There was so much media coverage on the recent Cannabis Act passed in 2018 when the Canadian government legalized recreational marijuana nationwide. But did you know that the use of cannabis has been legal for nearly two decades in Canada.
Canadians have been able to access medical marijuana since 2001 by applying for a medical license to purchase or grow cannabis. There have been several licensure programs over the years, all varying in rules and regulations for medical marijuana. Keeping the 3 programs – MMAR, MMPR, and ACMPR – straight can be confusing.
If you’re wondering about the MMAR vs MMPR vs ACMPR, continue reading. Here you’ll find how the earliest Canadian medical marijuana program – the MMAR – has ultimately transformed into today’s ACMPR.
2001: It All Started with the MMAR
Canada has been ahead of the game when it comes to the legalization of cannabis. Not only was recreational cannabis officially legalized in 2018, medical marijuana became legal way back when in 2001. The government passed what was called the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, the MMAR for short.
This program was where it all started for Canadians wanting easy access to cannabis for medical purposes. Through the MMAR, the government officially allowed citizens to purchase medical weed and even grow their own plants. With a doctor’s prescription and an application, MMAR licenses were being handed out left and right.
2014: The Government Made the Switch to the MMPR
The MMAR program went on for a long time, but in 2014 the federal government decided that something needed to change. So many people were receiving licenses for large plant counts – some even for thousands of plants. Government began to get suspicious and decided that the black market of cannabis was booming because of the MMAR program.
They felt that Canadians were taking advantage of the program and not growing just for medical reasons, but also to sell cannabis illegally. In turn, the government got rid of the MMAR and replaced it with the MMPR. This new program still allowed access by purchasing medical cannabis through licensed producers. However, it no longer allowed for home growing.
2016: The Allard v Canada Court Case Commences
Well it’s no surprise that Canadian growers were in an uproar with these new laws. Most Canadians actually used their MMAR licenses in the proper way and grew plants for their own personal medical reasons. Purchasing from a licensed producer doesn’t fit the bill for everyone – it is extremely pricey to buy government-grown weed.
In 2016 four BC men who had been licensed under the MMAR decided to take things into their own hands. They fought the government on the MMPR and took Canada to court in Allard v Canada. In the end, these four men won and the much-hated MMPR transformed into the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
The Basics of Canada’s ACMPR Program
Through the ACMPR, Canadians can once again grow their own plants for medical reasons. The process is simple and the first step is to acquire a medical document from a doctor. After that, the application is filled out, sent to the government for overview, and returned back to the sender in the form of a grow license.