Health Canada – Document personal licenses for the production of medical cannabis
Health Canada’s medical cannabis in-house production program is an absolute nightmare, and unfortunately it is getting worse. If you have a license to grow medicinal cannabis, or are in the process of getting one, it will be a lot harder to keep. Health Canada plans to publish a guidance document that can be used to refuse or revoke medical cannabis licenses. We do not know when this will officially happen, but we have an idea of what this document will look like. Unfortunately, this is not good news for the medicinal patients who grow their own. Here’s what you need to know.
Draft Health Canada Document – Seeking Public Input
Guideline documents are administrative tools with no legal force and cannot be used to provide legal advice on the rules they interpret. From March 8 to May 7, 2021, Health Canada distributed a draft guidance document to selected groups for their feedback and consultation. At first glance, it seems that Health Canada made an effort to get public opinions, but in reality they were much more focused. According to their website, they contacted medical cannabis patients, healthcare professionals and medical regulators, current licensees and licensed manufacturers, law enforcement agencies, provincial and local governments, and indigenous groups.
In addition, every Canadian was welcome to comment on the draft; that is, if they happened to know about it. At the end of the consultation period, the draft document had practically disappeared. Even finding a copy for reference turned out to be quite difficult and ultimately required the use of web archive retrieval.
Click here for a link to the full draft document.
It’s not broken so let’s fix it
This document, alleging abuse of the current regulatory framework, was essentially created to do two things:
- Provide guidance in attempting to obtain a growth license.
- Provide the necessary tools to revoke or reject your license application.
According to Health Canada, only ten percent of licensed medicinal cannabis users are registered for cultivation; that’s only an estimated 43,000 people. The question arises, what is the real problem? Are all of these people at risk to public safety? We are at the end of a global pandemic and in the middle of a deadly opiate crisis. Why is Health Canada engaged in this? According to the document, it is “designed to protect public health and safety, including reducing the risk of cannabis being diverted onto the illicit market”. However, another section makes the motivation much clearer
“However, since the Cannabis Act and Regulations came into effect, Health Canada has seen a worrying trend in the size of certain personal and designated manufacturing facilities and related issues. For example:
- The daily quantities sought by individuals seeking Health Canada approval to manufacture cannabis for their own medicinal purposes or for someone to produce on their behalf have been increasing steadily. For example, the average daily amount used by doctors for people who have gained access to cannabis from state-licensed vendors has remained relatively constant at 2.0 grams per day, an amount consistent with published evidence and guidelines on the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The average approved daily amount for personal and intended production is approximately 36 grams per day. “
Hunt for green witches
When the final version of the guidance document is released by Health Canada, it will pull the trigger and start a new green witch hunt. Cannabis enforcement officials like the provincial community security unit will have a draft to help them keep track of personal medical gardens. It also makes it much more difficult to obtain or renew an ACMPR. While many of the issues will be a legal headache, it’s important to note that all of them are about a person dealing with a medical illness. Instead of focusing on this person on healing, we will examine their access to medicine.
Risk assessment factors
According to the draft document, when assessing the risk to public health or public safety, the following factors can be taken into account:
Prescription amount – “Is the approved daily amount of cannabis supported by credible clinical evidence and / or published treatment guidelines?”
The first factor listed to alert you to any risks is the approved prescription amount, and this is absolutely terrifying. Listing this factor will encourage the use of medical judgments as we don’t know enough to do otherwise. Insufficient data are available on the amounts of cannabinoids required to produce therapeutic effects. Here’s why:
- The biggest cannabis prescriptions are usually given for acute conditions or when the plant needs to be made into an edible or extract
- Until the R vs Smith case in 2012, cannabis was only medically legal in dried herbal form. While this process was deemed unconstitutional, the use of edibles and extracts became legal from 2012.
- As it stands, the College of Doctors and Surgeons won’t leave anything behind without long-term human studies. Since food and extracts were considered illegal until 2012, all long-term studies began after that and are still ongoing.
Failure to comply with the Cannabis Act
This may include past or current incidents related to site safety, the number of facilities, and the admission of unnamed people to the site. However, many cannabis patients make their medicine at home and this factor could cause many problems for home growers.
Criminal activity involving a healthcare doctor
If the prescriber has a disciplinary review on cannabis, let alone taken action, he or she can revoke an ACMPR. While this may make sense in an individual situation, it is unnecessary to add this factor over everyone’s head.
Criminal activity and distraction
Redirect is the term used to describe the sale or supply of licensed cannabis to an illegal source. So if anyone other than the licensed user ever got their hands on a Bud, including a particular breeder, you could lose your license. This factor is about preventing black market sales, but because it’s so vague it can be used if a sheet of paper sticks to a shoe.
Would you still like to give your opinion?
Just because the deadline has passed doesn’t mean you missed your chance to get a vote. Send an email to email@example.com or call 1-866-337-7705. If you have an opinion on this matter, please share it as you may be helping someone who could use the additional assistance. Medical patients are busy and should be able to focus on their health. Please speak up for them if you can.