Health Canada has approved the use of cannabis as a legal medicine since 2001 and there are 35 Health Canada regulated Licensed Producers (listed here) who sell it to Canadians.
NAC is working within the guidelines of Health Canada’s ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) to help Canadians have informed, legal, safe and responsible access.
NAC makes the complex process of Canada’s legal medical cannabis program accessible and simple. See NAC‘s steps to access Health Canada’s ACMPR program safely and legally with physician and medical support here.
ACMPR stands for Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations and is the new set of rules replacing the previous rules of the MMPR. This change took place officially on August 24, 2016 and outlines the updated rules for growing, buying and selling medical cannabis in Canada. It has developed a formal system for doctors, patients and large-scale commercial growers known as Licensed Producers (LPs).
In order to purchase medical cannabis from a Licensed Producer (LP), patients must have a medical document, similar to a prescription. NAC quickly connects members to a network of physicians for a medical assessment and if it’s determined that medical cannabis is a good treatment option, NAC helps members navigate the paperwork and submit all required medical documents. NAC also assists members in selecting a Health Canada LP, provides guidance on the types of medical cannabis for specific ailments and advises members on safe usage.
Nearly 40,000 patients across the country are authorized to use medical cannabis. It is estimated that the number could reach up to 400,000 over the next ten years.
Patients who wish to access medical cannabis need to consult a physician to obtain a medical document.
Similar to a prescription, the medical document includes information such as the daily dosage and the condition being treated. A sample medical document can be accessed on Health Canada’s website.
Out of over 75,000 physicians in Canada, approximately 5,000 doctors have written a recommendation for medical cannabis in the past. This represents just under 7 percent of all physicians in the country.
Although there are no official guidelines for its use for specific conditions, the ACMPR allows medical cannabis to be recommended as treatment for almost any condition or ailment.
Under the rules of the ACMPR, Licensed Producers are the only legal source of medical cannabis. The ACMPR prohibits storefronts and dispensaries and all sales must be done online or by phone, and delivered by mail.
Under the MMPR, Licensed Producers are allowed to set their own prices. Currently, prices range from $5-12 per gram. It should be noted that speculation is that prices will drop as the program becomes more established.
There are no official guidelines on what strains of cannabis are better for specific conditions. Part of NAC’s service to members includes providing advice and direction regarding types of medical cannabis to use for different ailments. Members also have access to an NAC medical staff for consultations and ongoing guidance on safe and responsible use.
The ACMPR originally only allowed dried cannabis to be sold to patients, but as of July 8, 2015 Health Canada is allowing licensed producers to produce and sell cannabis oil. The Health Canada announcement states: In order to eliminate uncertainty around a legal source of supply of cannabis, Health Canada has taken the immediate step of issuing a section 56 exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allowing licensed producers to produce and sell cannabis oil and fresh cannabis buds and leaves in addition to dried cannabis.
Note: Health Canada’s decision comes on the heels of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in June that stated: “The prohibition of non-dried forms of medical cannabis limits liberty and security of the person in a manner that is arbitrary and hence is not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.”
Health Canada has approved the use of cannabis as a legal medicine since 2001 and Health Canada has approved 35 licensed producers (as of Sept 26, 2016) to sell it to Canadians. Medical cannabis has also been recognized as a medicine for legal use in 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. NAC is working within the guidelines of Health Canada’s program to help Canadians have legal, safe and responsible access to the existing Health Canada system.
NAC incorporates the highest level knowledge of doctors and law enforcement to bring together the best education and services for responsible access to Health Canada’s medical cannabis program.
NAC provides a Medical Cannabis Card. The card shows police and others that members are legally registered for medical cannabis use.
We believe the current distribution methods need improvement because it’s difficult for law enforcement to prevent black market diversion with cannabis being delivered through the mail system. We are very supportive of future changes that support greater regulation and a reduction of diversion. Many jurisdictions in the United States operate dispensaries under stringent regulations and that is a model we would support in Canada.
Medical Cannabis is evolving very rapidly and we are adapting our model to best suit patients. We will make changes that fall within the laws and guidelines of Health Canada and that we believe are in the best interest of the patients.