cannabis in a jar
Written by Bashir Jiwani, Executive Director, Ethics and Diversity Services

On October 17, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act came into effect.

Non-medical cannabis became legal on October 17, 2018.

This legislation allows for controlled access to non-medical cannabis in British Columbia. This will mean that medical and non-medical cannabis will be legalized. Two policies are now available on the Clinical Policy Office FH Pulse page and our Fraser Health website. These policies provide guidance on medical and non-medical cannabis usage by patients.

The Fraser Health Cannabis: Non-Medical Purposes - Policy sets out the expectations for Fraser Health staff and physicians in responding to requests from patients, clients and residents to use cannabis for non-medical purposes in a care setting.

The Fraser Health Cannabis: Medical Purposes - Policy sets out the expectations for Fraser Health staff and physicians in responding to requests to use medical cannabis.

Both policies are applicable to all Fraser Health services in owned and operated, contracted and affiliated settings and services provided in the community. These policies aim to balance our commitments to:

  • Community safety and well-being
  • Patient health and well-being
  • Health care provider integrity
  • Fraser Health and contractor integrity
  • Positive patient care provider relationships
  • Respect for patients
  • Consistency
  • Making well-informed decisions

Cannabis for medical purposes may be approved for use by patients, clients and residents in Fraser Health facilities, provided that the patient has an appropriate, valid written order for medical cannabis from a prescriber, and has his/her own supply of cannabis accessed from a licensed producer intended for oral use (e.g. in capsules, liquid form).

The existing Fraser Health Smoke-Free policy applies to the use of smoked or vaped cannabis. This means smoking or vaping cannabis products is not permitted on Fraser Health property even if it is medically indicated.

Cannabis (medical or non-medical) in baked goods, candy, or other edible formats will not be permitted.

Non-medical cannabis will not be handled or administered by staff. Health care practitioners are not responsible for documenting patient, client or resident self-administration of cannabis for non-medical purposes on the medication administration record. The presence of non-medical cannabis at our sites, units or facilities will for now be governed by the current operating practices of those locations as used for alcohol and other substances.

Cannabis use in the workplace is no different than any other substances that can intoxicate or impair judgement and put worker health and safety at risk. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, a worker must not enter or remain at a workplace while impaired. Staff that have questions or concerns about substance use at work by staff please refer to the Fraser Health Policy on Alcohol and Drug Use.

As Fraser Health learns more around this changing landscape and can better assess the needs and requests of patients we will apply these lessons to possible future policy changes. More information is available on the policies through the Clinical Policy Office.

If you have any questions please contact Maneet.Samra@fraserhealth.ca.


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