In 2001, Health Canada granted access to marijuana for medical purposes by implementing the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (“MMAR”). Under MMAR, patients and other private persons were permitted to produce their own supply. In 2013, the Government of Canada announced that MMAR would be replaced with new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (“MMPR”), thereby treating marijuana similar to the treatment of other narcotics approved for medical purposes. Under MMPR, private production would be prohibited in favour of licensed medical marijuana production and distribution. Health Canada’s authorization of the production of marijuana for medical purposes in private residences under MMAR will end March 31, 2014 and MMAR will be repealed and replaced on April 1, 2014 with the MMPR.
The prohibition on private production of medical marijuana is being challenged and in connection with this challenge, on March 21, 2014, a Federal Supreme Court of Canada judge granted an injunction that exempts currently licensed marijuana users and producers from the terms of the incoming MMPR. Essentially, those exempt users and producers can continue to possess, use and produce medical marijuana under the MMAR rules. Access to medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions was the basis for the Court’s decision to grant the injunction.
Surprisingly, applicants to become licensed producers under MMPR are welcoming the injunction since many will be sourcing their start-up marijuana plants from MMAR producers. If an applicants does not receive its medical marihuana producer license by March 31, 2014 it faced losing its valuable supply and having to scramble for a new source. The injunction is a temporary measure and it remains to be seen whether private production will ultimately be permitted to coexist with commercial licensed production. If that is in fact the outcome, will licensed producers suffer from a reduction in their customer base?
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the Federal Superior Court’s decision or the laws applicable to medical marijuana in Canada, call or email Koby Smutylo at 613 869 5440 or email@example.com.