Is marijuana legal in Canada?

Is marijuana legal in Canada
Is marijuana legal in Canada? As medical cannabis becomes more accepted across the globe, Canada is considering legalizing medical cannabis. With its laws changing, some people are feeling confused about whether recreational cannabis is legal or not in Canada. It is difficult with so many much conflicting media about Canada’s laws in this area.

Is marijuana legal in Canada?

Here we give you the low down on the current cannabis laws in the country. Surprisingly, Canada was the first country to legalize medical marijuana in 2001. It was in 2001, when a Canadian Court of Appeal pronounced prohibiting the use of medical cannabis as unconstitutional. But, its recreational use is still illegal. Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize recreational weed in 2014.

Canada’s first medical cannabis law in 2001

Is marijuana legal in Canada? In 2001, Canada passed the first regulations approving medical cannabis for patient use. The name of the regulation was the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). This regulation meant patients could haves marijuana. But, they had to get a government issued license after a doctor had signed their application. A government supplier had the rights to supply one strain of cannabis to these people. People could apply for a separate license to grow their own plants. This also gave them permission to name someone else to grow it and supply it as medicine. This meant patients could get access to other strains of the plant. Only patients that had severe or extreme conditions could apply. But it still excluded some debilitating medical conditions. It was a complex application process and took a long time, but eventually 38,000 had access by the time the MMAR closed in 2014.

New regulations in 2014

In 2014 the Marijuana for Medical Purposes (MMPR) replaced the MMAR. These regulations let patients with a prescription from their doctor to have marijuana. No longer did people need a license for medical cannabis. However, this meant that no longer could they grow their own cannabis either.

Growing cannabis privately returned in 2016

From 2016, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR) became law to replace the MMPR. This change let patients with a prescription from their doctor to grow their own cannabis. Patients could also nominate someone to grow it for them. There is a maximum limit of five plants grown outside and two inside. But how much you can grow depends on how much a doctor prescribes for your medical condition. You do have to register with Health Canada for a license to grow your own marijuana. You can also buy it online from more than 30 producers who have the approval of Health Canada. More than a further 20 organisations also have permission to sell it in wholesale to license producers. While concentrates are not legal to sell to patients, cannabis oil does have approval as long as licensed producers sell the oil.

Recreational cannabis and the law in 2018

In 2017, Parliament began considering a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. The proposal aims to set up a strict framework to control its production and sale across Canada. Its purpose is stop young people’s access to it and to reduce criminal activity on the black market. The Cannabis Act also aims to protect marijuana users so they receive a good quality and safe product. When this bill passes it will reduce the amount of arrests and criminal activity surrounding this herbal plant. While the new Cannabis Act allows adults access to safe legal cannabis, the current regulations for access to medical marijuana will not change. Everyone expects the Bill to pass no later than July this year. When this Bill passes, it gives access to people 18 or over to legally:
  • have up to 30 grams of dried weed or the equivalent of it in its fresh form, and you can share it with other adults
  • grow a maximum of four plants up to 100 cm high for personal use, but you will have to grow these from legal seeds and seedlings
  • make cannabis products at home without using solvents
  • buy fresh or dry cannabis and oil from retailers or online from licensed producers.

Dispensaries and the law

Currently Canadian dispensaries are operating illegally. Only licensed producers have approval to sell medical cannabis to patients. The problem is, that whenever dispensary operators face court they do not receive a conviction. They do not sell marijuana regulated by the law. So, patients who buy from them risking buying a contaminated product. The cannabis they buy could have contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals and fertilizers.   Is marijuana legal in Canada Hopefully by the second half of 2018 medical cannabis is legal in Canada.

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