Growing cannabis for medical purposes now allowed

Canadians who have been authorized to access cannabis for medical purposes will soon be able to grow a limited amount.

Canadians who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes will soon be able to grow a limited amount of cannabis themselves.

The limits are based on a formula that takes into account both the individual’s daily dose (as authorized by their health care practitioner) and the average yield of a plant under certain growing conditions – such as indoor or outdoor growing, and the number of growth cycles expected in a year.

In general, every one gram of dried marijuana authorized will result in the production of five plants indoors or two plants outdoors.

“Individuals must indicate in their application whether they intend to produce marijuana plants indoors, outdoors, or partial indoors/partial outdoors,” explained Anna Maddison, a spokesperson with Health Canada.

The new rules, which come into effect Aug. 24, were announced last week in response to a federal court ruling which upheld patients’ rights to grow cannabis.

The federal government says these changes provide an immediate solution required to address a court judgement and have nothing to do with the government’s long-term plan to legalize and regulate marijuana.

Individuals wishing to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or to designate someone to produce it for them, will need to obtain authorization from their health care practitioner and register with Health Canada.

They will also continue to have the option of purchasing safe, quality-controlled cannabis from one of the 34 producers licensed by Health Canada.

Storefronts selling marijuana, commonly known as “dispensaries” and “compassion clubs” are not authorized to sell cannabis for medical or any other purposes. According to the federal government, these operations are illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe.

Additional information on how to register and legally purchase starting materials will be available on Health Canada’s website on Aug. 24.