TORONTO – Health Canada is now allowing licensed medical marijuana growers to produce and sell concentrated cannabis oil as well as fresh marijuana buds and leaves in addition to the dried form of the drug.
The new rules announced Wednesday comes on the heels of last month’s unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision that struck down limits on what constitutes legally allowable forms of medicinal pot.
Under the new rules 25 licensed producers across the country will be able to produce and sell cannabis oil, fresh buds and leaves needed to make edible products to registered patients. However, producers will not be permitted to sell plant material that can be used to propagate marijuana.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose had initially said she was outraged by the Supreme Court decision, which would let patients consume the drug in the form of edible brownies or cookies.
The high court ruling also left a grey area for commercially licensed pot producers as the decision gave medical marijuana users the right to both possess and consume cannabis derivatives, such as edibles, but it was unclear if licensed growers were allowed to sell anything other than the dried form of the drug.
Ambrose said in a statement Wednesday the new guidelines are intended to eliminate any confusion and reiterated the government’s stance that marijuana is not an “approved drug or medicine.”
“Marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and has not gone through the necessary rigorous scientific trials for efficacy or safety,” Ambrose said. “Canadian courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes when authorized by a physician. The Government of Canada’s position is that this must be done in a controlled fashion to protect public health and safety.”
Licensed producers were pleased at the Health Canada announcement as they will now be able to increase the diversity of products offered to clients across the country.
“This is a natural sign of progression in the industry and a big step forward for patients seeking access to a variety of diverse products,” said Mark Zekulin, president of Tweed Marijuana. “Tweed has the largest growing facilities in the country, and is ready to move expeditiously to offer its customers a diverse line of oil extracts.”
Licensed producers will be allowed to ship unscented and unflavoured oil to patients in child-resistant packaging and must be labelled with a “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN” warning.
The label must also include the warning “This product has not been authorized for sale under the Food and Drugs Act. It has not been assessed for safety or efficiency to treat or prevent any disease or symptom.”