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Drugs and Health Products

Frequently Asked Questions

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The following are the most frequently asked questions regarding the medical use of marihuana:

On this Page

  1. Where Does the Government of Canada Stand on the Issue of Medical Use of Marihuana?
  2. Does This Legislation Mean That Marihuana Is a Legal Substance?
  3. What Do I Do in the Case of Loss or Theft?
  4. What Are the Consequences if My Authorization to Possess Marihuana and/or My Licence to Produce Marihuana Expires Before I Get a Renewal?
  5. What Happens if I Do Not Renew my Authorization to Possess and/or Licence to Produce?
  6. Is there a Minimal Age Requirement to Possess and/or Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes?
  7. Can "Compassion Clubs" or Cannabis Dispensaries sell or provide marihuana to the holder of an Authorization to Possess?
  8. How Does Health Canada Protect the Identity of Individuals Who Are Authorized To Possess or Licenced to Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations?
  9. How Much Dried Marihuana for Medical Purposes Can an Authorized Person Possess at One Time?
  10. How Much Dried Marihuana For Medical Purposes Can a Person with a Licence to Produce Store at Any Time?

1. Where Does the Government of Canada Stand on the Issue of Medical Use of Marihuana?

On July 30, 2001, the Government of Canada implemented the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, which clearly define the circumstances and the manner in which access to marihuana for medical purposes will be permitted. The Regulations contain three main components: authorizations to possess dried marihuana; licences to produce marihuana, which include Personal-Use Production Licences and Designated-Person Production Licences; and access to supply of marihuana seeds or dried marihuana.

In response to concerns from stakeholders that this system was open to abuse, and after extensive consultations the Government of Canada introduced the new Le lien suivant vous amne  un autre site Web Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations which came into force on June 7, 2013.

The regulations aim to treat marihuana as much as possible like any other narcotic used for medical purposes by creating conditions for a new, commercial industry that is responsible for its production and distribution. The regulations will provide access to quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to those Canadians who need it, while strengthening the safety of Canadian communities. In addition, the new regulations will also enable more choices of marihuana strains and licensed, commercial suppliers.

2. Does This Legislation Mean That Marihuana Is a Legal Substance?

Cannabis (marihuana) is included in Schedule II to the Next link will take you to another Web site Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). This means that activities--for example, possession of marihuana, possession for the purposes of trafficking, production, importation, exportation, trafficking, and possession for the purposes of exporting--are illegal, except as authorized by regulation.

Unauthorized activities associated with marihuana are considered to be criminal offences and are subject to the penalties set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The Marihuana Medical Access Regulations and the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations allow access to marihuana for medical purposes. It is important to note that these Regulations deal exclusively with the medical use of marihuana. They do not address the issue of legalizing marihuana.

3. What Do I Do in the Case of Loss or Theft?

In the case of loss or theft of marihuana for which you hold an Authorization to Possess or a Licence to Produce, you must contact your local police force within 24 hours of becoming aware of the occurrence. Please have your authorization or licence papers on hand when you contact police.

Health Canada must also be advised, within 72 hours of becoming aware of the loss or theft of marihuana.

4. What Are the Consequences if My Authorization to Possess Marihuana and/or My Licence to Produce Marihuana Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations Expires Before I Get a Renewal?

Authorizations to Possess and Licences to Produce under the Next link will take you to another Web site Marihuana Medical Access Regulations are issued for a maximum of one year and have an expiry date. Possession and/or production of marihuana for medical purposes are only permitted with a valid authorization and/or licence.

All Authorizations to Possess and Licences to Produce issued under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations will expire on March 31, 2014. At that time marihuana for medical purposes can only be accessed via a licensed producer under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Activities undertaken without a current, active Authorization to Possess or Licence to Produce could be subject to law enforcement measures under the applicable legislation. Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, the Minister of Health is authorized to communicate certain information to law enforcement officials when it is requested during the course of an investigation. For example, in the case of a person whose authorization and/or licence has expired, Health Canada can disclose to the police whether an individual has a valid authorization to possess and/or licence to produce marihuana for medical purposes, or whether an application has been made to renew the authorization and/or licence prior to the date of expiry, as well as the status of the application.

5. What Happens if I Do Not Renew my Authorization to Possess and/or Licence to Produce?

Authorizations and licences are issued for a maximum of one year. If you do not renew them, they will expire and will no longer be valid. Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, the possession and/or production of marihuana for medical purposes is ONLY permitted with a VALID authorization and/or licence.

All Authorizations to Possess and Licences to Produce issued under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations will expire on March 31, 2014. At that time marihuana for medical purposes can only be accessed via a licensed producer under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Activities related to marihuana without an authorization and/or licence could be subject to law enforcement measures. Under the Next link will take you to another Web site Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, the Minister of Health is authorized to communicate certain information to law enforcement officials when it is requested during the course of an investigation.

For example, if your authorization and/or licence has expired, Health Canada can disclose to the police whether an individual has a valid authorization to possess and/or licence to produce marihuana for medical purposes, or whether an application has been made to renew the authorization and/or licence before the date of expiry, as well as the status of the application.

6. Is there a Minimum Age Requirement to Possess and/or Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes?

There is no minimum age requirement to apply for an Authorization to Possess Marihuana under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations. However, an individual who wants to apply for a Personal-Use Production Licence or a Designated-Person Production Licence must be at least 18 years of age.

7. Can "Compassion Clubs" or Cannabis Dispensaries sell or provide marihuana to the holder of an authorization to possess?

Health Canada does not licence organizations such as "compassion clubs" to possess, produce or distribute marihuana for medical purposes under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.

With respect to licences to produce under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, Health Canada restricts the number of production licences in one location to four. The number of people for whom a licensed person can produce is also limited to two. Under the new Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, any production operation which exceeds these limits would operate outside the Regulations and therefore be subject to law enforcement measures.

As of April 1, 2014 producing marihuana in a dwelling place will no longer be permitted. Marihuana may only be accessed via licensed producers. Health Canada will publish information about these sources on our website. Only the licensed producers identified on this web page are licenced to sell or distribute marihuana to individuals for medical purposes. If a person or an organization is not identified on this web page, they are NOT authorized to sell or distribute marihuana for medical purposes.  

8. How Does Health Canada Protect the Identity of Individuals Who Are Authorized To Possess or Licenced to Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations?

Personal information regarding an individual's authorization or licence could be disclosed upon consent of the individual or if authorized by law.

For example, Health Canada is authorized to provide limited information in response to a request only from a Canadian police force or a member of a Canadian police force engaged in an investigation under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), or the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, as outlined in section 68.1 of the Regulations.

Health Canada will continue to work in cooperation with law enforcement agencies to help reduce the illegal production and distribution of substances regulated under the CDSA.

9. How Much Dried Marihuana for Medical Purposes Can a Client Possess at One Time?

Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, an authorized person may have a maximum 30-day treatment supply of dried marihuana at any given time. For example, an individual whose daily amount is three (3) grams will be allowed to possess no more than 90 grams (three grams multiplied by the 30-day treatment supply) at a given time. See the table below for more examples:
Amount (grams per day)
Amount that Can be Possessed At Any Time (grams per 30 day period)
1 30
2 60
3 90
4 120
5 150

Under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations individuals who are registered with a licensed producer may possess the lesser of a 30-day treatment supply of dried marihuana or 150 grams of marihuana. Once you register with a licensed producer, you may not possess more than 30 times your daily amount, to a maximum of 150 grams.

10. How Much Dried Marihuana For Medical Purposes Can a Person with a Licence to Produce Store at Any Time Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations?

Until March 31, 2014, the holder of an Authorization to Possess issued under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations can also hold a Licence to Produce (and can thus grow her/his own marihuana), or the holder of an Authorization to Possess can choose to have a designated person produce the marihuana for her/him (in which case the designated person holds Designated-Person Production Licence).

Plants can be grown indoors or outdoors (but not both at the same time), providing specific criteria are met. Growers must take precautions to protect the plants and the dried marihuana from loss or theft. The amount of marihuana that can be grown and stored at any time depends on the daily amount that has been approved to the authorized person, and whether plants are grown indoors and/or outdoors. See table below for examples.

Amount that Can Be Produced and Stored--Option 1: Indoors (in Winter) and Outdoors (in Summer)
Amount (grams/ day) Possession (grams/ month) Plants indoors (winter months) Plants outdoors (summer months) Storage (grams) Storage (kilograms)
1 30 4 1 375 0.375
2 60 8 2 750 0.75
3 90 11 3 1,125 1.125
4 120 15 4 1,500 1.5
5 150 19 5 1,875 1.875
Amount that Can Be Produced and Stored--Option 2: Indoors Only (all year round)
Amount (grams/day) Possession (grams/month) Plants indoors (all year) Storage (grams) Storage (kilograms)
1 30 5 225 0.225
2 60 10 450 0.45
3 90 15 675 0.675
4 120 20 900 0.9
5 150 25 1,125 1.125
Amount that Can Be Produced and Stored--Option 3: Outdoors Only (all year round)
Amount (grams/day) Possession (grams/month) Plants outdoors (all year) Storage (grams) Storage (kilograms)
1 30 2 750 0.75
2 60 4 1,500 1.5
3 90 6 2,250 2.25
4 120 8 3,000 3
5 150 10 3,750 3.75

As of April 1, 2014, growing marihuana for medical purposes in private homes will no longer be permitted. At that time, marihuana may only be produced by individuals or companies licensed by Health Canada under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.