New federal rules today will allow Canadians to grow their own medical marijuana, provided they follow certain steps. Already, some users are claiming the regulations violate their rights and are demanding the government repeal them. These new regulations, under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) would allow patients to grow a small quantity of medical marijuana, providing they register with Health Canada, get authorization from their doctor and not have a recent record for drug offences. And that has some folks fuming.
Much like a medicine cabinet, Laurie MacEachern keeps her medicine garden locked up. Seventeen marijuana plants will supply her with enough cannabis for an entire year, to keep her chronic pain at bay.
Ten years ago, I was doing 27 pills a day and still unable to sleep, says MacEachern, as she wanders through her garden, checking out her crop, so I used to drink alcohol. Within a year and a half of using medicinal cannabis, I detoxed from all the drugs and quit drinking.
MacEachern has been using cannabis for ten years and growing it legally on her property southeast of Ottawa for five years, under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) of 2001. Those were revamped in 2013 with the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which prompted a legal battle and an ensuing injunction that allowed people like MacEachern to continue to produce their own. MacEachern says that has saved her and the health care system thousands of dollars.
Im able to produce for myself for maybe $200 or $300 a year whereas if I were purchasing from a licensed producer, it would be $125 a day.
The legal landscape on recreational cannabis is changing under the Liberal government. The rules are shifting, too, with respect to medical marijuana and whether patients should be forced to buy it through a licensed producer. These new regulations are a stop gap measure as part of the government’s response to a federal court ruling in February. That ruling basically agreed with patients that forcing them to buy from a licensed producer violated their rights.
People who want to grow it now will need to apply to Health Canada, with authorization from their doctor and be clear of a drug related offence for ten years. And that has some medical marijuana users fuming.
Is it going to be sunny ways or suing days, says Clayton Goodwin, an injured vet, who has been convicted of possession. He wonders what these new rules mean for people like him.
There are tons of questions here (in the document) about a criminal record, have you been charged and as a stigmatized veteran, who has a record for growing my own marijuana because of problems with pharmaceutical drugs, I dont know what to think.”
Places like Canopy Growth Corp, responsible for the Tweed plant in Smiths Falls, which grows cannabis as a licensed producer says it supports a patient’s right to grown their own. But it believes, in the end, more Canadians will choose to go through a regulated producer.
We will continue to emphasize quality of care, variety and standardization of product, and affordability, says Jordan Sinclair, the Director of Communications for Tweed, all things that we think Canadians value when making a choice as to how they will obtain their cannabis. For those who choose home grow, we will certainly be exploring ways we can assist them with this process. Naturally, well need some time to digest the new laws in detail before this can happen.