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Statement from Health Canada Regarding the Decision in Allard et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 -- Health Canada is committed to the implementation of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in order to provide Canadians reasonable access to dried marijuana for medical purposes, while protecting public safety.

Health Canada will review the decision in detail and consider its options.

When the Marihuana Medical Access Program was introduced in 2001 in response to a Court decision, the number of people authorized to possess marijuana for medical purposes stood at less than 100. Over the years that number has grown to close to 40,000.

The rapid expansion under the Marihuana Medical Access Program has had significant unintended consequences on public health, safety and security. Under this Program, people growing marijuana in private homes added to health, safety and security risks. The high value of marijuana on the illicit market increases the risks of home invasion and diversion. And these production operations present fire and toxic mould hazards. These risks are not only felt by the home producers, but also by their neighbours and the community.

While the Courts have said there must be reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes, the Government's goal is to treat dried marijuana as much as possible like other narcotic drugs used for medical purposes. The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations are intended to provide reasonable access for those Canadians who need access to dried marijuana for medical purposes with the support of a healthcare practitioner, while protecting public safety.

It is also important for Canadians to remember that marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada.

Contacts:
Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Public Inquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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