Community safety is identified as a key objective in the introduction of a new federal medical marijuana policy. According to Health Canada, individuals will no longer be authorized to grow marijuana for medical purposes in their homes. This is intended to reduce fire and safety risks as well as prevent illegal grow operations from hiding behind medical marijuana licenses.

In addition, the federal government will no longer produce and distribute medical marijuana for medical purposes; rather, the work will be contracted out to private companies.

By eliminating an individual’s ability to use a medical marijuana license as a tool to hide illegal drug activity, Health Canada hopes to create a balance between reasonable access and the need to protect public safety.

The production and distribution of medical marijuana by private companies must meet strict security requirements and will be required to comply with municipal zoning bylaws.

The new regulations will be in place by March 31, 2014. Patients that need medical marijuana to address health issues will be required to get a prescription from a doctor and will be able to fill
the prescription through either a licensed producer or a local pharmacy.

The intent is to treat medical marijuana the same as any other narcotic used for medical purposes.

There are currently 21,986 medical marijuana licenses that have been issued to Canadians by Health Canada, up from 477 when the program began in 2002.

Article submitted by the Union of BC Municipalities

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