Health Canada’s Role under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations

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Health Canada’s Role under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations

As medical cannabis is becoming legally accepted and used, laws and regulations are enforced to ensure that medical cannabis is being handled, sold, bought and maintained properly under the (ACMPR) Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. For this reason, Health Canada, Canada’s federal department responsible for national public health, oversees inspections, works to maintain and improve health for Canadians and finds effective solutions to reduce health risks. However, what is Health Canada’s role in regards to medical cannabis under the ACMPR? The following provides further detail of Health Canada’s responsibilities pertaining to ACMPR.


Under the old medical marijuana program, (MMAR) Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, Health Canada played an active role. First, there were specific medical conditions that Health Canada permitted medical marijuana to be used for. Second, patients would have to apply to Health Canada for a license to purchase, possess, and consume medical marijuana. Third, purchases could be made from Health Canada itself. Now, since April  of 2013, a new program has replaced the MMAR. With the new ACMPR, Health Canada now has  two functions, personal grow licenses and Licensed Producers. .

Health Canada’s Roles:

In administering the ACMPR, Health Canada has two main roles:

  1. Licensing and monitoring the commercial industry
  2. Registering individuals to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes (or to have another individual produce it for them).

With respect to the licensed producers, Health Canada officials will continue to conduct a thorough review of the information on applications to ensure compliance with the regulations and associated Directives (i.e., the Security Directive). Health Canada will also continue to work closely with producers once they are licensed as a means of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the regulations and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), including thorough inspections.

As of August 24, 2016, Health Canada has reviewed applications from individuals who have the authorization of their health care practitioner and who wish to register to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes. This will involve reviewing the information submitted to ensure it complies with the regulations, and responding to requests from law enforcement to confirm the validity of a registration certificate.

In administering the regulations, Health Canada officials will work closely with a range of groups, including law enforcement, municipalities, provincial and territorial medical licensing authorities, and health care professionals, as well as Canadians who are interested in using the program.

With the new ACMPR replacing the old MMAR, there may have been some confusion for some people. Hopefully, this information clarifies Health Canada’s role under the ACMPR.

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