An ongoing culture shift is unfolding across Canada, and it involves the future of medical marijuana. Legislative and regulatory efforts are underway to make medical cannabis fully legal at the provincial and national levels, but there are still various wrinkles to iron out.
According to statistics recently released by Health Canada, the number of patients who have legally signed up to purchase medical marijuana from licensed growers tripled from 2015 to 2016, but at least one doctor has been reprimanded for charging unreasonable fees to obtain permissions.
A CBC report published in mid-December named a Winnipeg physician who charged up to $300 to issue the paperwork necessary for patients to purchase cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba reprimanded the doctor, who was reportedly working with a dispensary that was interested in making huge profits from the burgeoning medical marijuana industry of Canada.
Canadian Veteran Get Less Cannabis
Veterans Affairs Canada recently praised new federal regulations that reduced the amount of marijuana that former members of the military can legally obtain from dispensaries.
New rules limit the daily amount of cannabis to three grams per veteran per day. Under the previous rules, veterans were entitled to 10 daily grams. The Minister of Veterans Affairs explained that the reduced amount will bring financial relief to the strained public health system.
Legalisation on the Canadian Horizon
Shortages are part of an economic side effect that is expected to occur when marijuana is legalised in Canada. Analysts who have reviewed the current legal proposals are concerned that the burden of licensing and regulation will drive up the price cost of growing the herb, a situation that will directly affect consumers.
In the future, legal supplies of marijuana could fall below demand levels and create shortages. This may lead into drug dealers stepping up to take advantage of the market, which some estimates suggesting a market cap of $22 billion per year.
At this time, legal sales of marijuana could begin as early as 2018 in certain provinces. This is expected to become a lucrative market that will boost tourism and other side markets.
For the time being, Canadians are urging lawmakers to pay more attention to the medical uses of marijuana instead of being swayed by the sheer dollar figures that the recreational market would bring. Physicians are not waiting around; a recent medical congress held at the University of Toronto and sponsored by the College of Family Physicians was the first one imparted for the purpose of providing continuing medical education.