A Timeline of Canadian Cannabis Legislation
Cannabis legalization has been the most buzzed-about topic in Canada, lately. With the world increasingly becoming aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, many countries have been making amendments, and even revising, laws regarding the status of the drug and its use for various purposes; Canada is one of them.
Due to the rapidly changing Canadian cannabis laws, many people find it difficult to keep up with the legal information. As a result, a lot of confusion has been prevailing among citizens.
“Is Cannabis Legal in Canada?” has become one of the most asked and Googled questions.
Here, we are going to take a look at the timeline of Canadian cannabis legislation to know about the progress that the country’s legislation has made regarding the controversial and highly politicized issue of Cannabis legalization.
Canada and Legalization of Medical Marijuana
If, by any chance, you do not know, use of cannabis for medical purposes was legalized in Canada in 2001; in fact it was the first country to take this measure.
The happened when the Canadian Court of Appeal declared the prohibition of medical marijuana unconstitutional.
Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), passed in 2001, was the first Canadian law that permitted the use of medical marijuana. According to the law, patients with severe health conditions were allowed to posses dried cannabis flower only if they have a signed application from a physician and the government issued license for that.
Under the law, government permitted only one supplier to sell only one strain of cannabis that was known to offer relief from certain illnesses. But, if a patient believed or told y the doctor that they could benefit more by using some other strain of cannabis, they could apply for the license to grow cannabis plants on their own or could authorize a grower to supply the required strain to them.
The process of obtaining license, however, was very lengthy and complicated.
MMAR was replaced by MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) in April 2014. This law eliminated the need of obtaining government license for possessing marijuana. Only thing that was now needed to legally possess marijuana was a prescription by a practicing Canadian physician. Also, the law did not permit private growth of cannabis.
On August 24, 2016, a new law was implemented that replaced MMPR. The new law, called Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR), allowed patients to grow their own cannabis plants, if they had a prescription from a practicing doctor. Also, obtaining government license again became mandatory for private growth. To get the license, patients were now required to register with Health Canada. The law also allowed patients to designate a grower to grow cannabis for them.
Under the law, 30 sellers were approved and issued licenses by Health Canada to sell cannabis. Additionally, more than 20 companies were issued licenses to produce cannabis and sell them to the licensed sellers (they were not permitted to sell marijuana directly to patients).