Canada Wants More Time To Review Cannabis Act
In an interview last Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that recreational cannabis is on track for summer. This promise comes despite significant push-back from Canadian senators for a delay in the implementation of the new law. Officials claim that they may need up to a year for consultations with indigenous communities before implementing the Cannabis Act.
The committee in charge of the talks say the government needs the extra time to ensure “culturally sensitive” materials are available to indigenous peoples to warn of the risks of consuming cannabis. Officials also want to finalize negotiations for revenue sharing with First Nations before the law goes into effect. First Nations government representatives want to make sure they get a fair share of the millions of dollars in taxes Canadians expect to come in.
Beginning in 2018, all cannabis providers in Canada must be authorized by Health Canada to provide dried marijuana, fresh flower, or cannabis oil to patients. The government has created a list of all authorized providers under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. The list is available to review and download on the Health Canada Website.
Some Providers Aren’t Fully On Board
Health Canada takes compliance seriously. They have a number of enforcement tools including suspending or revoking licenses. Non-compliance can also lead to prosecution so providers have a major incentive to conform to the regulations.
Despite the ramifications, there are approximately 300 medical marijuana providers across the territories operating illegally. Law enforcement is aware of them and taking action to shut them down. But until the Cannabis Act is passed and implemented, dispensaries don’t have to follow standards so shutting down bad actors is a challenge.
The lack of oversight means that many Canadian dispensaries obtain their product from the black market. Patients needing clean medicine put themselves at risk when purchasing from these providers. So many patients bypass the mess and grow their own. But there are still many rules and regulations Canadians need to learn and follow when growing their own medicine.
Patients Have Some Protection
Medical users aren’t allowed to let others smoke, import or export their cannabis, seeds, or derivatives. That includes things like hashish, concentrates and even resin. It doesn’t matter if they grew it themselves or if they purchased it from a licensed provider, sharing is strictly forbidden.
But if you so happen to have marijuana seeds on hand and a medical license, you are in luck. In 2016, a British Columbia judge ruled that medical cannabis users are allowed to grow at home. With the right documentation from the Government, some Canadians are allowed to grow marijuana seeds for medical use legally.
However, until the Cannabis Act is finalized, it is still illegal to produce and distribute marijuana for recreational purposes. This makes the delay a major concern to people trying to get ahead of the curve. Another year of debating can lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue and thousands of patients without access to safe products.
Do you think the delay in implementing the new Cannabis Act is justified? Is Health Canada doing the best thing for patients and the population at large? How do you think the government should handle the situation? Let us know in the comments section!