Applications to produce cannabis in Canada top 460

Applications to become a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada rose 10% in the past six months, even though Health Canada has been approving applications at a record clip.

The jump in approved cultivators and applications comes as marijuana companies prepare for the planned rollout next summer of the nation’s recreational cannabis market.

Amid concerns of an industrywide shortfall of recreational marijuana, LPs across Canada are scrambling to build up inventory and new capacity.

Health Canada licensed eight growers in the first five months of 2017. But since streamlining the application process in May to head off a potential shortfall, the agency issued 31 permits, bringing the number of production licenses to 76.

As of Nov. 28, 463 applications were in the pipeline.

Adding to the soaring demand for medical marijuana was a record number of client registrations at the end of June, which topped 200,000 for the first time.

Canada’s black market is estimated to produce about 2.8 million kilograms (3,086 tons) for domestic and international use, according to one estimate, but the legal market might hope to pilfer about 40% of that, at most.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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