International Medical Cannabis Policy - Philippe Lucas (Canada)


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International Medical Cannabis Policy - Philippe Lucas (Canada)

  1. 1. Medical Cannabis in Canada Philippe Lucas MA Center for Addictions Research of BC Vancouver Island Compassion Society Canadians for Safe Access
  2. 2. Background• R. v. Parker (2000) - constitutional right to choose cannabis as medicine without fear of criminal sanction• In 2001, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR)• 1 million Canadians used cannabis for self-defined medical conditions (Adlaf, Begin & Sawka, 2005; Belle-Isle & Hathaway, 2007)• As of October 12, 2012, 26,222 Canadians had obtained an authorization to possess cannabis for medical purposes (Health Canada)
  3. 3. Assessing Patient Needs in Canada Quality of Service Assessment of Health Canada’s Federal Medical Cannabis Policy and PracticePhilippe Lucas MA & Andrew Hathaway PhD - Funding and ethics review by McMaster University. • 50 question online survey of 100 authorized medical cannabis users registered with Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Programme. • Data gathered for 8 month period from April 2007 to Jan. 2008. • Only assessment of patient needs and experiences ever conducted with this population.
  4. 4. Cannabis Access for MedicalPurposes Survey (CAMPS):Preliminary Findings on Barriers to Accessin CanadaResearchers:Belle-Isle, Lynne, Canadian AIDS Society; CARBCWalsh, Zachary, Department of Psychology, UBC OkanaganRobert Callaway, Medical Cannabis ActivistPhilippe Lucas, Center for Addictions Research of BCRielle Capler, Canadians for Safe AccessBob Kay, Green Cannapy Research and Development CorporationTrevor Stratton, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS NetworkSusan Holtzman, Department of Psychology, UBC OkanaganJamie Marshall, Interior Health AuthorityMichael Woodworth, Department of Psychology, UBC Okanagan
  5. 5. Problems With Legal Access in Canada • Resistance from medical community at the provincial and federal level. • 33 page application process long and complicated. • Low acceptability and lack of strain selection in federal supply • Cost is an ongoing barrier to safe access (patients on fixed incomes/no provincial coverage) • Dispensaries popular with patients, but not regulated by any level of government
  6. 6. Dispensaries: History and Context• Medical cannabis dispensaries, also known as compassion clubs, have been established in Canada since 1997.• Predate Health Canada’s MMAP (1999) and MMAR (2001).• Approx. 50 dispensaries across Canada serving over 50,000 patients across the country• Not part of legal framework, but upheld in various courts decisions.• Ongoing move towards self-regulation.
  7. 7. Regulation of DispensariesIn the absence of government licensing, most dispensaries inCanada operate according to guidelines based on industry bestpractices.
  8. 8. Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD)• CAMCD incorporated in 2011, with the following 4 goals:✓Legislation ✓Certification ✓Integration ✓Research• Mission: to promote a regulated community-based approach to medical cannabis access, and to support medical cannabis dispensaries to provide the highest quality of patient care.
  9. 9. Regulation of DispensariesMedical Cannabis SEED Project– Standards, Engagement, Evaluation, Dissemination.Funded by a 3 year Peter Wall Solutions Initiative Grant (University of BritishColumbia)GOAL: Create Standards and an associated Certification Program in order to:Integrate, Standardize, and Normalize dispensaries• Evaluate impact on: – Patients – satisfaction – Dispensaries - uptake, quality of care – Communities – awareness, understanding, support
  10. 10. Regulation of DispensariesCAMCD Certification Program: Ensuringconsistency, accountability, transparency, and superior quality ofpatient care across the country.– Sec. I Patient Eligibility– Sec. II Patient Intake– Sec. III Products and Services– Sec. IV Dispensing– Sec. V Supply– Sec. VI Safety, Security and Privacy– Sec. VII Effective Organization
  11. 11. Proposed Changes to Canada’s Federal Medical Cannabis Program PROS CONS• Simplified/decentralized • Loss of personal production application process • “Gatekeepers” still resistant• NPs can prescribe (maybe) to this treatment modality• Pharmacies can distribute • Dispensaries not included in• Multiple licensed producers new regulations• Increased quality control • Still no cost coverage• Increased strain/symptom • Still not patient-centered awareness (ignored patient feedback)
  12. 12. Medical Cannabis Research Priority Setting SessionSponsored through a grant by the Canadian Institute ofHealth ResearchParticipants included:• Health Canada• BC Ministry of Health• Police and Fire departments• Researchers• Patient Representatives• Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries• Union of British Columbia Municipalities
  13. 13. Medical Cannabis in Canada Philippe Lucas MA Center for Addictions Research of BC Vancouver Island Compassion Society Canadians for Safe Access