New medical marijuana regulations don’t change doctors’ role

New medical marijuana regulations don’t change doctors’ role

I am writing in response to an article that implies Health Canada is shifting responsibility for marijuana for medical purposes to doctors. Under the new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations announced on June 10, the role of health care practitioners does not change. The responsibility to assess a patient and decide on an appropriate treatment has always rested with health-care practitioners, as it should. Under the MMPR, individuals must still consult an authorized health care practitioner; however, the new regime eliminates the need for individuals to share health information with Health Canada. While the courts have said that there must be reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes, we believe that this must be done in a controlled fashion in order to protect public safety. The ability for individuals to produce marijuana in private homes has added to public health, safety and security risks as criminal elements have abused the system. The government’s goal is to treat dried marijuana as much as possible like other narcotics used for medical purposes by creating conditions for a new, commercial industry that will be responsible for its production and distribution. Health Canada will return to its traditional role as a regulator. Under the new regulations, licensed producers will have to meet extensive security and quality control requirements. Licensed producers will also be subject to compliance and enforcement measures, and dried marijuana will only be shipped through a secure delivery service directly to the address the client has specified. The government understands the need to continue to provide reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes and the new regime does so in a manner that is consistent with the way access is provided for other narcotics used for medical purposes. This more appropriately balances the needs of patients with the health, safety and security of all Canadians. Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health OttawaSource:

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