The Changing Legal Landscape of Medical Marijuana — What Should I do if I am Being Investigated Under the MMAR System?

February 2, 2015

2014 was a confusing year for Canadian Medical Marihuana growers and patients alike. The good news? The Canadian Government seems to be moving in the direction of wider acceptance of Medical Cannabis growth and use. The new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) are meant to lay the groundwork for larger commercial growth operations to enter the market. The bad news? Today, it’s tougher than ever to legally grow Marijuana at home.

Under the old system, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) provided Medical Marijuana patients the ability to choose from three methods of obtaining Cannabis once they had received an Authorization to Possess (ATP): Firstly, by going through Health Canada, which previously provided one strain of Medical Marijuana to patients. Secondly, patients could grow their own Marijuana, provided they obtained a Personal-Use Production License (PUPL). Lastly, patients could choose a designated grower and obtain their Medical Marijuana through them, provided the grower held a Designated-Person Production License (DPPL) and ATP.

However, on March 31st, 2014 the MMAR were repealed in favour of the new MMPR. Under the MMPR, Health Canada will no longer supply Medical Marijuana to patients, and the distribution of growing licenses will be moved to favour large scale operations and industry as opposed to individual growers. That being said, for some patients and growers holding licenses valid on March 21st, 2014, a court injunction allows them to keep up business as usual until the court reaches a final decision; likely sometime early this year.

As a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Toronto, it’s important for me to ensure that my clients fully understand the implications of the new MMPR. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received on the topic, and their answers:

Q. I’m an ATP, PUPL or DPPL holder. Can I continue to grow or possess?
A. If your license is valid within the period of September 30th, 2013 and on or after March 21st, 2014, your license will remain in place (provided that the same terms and conditions are met), until the court makes a final decision. You cannot change your addresses, the number of plants, or the storage amounts.

Q. My licensed was revoked. What now?
A. If your ATP, PUPL, or DPPL license was revoked prior to March 21, 2014, Health Canada will not be able to reinstate; however, individuals who possessed a valid license at this time are authorized to grow marijuana under the MMAR, and will be able to continue to do so until the Court reaches a final decision., providing they meet the terms of the court order.

Q. I have an ATP and was obtaining Medical Marijuana from Health Canada. What do I do now?
A. Health Canada will no longer supply Medical Marijuana. If your ATP is still valid per the above terms, you may use your ATP in the place of a Medical Document to register with a licensed producer until the validity date shown on your ATP.

Q. What should I do if I’m being investigated?
A. Always keep your valid licenses in a safe and accessible place. If you’re ever under investigation, the first step is to show Police your license. Next, make a phone call to your trusted Criminal Defence Lawyer. As a Criminal Defence Lawyer with years of experience defending Marijuana-related cases, I’m available to my clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready and able to provide solid legal advice in the event of an investigation.

All of the above information is provided as a starting point in your own research. It is not legal advice. As with any legally ambiguous situation, you should contact a lawyer or other person with specific expertise before deciding what to do in your particular situation. If you have any doubt as to whether what you are doing (or about to do) is illegal or authorized by law, you always have the option of not doing it for the time being and getting appropriate legal advice.  

Canadians deserve the right to access their medications of choice, and our Government seems to be moving towards regulations that will make Medical Marijuana more widely available to patients. As the burgeoning legal Cannabis industry grows, however, it won’t be without some hiccups along the way. As a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Toronto, my clients can count on me to keep abreast of all the Medical Marijuana regulations as they change this year, so that I may be prepared to assist them in their time of need. For more information about my practice, or to book a free consultation, visit our “Contact” page.

What’s your opinion on the reorganization of Canada’s Cannabis laws? Should the number of small scale individual growers be allowed to multiply, or should their growth be capped?

« Back to Blog