Canada has a long history when it comes to cannabis legalization. Recently, the country officially legalized recreational marijuana throughout the entire nation, which has certainly been a long time coming. Canadians have been able to access medical cannabis for nearly two decades, so it’s about time they can also purchase marijuana recreationally.
The recreational laws under the new Cannabis Act are fairly straightforward. As long as you can show proof that you are at least 19 years of age (in some provinces it’s 18), you have legal access to marijuana. The medical laws are what cause confusion among Canadian cannabis lovers. Specifically, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the MMAR vs MMPR vs ACMPR.
These are the programs that have been used by the Canadian government to regulate medical marijuana since it became legal in 2001. So what’s the difference between each of them? And why did the MMAR/MMPR eventually make the switch to the ACMPR program that is in effect today?
The MMAR and the MMPR Programs
Many citizens of the world don’t realize that medical marijuana has been around for decades in Canada. The Canadian government was way ahead of its neighbor to the south when it comes to medical cannabis. The US still has yet to make medical weed legal nationwide, whereas Canada did so nearly two decades ago in 2001.
At that time, the government passed the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, MMAR for short. The MMAR set the laws in place for regulating medical access to marijuana. It allowed Canadians to not only purchase their medical cannabis products, but to cultivate it on their own.
The Main Issue with the MMAR
This turned out to be a bit problematic since many Canadians used these grow licenses for the wrong reasons. The government decided to do something about it and combat the black market of marijuana by ending the MMAR in 2014. In place of it, Canada established the MMPR, which stands for Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
The Government’s Response
Through the new program, the government didn’t outlaw access to medical cannabis, but instead outlawed the ability to grow it from home for personal use. Canadian medical growers didn’t like this, not one bit. Those that had been growing their own cannabis for medical treatment for years were all of a sudden not legally allowed to do it anymore. And this didn’t fly with the growing community.
Allard v Canada Court Case
A few BC medical growers decided to revolt against these new laws by taking legal action. The Allard v Canada court case commenced, fighting for citizens’ rights to access medical marijuana by growing it from home. In the end, the growing community won. The government repealed the MMPR and came out with a brand new set of laws: the ACMPR.
The ACMPR program allows medical patients the choice of purchasing medical marijuana, growing it from home, and even designating another person to grow it for them. All in all, Canadians seem to be happy with this program.