If you have been following the news lately, you may have seen a recent flurry of marijuana dispensary raids, closures and even arrests of customers. This has been taking place right across the country and with added frequency.
It seems dispensaries are popping up overnight with many trying to “cash in” on the marijuana advent into the approved medical association of marijuana as an alternative to prescribed medicine.
This short post may help to clarify some of the misconceptions about the legality of medical marijuana.
How to Get Prescribed Medical Marijuana
As per Canadian law the only legal way to acquire medical cannabis is with a recognized physician that will fill out a medical document granting the patients access to medical cannabis.
You will need to obtain a medical document from your practitioner.
You have to have seen a practitioner who issues a prescription and that prescription is placed with a federally regulated licensed producer.
Now remember that not all doctors are on board with prescribing medical marijuana, and those that do will not just write you a prescription because you asked. Since there are guidelines in place that practitioners must adhere to, be prepared to be scrutinized as to whether medical marijuana will be of a benefit to alleviate symptoms of your particular ailment.
And remember, a medical marijuana prescription is just like any other prescription. The prescription will contain the daily grams of dried marijuana you are authorized to use (days,weeks or months) which cannot exceed one year from the date the medical document is signed by your healthcare practitioner.
Once You Have Your Prescription
After you get your prescription, you will need to file it with a Licensed Producer and then the medicine is ordered online and delivered to the your home by mail. With the first order, you will also receive their Medical Marijuana Identification Card.
Although dispensaries are also issuing “membership cards” these are NOT considered legal in the eyes of the law.
It is incredibly easy to obtain a “membership card” from your local dispensary. Basically your name, address and perhaps a copy of your DL for identification purposes. Seems all very upfront and professional, but there are points to remember.
As it stands now, street level dispensaries are NOT considered legal in the eyes of the law. The products that they are swelling are unregulated and untested. They may have fancy names, and most times when you shop at a dispensary the ritual “smelling” of the cannibas takes place. To my knowledge, smelling cannibas in a jar does not equate to providing a medical solution. For the most part, these dispensaries are no different than obtaining marijuana from “this guy I know”!!!
If authorities do pull you over and find marijuana on your person and you have a membership card from a dispensary they could technically charge you, if they choose to do so under the current law.
On the contrary, if you were pulled over and had your marijuana in your labeled licensed producer packaging that your medicine comes in then this proves that you are a registered legal patient. You can also safely fly within Canada and have your medicine on your person, as long as you have the labeled licensed producer packaging.
The New Trend of Medical Marijuana
With more than 37,884 Canadians authorized to possess dried marijuana for medical purposes, the procedures for getting a medical marijuana will get simpler and more routine. But until then, follow the rules and if in fact you are acquiring cannibas for medcial purposes, keep up to date on any new legal issues, and maintain an open dialogue with your practioner and your liscensed medical marijuana provider.
Remember, this is all in the interest of bettering your health and best practice relief options.
DID YOU KNOW?
Compliance is normally achieved through a cooperative approach between the regulated party and Health Canada. It is expected that licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes will take timely and appropriate corrective actions when any issue of non-compliance with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) is brought to their attention.