What are the rules about medicinal cannabis?

Cannabis, also called weed, pot, and marijuana, is a drug that can be used to treat different medical conditions. For example, it might be helpful in treating or reducing the symptoms of:

  • multiple sclerosis
  • HIV-AIDS
  • cancer
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • pain
  • stress and anxiety

Medicinal cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001.

If your healthcare provider thinks medicinal cannabis will help you, they give you a medical document to support the use of cannabis for medical purposes. This is like a prescription. A medical document is valid for one year.

Your medical document will say the maximum amount of cannabis you're allowed to use and grow, and the daily amount your healthcare provider prescribed for you. Your medical document also allows you to make and use cannabis products such as cannabis oil.

Once you have a medical document, you can get medicinal cannabis in different ways. You can:

  • buy it from federally licensed producers
  • grow it yourself, which is called personal production
  • choose someone to grow it for you, which is called designated production

If you're 19 or older, you can also buy cannabis from the online Ontario Cannabis Store, or at retail stores licensed by the Ontario government.

You don't have to choose only one way to get cannabis. For example, you can buy it online and grow some plants in your home. 

It's against the law to sell, share, or give your medicinal cannabis to anyone else. It's also against the law to take it out of Canada.

Recreational use

Cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Canada on October 17, 2018. To learn more about recreational cannabis, read “What do the new laws on cannabis mean?“.

Some of the rules about medicinal and recreational cannabis use are different. For example, adults using cannabis for either medicinal or recreational use can store as much cannabis as they want at home. But adults using medicinal cannabis can carry more cannabis in public than a recreational user. See Step 1 for more on this.

The federal government is responsible for the production and sale of medicinal cannabis. The provincial government is responsible for the production and sale of recreational cannabis.

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