Health Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Drugs and Health Products

Information for Law Enforcement

The Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) provide a means through which Canadians can obtain access to dried marihuana for medical purposes.

Under the MMAR, Health Canada issues individuals an Authorization to Possess and/or a Licence to Produce (either a Personal-Use Production Licence or a Designated-Person Production Licence) so that they may possess and/or produce marihuana for their own medical purposes if this is supported by their physician or, in the case of a Designated-Person Production Licence, produce marihuana for the medical purposes of the authorized person.

Once approved, the legal documentation issued to clients of the program is a large pink-coloured document that describes the activity (either possession or production) that the named individual is permitted to conduct. Only individuals who hold this documentation are considered authorized/licensed by Health Canada, and only the person whose name appears on the document is considered authorized/licensed to access and care for plants and/or dried marihuana at the production and storage sites listed on the document.

Depending on the specifics of the authorization and/or licence issued to an individual and the province in which they reside they may be permitted to:

  • Possess marihuana;
  • Use marihuana;
  • Produce marihuana;
  • Store marihuana; and
  • Transport or ship marihuana domestically.

Regardless of the specifics of the authorization and/or licence issued to an individual and the province in which they reside they are not permitted to:

  • Let others to use their marihuana; or
  • Import to, or export from, Canada any marihuana or marihuana seeds.

Additionally, Health Canada has the ability to revoke an authorization and/or a licence to produce for any reason under Next link will take you to another Web site s.62 and Next link will take you to another Web site s.63 of the MMAR.

Please note: the MMAR will be repealed as of March 31, 2014. On April 1, 2014, possession of marihuana for medical purposes will be authorized under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations only. Furthermore, as of March 31, 2014, personal production of marihuana for medical purposes in private residences will no longer be allowed.

Note: Other than in British Columbia, the MMAR only permits the use of dried marihuana. In all provinces and territories except British Columbia, other activities such as producing marihuana resin or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by extraction with chemicals are outside the scope of the MMAR. Except as authorized under the regulations to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), these other activities are illegal. A recent trial decision in British Columbia has affected how authorized users in that province may consume their marihuana for medical purposes.

Health Canada works closely with law enforcement agencies across Canada to help them distinguish between people who are acting within the law, and those engaged in illegal activities related to marihuana. To assist law enforcement in this regard, 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 CDSA, or the MMAR, as per section 68.1 of the Regulations. This will continue throughout the transition period, before the MMAR is repealed, however Health Canada's dedicated law enforcement services that provide information under the MMAR will end on March 31, 2014.

Except as authorized under the Privacy Act, Health Canada cannot disclose information on persons authorized to possess and/or licensed to produce marihuana for medical purposes to municipalities or fire departments. In addition, Health Canada cannot provide law enforcement with information on an individual's medical condition.

Should you require additional information please visit the Contact Us section to contact a Health Canada representative.

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations

The new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, sets up a new system whereby individuals, who have their health care practitioner's support, would access marihuana for medical purposes from licensed producers.

Licensed producers will have to meet strict security and quality standards and notification of local police is a requirement of the application to become a licensed producer. Health Canada will have a list of licensed producers and the proof of authority to possess marihuana for medical purposes will either be the label on the packaging or a separate document accompanying the shipment of dried marihuana provided by the licensed producer.

The maximum amount that may be possessed by those holding this authorization is 30 times the daily amount as indicated by their licensed health care practitioner, to a maximum of 150 grams.

Individuals who access marihuana for medical purposes are not permitted to:

  • Let others use their marihuana;
  • Grow marihuana;
  • Import to, or export from, Canada any marihuana or marihuana seeds; or
  • Produce derivatives of marihuana such as hashish, hash oil, resin, etc.

Transition

Between June 19, 2013, and April 1, 2014, both the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations and the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations will be in force. This means that Canadians may choose between two systems of obtaining marihuana for medical purposes.

Until April 1, 2014, two forms of authorization will be valid - either a pink Authorization to Possess issued by Health Canada, or the documentation (the package label and insert enclosed with the order of dried marihuana) provided by a licensed producer are legitimate authorizations. Home production will be permitted until March 31, 2014, but those with Personal-Use Production Licences and Designated-Person Production Licences will be required to destroy all plants and dried marihuana by April 1, 2014.