Interest in growing cannabis creating backlog in Health Canada program

As of Feb 9, there are 2,554 individuals allowed to grow their own cannabis or designate someone to do so, with average processing time being about 7 weeks

Health Canada’s new program that allows for authorized patients to grow their own cannabis for medical purposes is seeing a growing interest from Canadians.

André Gagnon, Media Relations Officer for Health Canada, told Lift in an update today that as of February 9th of this year, there are 2,554 individuals with an active Health Canada registration to produce cannabis for their own medical purposes or to designate someone to produce it for them.

According to Gagnon, the average processing time of individual registrations is currently about seven weeks, and variations in processing time from person to person can be caused “by a number of factors including the completeness of the information submitted, the need to verify certain information contained in the application, or the volume of applications received.”

“Health Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians authorized to use medical cannabis have safe and reliable access to the product,” says Gagnon, “and the Department is processing these applications as quickly as possible to ensure they are approved promptly.”

The new 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 the MMAR program, but halted new applications with the introduction of the MMPR in 2014.

A court challenge of this move created an injunction for many who were authorized to grow under the old system, and eventually resulted in a court case that essentially forced the government to re-introduce home production rules.

When the program was first introduced, some patients reported on social media that they received their completed paperwork back within a matter of weeks. Since then, more and more reports from patients indicate wait times are now a matter of months, not weeks. With a current average processing time of about seven weeks and early applications initially taking only a few weeks, one can conclude that current applications are taking longer than the average of seven weeks. 

A patient who receives authorization from Health Canada to grow their own cannabis or to designate a grower for them can then purchase ‘starting material’ in the form of clones or seeds from a handful of licensed producers currently making them available. Once a licensed producer is chosen as a source of starting materials, the same registration can be used to purchase dried cannabis in the interim period while the patient waits for their crop to be ready.

Featured image via Brad Martin.

In this article

Join the Conversation

7 comments

  1. Robert Reply

    Don't let them put you on a waiting list stop acting like sheep and grow without the government permission health canada and the LP's are criminals poisoned people lied about it.
    Our illustrious Heälth Canada helped keep it quiet instead of doing their job which is protecting Canadians from stuff like this.
    They put these ĉompanies on the honor system whiĉh only works with honorable people which are in short súpply these days espeĉially in big business where profit is king and sick customers and patients are just collateral damage.

  2. Robert Reply

    They can buy starting material from licensed producers ẃho charge ridiculous fees for them it's highway robbery I read an article where one of these LP's was charging $750.00 for 5 clones .
    Talk about gouging the poor sick péople who need it the so called blaĉk markét has more ĉompassionate pricing than these tĥieves.

  3. Ryan Reply

    How could I possibly trust the LP's to source my starting material after they've demonstrated a total disregard for their patients? Costs aside, I can't believe that their clones or seeds would be untainted when their cannabis is grown on an honor system with no honor..

    As far as the expediency, or lack thereof, by Health Canada in regards to patients applications.. my experience was terrible! I was approved in October but did not receive my paperwork back until the last day of January. It's suggested that I seek my, yearly, reapproval in August, three months prior to the next expiration.

  4. Maxcatski Reply

    Health Canada says that, as of February 9th of this year, there are 2,554 individuals authorized. This number seems low to me, especially if Health Canada are issuing consecutive MCR numbers. My friend who applied the first week got a number below 100. Three months later, I received a number in the 8,000 range. Another friend received his registration two week ago and the number is now over 10,000. This seems to be a huge indication that the registrations are over ten thousand already. I am not sure why Health Canada would quote such a low number when all the indications are that registrations are much higher. It seems logical that registrations are being issued in consecutive numbers. If so, registrations exceed ten thousand today.

  5. Robert Reply

    A backlog created by Health Canada with means they are still not adhering to the courts decision they are still restricting access to patients with their draconian rules and regulations .
    F them grow your own if you can don't tell the government or anyone else.

    1. Maxcatski Reply

      Seven weeks is not long to wait to be legal after all these years, Robert. Smoke some pot, chill out and get ready to grow. You have your license now. Stop ranting and start growing!

      1. John Allen Graham Reply

        Seven weeks??? Try more like 6 month's +.