Would You Like Marijuana Or A Pimm’s No. 1 Cup?

CANADA:  Well, as everyone knows, the big news in Vancouver this summer involves the exponential growth of retail medical marijuana “dispensaries.”

There are already almost 100 of them in Vancouver and more pot shops are sprouting up in the suburbs and in Victoria. It’s a breeze to get your marijuana from one of these outlets (called “dispensaries” to the outrage of the pharmacists). You either meet personally with an in-house or nearby naturopath for something akin to a prescription and if the in-house or nearby naturopath isn’t handy (“Dave’s not here, man.”), the customer can do a Skype interview with the naturopath, who will prescribe marijuana for things like stress, anxiety, or virtually nothing at all.
There’s no way to legally sell or use marijuana in Canada other than through the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which creates an exemption from ss. 4 and 5 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in circumstances where a medical doctor has prescribed marijuana to a patient, that patient has registered under the MMPR, and the prescription is delivered by mail to the patient by a licensed producer, (of which there are only 18 in Canada).

Supreme Court Of Canada To Determine If Cannabis Edibles Are A Constitutional Right For Health Canada Patients

CANADA:  Recently, Canada’s Supreme Court met to determine whether cannabis-infused edibles should be allowed under the country’s medical marijuana program, the MMPR. While no ruling has been issued yet, the question presented was whether Health Canada restricting patients from legally accessing and consuming edibles in addition to physician-prescribed cannabis violates their patients’ constitutional right to life, liberty, and safety. 

Insisting you have a constitutional right to eat an infused cookie may seem a little absurd, but it’s what Owen Smith’s lawyer argued after his client was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of cannabis after he was arrested for having infused cooking oil and a couple hundred cookies in 2009. Smith was acquitted in 2012 after the judge agreed that removing a patient’s choice of consuming edibles as a medicinal option forces that patient to smoke medical marijuana at the expense of his or her health.

Because of that case, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that the government could not assert that infusing food and drink with cannabis puts patients at a greater risk than dried flower alone. Courts have required patients’ rights to reasonable access to legal cannabis under a physician’s authorization, and cannabis-infused edibles should fall under the guidelines of “reasonable access.” The edibles restriction, however, derived from the country’s previous Medical Marijuana Access Regulations, or MMAR, guidelines. If the court rules that this regulation was indeed unconstitutional, there’s no certainty as to whether that ruling would also apply to the new MMPR that replaced the MMAR last year.

Major Expansion Plans Ahead For B.C. Medical Marijuana Industry Despite Ottawa’s Sluggishness

CANADA:  The glacial pace at which Ottawa has approved licences for medical marijuana production under new federal regulations isn’t keeping one B.C. bud company from growing its operations by 10 fold.

The company announced September 22 it’s leased a 29,000-square-foot facility for production purposes.

The company already has a much smaller 3,000-sqaure-foot facility, but the MMPR licence for its first operation won’t transfer over to the new facility.


First Entirely Fee-Free Medical Marijuana Clinic To Open In South Western Ontario

CANADA:  Canadian Cannabis Clinics (CCC), a new medical clinic focusing on medical marijuana as a treatment option, will open in St. Catharines on September 16, 2014 and will be the first of its kind to operate with zero patient fees.

With the recent implementation of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), medical marijuana has become a legitimate treatment option for many Canadians. However, most doctors with expertise in this field charge up to $400 annually for a prescription or other mandatory services.

“Medical marijuana has the potential to improve the lives of so many Canadians,” said Joseph del Moral, Director of Canadian Cannabis Clinics. “But the costs being imposed by clinics specializing in this field are putting it out of reach for many. With the opening of this clinic, and future locations, we will be making medical marijuana more accessible to those patients considering it as a treatment option.”

Canadian Cannabis Clinics has also partnered with Canada’s leading medical marijuana resource and counselling service, CanvasRx, to educate and inform patients about medical cannabis options. Selecting strains best suited for a patient’s needs, and completing the paperwork necessary to register with one of Canada’s licensed medical marijuana producers can be complex, so CanvasRx provides free, in-person consultations, and an easy-to-use website (www.canvasrx.com), to help patients through all stages of the process.


Clearing The Air On Medical Marijuana In The Workplace

CANADA:  Employers will ignore Mary Jane at their own peril in the wake of recent changes to Canada’s medical marijuana system, says one employment lawyer.

Companies should be prepared to accommodate a growing number of workers on weed after the federal government brought in its new regime, known as the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Under the new guidelines, a patient must obtain a prescription for marijuana that they can bring to a federally licenced grower.

Employers have to understand their legal obligations when facing an employee with a pot prescription, according to employment lawyer David Whitten, including the fact that they must find a way to accommodate the employee’s need to use the drug in the workplace.

Currently, an estimated 40,000 Canadians treat various conditions with pot. But Health Canada estimates that nearly half a million Canadians will be using medicinal marijuana within 10 years.