Medical Marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1999. There are a wide range of conditions that it is used for. Not all insurance plans will pay for medical marijuana. Every insurance company has a different list of medical conditions that they will cover. In most cases, you need to submit a "Prior Authorization" form to the insurance company before claims will be paid. Some medical conditions that have been approved include:
- Cancer (pain and nausea)
- Multiple Sclerosis (pain)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (pain)
- HIV / AIDS
- Palliative Care
- Epilepsy (children only)
- Multiple Sclerosis (stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms) i
Currently all medical marijuana requires a doctor's prescription and must be ordered online.
The two main chemicals in Cannabis that have been studied are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the chemical that makes you "high"
- Cannabidiol (CBD) - the chemical with medical applications
Most Medical Marijuana is primarily CBD. Most patients currently purchase it as an oil, though topical creams and capsules are also available.
Recreational Cannabis will soon be legal in Canada. The current anticipated date is October 17, 2018.
Once Cannabis is legal, Canadians (in most provinces) will be permitted to:
- Purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds.
- Possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or its equivalent in public.
- Share up to 30 grams (or its equivalent) of legal cannabis and legal cannabis products with other adults
- Cultivate up to four plants at home (four plants total per household). This option may not be available in condos and rental units.
- Prepare various cannabis products (such as edibles) at home for personal use, provided that no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process.
In Ontario, the legal age will be 19+ and it can only be smoked on Private Property. Note - Non-Smoking rules take precedence. Where it can be purchased has not yet been determined.
If you travel to the U.S., entry is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on duty - and they have a lot of latitude to ask questions to determine the admissibility of a foreign national. U.S. immigration lawyers are already warning Canadians that they could be denied entry to the U.S. - or barred from the U.S. for life - if they admit to smoking cannabis to a border agent. The drug is still a prohibited substance under U.S. federal law, despite legalization in some U.S. states.
If you have additional questions (such as how does this affect the workplace or what may be covered on your health plan) and want to discuss this area further, give me a call.