Canada to allow medical patients to grow own cannabis

Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:59pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Medical marijuana patients in Canada will be allowed to grow a limited amount of cannabis for their own use or designate someone to grow it for them, the government said on Thursday.

The government had been given six months to comply with a federal court ruling that struck down the previous administration's ban on medical patients' growing cannabis.

Health Canada said medical marijuana patients would also continue to have the option of buying cannabis from one of 34 producers licensed by the federal government.

But it reiterated that storefronts selling marijuana, commonly known as dispensaries or compassion clubs, are not authorized to sell cannabis for medical or any other purposes.

"These operations are illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe. Illegal storefront distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada are subject to law enforcement action," Health Canada said in a statement.

Canada's former Conservative government overhauled the country's medical marijuana program in 2013, requiring patients buy cannabis from licensed producers through a mail order system.

A federal court judge in Vancouver ruled in February that the restrictions imposed by the Marijuana for Medical Purposes law were arbitrary.

The changes to the medical program came as Canada and the United States are looking at how to deal with the push to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational uses.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana and the government has said it would introduce legislation by the spring of 2017.   Continued...

Marijuana is pictured for sale during the annual 4/20 day, which promotes the use of marijuana,  in Vancouver, British Columbia April 20, 2013.  REUTERS/Ben Nelms