Canada’s imminent legalization is just over the horizon, but for many Canadians seeking relief, it’s not soon enough. The country’s medical marijuana system has been revamped and improved upon several times in the past 15 years since the law was implemented, and now may be a better time than ever to get registered with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes program.
Below are steps you can take to register as a valid medical marijuana patient in Canada.
Step 1: Contact Your Healthcare Practitioner
First, it’s crucial to talk to your regular physician about your symptoms, treatment options, and the possibility of cannabis as an alternative treatment option.
The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Canada are as follows:
- Severe refractory nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy
- Loss of appetite and body weight in cancer patients and patients with HIV/AIDS
- Pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
- Chronic non-cancer pain (neuropathic)
- Severe refractory cancer-associated pain
- Insomnia and depressed mood associated with chronic diseases
- Symptoms encountered in palliative or end-of-life care
- Other symptoms or conditions authorized by your health care practitioner
Step 2: Healthcare Practitioner Completes Authorization Form
Once you and your physician have concluded that medical cannabis would be beneficial for your ailments, they must fill out an authorization form with the following information.
- Patient’s given name and surname
- Patient’s date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
- Daily quantity of dried marijuana to be used by the patient (grams / day)
- Period of use in days, weeks, and/or months (Note: the period of use cannot exceed one year)
Health Care Practitioner Information:
- Health care practitioner’s given name and surname
- Health care practitioner’s profession/medical specialty
- Health care practitioner’s business address
- Full business address of the location at which the patient consulted the health care practitioner (if different than above)
- Phone number
- Fax number (if applicable)
- Email address (if applicable)
- Province(s) authorized to practice in
- Health care practitioner’s license number
- Health care practitioner’s signature and date signed (DD/MM/YYYY)
Patients are allowed to possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis, depending on the recommendation of their healthcare practitioner, or up to 150 grams per month.
Step 3: Choose a Licensed Producer (or Method of Access)
Once you receive your authorization form, you must make a decision. You may choose from one of over 50 licensed producers across Canada, all of whom are authorized to provide cannabis to you via mail. These producers have been carefully selected to produce cannabis to the highest standards, but cannabis cultivation can be a very personal process.
Due to a recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeals ruling, medical marijuana patients in Canada are now permitted to produce their own cannabis, should they so choose. If you prefer growing cannabis at home or wish to designate someone to produce it for you, you may apply for a personal production license.
However, please note that you may only choose one method of access, meaning you can’t choose a licensed producer to send you cannabis in addition to growing your own at home.
For Patients Who Choose Licensed Producers
You must submit your authorization form (or you may have your healthcare practitioner submit the document for you), as well as a registration form specifically for the licensed producer of your choice. Registration forms are available on the website of a licensed producer or by contacting them directly. Licensed producers provide dried cannabis flower, fresh marijuana, and cannabis oils. There are more than 50 licensed producers to choose from, and you may find the updated list available on the Health Canada website here.
If you decide to switch licensed producers, you will need a new medical marijuana authorization form from your healthcare practitioner. You must cancel your registration with your current licensed producer and contact the new licensed producer to create a new registration with your updated authorization form.
For Patients Who Choose to Produce Cannabis at Home
Submit your authorization form to Health Canada (or you may have your healthcare practitioner submit your authorization form for you), and designate yourself or another to produce cannabis for your medicinal needs. You may grow up to 150 grams per month (or a 30-day supply, as recommended by your physician), and you may contact a licensed producer to procure seedlings or clones to start your growing operation. You may be required to register with a licensed producer to gain access to seedlings or immature marijuana plants.