What You Need to Know About Medical Marijuana Laws in Ontario

Whether you think medical marijuana actually works or you think rubbing ashes into your scalp would have an equal effect, the fact remains that there are tens of thousands of authorized users in Canada today, and they swear by it.

The laws as they apply to its use in Ontario are largely the same nationwide. Here’s what you need to know about this relatively new, and somewhat controversial treatment option.

Users Do Not Need Their Doctor’s Prescription

But they will need a doctor’s prescription. If a doctor does not feel comfortable prescribing it, s/he can write a referral, which an individual can take to another doctor who will, or a clinic where they will set you up with specialists and a doctor. If a person’s doctor does not issue a referral, these clinics will help that individual obtain treatment, if it is deemed suitable. Medical records will be obtained to determine eligibility.

It Comes in Different Forms

Up until 2015, only dried marijuana was legal for medicinal uses, but now, it’s legal to use other cannabis products, like buds, pills, and oil.

You Can Grow Your Own

While purchasing cannabis from a licensed producer is an option, as of this year, users can also grow their own – though in limited amounts. This comes in response to the Federal Court of Canada’s decision in the case of Allard vs. Canada, in which the court ruled that limiting people to buying only from licensed growers did not give individuals “reasonable access”, thereby violating security and liberty rights as set out in section seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There’s Quality Control

Producers must abide by the Technical Specifications for Testing Dried Marihuana for Medical Purposes, so people know exactly what they are getting – unlike some of the product sold on the streets.

All Cannabis is NOT Created Equal

Different strains of marijuana are created to treat different afflictions. There are some bred to treat anxiety, while others improve energy and focus. Others can alleviate pain and/or stress.

Limits are Enforced

According to Health Canada, “there is a possession cap of either 30 times the daily quantity of dried marijuana indicated by your healthcare practitioner on your medical document, or 150 grams of dried marijuana, whichever is less. You cannot possess or store an amount of marijuana that exceeds this amount.”

Price is Not Enforced

Growers set their own prices, so there’s no set rate across the board. You can change your licensed supplier at any time if you are not pleased with quality or price, but you must register with a new licensed supplier.

People Can Use in Public

Though not in places cigarette smoking is not prohibited. While Ontario did permit this at first, the dangers of smoke and the legal implications were reviewed, and while people can smoke their prescription in many places, there are restrictions. This goes for vaping as well. It’s also important to know that many clinics permit pills, vapour and buds for cooking, but do not encourage – or give their services – to those who desire to smoke cannabis.

It is Not Covered by Benefits…Yet

But there’s hope, according to experts. In the meantime, individuals can write off expenses come income tax time.

To find out more about medical marijuana legislation, check in with Health Canada. The use of cannabis medicinally is a complicated and not always black-and-white issue, but the fact remains a great many Canadians are benefiting from the legalization of this drug, which is as widely hailed as it is harshly condemned.

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