Canada streamlines medical marijuana licensing process

Canadian regulators have implemented new rules intended to streamline the licensing process for medical marijuana producers, a move aimed at boosting the overall output of MMJ and the number of legal cultivators.

The move is likely to speed the process for licensing MMJ producers and shrink the backlog of hundreds of outstanding applicants.

Key changes in the licensing process include devoting more personnel and other resources to application reviews, allowing staffers to examine some application sections concurrently, and extending the length of the licenses, Health Canada said in a news release.

Also, licensed producers will be allowed to boost output within their existing facilities to the maximum amount they are authorized to store.

Health Canada, which oversees the medical marijuana program, is currently reviewing applications from 428 business owners seeking to become licensed MMJ producers.

The new rules, effective immediately, apply to the nation’s medical producers. But the rules also could have a major impact on the regulated recreational marijuana market the Canadian government plans to launch by July 2018.

Concerned about a dearth of licensed rec marijuana producers, government officials have proposed granting Canada’s federally licensed MMJ producers the right to supply the impending adult-use market.

The government wants to ensure there’s enough available recreational cannabis to keep consumers from turning to the illicit market.

As of May 24, Canada had 45 licensed producers serving 153,000 medical marijuana patients.