On May 8, Health Canada announced changes to the cannabis licencing process: new applicants for licences to cultivate, process, or sell cannabis will now be required to have a fully built site that meets all federal requirements before they apply. Under the prior requirements, applicants could build their facility during or after completing their application.
Existing applications will undergo a ‘high level’ review, at which time the application may or may not be approved by Health Canada.
Health Canada says they are changing the licensing process to better allocate resources
and reduce wait times, stating “a significant amount of resources are [currently] being used to review applications from entities that are not ready to begin operations, contributing to wait times for more mature applications.”
Health Canada will also be providing additional guidance on the licence application process and establishing service standards to “increase predictability” for applicants. No other changes have been made to regulatory requirements.
The new application requirements have been met with criticism from industry with many speculating that applicants could invest millions into building a facility with no guarantee of receiving a licence.
There are currently 177 licensed cultivators, processors, and sellers of cannabis in Canada.
Photo courtesy of Samuel Zeller.