Medical Marijuana Supply Shortage in Canada

Medical MarijuanaFor some people, life as they know it may be over soon. There could be a marijuana supply shortage in Canada due to Health Canada’s new regulations. This unfortunate problem might force the hand of some medicinal users to break the law and acquire their marijuana by illegal means. According to Ottawa Citizen under the new regulations in Canada there are only a few large-scale commercial growers who are currently legally dispensing medical cannabis. If the current injunction that allows people to continue to grow their own pot is brought down, some people may be forced to use underhanded methods to obtain their medical cannabis supply.

Apparently the emerging need for medical cannabis is larger than the ability of these producers to fulfill. Sean Upton, speaking on behalf of Health Canada said that the total number of applicants for production licenses was 600 as of March 25th with 12 approved. Upton said there  is no backlog. He says the processing time for MMPR applications varies from a few months to several months. 

According to Health Canada, the estimated number of Canadians currently authorized to possess marijuana for medical purposes according to the MMPR is 41,384.With 41,000 people demanding marijuana and only 12 producers approved to supply, there might be a problem in the making.

According to a Vancouver Sun article, the courts have granted an injunction allowing users to continue to supply their own medicine until the courts decide if these new rules infringe on the rights of those that can’t afford to buy marijuana from growers. A number of businesses without licenses continue to supply medical cannabis until a final decision is made. No one knows how long this injunction will continue and what will be done about the medical marijuana supply shortage in Canada in the future but the injunction is currently helping.

A CBC article lists several reasons that Health Canada would like to make it illegal for users to grow their own medicinal products. They say that growing pot poses hazards like fire, toxic chemicals, threat of home invasion by criminals and mold. They remind Canadians that marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and Health Canada does not endorse its use. The government is fighting the injunction but it is unclear when the federal appeal of the injunction will be heard. If the government does not overturn the injunction, it will allow patients the constitutional challenge of the new planned system. Several patients are currently arguing that the new structure denies sick Canadians the right to grow a safe, affordable supply of medical marijuana. They say that they can grow their pot for pennies whereas those that buy from Health Canada pay a discounted price of between $3  to $13.50 a gram.

If the injunction is brought down, Canada should brace for a supply shortage of medical marijuana and a jump in price. Many patients will not be able to afford their medicine and many will be unable to access supplies. Patients will be forced to find other sources for their supply than the legal kind.

Opinion by: Nicole Drawc


Vancouver Sun
Ottawa Citizen