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Claim Your Cannabis As a Medical Expense

Claiming Cannabis As A Medical Expense

Don’t forget to claim your medical cannabis as a medical expense when you do your 2016 taxes (due on or before April 30, 2017). Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Get Your 2016 Receipts

Most Licensed Producers (LPs) have a section on their websites where you can view your past orders and print your receipts. If you can’t find it, please contact your LP directly as it is their legal obligation to provide you with your receipts.

Step 2: Fill Out Your Tax Forms

When you fill out your tax forms, make sure you include the total amount you spent on medical cannabis over the course of the year on your 2016 tax return.

A complete rundown on claiming medical expenses can be found at Canada Revenue Agency’s Website.

For more information, please email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call us directly at 1-844-470-6063

Why Licensing Will Matter When Legalization Happens

Tax Free Medical Cannabis

Anyone who lives in Ontario understands the burn of having harmonized sales tax (HST) added to nearly every retail purchase. Even when we don’t see the tax, it’s still there. Booze is a perfect example. On top of the LCBO’s significant mark up on imported wines, HST is also added into the price. The result is that what amounts to a $4 bottle of wine in Spain mysteriously turns into a $30 bottle once it hits Canadian shelves. We mention the LCBO because by many accounts (and if Premier Wynne has her way), this is the model the government will implement on recreational cannabis once it is legalized.

On the other hand, medical cannabis under a “Shopper’s Drug Mart” framework will likely be treated as all other medications which by law do not incur any federal taxes. Therefore, medical marijuana license holders may enjoy significant savings in this respect, though in many ways they already do considering they have access to strains for as little as $3,50/gram, compassionate pricing programs and are able to claim their medical marijuana as a tax deductible expense.

Recently, a high profile case has brought up another highly likely scenario: medical marijuana license holders may qualify for partial or even full insurance coverage of their medical marijuana. Imagine…millions of Canadians being able to treat their myriad of health conditions without paying a dime out-of-pocket for their safe, natural medicine…. Now wouldn’t that be something?

If you or a loved one would like to start accessing safe, effective medical cannabis then contact Plants Not Pills by clicking here or email info@plantsnotpills.ca. Use the promo code Health17 and enjoy a $25 discount off all fees associated with licensing.

Season’s Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

Season's Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

Season’s Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

With the holiday season approaching, Plants Not Pills wants to make sure you are giving yourself the gift of amazing cannabis. This is why we’ve put together a short holiday guide below featuring all the newest, stand out strains that our patients and staff have been raving about.

If you or someone you know is not yet licensed, please note that Plants Not Pills is currently offering a $25 dollar discount on its admin fees. Simply register with the holiday promo code HAPPY16 and we will automatically subtract $25 off any admin fees associated with licensing.

If you feel like trying any of the strains below, please contact patientservices@nlphysicians.com or call 226-456-1497 and we will help you add or switch your Licensed Producer free of charge.

From all of us at Plants Not Pills, we wish you the best of health and a very Happy Holiday Season!

Buddha Haze
(THC: 18%, 0.4%)
CannTrust
$10.50/gram This strong sativa, THC- dominant strain is getting great reviews as a second-to-none sleep aid.
Learn More
 

Platinum Mint Cookies
(THC: 17-20%, CBD: 0.1%)
D.S. & FITZ
$12.00/gram Platinum Mint Cookies is an OG Kush and Durban Poison premium hybrid that takes its users to euphoria’s top floor.
Learn More
Blueberry Kush
(THC: 16%, CBD: 0.4%)
CannTrust
$10.50/gram A potent Indica for those looking for a rich body buzz and serious pain relief. Serious relaxation guaranteed!
Learn More
Great Bear
(THC: 16%, CBD: 0.4%)
Aphria
$5.99/gramCurrently Aphria’s strain of the month, Great Bear is an effective and economical sativa dominant, high THC strain… 
Learn More
Embrace 
(THC: 6.1%, CBD: 9.8%)
D.S. & FITZ
$8.00/gram A Sativa-dominant strain, Embrace is known for its ability to relax without sedation, to relieve without …
Learn More
Wilbur
(THC: 2.5%, CBD: 5.88%)
Aphria
$7.20/gramA vigorous THC/CBD sativa dominant strain that is a perfect pick-me-up for the winter blues and also an effective strain for pain relief…
Learn More

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

Health Canada

By Kirsten O’Brien

The new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) has sparked a flurry of questions and debate. Here is a basic breakdown of what the ACMPR entail and what they mean for Cannabis users across Canada.

On August 11, 2016 Health Canada announced that the current MMPR regulations will be replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purpose Regulations (ACMPR). These regulations include new guidelines for patients to be able to grow their own marijuana for medical purposes, or designate someone else to grow their cannabis for them. Patients will still be required to hold a valid prescription from a physician when growing their own medical marijuana, and purchase their plants/seeds through a Licensed Producer.

There have already been a lot of conversations going on between physicians and patients alike, wondering just what this will mean for patients in Canada. The only real difference is the allowance for patients to grow their own cannabis. The number of plants a patient will be allowed to posses will correlate directly with the number of grams per day that they are prescribed, as well as the location in which they are growing. Patients will still be required to have a valid medical marijuana prescription, no different than the prescriptions that are currently being issued.

Some important things to consider about these new regulations:

Cost

The savings for any patient are negligible. Medical marijuana can currently be purchased for as low as $2.75 per gram. The cost of growing can be much higher if a patient chooses to grow indoors as well.

Quality

Patients will be unable to have their strains tested which means that the exact amounts of THC/CBD will not be determinable. Licensed Producers are required to test their products for not only the THC/CBD content, but also contaminants. This may lead to a strain being much weaker than anticipated and/or full of contaminants, which will make it a less effective or even harmful medication.

Safety

There are several safety concerns with patients growing their own medical marijuana. Contaminants (i.e. mold), electrical fires, and an increased risk for burglary are all things that need to be considered when choosing to grow your own cannabis.

Physicians

Physicians need to be able to closely monitor their patients that are prescribed medical marijuana in order to work on future treatment plans. If a patient is only using home-grown marijuana, it will not be possible for their physician to provide any insight on future treatments. As the home-grown strains cannot be tested, it would be difficult for a doctor to determine exactly what a patient is ingesting and make future treatment recommendations.

Time

Growing marijuana can be a time-consuming endeavor. Not only does it take months for the plants to grow to maturity, they require a lot of care and a close eye in order to produce anything that could be consumed as medication. Maintenance of both the setup and the crop can take many hours per day to ensure that the medication does not become contaminated or completely useless to the patient.

It is important to keep in mind that until August 24, 2016 these new regulations are not in place, so the only legal way to obtain your medical marijuana is through one of the Licensed Producers. You are still required to have a valid prescription from a health care practitioner, and you still cannot legally purchase from any dispensary or compassion club.

If you would like information on licensing, Register Today at www.plantsnotpills.ca or contact us by email at info@plantsnotpill.ca

Marijuana For Trauma Grand Opening in Strathroy

MFT Poster Final copy

Marijuana For Trauma (MFT) is opening a brand new Wellness Centre in Strathroy, ON!

Join the Marijuana For Trauma (MFT) Strathroy team on Thursday, Aug. 4th for a free Pig Roast BBQ and afternoon filled with entertainment. The inauguration of the centre will also offer an opportunity to get information about Cannabis Therapy, Peer Support and Outreach Programs available through MFT for Veterans, First Responders, Military and Police.

Don’t miss a chance to connect with the MFT community and find out more about how they are helping thousands of Canadians treat PTSD, Chronic Pain and a variety of other health conditions.

Where: 40 Metcalfe St W, Strathroy, ON

When: Thursday, Aug. 4, 1-7 PM

Sweet Embrace Smoothie

Blueberry-Smoothie

By Kirsten O’Brien

The term ‘gut health’ hardly paints a pretty picture, but any medical professional will tell you that it is vital to your well being. This is because the ‘gut’, otherwise known as the ‘digestive tract’, is essential for supporting and maintaining your immune system as well as processing all the foods, both good and fried, that you put in your body. If you are suffering from intestinal problems, it is crucial that you make careful choices when it comes to your diet. Among the key elements to a healthy gut are bacteria cultures that aid in the digestive and eliminative processes. In the spirit of maintaining a clean and flourishing digestive tract, below we have shared a medicated morning smoothie recipe featuring a THC/CBD strain called Embrace from our favourite label – D.S. & FITZ.

Embrace is an ideal choice for many patients suffering from inflammatory issues in the gut as CBD helps reduce inflammation and THC can help with pain or discomfort. This recipe also features Greek yogurt and flax seeds, which are staple ingredients in any gut-conscious diet.

Sweet Embrace Smoothie

1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt

½ of soy milk

¼ cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tbsp of flax seeds

2 tsp of all natural honey

0.5 grams of medical marijuana (Embrace by D.S. & FITZ)

Decarboxylate the marijuana. This is essential for the marijuana to have any effect when put into any edible.

How to Decarboxylate: Preheat the oven to 240° F. / 115° C, and break up the cannabis using your hands into smaller pieces if it is not already in small pieces. Place the marijuana evenly in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Once the oven is fully pre-heated, bake the cannabis for 60 minutes. Keep a close eye on the colour of the cannabis as it should be darker or a medium/light brown when it is finished. It shouldn’t feel wet, and should be fairly crumbly when you pick it up. Carefully grind the cannabis so that you are left with a finished product that is coarsely ground.

Combine the ingredients in a blender, including the marijuana, and blend until desired consistency is reached.

If you would like information on how to access the best medical marijuana strains for your health condition, please contact us by email at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060

Clean and Green Medical Marijuana Usage

Go Green

By Kirsten O’Brien

Safe disposal of medical marijuana containers is important as your marijuana is a controlled narcotic. The following are some basic guidelines for how to be clean and green when disposing of your medical marijuana apparatus.

Clean Out Containers
After removing (or ingesting) the marijuana that was in your container, it is important that you turn it upside down and tap it on a hard surface. This is done in order to remove any leftover debris from the buds themselves so that they do not end up spreading to the other garbage. Once you have removed most of the debris from the container, rinse it with warm water. If you are concerned about smell, a quick wash with some dish soap should help to get rid of any sort of smell.

Remove Personal Information
It is important to remove any personal information from the outside of your container. The easiest way to do this is to completely remove all labels from the containers themselves. By soaking your containers for a few minutes in hot water, the labels should be easily removable. If you cannot remove the labels themselves, you can use a permanent black marker to black out any personal information on the labels.

Recycle
Most medical marijuana prescription containers are recyclable, and can be put in with the regular recycling for pick up.

If you have any questions regarding Medical Marijuana cultivation, licensing or use, please don’t hesitate to contact Plants Not Pills at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060 

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Medical Marijuana and Safe Pesticide Use

Ladybugs are used as a natural pesticide by many Licensed Producers as they kill aphids and spider mites.

By Kirsten O’Brien

One of the most common arguments against medical marijuana is the use of pesticides in its cultivation, yet many people are unaware that Medical Marijuana is tested rigorously before it is sold to patients. In the event that one particular crop tests too high for pesticide levels, every plant in that crop must be destroyed. If a licensed producer is found to be using unapproved pesticides, they run the risk of not only having to destroy their crop, but also losing their license for production and sale. To give you an idea of which pesticides are approved by Health Canada, we’ve compiled a detailed list along with descriptions of what they do.

Fungicides

Fungicides are pesticides that fill or prevent the spread of spores of many fungi that can attack a cannabis plant. The fungicides that are currently approved for use are:

  • MilStop® Foliar Fungicide
  • Actinovate® SP Fungicide
  • Rootshield® HC Biological Fungicide Wettable Powder
  • Rootshield® WP Biological Fungicide

Insecticidal Soaps

Insecticidal soaps are pesticides used to control small pests that would normally eat the cannabis plants. Insecticidal soaps have a very low impact on mammals, which is why they are considered safe for use on plants consumed by humans. The insecticide soaps that are currently approved for use are:

  • Opal Insecticidal Soap
  • Kopa Insecticidal Soap
  • Neudosan Commercial

Predatory Bugs

Predatory bugs are insects that eat only the pests that would damage the cannabis plants themselves. Depending on which pest is found on the plants, different predatory bugs are used for each one. Orius insidiosus (commonly referred to as the insidious flower bug) will aggressively hunt for mites, aphids, and other pests that can completely destroy crops. After the pests have been destroyed, the predators are left to die off and removed from plants before sale.

If you have any questions regarding Medical Marijuana cultivation or licensing, please don’t hesitate to contact Plants Not Pills at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060 

 

Legalization of Cannabis in Canada

Cannabis Canada

By Kirsten O’Brien

With the announcement of the legalization of cannabis coming to Canada in the spring of 2017, many are wondering exactly what legalization will look like. This week, we are taking a look at the different aspects the government needs to consider and what legalization might look like next year.

Dispensaries and Licensed Producers

In most major cities across the country, dispensaries have been spreading far and wide. In Toronto ON there has been an explosion of Dispensaries in the downtown core. With the influx of these illegal set ups, many speculate that they are hoping to be “grandfathered in” as the way to access marijuana locally. As this week’s raids of nearly 40 dispensaries in Toronto suggests, the government is not going to make it easy for these outfits to be part of whichever legalization model it eventually proposes.

On the other hand, Licensed Producers are also hoping to have a foot in the recreation market, as they are able to provide Canadians with high quality product. Licensed Producers are also required to follow strict guidelines when cultivating their cannabis, providing medical marijuana patients with added confidence in the strains they are purchasing.

Medical Patients

Many are wondering what the medical marijuana system will look like when legalization comes to Canada. One view is that legalization will open doors for medical marijuana patients. There is speculation that more insurance companies will be paying for medical cannabis for patients as it becomes increasingly de-stigmatized and more prescriptions are written. This would help thousands of patients who are currently unable to access medical marijuana on a regular basis due to its cost.

Growing

We are currently awaiting the new regulations surrounding medical cannabis patients and growing their own marijuana. Currently, only MMAR patients who had the correct documentation at the time that MMPR was introduced are allowed to grow their own cannabis. With legalization approaching, it is possible that permits to grow cannabis may make a comeback, which many patients are hoping for.

However, growing comes with its own associated risks as well. There are concerns surrounding theft of plants and marijuana, as well as things like mold, disease, and pesticide use if people are going to be allowed to grow themselves. Growing cannabis may be allowed, but there may also be very strict regulations surrounding private cultivation.

Licensing

Regulating access to cannabis is going to be the biggest challenge that the government has to face. Who will be allowed to buy it? Where will they be allowed to buy it? How much will they be allowed to buy? Currently, medical marijuana prescriptions have strict regulations regarding the amount a patient is allowed to possess at any given time. Recreational users may also be required to apply for a license to possess marijuana after it is legalized in order to protect children and other vulnerable persons from obtaining marijuana.

There is also the question of age. Will the legal age for marijuana be 19 as it is for alcohol? There is also the chance it could be 25 as many studies have shown the THC can have a negative impact on a developing brain. Or will there be no age restriction for purchasing? If there is a restriction on purchasing, age will certainly be a factor in that restriction.

Legalization is a much more complicated issue than simply possession of marijuana. There are many moving parts that make up the new regulations that will be coming next spring. As advocates for legalization celebrate their sizeable victory, they are also preparing for the much larger battle of helping to shape the future of marijuana in Canada.

Interested in obtaining your Medical Marijuana license to start accessing safe, effective medical marijuana? Register today at www.plantsnotpills.ca 

On the Road to Recovery: One Patient’s Journey

Road to Recovery

By Kirsten O’Brien

Recently, a patient of ours shared his story with us. Even though his name has been changed for confidentiality purposes, his story is nonetheless heartwarming and inspiring to anyone suffering from mental illness. The following is an account of a remarkable journey back to recovery told in the patient’s own words.

I was first exposed to street cannabis at an early age. For years, this was my fall back to guide myself through self-medicating techniques. Due to the level of my early childhood traumas, and resulting later in extreme cases of post-traumatic stress, I began to use what I knew as recreational marijuana and other narcotics as self-medicating to relieve some of the symptoms I was experiencing. Since I was on the path to discovering tolerances and alleviating my pains, I had developed a high level of respect and understanding for the plant we all know as marijuana.

At the age of 16, I was first suspected to be in the category of major depressive. Alternatively, my family whom I closely interact with suspected that it was more than depression and seasonal affective disorder.

When I was 18, I was hospitalized. It was suspected that I might fall in the category of schizo-affective disorder. After more trials, tribulations and many many, MANY medications, I found myself in and out of the hospital for no less than a month at a time for the next three years. This is when I had gone under very extensive neurological testing and resulted in my current diagnosis¾ hyper-rapid cycling bipolar as well as borderline personality disorder.

Both during and post-diagnosis, I would rely on cannabis to help in many ways. However, I was always burdened with the guilt and fear of obtaining it by other means. With medical cannabis being more readily available to those that have a prescription, it has been easier and more stress-free than ever to place and receive an order. I have never experienced a time where I have been short or without my prescription. If I find myself running low, most times I can place an order and receive it the next day. It is THE safer and more honest way about ordering medical cannabis.

As a result of this bartering for illegal street goods, being constantly disappointed with product and its unreliability, I had entertained the idea of being medically licensed though it always seemed unobtainable. After being guided to Plants Not Pills by my fiancé early this year, I have since regained a tremendous amount of hope for myself. My daily outlook is a lot brighter and I feel even more confident knowing where my medical cannabis is coming from. The consistency that I have received from both Aphria and Mettrum remain very high. Since my prescription has been issued, I have learned to respect my generous dosage and regard it truly as one of my many medications. Since starting with Plants Not Pills, I have been able to reduce and eliminate some of my medications. The patient service teams at Plants Not Pills, Mettrum, Tilray, and Aphria are all highly regarded and the amount of care that all the teams uphold constantly is clearly evident.

Though I am currently on disability and not able to work, I have aspirations of working for a local licensed producer.

Without all the great people at Plants Not Pills, this simply would not be possible for myself and others like me. The service is always pragmatic, understanding, compassionate and honest. They will be able to guide you through all the steps in order to place your first order. Being patient has a huge role in being able to educate yourself from this service that they provide. I would highly recommend this service to anyone who is passionate, dedicated, honest, and understanding of how they think that medical cannabis might help them and being open-minded to how the staff and all licensed producers as well as Plants Not Pills can help you. As they grow, we can all grow and strive for brighter days.

Jared B, Toronto ON