VANCOUVER – Here are some facts about Canada’s medical marijuana system, which was overhauled earlier this year as the federal government moved production out of basements and into commercial facilities:
The old system: Patients who received authorization from the federal government had the option of growing their own marijuana, designating someone else to grow it for them, or ordering the drug directly from Health Canada. Patients buying marijuana from Health Canada had access to a single strain of the drug, which sold for $5 per gram.
Number of authorizations under previous regime: About 38,000.
The new system: Home growing is prohibited, and instead patients are required to order from a licensed commercial producer.
The court challenge: A group of patients is preparing to challenge the new regime in Federal Court, with a trial set for the new year. In the meantime, an injunction has allowed patients who were authorized under the old system.
Producers licensed to sell marijuana: 15, including seven in Ontario; five in B.C.; and one each in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
Patients registered under the new system: 13,671, as of Oct. 31.
Amount of marijuana sold by licensed producers: About 1,400 kilograms between Jan. 1 and Oct 31.
Price: It ranges from $2.50 per gram to as high as $15, depending on the producer and the strain, but most are between $8 and $10.
Applications: Health Canada has received more than 1,100 applications from prospective producers. Of those, almost 600 have been returned as incomplete, more than 200 have been rejected and 35 were withdrawn. As of Nov. 24, Health Canada was still reviewing 301 applications, 13 of which were awaiting a pre-approval inspection – the final step before approval.
SOURCES: Health Canada, The Canadian Press