Yesterday the Federal Government announced changes to the current regulations on medical marijuana in Canada.
This was in response to the R. v. Allard decision on February 24, 2016 when the Federal Court of Canada ruled in favour of patients having the right to grow their own cannabis.
The new regulations are called the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The ACMPR comes into effect on August 24th, 2016 and replaces the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).
The Government describes the changes:
“The largest single change is the introduction of provisions that will allow Canadians who need access to cannabis for medical purposes to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them. Health Canada believes that the addition of these provisions enabling individuals to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes will provide for accessibility and affordability, and address the issue of reasonable access identified by the Federal Court.”
Patients will be required to register with Health Canada if they wish to grow their own cannabis. They will be “allowed to produce a limited number of plants based on a formula that takes into account the individual’s daily dose (i.e. quantity authorized by their physician) and the average yield of a plant under certain growing conditions, such as indoor or outdoor growing.”
What does this mean for employers and employees?
- There were already a number of patients who registered under the original MMAR regulations that maintained the right to grow their own cannabis. The new regulations simply open this up to all patients with a prescription in Canada. So, this doesn’t affect how employers manage patient-employees.
- Patients still require a prescription to be allowed to grow or purchase cannabis.
- Employers still must accommodate medical cannabis patients.
- Employers can request confirmation of the employee’s prescription as part of the accommodation process.
If you have further questions on the changes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.