Story by Max Davis
In the midst of Canada putting together their layout for complete decriminalization in the spring of 2017, they have made baby steps towards a more tolerant view of cannabis with allowing their medical patients to privately grow their own or have someone grow for them. Health Canada says information on how to register to grow your own pot and legally purchase equipment is available as of August 24.
The move was initiated by a lawsuit started by Neil Allard, Tanya Beemish, David Hebert, and Shawn Davey, four Canadian medical marijuana users that believed the current restrictions on medical marijuana adversely impacted their lives. But now, depending on their needs, Canadian medical marijuana patients can grow an average of two outdoor plants or five indoor plants. The seeds and plants would come from licensed producers, who could sell an interim supply of cannabis to people as they wait for their homegrown supply to be ready.This is a big break for Canadian cannabis users for many reasons, one of the biggest ones being giving all Canadian medical marijuana patients easier access to cannabis.
This wasn’t the Canadian government’s first plan to give their medical marijuana patients easier access to cannabis. On February 24, Federal Court judge MIchael Phelan struck down the former Conservative government’s 2013 law that specifically required medical marijuana patients to buy their cannabis from licensed producers instead being able to grow their own. Judge Phelan said his ruling was based on the fact that limiting a patient to a single government-approved contractor and eliminating the ability to grow one’s own marijuana or choose one’s own supplier had restricted patient liberties under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
While it is legal to possess cannabis if you are a licensed medical user, before this bill, on August 24, came into effect the only way for medical users to procure cannabis was to buy it from licensed producers. This does relieve some pressure on the problem of access to cannabis, but Health Canada notes that medical cannabis users will have to go through proper protocol in order to legally use and obtain marijuana, and that dispensaries and compassion clubs are still illegal.