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Drugs and Health Products

Update on the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Smith

In June 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that restricting medical access to marijuana to its dried form is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (R. v. Smith). Further to the Court's decision, the Minister of Health issued the following section 56 class exemptions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

  • Section 56 class exemption for licensed producers under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations to conduct activities with cannabis
  • Section 56 class exemption for clients and responsible persons under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations to conduct activities with cannabis
  • Section 56 class exemption to authorize health care practitioners to conduct activities with cannabis
  • Section 56 class exemption to authorize the conduct of activities with cannabis in hospitals
  • Section 56 class exemption for individuals authorized to possess or to produce marihuana for medical purposes by virtue of an interim injunction

The new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations incorporate the section 56 class exemptions that were issued to apply to licensed producers, clients and individuals responsible for these clients, health care practitioners and hospitals. Since the ACMPR now allow for activities with cannabis in forms other than dried, these four section 56 class exemptions have been revoked as of August 24, 2016.

The section 56 class exemption for individuals authorized to possess or to produce marijuana for medical purposes by virtue of an injunction remains in place. This will allow these individuals to continue to produce and possess marijuana derivatives in accordance with the section 56 class exemption until such time that the injunction is no longer in effect.

Section 56 Exemption:

Section 56 Class Exemption for Individuals Authorized to Possess or to Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes by virtue of an injunction