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This article was published 16/4/2019 (184 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dear Herb: I recently obtained an ACMPR licence to grow medical cannabis for personal use. Am I only allowed to grow my own cannabis, or can I go to a legal producer and buy some if I'm out of town, or more importantly out of the country?
I live at the border of Ontario and Michigan, which both allow recreational cannabis use, but obviously it's illegal to move cannabis across the federal border, right?
It makes it hard for me to travel to other countries if I can’t bring my medicine with me, or obtain some while away. — Recent Medical Patient
Dear Patient: Thanks for sending in your questions.
Let's start with the first one: In addition to growing your own cannabis, can you buy medical cannabis from a licensed producer?
The answer is yes. Your government registration to grow your own medical cannabis allows you to buy medical cannabis directly from licensed producers, at least until you successfully grow your crop. Health Canada calls this practice obtaining an "interim supply" of medical cannabis.
The relevant information from Health Canada is available here. In short, you can use your Health Canada registration certificate for personal cannabis production to sign up directly with a licensed producer that will sell you medical cannabis and send it to you by mail. (According to the regulator, registered personal growers such as yourself can only obtain interim supply from a single licensed producer at one time.)Advertisement
The interim supply option is also meant to give registered personal growers a supply of medical cannabis if their crop fails. The same cannabis possession limit listed on your Health Canada registration to grow cannabis applies to any medical cannabis you've purchased as interim supply.
A licensed producer serving as your interim supplier of medical cannabis will never ship to an address that's out of the country, but if you're travelling within Canada, you can take your medical cannabis with you wherever you like.
Generally speaking, no you can't. The federal government has said this many times, but here it is again:
"Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis across Canada’s international borders is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. This is the case even if you are travelling to places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis. Transporting cannabis used for medical purposes is also illegal." (Emphasis added).
However, Health Canada does have the power to issue special exemptions for individual travellers who might need to bring cannabis into or out of Canada for medical purposes, under section 140 of the Cannabis Act. Such exemptions would be managed on a case-by-case basis. According to the Cannabis Act, the government will only grant such an exemption if it's satisfied that "the exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest."
Without that special exemption there's simply no way to bring cannabis in or out of Canada without breaking the law, regardless of whether or not it's medical cannabis.
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