If you are a business or individual looking to cash in on Canada’s new Cannabis Act by becoming a producer, distributor or retailer, well it is still too early because the Canadian government and the responsible agencies have yet to come out with a clear set of guidelines and requirements on how to become one.
However, here’s what you could expect.
What should you do in order to be a producer of cannabis? What about the steps to become an accredited distributor or seller of cannabis and cannabis products?
Under the Cannabis Act, you would need to be federally licensed in order to be a producer of cannabis and related products. The Canadian government will lay down all the application requirements and processes once the Act is in full force. Along with the application details, you will also know the criteria for individuals and corporate entities that want to produce cannabis and cannabis related products in the country.
When it comes to distribution, however, you would need to coordinate with the particular territories and provinces where you want to operate. This is because it is the territories and provinces, in close coordination with municipalities, who will be in charge of the development, implementation, maintenance and enforcement of the different systems to be used in supervising the distribution and sale of cannabis and related products.
In short, it is easier to be a producer of cannabis and cannabis products because you only have to contend with federal requirements, while a distributor and seller would need to comply with the federal guidelines, as well as the local regulations.
What are the considerations when granting production licenses as provided by the Cannabis Act?
The Cannabis Act will require the government and associated agencies to take into consideration a wide range of factors when granting licenses. Most of these touch on safety and health. The Minister of Health will be tasked to establish a clear, orderly and fair process in determining who gets a license, and how these licenses are processed.
The good news is that on a federal level, there are no restrictions on the number of licenses to be granted.
One thing is clear for now, however. People with criminal records or criminal histories will probably have a difficult time getting a license. One of the government’s objectives is to make sure that illegal criminal syndicates will no longer profit from cannabis in the country. Therefore, they would be very careful in implementing steps to ensure that the new legal cannabis market is not infiltrated by members of organized crime.
What is the Canadian government doing to ensure that no monopolies would arise, controlling the legal cannabis market?
The good news is that Canada has a very strong competition laws in place. It will be very difficult for any corporate entity to form a monopoly in the country in any industry, not just in the legal cannabis markets.
Will THC be restricted?
We all know that it is THC that has the psychoactive properties that makes users high. Some producers are asking us if THC content in cannabis products available for sale would be restricted. Health Canada is currently working on standards and approaches that may be used to manage the concentration of THC in various cannabis products. The agency is also looking into the current laws governing the production of medical cannabis.
The government is aiming to set requirements to regulate or standardize the amount of THC in cannabis products. For instance, all cannabis oils will have this much THC in it. The government is also requiring cannabis products with THC to have labels that would clearly state the level of THC in it.