This week the federal government announced the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, or the ACMPR, in response to the R. v. Allard decision that forced the government to establish a home-growing regime after patients launched a successful constitutional case.
We thought we’d outline a bit of what this means for patients, Licensed Producers, and Licensed Producer Applicants here in Toronto and across Canada. Note that we’re not lawyers, none of this is legal advice, and we’re just relaying information found on the Government of Canada’s website here, here, and here.
What’s the ACMPR? MMPR + MMAR = ACMPR
With the ACMPR, Health Canada has essentially adopted the older Medical Marihuana Access Regulations system and combined it with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (the MMPR). Those registered with an LP under the MMPR will continue to receive their supply uninterrupted and within the same structure of rules. However, under the AMCPR, anyone with a new medical document signed by a doctor can decide to register it with a licensed producer in order to obtain marijuana just like under the MMPR, or can apply for a registration certificate to personally grow or designate a grower, similar to the MMAR. Licensed producers can now sell starting materials to personal and designated growers under the MMPR.
If you want to grow, you’ll have to send your medical document to Health Canada, along with the address of the proposed site, whether it is located indoor or outdoors, and an attestation that the property line is not adjacent to a school, playground, or other public space. Health Canada will verify the information sent in and send back a registration certificate.
Are there any limits to what I can possess and grow?
Regardless of whether you decide to obtain marijuana from an LP or personally cultivate pursuant to a registration certificate, your possession limit is 30 times your daily gram limit or 150 grams, whichever is lower.
For those who wish to grow with a registration certificate from Health Canada, patients are capped to their number of prescribed grams per day, using a plant equivalency ratio. It’s easy to figure out how many plants Health Canada will enable you to grow: for every gram per day your doctor sets out on the medical document, you’ll be able to grow 5 indoor or 2 outdoor plants. Therefore, an individual with a 3 gram per day license may grow up to 15 indoor plants.
The registration certificate has the location of the site, daily dose in grams, storage limit in grams, number of plants, and possession limit in grams. The storage limit, like the number of plants, and possession limit, is indexed to your grams per day and will enable you to store more marijuana at your production site than you can possess.
Anyone with a valid registration certificate will be able to access Licensed Producer supply “in the interim” before they are able to harvest product.
How is it different than the MMAR? How is it the same?
A number of rules in place are similar to the original MMAR. Besides the equivalency ratio, designated growers can still cultivate on behalf of a patient and they cannot produce for more than two individuals. Designated growers must not be convicted of a designated drug offence in the past 10 years. There can be no more than 4
Unlike the MMAR, patients can now partake in cultivation activities with their designated grower (if they have registered one). Health Canada may not require the same amount of patient paperwork to be sent in that was mandated under the MMAR. This could theoretically reduce administrative burdens and wait times in obtaining your registration certificate from Health Canada. There’s also a 24 hour hotline for police to call to confirm the existence of ACMPR operations.
What if I’m already registered with a Licensed Producer?
If you have already sent your medical document to an LP for an LP membership you may continue to order dried marijuana from their LP as per usual but if you want to grow it appears you may need to get a new medical document signed by your doctor, which you can send into Health Canada to receive that registration certificate. We’ll know more on August 24th.
What if I’m currently growing with an MMAR license under the Allard injunction?
We’re not sure, but you may want to take a look at this answer from lawyer to the successful applicants, John Conroy. “To answer the most often questioned asked – Can I move my license under the MMAR… The answer remains that you cannot as these announcements do not modify the injunction in any way and the Court has not acceded to our multiple requests in that regard. It would appear that if you need to move your site from your MMAR site, you will need to apply under the new regulations ACMPR and have your sites registered under the ACMPR. Once the new regulations are in place, we will hopefully be able to see if that will result in any prejudice or limits to the MMAR license conditions. If not, then the change of address can occur that way without prejudice.”
What if I’m a Licensed Producer or Licensed Producers applicant
Congratulations! You now have an additional source of revenue for your business. Licensed Producers under the ACMPR can now sell starting materials to personal and designated growers. Because all licensed producers can now sell starting material, there will be a competitive landscape and LPs will need to establish their genetics to patients. Tweed is already promoting a service to provide starting material and renting grow space patients with a registration certificate. But sales in the starting materials department may not be brisk if patients are finding other ways of obtaining seeds.
What are some of the business and branding opportunities?
There may be quite a few! Patients will need to obtain the knowledge and resources needed to grow a consistent supply of medical marijuana. Patients will also need the tools to automate production of their medicine. Companies like Grobo and Leaf have developed hardware to do just that, while digital cannabis platforms like Lift, Weedmaps, and Leafly may play a role in how patients digitally congregate to share growing ideas. A thriving service and rental industry could develop in which independent property owners and individuals with cultivation knowledge rent their property and services to patients. Branding and outreach will be important for any auxiliary business seeking to capitalize on the ACMPR and its changes. It is important to note, however, that Health Canada has said that the ACMPR “should not interpreted as being the longer-term plan for the regulation of access to cannabis for medical purposes.” What does this mean for the companies building on the green, rolling landscape of the ever-evolving cannabis industry? Anticipate change, get ready to innovate, and especially, get creative.
Update: Our friends at GrowWise Health have written this blog post about the ACMPR.