In 2013 Health Canada introduced the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) to replace the MMAR. The MMPR permits legal commercial production and sale to anyone with a doctor’s prescription. Health Canada advised the public as follows.
“Treatment decisions are best made in consultation with your healthcare practitioner. Under the (MMPR) an authorized health care practitioner includes physicians in all provinces and territories and nurse practitioners in provinces and territories where prescribing dried marijuana for medical purposes is permitted under their scope of practice….The MMPR do not contain any limitations on the conditions for which a healthcare practitioner can support the use of Marijuana for medical purposes”.
The regulations aim to treat marijuana as much as possible like any other narcotic used for medical purposes by creating conditions for a new, commercial industry that is responsible for its production and distribution. The regulations will provide access to quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to those Canadians who need it, while strengthening the safety of Canadian communities. In addition, the new regulations will also enable more choices of marijuana strains and licensed, commercial suppliers”.
Health Canada has published in a document entitled “Information for Health Care Professionals” various uses for medical marijuana. These can be summarized as palliative care, nausea and vomiting, wasting syndrome and loss of appetite in cancer patients, anorexia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, epilepsy, acute or chronic pain, osteoarthritis, dystonia, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome; glaucoma, asthma, hypertension, anxiety and depression, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and opioid withdrawal, schizophrenia and psychosis; Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, inflammatory skin diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and diseases of the pancreas.
Health Canada has granted 89 MMPR licenses to date. The present licensees are named on Health Canada’s website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/info/list-eng.php. Health Canada is reviewing approximately 300 applications including the one filed by Lotus. Approximately 850 applications have been rejected. This license requires extensive quality control plans as there are products subject to all of the quality control and record keeping regulations that food and alcoholic beverage industries maintain, for purposes of public protection and taxation. In addition they are subject to strict security requirements in order to prevent theft.