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New cannabis licence regime and transition of existing cannabis licences

Author(s): Michael Watts, Mark Austin, Susan Newell, Marty Putyra

Sep 24, 2018

The Cannabis Regulations[1] under the Cannabis Act [2], which will come into force on October 17, 2018, set out the following classes of licences that will authorize activities in relation to cannabis:

  1. a licence for cultivation;
  2. a licence for processing;
  3. a licence for analytical testing;
  4. a licence for sale;
  5. a licence for research; and
  6. a cannabis drug licence.

A detailed summary of the authorized activities for each class of licence are set out in Schedule “A” hereto. 

The existing licensing regime authorizes activities in relation to cannabis under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations[3] (ACMPR) and the Narcotic Control Regulations[4] (Narcotic Control Reg) to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.[5]

The ACMPR (in respect of licensed producers) and the Narcotic Control Reg (in respect of licensed dealers) do not set out specific classes or subclasses of licences in the legislation; however each licence issued specifies the activities that are authorized under such licence. 

Schedule “B” below identifies how existing licensed producer licences issued under the ACMPRs and licensed dealer licences issued under the Narcotic Control Reg will be transitioned under the new Cannabis Regulations.

Schedule “A”

Classes of licences under the Cannabis Regulations to the Cannabis Act

Licence for cultivation:

Potential subclass and subclass restrictions (if any)

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

Licence for micro-cultivation

Must clearly delineate a surface area that does not exceed 200 m2 in which all the cannabis plants, including all the parts of the plants, must be contained; and must cultivate, propagate or harvest cannabis plants only from that surface area.

If the surface area consists of multiple surfaces, such as surfaces arranged above one another, the area of each surface must be included in the calculation of the total surface area.

  • possess cannabis
  • obtain dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds by cultivating, propagating and harvesting cannabis
  • for the purpose of testing, to obtain cannabis by altering its chemical or physical properties by any means
  • sell cannabis
  •  to sell and distribute dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds to any of the following:
    • a holder of a licence for micro-cultivation or standard cultivation, for processing, for analytical testing, for research, or a cannabis drug licence;
    • the Minister;
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest; or
    • federal or provincial testing laboratories.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds to a holder of a licence for a nursery.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to:
    • a holder of a licence for sale, or
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains specific legislative measures.
  • to send and deliver cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to the purchaser of the products at the request of:
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial act that contains specific legislative measures, or
    • a holder of a licence for sale.

Licence for standard cultivation

Licence for a nursery

  • possess cannabis
  • obtain cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds by cultivating, propagating and harvesting cannabis
  • for the purpose of testing, to obtain cannabis by altering its chemical or physical properties by any means
  • sell cannabis
  • to sell and distribute cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds to any of the following:
    • a holder of a licence for cultivation, for processing, for analytical testing, for research or a cannabis drug licence;
    • the Minister;
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest; or
    • federal or provincial testing laboratories.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to the following:
    • a holder of a licence for sale; or
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains specific legislative measures.
  • to send and deliver cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to the purchaser of the products at the request of:
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains specific legislative measures; or
    • a holder of a licence for sale.

Licence for processing:

Potential subclass and subclass restrictions (if any)

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

Licence for micro-processing

A holder of a licence for micro-processing must not possess, in a calendar year, cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis — other than cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds — that has been sold or distributed to them the total amount of which, as determined in accordance with the table to this section, is equivalent to more than 600 kilograms (kg) of dried cannabis.

  • possess cannabis
  • produce cannabis, other than obtain it by synthesis or cultivating, propagating or harvesting it
  • sell cannabis
  • to sell and distribute cannabis to any of the following:
    • a holder of a licence for processing, for analytical testing, for research, or a cannabis drug licence;
    • the Minister;
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest; or
    • federal or provincial testing laboratories.
  • to sell and distribute the following cannabis to a holder of a licence for micro-cultivation or standard cultivation:
    • dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds; or
    • any cannabis that was obtained or produced for the purpose of conducting testing that is necessary to determine the chemical characterization of cannabis.
  • to sell and distribute the following cannabis to a holder of a licence for a nursery:
    • cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds; or
    • cannabis that was obtained or produced for the purpose of conducting testing that is necessary to determine the chemical characterization of cannabis.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis products to the following:
    • a holder of a licence for sale; or
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains specific legislative measures.
  • to send and deliver cannabis products to the purchaser of the products at the request of:
    • a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains specific legislative measures; or
    • a holder of a licence for sale.

Licence for standard processing

  • possess cannabis
  • produce cannabis, other than obtain it by cultivating, propagating or harvesting it
  • sell cannabis

Licence for sale:

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

  • possess and sell cannabis products to clients in accordance with the Regulations
  • to sell and distribute cannabis products to any of the following:
    • to a client or, if applicable, to a named responsible adult in accordance with the Regulations;
    • a holder of a licence, other than a licence for cultivation;
    • the Minister; or
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.
  • to sell and distribute dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to a holder of a licence for micro-cultivation or standard cultivation.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, that are cannabis products, to a holder of a licence for a nursery.
  • to sell and distribute cannabis products, other than cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds, to a hospital employee if the employee’s possession of the cannabis product is for the purpose of, and in connection with, their duties.

Licence for analytical testing:

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

  • possess cannabis
  • obtain cannabis by altering its chemical or physical properties by any means

No sale activities are permitted.

Licence for research:

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

  • for the purpose of research, to possess, produce, transport, send or deliver cannabis between the sites that are set out by the licence
  • the sale of cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds
  • sale of cannabis plants and plant seeds is authorized to any of the following:
    • a holder of a licence for cultivation or a cannabis drug licence, another holder of a licence for research;
    • the Minister; or
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.

Cannabis drug licence:

Potentially authorized to

Authorized sales

  • possess cannabis obtained in accordance with the Regulations
  • produce (which does not include obtaining cannabis by cultivating, propagating or harvesting it) or sell a drug containing cannabis
  • may sell or distribute the drug containing cannabis (provided the drug has been approved by Health Canada) only to:
    • another holder of a cannabis drug licence;
    • federal or provincial testing laboratories;
    • a holder of a research licence or an analytical testing licence;
    • the holder of a licence from which the holder of the cannabis drug licence received the drug, if the drug is sold or distributed for the purpose of its return;
    • a holder of a licence or a licensed dealer, if the drug is sold or distributed for the purpose of its destruction;
    • a pharmacist;
    • a practitioner;
    • a hospital employee;
    • a person to which an exemption has been granted by the Minister when, in the opinion of the Minister, an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest; or
    • the Minister.

 

Schedule “B”

Current licences under the ACMPR and Narcotics Control Reg

 

Licence type

Authorized activities

Transition to the class of licence under the Cannabis Regulations

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation  – Licensed producers

Licensed producers are authorized for any one or more of the authorized activities.

The production of fresh or dried marijuana, or marijuana plants or seeds

Licence for cultivation

The production of cannabis oil or cannabis resin

Licence for processing

The sale of cannabis plants, seeds, fresh or dried cannabis, or cannabis oil to medical users, etc.

Licence for sale

Narcotics Control Regulations – Dealer licences

Licensed dealers are authorized for any one or more of the authorized activities in respect of cannabis and/or other controlled substances.

The cultivation of marijuana for scientific purposes

Licence for research

The obtaining of extracts from samples of cannabis for the analysis of cannabinoids

Licence for analytical testing

The production, making or assembly of a test kit containing cannabis

Licence for processing

The production of cannabis for the purpose of conducting testing to determine its chemical characterization

Licence for processing

The possession, sale or distribution of a drug containing cannabis

Cannabis drug licence

The cultivation, gathering or production of cannabis for scientific purposes

Licence for research

 

 

[1] Cannabis Regulations, SOR/2018-144.

[2] Cannabis Act, S.C. 2018, c.16.

[3] Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, SOR/2016-230.

[4] Narcotic Control Regulations, C.R.C., c. 1041.

[5] Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c.19.

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