The Canadian Federal government recently announced that it is getting out of the medical marijuana-production business, opening the market to companies that meet “strict security requirements.” The federal agency’s goal is to treat marijuana as it does any other narcotic used for medical reasons. Doctors will essentially fill out a medical document similar to a prescription, which patients can take to a licensed producer.
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Currently, patients apply to Health Canada to take part in the Marijuana Medical Access Program. When their application is accepted, they are able to either grow the marijuana at home or purchase it from a government producer. Under the new guidelines, patients will no longer apply to Health Canada for medical marijuana, and home production will be phased out.
As the federal government gets out of the medical marijuana business, taxpayers will no longer be subsidizing its sale. Under the current program, the marijuana costs about $5 per gram. Under the proposed changes, that price will rise to about $8.80 a gram. The government’s goal is to have the new guidelines in place by March 31, 2013, with the new system fully implemented by April 2014. However, Canadians have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed changes over a 75-day comment period that ends on Feb. 28.