Pubdate: Fri, 08 Mar 2013
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Nicole O'Reilly
Page 4


Health Canada is working to change its medical marijuana program with
the hope of eliminating exploitation by criminal elements.

The main change is to eliminate personal production in favour of
licensed commercial producers who would be inspected and audited by
Health Canada.

Spokesperson Stephane Shank said the government just finished a
consultation period on the changes last month. The government is now
analyzing the results, with a plan to implement the changes by March
31, 2014.

Currently there are three types of medical marijuana licences -
authorization to possess, personal-use production (can only produce
for yourself), and designated-person production (can produce for
someone authorized to possess).

The licences to possess marijuana or grow marijuana for yourself
require a medical declaration by a doctor. Doctors are supposed to
ensure patients have severe pain or other health problems that cannot
or should not be treated by a conventional treatment.

Someone with a recent criminal record for drug activity cannot get a
licence to grow for someone else. Health Canada requires a criminal
conviction to revoke someone's licence.

However, Shank said the government cannot readily provide statistics
about how many licences have been revoked.

Health Canada has 15 inspectors.

The amount of marijuana someone can produce is based on a specific
calculation on the patient's medical needs and can vary widely. There
are extra steps if the maximum amount is more than 5 grams dried daily.

Those with a licence to produce marijuana for another person can hold
two licences, and only four licences are allowed to be used at one
address, Shank said.

For more information about the Marihuana Medical Access Program and
planned changes visit Health Canada's website:
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt