When Health Canada announced on August 24, 2016 that they were replacing the MMPR ( Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations ), with a new set of rules – the ACMPR, many patients were left asking :”but how does this affect me?”
To simplify the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation, let’s break it down piece by piece.
What is the ACMPR?
The ACMPR is an acronym for the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation. The ACMPR is a result of the Allard v Canada case that ruled the former regulations, the MMPR infringed on Canadian patient’s right to reasonable access to medical cannabis. Similar to the former MMPR, the ACMPR allows Canadian patients to register and obtain their medical cannabis from Health Canada approved Licensed Producers, but it also allows Canadians the option to grow a limited amount of cannabis for themselves, or designate someone to grow/ produce their medical cannabis for them.
Healthcare Practitioners still operate as gate-keepers under the ACMPR, as patients must obtain a prescription for medical cannabis in order to register with a Licensed Producer, or register with Health Canada for a personal production license.
Under the ACMPR dispensaries, compassion clubs and retail store fronts for cannabis still remain illegal and the only legal option for patients to obtain dried cannabis, cannabis oil, and/or plants/seeds (“starting materials”) is through LPs.
What was the MMPR?
Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) was a set of rules and regulations for growing, buying and selling medical cannabis in Canada. Under the MMPR, doctors were allowed to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients. Patients medicine was then purchased through a commercial grower (licensed producer or LP) that has been licensed by Health Canada. Patients did not have the option to grow their own cannabis under the MMPR, unlike the initial MMAR.
How was the MMPR different from the MMAR?
The main difference between the MMAR and the MMPR is that patients could no longer grow cannabis themselves or have it grown for them.
It has also been said that the switch was the result of pressure from Health Canada to improve access to medical marijuana and cut down on legal home grow operations – which have been getting out of control over the years.
How do I sign up/purchase medical marijuana under the ACMPR?
Patients suffering with eligible conditions (chronic pain, pain, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD etc.) can obtain a prescription for medical cannabis from their doctor. If the patient’s doctor is uncomfortable with medical cannabis or does not know how to prescribe cannabis, Apollo can help.
Apollo Clinic has physicians and psychiatrists available to consult and prescribe to patients Canada-wide, therefore we can assess your conditions, prescribe medical cannabis, and educate the patient all under one roof. We also have a new harm reduction program where our physicians can prescribe cannabis to patients who currently self-medicate with unregulated, illegal ‘street cannabis’ are eligible for a prescription under the basis of harm reduction. This is to ensure these patients have access to legal, regulated and tested medical cannabis under the ACMPR.
Moving forward, the big opportunity and focus will be on educating physicians about the truth surround medical cannabis, it’s scientific components, and the research that is currently underway. Since the power is now in the hands of your doctor, it’s important they have the correct information.