Doctor Says 6-Month Delay for Pot Permits Stressful

Patients seeking to use medical marijuana are being forced to wait as long as six months by Health Canada because a backlog of permit applications, a B.C. doctor says.

Dr. Gwyllyn Goddard said patients are told that getting a permit to use medical marijuana should take about 60 days. Each year, however, they’re waiting longer for Health Canada to approve their applications — from two months to three months, and now six months.

Because of the delays many patients ended up buying pot illegally while they wait for the official government permit, Goddard said.

“A lot of these patients are resorting to purchasing these products illegally, such as from compassion clubs, which are not legal, or from mom-and-pop operations that are growing it illegally. As well there are gangs that are growing the product and you never know what,” he said.

“It is also a financial burden.”

Goddard has authorized medical marijuana for more than 100 patients, including Joseph Chenier, a 47-year-old carpenter who was taking morphine for chronic pain from a knee he describes as “destroyed” after an injury on the job.

The morphine was giving Chenier nightmares, however, and making him depressed, so Goddard prescribed medical marijuana instead last December.

Once Chenier applied to Health Canada for a licence to use medical marijuana, he was told it would take 60 days. By April, he still didn’t have his permit, so he started to complain.

“Finally, after five months or so, I started to threaten them that I was going to fly to Ottawa and camp outside their office, and two weeks later I got my card,” he said on Monday.

Health Canada blames the delays on a sharp rise in the number of people applying to use medical marijuana, noting it received twice as many applications this June as in the same month last year.

Health Canada also said it has since hired new staff to deal with the backlog, but would not say how many.

Goddard said government staff may be doing the best they can, but the wait is stressful on patients.

“I think the long wait times are very difficult for the patient,” Goddard said. “You know, it causes anxiety, it increases their sense of doing something illegal, because they don’t have a licence for it.”



  1. Call the Deputy Minister if you need action on your permit on
  2. Grizz1y on

    I have my authorized medical marijuana card I receive it in January after yes 6 months. I though once I was approved I would start receiving a supply from the grower I picked. Well 9 months later and my grower has yet to be approved which mean I dont receive a crop. One thing after another with H Canada submitting forms re submitting forms changing addresses and still no approval. I had to re-apply 3 months ago so my license dose not expire on me.

  3. Whimsy on

    I’m reading a lot from people who deal with significant delays in getting their cards.

    I know someone who holds an exemption who received it within a few weeks. Now don’t get me wrong; I believe that the Harper government is micromanaging all kinds of areas in opposition to social change, but I don’t accept that there’s a massive conspiracy by the Pharmaceuticals. Health Canada drags its feet, but they’re underfunded to deal with a stop-gap policy measure.

    The MMAR cards are ultimately just a letter to law enforcement, with no more force than a letter from your parents asking the teacher to excuse you from phys-ed. They’re a stop-gap measure to work around certain legal issues. But law enforcement has agreed to honour them, and so they do. The tricky part about Marijuana as a medicine is that it’s not Tylenol 3 as a source for Codeine. Both are medicines and currently require a prescription to obtain, but one also requires a yearly access pass that, upon expiry, opens the holder to potentially immense legal problems.

    My point is that both of these problems can be traced to the government, and not the department, dragging its feet. If you want truly legal BUT exclusively medical marijuana, than it needs to be bumped to schedule IV. Otherwise, the government needs to increase funding to Health Canada, who in then needs to direct more funding to the Marihuana Medical Access Division to handle the increased demand.

  4. Anonymous on

    Any government process takes a long time, they are useless goofs. Tell your doctor to shove their pills up their ass, they only want money. Nightmares is an acceptable side effect??? WHAT A TREADMILL OF ZOMBIES. Grow your own, DO NOT let Monsanto feed you petri dish THC like Canadian Health made capsules of green dust of their alcohol soaked mineshaft weed experiment samples that didn’t impress many. Scientists just decoded another apple variety DNA like the granny smith apple half a century ago and now they’re going to fuck with it to make it disease resistant. WHich is exactly what a MONSANTO company is, DNA coded to live through a nasty pesticide application, all other plants and bugs die instantly. Even if the government is willing to test low grade weed studies, their products just don’t qualify, they seem to be too afraid to admit that weed on its own is the best relief form. If you can’t smoke it, eat it, vaporize it, or just savour the flavor, like in Switzerland… “Aroma Therapy” there is already smelly things in a drug store. WHY is this a LAST POSSIBLE OPTION FOR THIS CONTINENT, and everywhere else in a nightmare, or dream, a dream of a communist loving nazis!!!!!!!! Can’t progress an application, the application is the size of this article. LAZY GOVERNMENT WORKERS, IGNORANT, Make people wait because they need more money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money

  5. Dave on

    Heath Canada is financed and beholding to their handlers in the pharmaceutical and agri-business industries! The courts forced them into something that cuts into their handlers profits. They’re probably being slow on purpose?

    Furthermore, to make things worse, I’m sure Harper & Co’s are holding some kind of a threat over them. My past dealings with various federal departments tells me that they purposely frustrate people; hoping patients will just pack up and go away and accept second rate pharmaceuticals like Marinol or Sativex.

    Notice how quickly they get off their asses when they know you are not going away! Camping on their front lawn; they move fast because they want you to go away! Preferably with pharmaceuticals in hand.

    One has to wonder what their agenda is when the company growing for them is a subsidiary of Monsantos and they (HC) prefer you use pharmaceuticals like Marinol or Satives! And don’t forget there Codex what-chima-call-it.

    In the meantime, I feel if patients waiting for approval get arrested they should sue Health Canada for their losses.

  6. Sparkky McPuff on

    Can anyone confirm that doctors in Winnipeg are still advised not to sign MMAR forms by the Manitoba College of Physicians? I am having a hard time convincing my doctor to sign, and he wants me to go to the pain clinic where they will surely poke and prod me like i’m some kind of fucking science experiment! “I have a sore back! Weed, and nothing from you guys has helped so far, Now SIGN MY FORMS!” That’s what I am going to tell my doctor!

  7. 420Pug on

    Health Canada also changed their call back system for those who actually have a medical license. Usually after calling the call centre and dealing with idiots (unless you get a girl named Jo-Jo) you ask to have a representative call you from Health Canada within 3-5 business days. Now the call back rule has changed to Health Canada may or may not call you back. I am a MMAR cardholder and that is exactly what I was informed as I’m still waiting for my return call from May and again in August. I also was told that they didn’t just get new people but a lot of the old people got removed as well so who knows if they actually increased staff numbers.