Health Canada’s New Plan Punishes Patients (Again)

CANNABIS CULTURE- Health Canada has vowed to tighten regulations over industry concerns that medicinal cannabis is being diverted into the unregulated market. The update would see an increase in license refusals and revocations while creating new penalties for patients. 
According to Health Canada’s website there was an increase in the daily amounts being authorized for individuals to produce cannabis for medical reasons or have someone produce it for them, inspections found activities that do not comply with the Cannabis Regulations at personal and designated production sites and there was an increase in law enforcement activities at some personal and designated areas in the recent months.
“Not everybody who depends on medical cannabis is smoking it, many are juicing it or creating topicals, which requires higher amounts of cannabis,” said Joel Taylor, co-founder of the medical dispensary Patient Choice.
The current regulations allow medical cannabis patients to grow their own plants or have a designated grower to grow it for them. As of September 2020, approximately 420,000 Canadians had an authorization from a health care practitioner to use cannabis for medical purposes.  
While most patients buy their cannabis from federally licensed sellers (approximately 377,000), approximately 10% (approximately 43,000) are registered with Health Canada to produce cannabis for themselves or to have someone produce it on their behalf.
“It is incredibly important for people to be able to grow medicine of any kind and it is difficult to tell a medical cannabis patient to cap their plant cap. Having a designated grower is important because many people do not have the time or patience to grow when they are dealing with illness,” said Taylor in a phone call.
The current regulation allows a designated producer to produce a maximum of two registrations, for themselves and one other person, or for two other persons. A maximum of four registrations can be authorized at any one site.
Strengthening regulations could discourage people who depend on the Government’s help to buy their medication at the medical dispensaries.
“If restrictions for medical patients get stricter, some would not even bother taking the extra steps needed to continue to/or to have a prescription in the first place,” said Jesse Cozzuol, who worked with medical cannabis and now transitioned to the recreational market. 
“These measures will force patients to rely on the recreational market or grow their own, which will not always give them the assistance they need and deserve” he said in an e-mail.
Health Canada opened a public consultation for the factors that may be considered when assessing the risks to public health and public safety. The consultation closes on May 7, 2021. 
Following the consultation, Health Canada intends to finalize the guidance document for the new regulations and make it publicly available on their website.

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