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​BCCNM news and resources related to cannabis

​What w​​ill I learn?

  • ​​​What leg​islation governs cannabis.
  • What “authorizing medical cannabis" means and who can do it.
  • Requirements when administering medical cannabis.



While cannabis is now legal in Canada, some activities with cannabis are still illegal. Familiarize yourself with federal and provincial cannabis legislation before carrying out any activities with cannabis, whether for medical or non-medical purposes.

Primary law governing cannabis:

Know the BCCNM standards of practice requirements, including:

  • Your responsibility and accountability for your nursing actions.​
  • Documentation requirements.
  • How to Identify and avoid conflicts of interest when working with licensed cannabis producers or retailers.

Also, consider your:

  • Competence to carry out the activity.
  • Workplace policies related to cannabis.
  • Ability to confirm the substance and determine the dosage.

Authorizing medical cann​​abis

Clients must be authorized by their health care practitioner to access medical cannabis (see Cannabis Regulations (Part 14)).

LPNs, RNs, and RPNs are not considered "health care practitioners" under the Cannabis Regulations and therefore do not have the authority to authorize medical cannabis. Only nurse practitioners and physicians can do this.

NPs only authorize cannabis for clients with whom they have a professional relationship and do not casually authorize cannabis. NPs ensure they provide care within an established treatment plan, including the appropriate level of assessment, and follow up. This includes accessing the client's PharmaNet profile to get the best possible medication history for the client and avoid potential contraindications.

NPs only authorize medical cannabis for a client if it's required for the condition for which they are receiving treatment. This authorization may be to:

  • Provide a medical document.
  • Issue a client-specific order if practising in a hospital.
  • Administer a cannabis product (not including cannabis plants or seeds) to a client.
  • Give a client a cannabis product (not including plants or seeds) obtained from an authorized cannabis provider.

Authorization does not include a prescription for drugs containing cannabis, such as Sativex, which are regulated under Part 8 of the Cannabis Regulations.

Medical cannabis administration​​​

Adult clients in hosp​​ital settin​​gs

Nurses administering medical cannabis to hospitalized adult clients ensure:

  • There is a client-specific medical document or order from a physician or nurse practitioner.
  • They follow workplace policies.
  • The packaged and labelled cannabis product has been received from a licensed retailer or producer. See subsection 348 of the Cannabis Regulations for more info.

Adult clients in non-hos​​p​​ital settings

The requirements are the same as for the hospitalized client with the addition of ensuring the client has legally obtained the medical cannabis See subsections 266(1)(f) and 269(2) of the Cannabis Regulations.

Clients under 19​​

There are specific consent requirements for minors in B.C.'s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and Cannabis Control Regulation. ​See section 26 of the Act.

Conflict of interest & authorizing​​ medical cannabis

NPs identify and seek to avoid actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest when authorizing medical cannabis. For example, a conflict of interest could occur if a medical cannabis clinic or licensed producer's interests affect the NP's professional responsibilities or the client's best interests.


Does BCCNM restrict nurses' personal use of cannabis?

No. However nursing is demanding work. Impairment on the job (being “stoned" or “high") could result in direct and significant risk of injury to clients. Adhere to the BCCNM standards of practice, and the requirement to maintain your physical, psychological, and emotional fitness to practice.


​​Need help or support?​

For further guidance on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

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