Guide to Choosing a Medical Cannabis Dispensary

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Guide to Choosing a Medical Cannabis Dispensary.

While we are aware that many communities in Canada that could benefit from dispensaries don’t have them, others have a plethora of dispensaries to choose from. This guide outlines important considerations that facilitate making a more informed choice. These considerations also reflect our Certification Standards.

CANARY Study Extended until May 1st!

CAMCD is pleased to be collaborator on the CANARY study.

This nation-wide study is open to patients with any medical condition who access cannabis under the MMAR, MMPR or neither government program. It is also open to patients who do not currently use cannabis.

The CANARY Study is examining the impact of regulatory changes on patient access to cannabis for medical purposes.

Participation in the CANARY Study involves the completion of 3 online surveys over the next year, as well as interviews for a small subset of participants.

The CANARY Study is lead by researchers at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the British Columbia Ministry of Health, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and the Canadian AIDS Society. Other affiliated organizations include: Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, Action Atlantic, Chronic Pain Association of Canada, and Canadian Pain Coalition.

More information and a link to the survey can be found at http://canarystudy.ca.

Please pass on to anyone who you think may be interested in participating.

Thank you!

Barriers to Access for Canadians Who Use Cannabis for Medical Purposes

From The Canadian Aids Society:

We are pleased to provide a summary of the key findings from the Canadian Access for Medical Purposes Survey we collaborated on. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and/or passed it along. The survey provides valuable information about barriers to access for Canadians who use cannabis for medical purposes under the Marihuana [sic] Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), which are scheduled to be repealed on March 31, 2014.”

Download the full summary here:
Barriers to Access for Canadians who Use Cannabis for Medical Purposes (PDF Format)

Spring 2014 CAMCD Newsletter

Spring 2014 CAMCD Newsletter

Table of Contents

1. Navigating the Changes to Canada’s Medicinal Cannabis Landscape
2. New Canadian Dispensary Discussion Email List
3. CANARY: Cannabis Access Regulations Study
4. Calendar of Upcoming Events

1. Navigating the Changes to Canada’s Medicinal Cannabis Landscape

With the changing landscape of medical cannabis regulation in Canada, CAMCD reaffirms its commitment to patients, and the dispensaries that serve them.

We’ve seen sweeping changes across the nation in the medical cannabis industry, as a result of new federal regulations.  This has also had an effect on dispensaries. With some parts of the country losing dispensaries as they close or transition to work with Licensed Producers, other parts of the country have seen explosive growth in the number of dispensaries opening. Both of these trends make the work CAMCD does even more important.

CAMCD recognizes that the dispensary model is preferred by patients and authorities in nearly all jurisdictions that regulate medical cannabis, and reaffirms its commitment to protect the integrity of this model as long as it is meeting the needs of patients in Canada.

To that end, we worked with lobbyists to consult closely with Health Canada as they developed the MMPR. We shared with them research and experience that indicates that patients need access to a variety a cannabis strains, as well as other cannabis products such as edibles and tinctures. We advocated for the continued right of patients to grow their own medicine, and for community-based distribution for those who were unable to do so. We also stressed the importance of opening up prescriptions to health practitioners beyond medical doctors. We shared the standards we have developed for dispensaries, and while we saw some of our recommendations in the MMPR, most of them were ignored.

As part of our mission to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access and support medical cannabis dispensaries to provide the highest quality of patient care, CAMCD has developed a Certification Program. We want to see dispensaries integrated into the legal framework for medical cannabis in Canada, and self-regulation is needed as a first step towards being recognized for the work we do in our communities.

Currently, there are eight dispensaries in the process of becoming certified by CAMCD.

Click here for more information about our certification program.

2.  CAMCD Launches the Canadian Dispensary Discussion Email List

CAMCD is pleased to announce the launch of a new service: the Canadian Dispensary Discussion List.

Through this list dispensaries will have access to a network representing decades of combined experience in dispensary operations in Canada. This list is intended to allow dispensaries to discuss topics of importance together, share resources, coordinate our efforts and have a stronger and more unified voice.

While only certified dispensaries can be an official member of CAMCD and sit on its Board of Directors, discussions and points raised on the list will all be considered in the CAMCD decision-making process.

Registration for the list is now open. Sign up here.

3.  CANARY: The Cannabis Access Regulations Study

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is pleased to be collaborator on the CANARY study.

This nation-wide study is examining the impact of changes to Health Canada’s medical marihuana program on the way patients access medical cannabis in Canada.

Individuals with any medical condition, regardless if they use cannabis, are eligible to participate in the study.

Participation in the CANARY Study involves the completion of 4 online surveys, taking 30 minutes each over a 15 month time period, and some participants will be asked to take part in telephone interviews. All information collected is confidential.

The CANARY Study is lead by researchers at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the British Columbia Ministry of Health, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and the Canadian AIDS Society. Other affiliated organizations include: Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, Action Atlantic, Chronic Pain Association of Canada, and Canadian Pain Coalition.

More information and a link to the survey can be found at http://canarystudy.ca.

We encourage all dispensaries to share this study with the patients they serve!

4. Calendar of Upcoming Events

March 2014

Friday, March 28:

Cannabinoids in Clinical Practice: Navigating a New Landscape
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Eaton Chelsea, Toronto ON

April 2014

Tuesday April 1:

Day of Action
All-day Across Canada

Fight the MMPR
All-day event
Parliament of Canada, 111 Wellington Street, Ottawa ON

Saturday, April 5 – Monday, April 7:

National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference
Hosted by Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC

May 2014

Thursday May 8- Saturday, May 10:

8th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics
Hosted by Patients out of Time
Portland, OR

June 2014

Saturday, June 28- Thursday, July 3

The 24th Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium
Lago Maggiore, Italy

Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Encouraged by Court Ruling

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – March 21, 2014) – The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) is encouraged by today’s Federal Court decision granting an interim injunction that allows patients to continue growing and possessing cannabis under the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) pending further trial.

As of April 1, patients currently licensed to grow or possess medical cannabis under the outgoing regulations (MMAR) would be breaking the law unless they dismantle their production facilities, and destroy any stockpiled cannabis.

“We’re very pleased that patients will be able to keep growing and using their own medicinal cannabis until this court case has been resolved. Forcing patients to destroy their home-grown plants and medicine is punitive and unnecessary,” said CAMCD Vice President Dana Larsen.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) supports a balanced and diverse approach to medical cannabis access that includes patients’ rights to produce cost effective cannabis, dispensaries, and a healthy commercial production sector.

CAMCD is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

 

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/canadian-association-of-medical-cannabis-dispensaries-encouraged-by-court-ruling-1891395.htm

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Concerned About Quality of Patient Care Under Proposed Regulations

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) is encouraged to see that a number of its recommendations have been adopted by Health Canada in their proposed Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), but there are still gaps to be filled.

“Health Canada has incorporated many of our recommendations, including on-site dispensing, the inclusion of Nurse Practitioners, and an expanded role for provinces in the regulation of this healthcare service,” said Rade Kovacevic, CAMCD President. “We presented a successful community-based dispensary program whose integrity must be maintained for the good of the over 30,000 patients being served across Canada.”

Research suggests that over 50% of medical marijuana program participants obtain their medicine through dispensaries, which for over 15 years have filled the void between a patient’s right to access and the lack of an adequate supply. “Dispensaries provide alternative delivery methods such as marijuana muffins and extracts, as well as important education on safe and effective use,” said Kovacevic.

“CAMCD remains concerned that patients will continue facing barriers to access,” he continued. “Affordability remains unaddressed, medical associations remain reluctant to endorse the government program, and there are no provisions for non-smoking alternatives such as baked goods and tinctures.”

“Dispensaries have worked diligently for over a decade to transition this marketplace into a legal framework,” continued Kovacevic. “CAMCD remains committed to supporting dispensaries as we move forward into a new chapter of this program.”

CAMCD is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated, community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
English: Rade Kovacevic, President – 519-780-7830
Français: Adam Greenblatt, Director – 514-830-1331

Historic Consultations on the Regulation of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries to be held in Vancouver

Consultation meetings with community stakeholders, policy-makers, patients and dispensaries will be
held on June 28th and 29th at UBC’s Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver. It will be the
first time that representatives from British Columbia ’s 30+ dispensaries will gather to discuss selfregulation
of community-based medical cannabis access. It will also be the first glimpse of the
standards and certification program being developed by the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis
Dispensaries (CAMCD).

The consultations are part of the Medical Cannabis: Standards, Engagement, Evaluation and
Dissemination (SEED) project. The project is a collaboration of the Canadian Association of Medical
Cannabis Dispensaries, Canadians for Safe Access, and researchers from University of British
Columbia and is funded by the Peter Wall Solutions Initiative(1), which focuses on practical and
innovative solutions to societal problems.

Medical cannabis dispensaries have existed in Canada for over a decade, providing community-based
access to this medicine to thousands of critically and chronically ill individuals. However, these health
services providers have not been incorporated into the Health Canada national regulatory framework
for medical cannabis and they remain unregulated.

“Certification of dispensaries based on collaboratively developed standards will help ensure product
safety, improve patient education, and support strategies that promote the safe and effective use of
medical cannabis” said Rielle Capler, who represents CAMCD as a co-investigator on the project .
“The self-regulation of dispensaries is a necessary step to integrate this patient-centered health delivery
model into the national regulatory framework.”

“Surveys suggest that dispensaries are an integral part of safe access to medical cannabis for critically
and chronically ill Canadians” said Philippe Lucas, who represents Canadians for Safe Access (CSA)
as a co-investigator on this project. “A well-developed certification program will increase transparency
and accountability to this rapidly growing patient group and support safe access to medical cannabis in
Canada”.

“The grant from the Peter Wall Solutions Initiative will increase the capacity of CAMCD to develop a
self-regulatory program for dispensaries”, states the principal investigator on the study, Zach Walsh, a
researcher at the Okanagan campus of UBC, and co-director of the Centre for the Advancement of
Psychological Science and Law “The ultimate goal is to improve the health and well-being of people
living in Canada by enhancing safe access to medical cannabis.”

Contact
Rielle Capler, CAMCD: rielle@telus.net, 604-818-4082

(1) – The Peter Wall Solutions Initiative (PWSI) enables UBC faculty to team with community organizations in order to address issues of societal importance through innovative, interdisciplinary and academically rigorous research projects. The PWSI is supported by the Peter Wall Endowment to UBC. http://research.ubc.ca/vpri/ubc-peter-wall-solutions-initiative.

Medical Cannabis Reforms at Critical Juncture in Canadian History

June 19, 2012 – Ottawa, ON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Medical Cannabis Reforms at Critical Juncture in Canadian History

A consultation process was launched by Health Canada in June of 2011 to inform amendments to the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP). The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) participated in the consultations along with other stakeholders, including patients, municipalities, physicians, law enforcement agencies and Canadians.

A summary of the key themes emerging from these consultations was recently released by Health Canada. “We were pleased to see that there was widespread support for creating a regulated industry for the production and distribution of medical cannabis” explained Rade Kovacevic, President of CAMCD. “Health Canada’s summary report also demonstrated stakeholder support for other amendments that we hope will improve patient access to this program.”

“CAMCD is particularly pleased the summary included the view that medical cannabis dispensaries could play an important role in providing education and outreach to individuals who use cannabis for medical purposes” stated Mr. Kovacevic. Over the past 15 years, medical cannabis dispensaries have served over 30,000 patients upon recommendation of their healthcare practitioner. They have vast practical experience with patient care, education, access and administration, and medical cannabis varieties and products.

The summary stated that some stakeholders thought there might be some discomfort with store-front entities. According to Mr. Kovacevic, “this concern was vague in nature and we believe is largely due to stigma and lack of understanding of the role dispensaries play and the benefits they provide to patients and the community. To address this CAMCD will continue to provide their expertise and work collaboratively with Health Canada to help create a reformed MMAP that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”

In collaboration with the University of British Columbia and Canadians for Safe Access, CAMCD will be holding consultation meetings June 28-29 in Vancouver to hear from policy-makers, health care providers, patients and dispensaries in British Columbia. These consultations will provide an opportunity for CAMCD to listen to concerns and answer questions about dispensaries, as well as to receive input into a standards and certification program for medical cannabis dispensaries being developed by CAMCD.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community- based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical
cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
Rade Kovacevic, 519-780-7830

For a copy of the Report on the 2011 Consultations Results:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/consultation/marihuana/_2011/program/consult_reform-eng.php#a4

Medical Marijuana Bakery Trial: Program Once Again Declared Unconstitutional

Vancouver, British Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) applauds today’s BC Supreme Court decision finding Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) to be unconstitutional. “This decision is great news for patients and their providers,” said Adam Greenblatt, a CAMCD Director. “Cannabis foods and resins are the cornerstone of many patients’ medical treatment.”

The defendant, Owen Smith, the head baker for Victoria’s Cannabis Buyer’s Club of Canada, was charged with possession of THC for the purposes of trafficking and possession of cannabis. In December 2009 Mr. Smith was arrested in a downtown apartment while baking cookies infused with medical cannabis which are used as treatment for patients suffering from chronic and critical conditions who cannot or choose not to inhale or otherwise use dried cannabis.

BC Supreme Court Justice Johnston found that the “artificial restriction” on “dried” marijuana in the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations breaches Section 7 of the Charter of Rights. “The remedy for this breach is to remove the word ‘dried’ where it appears in the medical marijuana access regulations,” said Johnston.

Medical cannabis dispensaries (aka ‘compassion clubs’) currently serve over 30,000 patients across Canada. Since 1996, dispensaries have been providing patients with safe access to a wide variety of medical cannabis products including baked goods, tinctures and resins.

Last June, Health Canada announced an overhaul to the MMAP in response to concerns raised by a number of stakeholders. Health Canada has stated it intends to remove itself as a distributor and adopt a more traditional regulatory capacity in the marketplace. CAMCD has been involved in constructive consultations with Health Canada officials around these proposed reforms.

CAMCD is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media:

Adam Greenblatt
514-830-1331

Protect Patients and Their Medical Cannabis Providers to Keep Communities Safe

Ottawa, ON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) is concerned by Bill C-10 which was tabled Tuesday that will impose mandatory prison sentences for individuals growing as few as 6 cannabis plants.

“This legislation will gravely impact patients and those who provide their medical cannabis, while failing to create safer communities,” said Adam Greenblatt, a director of CAMCD. “We are concerned that patients and their providers will be victimized by these laws, and that patients will be denied access to a medical product that has proven health benefits for many chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Courts across the country have repeatedly ruled that the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) does not sufficiently protect patients and their providers. CAMCD has been engaging in Health Canada’s consultation process–announced by the Hon. Minister Leona Aglukkaq in June–with the goal of amending the regulatory framework to include medical cannabis dispensaries. However, changes to the MMAP are not expected to come into force until early 2014, creating a period where medical cannabis patients and their providers could face mandatory imprisonment.

“Under Bill C-10, judges will no longer have the discretion to make compassionate rulings considering the medical context of patients and their providers,” said Jeet-Kei Leung, a CAMCD director. “Licensing and regulating medical cannabis dispensaries will ensure safe access for patients, while reducing crime and keeping our communities safe. The introduction of Bill C-10 highlights the urgent need for safe, legal access to this medical product.”

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a not-for-profit corporation established to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries in the provision of high quality patient care across Canada.

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Media Contact:
Adam Greenblatt: 514 830 1331

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