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Far From a Policy Green Zone: Canada's Medical Marijuana Access Regulations

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This study investigates how medical marijuana can be made more accessible to Canadians in need of an exemption from the illegality of cannabis. Prior research suggests that medical marijuana users in Canada face numerous barriers to safe and meaningful patient access available through the exemption outlined in Marihuana Medical Access Regulations. Barriers affecting access include the onerous application process, the role of medical practitioners as gatekeepers, the lack of a legal effective supply, and the absence of a cost coverage model. An examination of international comparisons is used to identify where other jurisdictions’ medical marijuana policies alleviate some of the barriers apparent in Canada’s regulations. A series of elite interviews validate which options are politically feasible for Canada. Results from this research indicate that reducing the complexity of the application for an authorization to possess is the most favourable short-term option for improving access to medicinal cannabis in Canada.
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