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Health Canada Warns of ‘Abuse’ of Medical Cannabis Framework by Unscrupulous Health Care Practitioners Authorizing up to 100G a Day

Canada’s medical cannabis market has continued to decline post-legalization, new figures from Health Canada have shown.

In the final quarter of 2023, the number of registrations for medical clients with federally licensed sellers fell by 2%, dropping from 188,301 in September 2023 to 183,909 in December 2023.

This decline continues a trend that started in 2019, with year-on-year registrations falling nearly 20% from 224,474 in December 2022.

The vast majority of individuals access cannabis for medical purposes from quality-controlled federally licensed sellers, and the average daily amount authorized by health care practitioners has remained at 2g per day since the Cannabis Act was brought in in 2018.

However, a smaller portion of medical patients are registered with Health Canada for ‘personal or designated production’.

The number of patients in this category has also been falling consistently since 2021, when it peaked at nearly 50,000.

Between September 2023 and December 2023 the number of patients in this category also fell by 9% to 13,672, with the majority of the decrease coming from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

Health Canada notes that while this category is declining, the average daily authorized amount for these individuals has seen a ‘progressive and concerning increase’ in some jurisdictions.

The average daily amount authorized for individuals registered for personal or designated production was 33g per day, significantly above the 2.4g per day average for those accessing medical cannabis through federally licensed sellers over the last 12 months.

“Health Canada is concerned that high daily authorized amounts are, in a few instances, leading to abuse of the access to cannabis for medical purposes framework and are undermining the integrity of the system that many patients – and health care practitioners – rely on to access cannabis to address their medical needs.”

While 4879 health care practitioners were associated with registrations made by federally licenced sellers, there were just 941 associated with personal production registrations.

Of these, 222 authorized amounts of over 25g a day, and 13 authorized amounts of 100g or above.

Nearly 80% of those authorizing over 25g per day, 100% of those authorizing over 100g per day, were located in British Columbia or Ontario.

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