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Drugs and Health Products

Medical Use of Marijuana

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Learn about licensing and compliance and enforcement for producers of marijuana for medical purposes. Find procedures for accessing marijuana for medical purposes and frequently asked questions. Obtain information for licensed producers, healthcare practitioners, law enforcement and local government.

Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. The Government of Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a healthcare practitioner.

The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) came into force in June 2013. The regulations create conditions for a commercial industry that is responsible for the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. They also make sure that Canadians with a medical need can access quality controlled marijuana grown under secure and sanitary conditions.

A strict and rigorous application process

All applications to produce marijuana for medical purposes undergo a strict and rigorous review. 

  • When an application is received it undergoes an initial screening to ensure that it is complete. Complete applications undergo a more in depth screening on key elements of the MMPR.
  • The application is thoroughly reviewed to ensure compliance with all the requirements of the MMPR. This includes but is not limited to security measures, good production practices, packaging, labelling, shipping, and record keeping.
  • A pre-licence inspection occurs once the physical site is ready and the results of the security clearance checks have been received.
  • Key personnel must have a valid security clearance in order to be licensed.

The timeframe for processing applications is highly variable - sometimes taking well over a year to complete. The quality, completeness and complexity of applications are key variables influencing application processing times. Applicants should expect several rounds of communication with the Department during the application process.

More information about the application process can be found on our Application Process web page.

Ensuring health and safety for Canadians

Licences are issued only after it is determined:

  • there is no risk to public health, safety and security;
  • the applicant has met the security requirements outlined in the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR);
  • all the requisite security clearances have been obtained;
  • there are no other grounds for refusing the application; and,
  • The application otherwise satisfies the conditions for obtaining a licence outlined in the MMPR.

Regulations no longer in effect

The Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) were repealed on March 31, 2014. However, as a result of a Federal Court Order granted on March 21, 2014, individuals who were previously authorized to possess and produce marijuana under the MMAR, and who meet the terms of the Federal Court order, will be able to continue to do so on an interim basis until the Court reaches a final decision.  As ordered by the Court, individuals with an Authorization to Possess valid on March 21, 2014, may hold a maximum quantity of dried marijuana as specified by their Authorization to Possess or 150 grams, whichever is less.

Individuals with a medical need

Individuals with a medical need who do not fall within the scope of this Court order and who have the support of a licensed healthcare practitioner may consult Procedures for Accessing Marijuana for Medical Purposes.

Latest updates

Did you know?

The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations are in effect and the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations were repealed on March 31, 2014. Archived information about the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations is available.