Health Canada is responsible for both creating the regulations governing Canada’s federal medical marijuana program (known as the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations ACMPR) as well as monitoring their implementation. With that said, many people new to the program misunderstand Health Canada’s role and involvement. Here are some points of clarification:

  • Patients do not need to apply to Health Canada to get a license to possess and consume medical marijuana (In fact, there is no actual ‘license’ given to patients at all from anyone, not even from licensed producers)
  • Health Canada does not specify certain medical conditions that medical marijuana is approved for (This is left completely up to your physician)
  • Health Canada does not sell or distribute medical marijuana itself

Much of the confusion surrounding Health Canada’s involvement arises because under Canada’s old medical marijuana program (known as the MMAR), Health Canada was much more actively involved: there were specific medical conditions that Health Canada permitted medical marijuana to be used for; a patient would have to apply to Health Canada for a license to purchase, possess, and consume that medical marijuana; and purchases could be made from Health Canada itself. But this program (the MMAR) is no longer in place, and the new ACMPR has taken its place, with a more scaled-back role of Health Canada.

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