How marijuana will be distributed, accessed, and used according to Canadian law will see a dramatic shift two weeks from today. On March 31, the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations program in Canada will end. In place of it, effective as of April 1, will be the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
The Medical Marijuana Access Regulations was implemented in 2001 and it authorized Canadians to possess marijuana and to produce their own stash under the Personal-Use Production and the Designated-Person Production Licenses.
The older regulations, however, was said to be abused over the years. Global News reports that those authorized to possess marijuana medically had risen from less than 100 in 2001 to a current number of 37,000 people. It is estimated that the number would reach 400,000, which would make it near impossible for Health Canada to inspect all of the production locations in the country.
In a news release Health Canada said they do “not endorse the use of marijuana” and they are doing their best to protect the public “while providing reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes.” Under the changed laws effective on April 1, producing marijuana in homes will be illegal and only licensed producers have the authorization to produce marijuana. The medicine would then be distributed if it is deemed by health-care providers to be the right treatment to use for the patient.
For those currently growing marijuana in their homes, they are required to discontinue production and confirm via a form the number of plants they destroyed. Health Canada warns users that if they do not comply, law enforcement will be notified.
In defense of the program, a court document said that growing marijuana at home has various hazards, including fire, mold, the threat of home invasion, and toxic chemicals. Health Canada said that the large growth in production of medical marijuana in Canada led to violent invasions of homes, along with homicides and persistent dealing of drugs in neighborhoods.
In order to destroy the stash, Health Canada recommends blending water with the marijuana and then mixing it in cat litter. This method is said to deteriorate the materials and get rid of any odors.
So far, Health Canada has licensed ten commercial growers. Combined it is estimated that they will be able to produce 31,000 kilograms of the medicine per year. Health Canada also predicts that there will be licensing of 12 more growers by the time April 1 comes along.
One individual against the new regulations tells The National Post that the regulations will lead to a shortage of marijuana, and as a result, many users will be forced to use other remedies, or even worse, crimes and breaking the law in order to obtain the medicine.
One other user who is leading a legal movement against the regulations tells The Huffington Post he worries for patients who are in a condition much worse than he is and who are unaware of the change in Canada’s marijuana for medical use law. Just how will those not destroying stash because of their not knowing affect them legally, he asks. The user also says that he pays $2 per gram when he grows his own stash. This number will increase to $12 per gram under the new regulations effective on April 1, a price he cannot afford.
By Kollin Lore