It’s been about a month since the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the ban on edible cannabis products was a violation of the constitution. In response to this verdict, Health Canada has issued an updated list of program rules that allows medical marijuana processors to distribute oils and edibles in addition to raw cannabis.
This enhancement to the nation’s regulatory model will permit 25 licensed cannabis marijuana producers to sell oils and other edible pot products, as long as these items are packaged and shipped in childproof containers and come with restricted THC levels. However, producers are still prohibited from selling materials that would allow patients to cultivate their own plants.
Previously, the law only allowed the use of medical marijuana exclusively through the process of smoking. This, of course, put many patients at a disadvantage, especially young children who often require the benefit of edible cannabis oil to treat seizure disorders and other serious health conditions.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the government is only updating the regulations to clarify patient concerns. She remains adamant that the policy changes are not in any way an endorsement for the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant.
“Marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and has not gone through the necessary rigorous scientific trials for efficacy or safety,” Ambrose said in a statement. “Canadian courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes when authorized by a physician. The Government of Canada’s position is that this must be done in a controlled fashion to protect public health and safety.”
The medical marijuana community rejoiced after seven justices of the nation’s highest court agreed that smoking or inhaling cannabis can present health risks and may even be considered a less effective treatment for some conditions than alternative forms of cannabis. The justices noted that it’s “difficult to understand why allowing patients to transform dried marihuana into baking oil would put them at greater risk than permitting them to smoke or vaporize dried marihuana.”
In the end, the court’s decision was based on a lack of evidence to support the government’s claims that edible cannabis would pose more of a threat to public safety, as well as having no basis to prove “the impugned restriction and attempts to curb the diversion of marihuana into the illegal market.”
A number of licensed producers have already signaled their readiness to offer a diverse selection of marijuana products to Canada’s patients.
The new regulations go into effect immediately.
Do you use oil or raw cannabis to treat your condition? Share your experience with us in the comments.