Sparks Fly at Marijuana Session

Feedback from elected officials indicates widespread dissatisfaction with both existing and updated federal medical marijuana regulations. Following his presentation at a UBCM information session Tuesday, Health Canada's Executive Director for Market Development Todd Cain faced the wrath of unhappy local government delegates with numerous objections.

Recent revisions to regulations governing the production and distribution of medical marijuana are intended to provide reasonable access for patients, close loopholes and increase public health and safety. Licensed providers will be the only legal source of the narcotic and direct delivery—by mail or courier—the only approved distribution method.

The new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) came into effect in June 2013, while the current Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR) will be repealed on March 31, 2014. Until then, both the MMPR and MMAR will be in force.

Of particular concern is a responsibility gap for the inspection and remediation of residences used for marijuana cultivation under regulations that will continue until next spring. Health Canada has no authority to undertake these activities and, in accordance with the Privacy Act, they cannot release names and addresses of individuals who are currently licensed to produce marijuana under the MMAR.

This leaves local governments with no means of identifying grow locations, and no resources for enforcing the cessation of growing activities when new regulations take effect.

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