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Drugs and Health Products

About the Marihuana Medical Access Program

Since 2001, Health Canada has granted access to marihuana for medical purposes to Canadians who have had the support of their physicians. Once approved under the Next link will take you to another Web site Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), individuals have three options for obtaining a legal supply of dried marihuana: 1) they can apply under the MMAR to access Health Canada’s supply of dried marihuana; 2) they can apply for a personal-use production licence; or 3) they can designate someone to cultivate on their behalf with a designated-person production licence.

In response to concerns from stakeholders that this system was open to abuse, and after extensive consultations, the Government of Canada introduced the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations which were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on June 19, 2013. The new 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.

During the transition period, the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations and the current Program will operate concurrently. Authorized individuals have the option to remain with the current Program until March 31, 2014, or to switch to a licensed producer as soon as they become available. The production of marihuana for medical purposes in private residences will end March 31, 2014, as will the Health Canada supply.

As of April 1, 2014, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations will be repealed and the only way to access marihuana for medical purposes will be through commercial, licensed producers. At this time the Marihuana Medical Access Program will also end.

Please note: current scientific evidence does not establish the safety and efficacy of marihuana (cannabis) to the extent required by the Next link will take you to another Web site Food and Drug Regulations for marketed drugs in Canada.

Our Service Standards

The Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) is committed to providing seriously ill Canadians with effective and efficient services. As part of this commitment, the MMAP strives to meet the following service standards:

  • Processing applications within 10 weeks of receiving a complete application, including new applications, applications to renew, or applications to amend an existing authorization/licence.
  • Shipping Health Canada supply orders (dried marihuana and/or marihuana seeds) to program participants within 14 days of receiving the order; and
  • Returning calls within 5 business days.

While staff in the MMAP work diligently to meet these standards, some program participants may experience longer wait times due to higher-than-normal application or call volumes or incomplete application paperwork.

The service standard of 10 weeks for processing an application starts when a fully completed application is received by the MMAP. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

Applications from people with symptoms being treated within the context of compassionate end-of-life care will continue to be given immediate priority.

Please note that the MMAP requests that applicants to the Program refrain from contacting Health Canada during the standard processing period, unless a change is required to their application.