The weed wireCanada declares medical cannabis essential

Medical cannabis was included on the federal list of essential services following a petition initiated by CFAMM
Nick Laba Nick LabaApril 3, 20204 min

Accessing cannabis for medical purposes has been a legal right in Canada for nearly 20 years, but the federal government went a step further this week by naming it an essential service.

In its Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic document, the feds have included “cannabis for medical purposes” under critical infrastructure for the health of Canadians.

Read more: Canadian retailers applaud provinces for calling cannabis ‘essential’

“Canada’s National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure defines critical infrastructure as the processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets, and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government,” the critical services document reads.

The move follows a petition with almost 2,900 signatures opened last Thursday asking for medical weed to be federally recognized as essential.

Read more: New weed industry coalition demands access to federal relief funds

The document notes how access to medical cannabis could come under threat in the current crisis.

“The only way to legally access medical cannabis is directly from licensed medical sellers through the mail; as mail service is scaled back, patients may face barriers/delays to accessing their treatment, forcing them into the unregulated market, increasing the potential of COVID-19 infection drastically and putting elderly and immunocompromised patients at severe risk,” the petition reads.

President and CEO of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) Gerald Major initiated the petition and it was backed by NDP MP Don Davies of Vancouver Kingsway.

The current set of essential services and functions was developed in consultation with industry representatives, the federal government said. Public Safety Canada will continually consult on, and amend the list as events unfold.

In 2001, the Canadian government passed the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), the first laws to affirm access to medical cannabis as a legal right.

Top image of the Peace Tower in Ottawa via Deposit Photos


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *