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Nunavut is medical marijuana ready

Right now, nobody in Nunavut is prescribed medical marijuana, but doctors are able to prescribe it.

Whether to write a prescription is up to each physician

Dr. Sandy Macdonald, Nunavut's director of medical affairs, says if a doctor writes a prescription for medical marijuana in Nunavut, certain guidelines must be following, including appropriate follow up with the patient. (Ed Andrieski/Associated Press)

Nunavut’s health department says nobody in the territory is currently prescribed legal medical marijuana, but there’s no policy against it.

Medical marijuana is available everywhere in Canada under the federal government's "marijuana medical access program." Whether to write a prescription is up to each physician.

Dr. Sandy Macdonald is the Territorial Chief of Staff for Nunavut's health department. 

He says if a doctor writes a prescription in Nunavut, certain guidelines must be following, including appropriate follow up with the patient.

“This one is often a challenge in Nunavut because of our turnover of caregivers,” Macdonald says. “They need to ensure that the patient has close follow up and if that they're unable to do that personally, they make arrangements with another physician.”

When a doctor prescribes medical marijuana, distribution is handled by Health Canada.

Marijuana is widely used across Nunavut, not always to positive effect. 

A recent suicide follow-back study suggested that marijuana was a risk factor for suicide. 

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