Medical Marijuana in Canada

Updated on December 28, 2018.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Update: The Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in June 2018. Recreational marijuana is expected to be available in September 2018. 

Since 2001, Canada has provided patients with the opportunity to use medical marijuana. In the years following its legalization, the country’s continued to adapt its program in hopes of making it easier for patients to use medical marijuana to alleviate pain and discomfort.

Medical Marijuana Program in Canada

While Canada Health is involved with the country’s medical marijuana program, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) oversees the program. The role of ACMPR is to ensure that the medical marijuana patients use is safe.

Within the program, there are three parties: licensed doctors and practical nurses, producers and patients. Physicians and nurses who are in good standing may recommend medical marijuana, while licensed producers may grow it for patients to purchase. The program only allows the use of medical marijuana as dried, fresh or as an oil.

History of Medical Marijuana in Canada

For more than 70 years, medical marijuana was banned in Canada. It’s thought that the initial illegalization stemmed from a League of Nations meeting, as medical marijuana was unheard of in Canada at the time.

By the 1960s, possessing medical marijuana came with a $1000 fine and six months in prison. For some, this was a sign that times needed to change. The Le Dain Commission, which was initiated by the government, held several research hearings over the next several years. It would take another 30 years, however, before medical marijuana’sn legalization.

Possession and Cultivation of Medical Marijuana in Canada

Producers must be approved and licensed to grow medical marijuana. As producers are prohibited from operating storefronts, they must ship medical marijuana to their clients. If you wish to cultivate medical cannabis, you or a designated person may, though you’ll need to register and be at least 18 years of age.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Canada

Your physician may recommend medical marijuana if you have one of the following symptoms:

If your condition is unlisted, your doctor may still recommend medical cannabis if they feel it’s in your best interest.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Canada

Qualifying for a medical marijuana card in Canada requires a few steps:

  1. Meet with your licensed doctor to discuss medical marijuana.
  2. Receive a document authorizing your use of medical cannabis.
  3. Register with a licensed producer or as a grower with the ACMPR.

You also must be at least 18 years of age to use medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Facts for Canada

Canada Health’s compiled several facts about medical marijuana in Canada, including:

  • Physicians recommend, on average, 2.3 grams of dried medical marijuana per day for patients.
  • The number of patients approved for medical marijuana use is more than 150,000.
  • Producers shipped more than 100,000 orders of medical cannabis in 2017.
  • Patients registered to grow medical marijuana is highest in British Columbia, at more than 1,000.

Medical Marijuana Penalties in Canada

Canada does have penalties for possessing too much medical cannabis. You can’t have more than 30 times the daily limit of dried marijuana, or more than 150 grams. When you order medical marijuana from your producer, you can only request a 30-day supply. Should producers operate a storefront, they’re liable for having their license revoked.

Stay up to Date on Medical Marijuana in Canada

At, we offer the most up-to-date information on medical marijuana in Canada and around the world. Whether you’re interested in learning about using, producing or recommending medical marijuana, we have a variety of resources for reference and guidance.

Browse our compilation of resources or explore our blog today!

Resources for Medical Marijuana Patients in Canada