There’s no time like the present to start using more holistic alternatives to boost health and wellness. And we’re not talking about acupuncture or meditation here… One of the most popular holistic medical routes of our time is medical-grade marijuana, and in many countries, it’s easier than ever to receive a medical card for cannabis.
Canada is one of the world’s most progressive leaders when it comes to medical marijuana – laws have even been passed to legalize cannabis recreationally. Not only are the country’s cannabis laws progressive, but the Canadian government has made registering for a medical marijuana card completely hassle-free for its citizens.
But before you get the application process underway, there are a few things you should know.
Understanding Recreational vs. Medical Growing
Now that recreational cannabis is legal, it’s not entirely necessary to apply for a medical card in Canada anymore. The Cannabis Act has made it legal to purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries throughout the country. Not only that, but it’s now completely legal to grow plants at home, even without a medical card.
According to the Cannabis Act, it’s legal to grow a maximum of 4 plants per household for recreational use. A lot of people see this as a golden ticket to start a home grow op, but the important thing to realize is that this number of plants isn’t sufficient for medical patients.
Four plants may sound like a lot, and for the average recreational cannabis user who indulges every once in a while, it’s probably plenty. But for a patient who uses medical marijuana every day, several times a day for treatment, growing under the Cannabis Act isn’t adequate.
This is where the Canadian medical program comes into play. It’s called the ACMPR, which is short for Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, and it’s regulated by the Health Canada sector of the federal government.
Under the ACMPR, it’s possible to get your medical card online in Canada and start growing significantly more than 4 plants. Every ACMPR license is different, and the number of plants depends on the amount of marijuana that is needed for treatment by each individual patient.
What a Medical Card in Canada Entails
Now you know the general differences between recreational and medical growing in Canada, but there’s much more to becoming a medical marijuana patient than just that. Once a patient is registered with the ACMPR, he or she has a few different options for accessing cannabis for medical purposes.
The first, most popular choice is to grow plants from home according to the doctor’s prescription size. But not all patients are looking to grow their own plants, which is where options 2 and 3 come into play. Non-growers can either purchase cannabis from legally-approved producers or designate a friend or family member to grow for them.
One important thing to note is that an ACMPR license doesn’t actually come in the form of a “card”. Instead, patients who have applied and been approved receive a registration form in the mail that includes all the specific details of an individual’s medical marijuana needs.
Application Basics: Steps for Getting a Medical Card
Submitting an application for a Canadian medical marijuana card is fairly straightforward, but there are some challenges involved – especially for the very first step. To get the process started, an applicant needs a valid prescription for medical marijuana from a licensed healthcare professional, like a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Since many doctors and NPs are still hesitant about providing their patients with medical weed prescriptions, this step might take longer than hoped for. This is why so many Canadian medical patients seek help from ACMPR consulting companies that specialize in connecting patients with compassionate doctors who are in full support of medical marijuana.
After receiving a prescription, the following steps are simple. Filling out the Health Canada paperwork can be tedious, but as long as you follow the instructions, it’s not so bad. Once the application paperwork is completed, simply send it into Health Canada’s headquarters along with the original medical marijuana prescription.
A Quick Note About Health Canada Wait Times
After sending in the application, the next step is to simply wait. One of the most common questions among applicants is regarding wait times, but sadly, there’s no clearcut answer on how long the government will take to approve each application.
Some applicants receive their medical marijuana cards in the mail within a matter of weeks, while for others it could take months. The best advice to follow is to stay patient – the time will come eventually when you can legally access or grow medical-grade cannabis from home.