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Examining Canada’s medical cannabis regulations
What is the ACMPR?
The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) are the rules that govern Canada’s medical cannabis program. Instituted in the summer of 2016, the ACMPR outline the particulars of patient access, the principle role of licensed producers (LPs), and the transitional provisions added to, and subtracted from, the country’s former regulatory systems.1 
How did we get here?
Legal in Canada since 2001, medical cannabis rules took root with the implementation of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), a system that permitted patients to grow their
own medicine, or have someone grow it for them. Replaced in 2013 by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which turned the cultivation of medical cannabis over to the sole control of LPs, the MMPR was deemed unconstitutional and replaced by the ACMPR.2
What does it all mean?
As something of an amalgamation of some of the best qualities of Canada’s past medical cannabis regulations, the ACMPR allow patients to either grow their own cannabis, or designate someone to grow it for them. Conveniently, patients can also order medicine online from any of the countries licensed producers.
How do I get a license?
To obtain a medical cannabis license in Canada, patients must first have a document signed by a healthcare professional and fill out a registration, typically with one of the country’s LPs. Once registered with a licensed producer, or licensed by Health Canada to grow at home, patients can begin cultivating, or ordering directly from the websites of LPs.
What are the particulars?
All patients are limited by their doctor to a specific number of grams per day, and some are restricted to products with only low levels of THC; others still, are prescribed only oil or flowers. Only oils and dried cannabis flowers can be purchased from LPs, though medical patients can consume the plant, and its extracts, in any form.
How does the ACMPR help?
Outside of being constitutionally versatile, the ACMPR have proven beneficial on a number of fronts. Because LP product must be lab tested, and tight restrictions are placed on their cultivation practices, patients are better served from the standpoint of product safety. Likely the most significant facet of Canada’s medical cannabis system is the fact that, later this year, a series of acronyms – the MMAR, MMPR and ACMPR – will serve as the foundation on which revolutionary recreational cannabis laws will be established. 

  1. "Understanding the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations." https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/drugs-health-products/understanding-new-access-to-cannabis-for-medical-purposes-regulations.html
  2. “Legislative history of medical marijuana in Canada.” https://www.torys.com/pages/fdl/2016/08/legislative-history-of-medical-marijuana-in-canada

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