Canada and the United States regulate the medical use of marijuana in two different ways, so if you are going to become a resident of the neighboring country, there are some legal aspects you should take into account.
The main difference between medical marijuana policies in these two countries is that Canada has legalized the medical use on the federal level, while the U.S. leaves it to the states. In simple words, you are allowed to apply for a medical cannabis program living anywhere in Canada, but not all American states provide their patients with this legal opportunity.
The federal prohibition of medical cannabis in America leads to many restrictions for marijuana patients even in the states that have made the herb legal. Medical marijuana policy in the U.S. varies from state to state—they establish their limits on qualifying conditions, possession, and growing.
Canadian medical marijuana regulations underwent several waves of changes that resulted in either prohibition or allowance of marijuana cultivation. Cannabis legislation can still be different from province to province, but currently, marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to four weed plants and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flowers or concentrates.
Canada has adopted a list of qualifying conditions that applies to all patients aged 18 years or older across the country. Meanwhile, American states have the right to determine which conditions are qualified for marijuana treatment. The most common diagnoses for taking part in medical cannabis programs in America are cancer, chronic pain, severe epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders, like anorexia and cachexia. Some states, like Michigan, allow the use of marijuana for children with debilitating conditions, while other states prohibit its application by patients younger than 21 years old.
Marijuana remains a federally illegal substance in the U.S., so patients are not allowed to ship the herb across the states or use the American mail system for its delivery. The states with legal medical cannabis provide licenses for dispensaries that sell the herb in-store after the consumer's authorization. However, you may order cannabis delivery from your dispensary online in California once your authorization is completed.
In Canada, dispensaries operate in a legal gray area and often suffer from police raids. So, if you do not want to arouse the suspicions of the police, it is better to order marijuana from a licensed producer that can ship you medical cannabis across the county. Nevertheless, Canada prohibits herb delivery from patient to patient, so do not mail your medical weed to your friends and relatives.
Despite Canada's medical marijuana legalization in 2001, Canadian patients had been allowed to smoke only dried cannabis flowers for a long time. Fortunately, in 2015, the Supreme Court legalized the use of cannabis oils, concentrates, and edibles by claiming the restriction as such that violated the human rights of Canadians. However, you do not find cannabis edibles anywhere in the country as licensed producers are not allowed to sell them. Thus, medical marijuana consumers have to buy weed extracts to infuse their homemade brownies and candies.
In contrast, American patients with a marijuana license have access to various cannabis oils and edibles. Moreover, doctors often recommend these forms of marijuana as especially helpful for treating different ailments. The oral ways of consuming marijuana are considered more effective and less harmful than smoking. However, American states can determine the range of marijuana products prescribed to cannabis patients. Thus, some states allow only the use of high-CBD products, while others, like Colorado, only prohibit edibles that may appeal to children.