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7 Answers About Health Canada’s New Med-Pot Rules

By admin | July 10, 2015

By Dana Larsen


1) I heard Health Canada just legalized cannabis cooking oil. What’s going on?

As a result of a recent Supreme Court decision, Health Canada has just announced that they will be allowing licensed medical marijuana producers (LPs) to also apply for a license to sell fresh, uncured cannabis buds, and cannabis-infused oils. However, LPs cannot sell extracts like hash, resin oil or shatter, or infused food products.

2) Why fresh cannabis buds? Won’t those just go moldy during shipping to patients?

I believe this provision is there so that an LP can sell their fresh buds to another LP for processing. Some LPs might find it easier to outsource this work, or be unable to secure their own processing license. However, it doesn’t make sense to me that any LPs would start putting fresh buds on their retail menus for patients. They’re just too hard to ship and there’s no demand for uncured buds, except maybe fresh cannabis leaves for home juicing.

3) What are patients supposed to do with this cannabis oil?

Patients will either consume it directly, or make their own food products out of it. Some LPs could sell the oil in capsule or dropper form, making it easy for patients to ingest a fixed dosage. If the base oil is smokable, then perhaps patients could smoke the extract.

However, the potency of the oil is limited by Health Canada to 30mg THC per mL, which comes to just 3%. That’s weaker than most strains of smokable cannabis, and represents a serious obstacle to proper medical access and use.

Interestingly, THC is the only cannabinoid listed, so presumably these cannabis oils can be sold with a very high level of CBD, CBN or any other cannabinoid except THC.

4) How will doctors feel about this?

Doctors will likely feel more comfortable prescribing orally ingested cannabis oil capsules with specific THC and CBD levels. So I see this as a win for the legitimizing of medical cannabis and bringing doctors into the system.

5) How will the Licensed Producers feel about this?

They should be ecstatic. This opens up a vast new market for them, and gives them a means to use and profit from the shake and leaf that they couldn’t sell for smoking purposes. LPs are definitely celebrating this victory.

I hope they also feel some shame as well, because they love to complain about how dispensaries are stealing their patients and costing them money. Yet this lengthy and expensive case was entirely funded by BC dispensaries, mainly the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, and the main beneficiary is definitely the LPs.

6) How will patients feel about this?

Patients are frustrated that once again, Health Canada is doing the absolute minimum to comply with a Supreme Court decision on medical cannabis. The Supreme Court decision included “extracts” as well as “edibles,” but Health Canada is allowing only one form of edible product and no extracts for sale at all. A better system would include all kinds of properly labelled and regulated extracts and edibles for patients.

7) How will Vancouver dispensaries feel about this?

Dispensaries are happy whenever patients get better access or Canada gets closer to legalizing for everyone. In Vancouver, where City Hall wants to ban food products and only allow edible oils, these federal rules already sound familiar. But a major difference is that Vancouver dispensaries can still also sell hash, resin oil, shatter and other smoked and non-smoked extracts, while the LPs can’t. Dispensaries are also annoyed that Health Canada refuses to acknowledge that they exist or integrate them into the legal system at all.

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