Canada is the first country to legalize medical marijuana in 2001, around the world. A court mandate for providing patients with access to marijuana has left politicians with little choice in this issue. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Ontario upheld a patient’s right for having access to legal, safe source of cannabis due to a ruling related to a lawsuit created by the suppliers and users of by medical marijuana.
The data from the 1996 Project Canada Survey poll suggested that more than 90 percent of the Canadians support medical marijuana and its legal use. Meanwhile, the politicians of Canada have struggled for determining the right level of public support and research for this sensitive problem. The Cannabis Medical Access (OCMA) offices were set up by Health Canada in 2000, which was later known as the (MMA) Medical Marihuana Access, for administering the federal program. In Canada, the medical marijuana program outlined 3 categories of people who can possess marijuana:
- Those having terminal illness with a death prognosis within a year
- Those having symptoms related to a serious medical condition.
- Patients who suffers from the symptoms of medical conditions, including severe arthritis, MS and HIV infection.
The rules summarized the maximum number of outdoor and indoor plants authorized growers can produce. Recently, 37,359 citizens in Canada are licensed to own medical marijuana as compared to 477 in 2001 when the program started, according to the Health Canada.
Nevertheless, several numbers of barriers are keeping the program out of reach for the immense majority of patients who use medical marijuana. As per the data from the current national survey, more than 400,000 Canadians were using medical marijuana in 2011 and less than 20,000 Canadians were authorized under the program of Health Canada the same year.
Possibly, the greatest challenge is the acceptance among doctor groups. Both the Canadian Medical Protection Agency and Canadian Medical Association warned doctors repeatedly against supporting the medical marijuana use. Today there is a strong resistance among most doctors of Canada towards prescribing a medicine for which less research exists.