According to new information from Health Canada, as of June 16, 2017, there were 6,225 active registration certificates issued by Health Canada for individuals to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes. Of these 6,225 registrants, says a Health Canada representative, 5,760 individuals were registered to produce cannabis for their own medical purposes and 465 individuals have designated persons to produce cannabis for them.
The program, introduced in August of last year, once again 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 now says they added 21 individuals in April and May of this year and an additional 11 employees in June.
Health Canada admits processing times can take from 2-4 months, ‘depending on the complexity of the application.’ In February, they said the average wait time was seven weeks, which included earlier processing times in the first weeks of registration.
Lift exchanged emails with many Canadians who applied to the system and say they have been waiting even longer. Medical cannabis patients Lift spoke to earlier this year reported waiting several months, and some of those patients we contacted recently say they are still waiting.
One medical cannabis patient Lift has been in contact with since May, Daryl, who asked that we only use his first name, says he applied when the program was first announced, but initially had his paperwork limited to three months by his doctor. His renewal, he says, took 6 months to process.