Article by David Brown, Lift News
Participation in Health Canada’s personal cannabis cultivation program continues to grow, even as many still wait several months for approval.
In response to a request for an update from Lift, the regulator says that as of August 31 there were 10,547 Canadians registered either to grow their own cannabis or as designated growers for others, up from from 6,880 at the end of June 31, 2017. Processing time for these registrations also continues to increase, with the regulator saying it’s anywhere from 8-16 weeks to process an application, while some patients are saying it’s taken up to six months to process their application.
The uptick in application approvals, an increase of over 50% in two months, was aided by the hiring of over 30 new employees earlier this year to help process applications. Health Canada says they have processed more than 15,000 applications since the program began in August, 2016.
The program, introduced in August of last year, re-introduced legislation that allows patients who register with Health Canada to grow a limited number of plants for their own purpose, or to designate an authorized grower to do so for them. Health Canada had formerly allowed home production under a previous medical marijuana regime, the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), but halted new applications with the introduction of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014.
Interest in the program quickly created a backlog, with over 2,500 people seeking to register in the first six months or so, and over 4,000 by May, forcing Health Canada to hire 17 new employees to help manage the process. The regulator says they added 21 employees in April and May of this year and an additional 11 in June.
Medical cannabis patients Lift spoke to earlier this year reported waiting several months, some waiting up to six months for an application that only lasts a year from when it was originally sent in, or less, depending on the doctor’s authorization policy.