Canada Medical Marijuana Card & Program Information

Updated on January 22, 2019.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Canada legalized recreational cannabis in June 2018 and will implement legal marijuana use for all adults in September 2018, but you can still benefit from joining their medical marijuana program. You may need medicine right away, or perhaps you want to take advantage of any extra benefits program members may get. Let’s talk about Canada’s medical marijuana program and how you can join it.

Benefits of Joining Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program

Canada is still working on its future recreational laws at the time of writing. But, there are some differences between the medical marijuana program and the proposed recreational laws. If these differences stay in place, medical marijuana patients could have some advantages over other Canadians.

Registered patients can use cannabis earlier and possess more marijuana at a time than non-registered people. While the proposed age for legal marijuana use is 21, the medical marijuana program accepts anyone 18 or older. The proposed regulations will let recreational users possess up to 30 grams of marijuana at a time, but registered patients can carry up to 150 grams, depending on their medical needs.

How to Apply to Canada’s Medicinal Cannabis Program

Signing up for Canada’s medical marijuana program involves a few simple steps.

  1. Discuss With Your Doctor: Talk with your primary care provider about using medical marijuana. They can help you figure out if you qualify for the program. You must have one of the qualifying diagnoses listed in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) to be eligible.
  2. Get Physician’s Approval: If your doctor thinks that medical marijuana will help you, ask them to fill out the official medical document. It will include some basic information about you, some information about the medical practitioner and the recommended dosage of marijuana. This will count as your registration.
  3. Purchase Your Medicine: You can use your completed medical document to obtain marijuana medicine. For pre-made medication, sign up with a licensed producer to order medicine from them. If you want to grow your own plants, submit an application to Health Canada to get seeds and growing materials.

Renewing Your Program Membership

All medical marijuana patients in Canada must periodically renew their program membership. Medical marijuana programs require patients to renew their memberships to account for any changes in condition.

In Canada, your doctor will determine how often you need to get a new registration form. On the medical document they need to fill out, they will set an amount of time in the area that states, “The period of use is [] day(s) or [] week(s) or [] month(s).” They can let you use medical marijuana for up to one year.

Once that time runs out, you need to visit your practitioner again to have another form filled out. Simply follow the same steps you did when you initially signed up for the program.

When you renew, you should keep two things in mind:

  • You must complete your renewal before your time runs out if you grow your own plants to allow processing time.
  • Check with your provider to see when they need your new registration.

How to Become a Certified Medical Marijuana Doctor in Canada

Canada doesn’t require any extra training or certification for medical professionals to recommend medical marijuana. Instead, whether a practitioner can complete a medical document depends on their position and location.

You can get a completed registration from either a physician or a nurse practitioner. A physician in any province or territory can register patients — they have no location restrictions. But, nurse practitioners must practice in a province or territory where they can legally recommend medical marijuana.

Although they don’t provide any medicinal cannabis courses for medical professionals, Health Canada does offer online resources to guide them. You can find them on the Health Canada website.

Contact a Canadian Medical Cannabis Professional

Canada doesn’t offer an official list of practitioners willing to recommend medical marijuana. But, you can schedule an appointment with your general practitioner to see if they’re willing to complete the medical registration for you. Check out our resource library for information on medical marijuana that can help guide your discussion.

Resources for Medical Marijuana Patients in Canada