those conditions, know how marijuana can help, and be able to answer questions posed by their doctor or the nurse practitioner.
If you believe you may be eligible for a medicinal marijuana prescription and want to know the exact steps and information required to apply for a medicinal marijuana card in Canada, click here.
Once you have been approved for a medical marijuana card, how much marijuana are you eligible to possess?
Patients who are approved to possess marijuana are permitted to have less than 30 times the amount prescribed by their doctor or other healthcare practitioner, up to 150 grams. For example, a patient prescribed 2 grams per day by his doctor would be allowed to have a maximum of 60 grams at a given time (2 grams x 30 days).
Existing Medical Marijuana Patients (If you already have your Authorization to Possess)
Patients eligible to purchase and grow marijuana under Marihuana Medical Access Regulations are also eligible to purchase medical marijuana from licensed producers under the new MMPR. To do so, they can apply using their existing Authorization to Possess, or ATP, without any other approval or additional medical documentation.
Patients who do make the decision to register with and purchase cannabis from licensed producers will not lose their rights under MMAR. The injunction, however, is meant to ease the period of legislation, and, over the next months laws and regulations will likely be subject to change. As the public perception of marijuana shifts, opening up, and the beneficial treatment potential of medical marijuana becomes increasingly apparent, cannabis can hopefully become a more widespread, accessible option for all of those who seek it.
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