Health Canada medical marijuana patients application delays
Health Canada medical marijuana patients application delays are increasing daily and applications are being denied. The reasons for the denied applications are frustrating thousands of patients and making them sicker. Patients want answers, not excuses. Why isn’t main stream Media talking about this? It has been nearly a year and patients deserve answers even more since the announcement of Legalization next year.
As of August 24, 2016, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) will replace the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). The ACMPR is Canada’s response to the Federal Court of Canada’s February 2016 decision in Allard v. Canada. This decision found that requiring individuals to get their marijuana only from licensed producers violated liberty and security rights protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court found that individuals who require marijuana for medical purposes did not have “reasonable access”.
But if you are a patient, you will lose your patience with Health Canada. Patients who were under the MMPR fought and won their right to grow, but if they have had a change in circumstances (change of address) or prescription has run out they have to re apply to Health Canada and it is taking MONTHS.
Health Canada medical marijuana patients application delays
According to Health Canada website, you must first fill out an application and include an original medical document from the Health Care practitioner.
Patients are furious, as their applications are being denied because they go to clinics where they are seen by a Doctor via Skype. The Doctor speaks to the patient via webcam and goes over their medical history. He then sends a prescription via email to the clinic. There is no original given. You must also make it clear to the Doctor that you intend to grow. Otherwise the clinics have you sit with someone who will refer you to a Licensed Producer. Hundreds of patients sent their application in to Health Canada and their applications were rejected for various reasons, and other applications that were identical were approved. There seems to be some confusion within Health Canada which is effecting thousands of patients who already have medical conditions that make it difficult for them. Health Canada is making many patients sicker. Especially the ones who suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression. Cancer patients have said they were given the right, but Health Canada delays are making them ask the question “Is Health Canada really working with patients or are they making them sicker by delaying them their rights” Several have asked if this has now become a Human Rights issue.
If an individual wants to produce a limited amount of cannabis for his/her own medical purposes, he/she must submit an application to register with Health Canada. An original medical document from the health care practitioner must be provided and the application must include information such as the location of where cannabis will be produced and stored.
Once successfully registered, the individual will receive a registration certificate from Health Canada. The certificate will include information required for the individual to show his/her legal authority to possess and produce cannabis. It will also include the location and maximum limits of the production and storage activities, as well as the individual’s possession limit.
Health Canada medical marijuana patients application delays are unacceptable.
Every day I am contacted by frustrated patients who are phoning and emailing Health Canada for answers. They have reported delays on the phone for up to 4 hours. When they finally get to speak with someone, they are being told that Health Canada is dealing with massive delays, due to so many grow applications. They are also being given different answers as to why their applications are being sent back. According to this article dated in 2014, they were overwhelmed then and nothing has changed in four years??. “They keep moving the goal posts,” one West Coast-based applicant said of Health Canada’s evolving review process. It is now 2017 and patients who were given the right to grow are being forced by the Government to buy from Licensed producers. The prices they have to pay are more than they can afford as it is not covered by OHIP or any private health plan. Cancer patients, patients with epilepsy and Parkinsons are telling me that they are rationing what they get as they can’t afford the prices that the LP’s are charging. If they were able to grow it would be much more affordable for them. Who is getting priority for a grow license? Licensed producers or patients? McLeans magazine wrote “The potential market is huge. Health Canada estimates medical marijuana sales will hit $1.3 billion annually by 2024, with some 450,000 registered users.” Again, this was written in 2014. With this information, why isn’t Health Canada increasing their staffing levels to accommodate this growth?
Tainted Marijuana from Licensed Producer
Another reason why a lot of patients want to grow their own, is because of the tainted Marijuana scandal reported on the Cbc.ca website. Now imagine you are a patient who is very sick, is being forced to buy from an “approved” grower and this happens.
Health Canada says it will begin random testing of medical marijuana products to check for the presence of banned pesticides after product recalls affecting nearly 25,000 customers led to reports of illnesses and the possibility of a class action lawsuit.
Late last year, licensed medical marijuana producers Organigram of Moncton, N.B., and Toronto-based Mettrum voluntarily recalled products due to the presence of low levels of the prohibited chemicals myclobutanil, bifenazate and pyrethrins, all of which are prohibited in tobacco and marijuana.
Health Canada ‘regrets this error’
When your health is at stake, patients expect more from Health Canada than a “regrets this error”
I am sorry – your application has been rejected
There seems to be no rationale for so many patients applications to be rejected. The excuses have ranged from: The signatures have not been in blue ink (proving it is original), the prescription is not an original (as it is sent through Skype/email). Another patient said that they had their application sent back twice because of signature lines. When they finally got approved, it was effective March 24th, 2017, mailed on April 4th, and expired on April 10th, 2017. The patient was only given a 3 month prescription when they applied. They now have a year prescription but have to fill out a renewal form. When they asked Health Canada if there would be another three month wait they were told that it could be faster as it was only a renewal. Several patients have asked Health Canada to get a supervisor to phone them regarding an explanation and they have never received a call.
Patients are pleading with Health Canada to expedite their grow applications and it is falling on deaf ears.
Patients are also asking the BIG question. How will legalization next year affect their prescriptions and the amount they can grow. They want answers and no one is supplying them, unless you want to wait on the phone for up to 4 hours.
If YOU are a medical marijuana user and would like to share your story, please email me. I will not print your name, just your story. The public needs to know and newspapers need to start talking about this.