Article by Lisa Rough, Leafly
As Canada prepares to legalize cannabis countrywide, many have wondered how its medical marijuana program compares to the United States’. Here are five key similarities and differences between each country’s medicinal cannabis guidelines.
Federal vs. State Regulation
The biggest notable difference between the Canadian and American medical marijuana systems is that Canada’s program is federally regulated, while America relies on separate state programs that vary significantly. Cannabis in the United States is prohibited at a federal level, which means each state must set up its own program individually, establishing possession limits, restrictions on cultivation, and nonstandard rules.
Canada, conversely, federally legalized medical cannabis in 2000, and the program has since undergone multiple incarnations. The Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) was first established in 2001 and allowed patients to grow cannabis with an authorization. The system was revamped in 2013 and renamed the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which got rid of personal production permits and established a system of licensed producers to grow and sell cannabis. On August 24, 2016, the system underwent its final transformation into the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).