Just two days after Town of Osoyoos Council passed a rezoning amendment bylaw that prohibits the sale and dispensing of marijuana within the community, Health Canada made it clear it won’t allow dispensaries or compassion clubs to distribute the product either.
In a statement Thursday, the federal health agency released its Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
The ACMPR will replace the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) as the regulations governing Canada’s medical cannabis program, and will come into force on August 24, 2016.
Storefronts selling marijuana, commonly known as “dispensaries” and “compassion clubs” are not authorized by Health Canada to sell cannabis for medical or any other purposes.
“These operations are illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe,” the statement from the agency reads. “Illegal storefront distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada are subject to law enforcement action.”
While prohibiting the production and sale of medical marijuana from dispensaries and empathy or compassion clubs, the regulations do allow Canadians who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes to grow their own “limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them.”
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. Information on how to do that will be available on Health Canada’s website on August 24.
Licensed users can also continue to purchase “safe, quality-controlled cannabis from one of 34 producers licensed by Health Canada.”
The new regulations come in response to a Federal Court of Canada’s decision known as Allard v. Canada.
Health Canada will work closely with provincial authorities, which regulate health care practitioners, to share data and information, such as the quantities of cannabis being authorized for medical purposes in their jurisdiction.
Health Canada will also continue to support law enforcement representatives by providing a dedicated phone line that is accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week to confirm, when necessary, that specific individuals are authorized to possess or produce a limited amount of cannabis for medical purposes.
“The ACMPR will continue to be evaluated in an effort to ensure that individuals authorized to access cannabis for their own medical purposes have reasonable access. Health Canada is also committed to studying other models, including pharmacy distribution, to provide access to cannabis for medical purposes.
“These regulatory changes should not be interpreted as being the longer-term plan for the regulation of access to cannabis for medical purposes, which is presently being determined as part of the Government’s commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana.”