Canada weighs regulatory fee deferral for cannabis firms due to COVID-19

Health Canada might give cannabis license holders a deferred deadline for paying their annual regulatory fees in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal health department is holding a two-week consultation to gauge industry feedback.

A notice of intent for the consultation was published in the June 13 edition of the Canada Gazette.

The possible deferral would apply to regulatory fees for the 2020-21 year for federal cannabis licenses issued before April 1, 2020, according to Health Canada’s consultation webpage.

In a statement, the industry group Cannabis Council of Canada said it had “mixed views” about the proposal to defer the fees, which amount to 2.3% of annual gross revenue for standard marijuana license holders.

“In the grand scheme of meaningful liquidity relief, this deferral proposal on its own falls well short of the need, but within the narrower range of options available specifically to Health Canada, it is some measure of recognition of the challenges our sector is facing,” council CEO George Smitherman said in the statement.

Interested parties may send an email with the subject line “COVID-19: Notice of intent to consult on Health Canada’s proposal to provide the cannabis industry with financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

An online questionnaire is also available.

The consultation period closes June 27.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.