Dear Herb: I’m registered to grow medical cannabis. Can I share it with other patients, or sell it?

Herb cuts through the confusion around personal medical cannabis production


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Dear Herb: Recently, I was informed that if you have an ACMPR licence to grow your own cannabis for medical purposes:

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/03/2019 (1408 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Herb: Recently, I was informed that if you have an ACMPR licence to grow your own cannabis for medical purposes:

1) You can share with other patients.

2) You can sell your cannabis to other patients, as long as it is tested.

Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he'll look into it.

Are the above true or false? Can you direct me to the correct answers? — A Confusing Matter of Pot Regulations

Dear ACMPR: I’d say the information you’ve been given is somewhat misleading, but there are a few very specific situations that could allow you to share or sell medical cannabis.

Let’s start with the idea of sharing your personally produced medical cannabis with other medical cannabis patients. If you’re registered with Health Canada to grow your own medical cannabis, the cannabis you grow is supposed to be for your own medical use, not for anyone else.

However, in this previous Dear Herb column, I asked Health Canada to clarify whether a medical cannabis user with an authorization to grow could share their cannabis seeds or seedlings with another person who is not registered to grow medical cannabis. It’s a bit of a grey area, but the regulator’s reply suggested that such plant or seed sharing is permitted under the Cannabis Act and its regulations (up to four non-flowering plants at a time, or 30 seeds at a time, shared among adults). 

I think the same logic applies to the cannabis itself: I see no legal reason why an adult registered to cultivate medical cannabis couldn’t share a limited amount of the finished, dried cannabis with another adult, up to 30 grams at a time.

But Health Canada also offered an important warning about sharing medical cannabis in the aforementioned article. If Health Canada somehow learns a person with a medical cannabis cultivation registration is sharing lots of cannabis with other people, they might start to investigate whether that grower should be allowed to grow as much cannabis as they do.

If you want to grow cannabis and share it with others while protecting your Health Canada registration to grow medical cannabis, there’s a better way.

Canadians who are licensed to grow medical cannabis can also grow four recreational cannabis plants in addition to their allotted number of medical plants, as we learned in this Dear Herb column. You can share that recreational cannabis — again, only with other adults, up to 30 grams at a time — without posing any risk to your registration to grow medical cannabis.

Next up: Can a person registered to grow medical cannabis sell that cannabis to other patients? The short answer is, no, with one exception.

Selling cannabis requires a federal cannabis sales licence, which is totally different from the registration that allows you to produce your own cannabis for medical purposes. A person without a cannabis sales licence simply cannot sell cannabis to anyone without breaking the law.

However, the same program that allows Canadians to register with Health Canada to grow a personal supply of medical cannabis also allows Canadians to designate someone else to grow on their behalf. Health Canada calls this third-party grower a “designated person.”

According to section 322(1)(c) of the federal Cannabis Regulations, “A designated person is, in accordance with the registration and the provisions of this division, authorized to… send, deliver, transport or sell to the registered person… a quantity of cannabis, other than cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds, that does not exceed the equivalent of the maximum quantity of dried cannabis that is specified in the document.” (Emphasis mine.)

In other words, if you’re specifically registered with Health Canada as a designated medical cannabis grower on behalf of someone else who’s registered as the recipient of that cannabis, you can legally sell that medical cannabis to that registered person — but only to that person, and not to anyone else.

A Health Canada authorization to grow medical cannabis for personal use, or to grow it as a designated person on someone else’s behalf, does not permit you to sell that cannabis to anyone you like, regardless of whether or not the cannabis has been tested.

Got a question about cannabis? Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he’ll look into it.

First, please check this list of questions already answered by Herb. Then, email, or to submit anonymously, fill out the form below. Please include an email address if you’d like to be notified when Herb answers your question:  


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