Canada’s federal cannabis regulator is streamlining the application process to reduce the regulatory burden facing standard and micro-class marijuana processing license holders, a move that’s intended to give new and existing licensees the ability to bring products to market more quickly.
Health Canada said it will begin granting sales authorization for dried and fresh cannabis products to all standard and micro-class processing license holders during the initial licensing process, meaning those licensees will no longer have to apply for an amendment in order to sell to wholesalers.
The planned regulatory change will allow federal license holders to sell dried or fresh cannabis products to provincial wholesalers after the license has been amended.
The change applies only to dried and fresh cannabis products, so processors planning to sell other products, such as vape cartridges, will still need a sales amendment.
The change, which takes effect April 19, could shave months off the sales-amendment application process.
In an emailed statement to license holders, Health Canada said the change means existing processing licenses that do not currently authorize the sale of dried cannabis products will be reissued with amended conditions in the next three months.
Those already in the application queue for a sales amendment will be prioritized, the email noted.
Producers still must submit a Notification of New Cannabis Product (NNCP) 60 days in advance.
“The decision is based on the lower risk associated with producing dried and fresh cannabis products,” according to the email.
Health Canada said no changes are being made to regulatory requirements for licensees.
All license holders must continue to ensure that all cannabis produced and sold meets the requirements of Canada’s Cannabis Regulations.
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Ian Dawkins, principal consultant of British Columbia-based Althing Consulting, said the planned change will be beneficial for processors across the board.
“It’s helpful for everybody,” he said.
“For big producers, at that scale, you probably have huge regulatory teams. It does benefit everybody, but it’s particularly helpful for those who are nimble.”
Micro-producers could benefit as well, but they still face hurdles gaining access to large government-controlled cannabis wholesalers. Such wholesalers generally have listing requirements that are more difficult for small processors to navigate compared to larger ones.