Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations: What is it?

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Sherry Ellen Slitts
Sherry has been active in the biotechnology industry since 2010. She is experienced in developing quality management systems and documentation for regulatory compliance under GMP guidelines. Her background in microbiology, cell biology, and aseptic processing provide a scientific context for cannabis production methods. Sherry has a passion for plant science, especially in the areas of tissue culture and bioactive compound extraction.

The History of Canadian Cannabis Legalization

In July 2013, Health Canada enacted the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). These regulations pertained to the production and distribution of medical cannabis in Canada for a licensed cannabis producer.

Prior to the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, Canada had a 2001 program called Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). That program was ended in 2014 because it left openings fro abuse. MMAR was the first Canadian medical marijuana program to clearly define the circumstances and the manner in which access to cannabis for medical purposes would be permitted.

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations also fell into legal issues when it was ruled unconstitutional by federal courts. The issue with MMPR was that patients were not allowed to grow their own medicine. The act that replaced MMPR was the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations was not the last of the changes to Canadian cannabis law. In 2018 Canada took up the Cannabis Act (or Bill C-45) which federally legalized recreational cannabis.

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations treats cannabis like a narcotic pharmaceutical.

The Evolution of Canadian Cannabis Law

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations treats cannabis like a narcotic pharmaceutical. This means that producers and distributors of cannabis need to follow stringent guidelines for how they produce cannabis and conduct business.

Dried flower was originally the only cannabis product considered by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. After some amendments, edibles, cannabis products and cannabis extracts are now also covered by Canadian cannabis laws.

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations that replaced MMPR and MMAR considered both programs as a basis. It combined the personal cultivation provisions of the MMAR with the practical guidance of the MMPR.

marihuana for medicinal purposes cannabis legal status around the world
Multiple Authors / CC BY-SA (
Cannabis possession laws around the world:
Blue- Legal or essentially legal
Orange- Illegal but decriminalized
Pink- Illegal but often unenforced
Red- Illegal
Gray- No information

Recreational and Medical Cannabis Limits

Under the Cannabis Act adults are permitted to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis flower. When it comes to other types of cannabis Canada allows the following:

  • 150 grams of fresh cannabis
  • 450 grams of edibles
  • 2100 grams of liquid products
  • 7.5 grams of concentrates
  • 30 cannabis plant seeds

Canada has both medical and recreational cannabis legalization now. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to carry an additional 150 grams of cannabis flower.

Growing Cannabis in Canada

The most exciting part of Canadian cannabis legalization is the opportunities it brings to the business world. Health Canada offers cultivation licensing options for large producers and for micro-cultivation licenses.

Canada is also preparing to offer support through cannabis funding to its cannabis businesses, including banking, cannabis business planning, and assistance to pursue international cannabis trade.

Final Thoughts on Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations

Canadians have experience a lot of change in cannabis laws over the last two decades. Their laws have rapidly adapted to the changing views on cannabis. Thanks to this, Canada is leading the world in cannabis regulation and legalization. Their federal programs have created a model system that has created bountiful business opportunities in Canada and abroad.

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