Keeping on top of regulatory changes related to cannabis is important if you want a career in the industry. If you enroll in our Cannabis Certificate program, you’ll learn about cannabis regulations related to both production and retail.
Recently, Health Canada, which regulates cannabis producers, announced a major change to its approval process for cultivation licences. The changes could significantly impact the supply of cannabis available to cannabis stores. As a result, whether you’re considering a career in either the production or the retail side of the cannabis industry, the change is significant.
What Has Changed with the Health Canada Announcement?
Health Canada is making a single change to its licensing requirements for cannabis producers, but it is an important one. Now, anybody applying for a cannabis cultivation licence or a licence to sell medical marijuana will need to prove that they already have a fully built cultivation site.
That’s a major turnaround from the previous requirements, which stated that applicants merely had to secure a site. Now, producers will have to be able to start producing cannabis as soon as their application is approved.
Why Is Health Canada Making These Changes?
Health Canada cites a number of reasons for instituting this change. These include:
- Long wait times for processing applications
- A large number of current applicants that aren’t ready to begin production
- Experienced producers having trouble getting applications approved quickly
- Cannabis shortages that have hit cannabis retail stores
These issues are all inter-related. For example, cannabis shortages are partly the result of experienced producers having trouble getting new growing facilities approved quickly because of delays in processing applications. Those delays, in turn, are caused by a large number of applications coming from inexperienced producers.
In fact, according to Health Canada over 70 per cent of applications that have been approved show no sign of having a production facility ready. As a result, Health Canada spends much of its time reviewing applications that are unlikely to lead to new facilities coming online anytime soon. Meanwhile, experienced companies that have facilities already built are stuck in limbo waiting for their applications to get approved.
What Does the Change Mean for AGCO Cannabis Retail Licence Applicants?
In Ontario, cannabis production, which is regulated by Health Canada, and cannabis retail, which is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), are separate. With the exception of medical marijuana patients, cannabis producers cannot sell directly to consumers. Instead, they sell to the Ontario Cannabis Store, which then sells the cannabis to private stores across Ontario that hold AGCO cannabis retail licences.
While Health Canada does not regulate cannabis retail stores in Ontario, its moves do have an effect on the cannabis retail environment. As mentioned, cannabis stores have been dealing with cannabis shortages since legalization. If Health Canada’s regulatory changes work as intended, they will help get already-built cultivation facilities approved faster.
That could mean those facilities begin growing cannabis sooner and help ease the cannabis supply shortages that have impacted cannabis stores. As a result, if you’re interested in pursuing an AGCO cannabis store licence, this change may help give the retail industry a supply boost to help meet consumer demand.
Do you want to apply for an AGCO cannabis dispensary licence?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences to learn about our program.