Article by Vanmala Subramaniam, Vice News
The Canadian government is rapidly speeding up the issuance of cultivation licenses to marijuana producers across the country, in a move that aims to address growing concerns of a supply crunch in the legal weed market come July 1, 2018.
In the past nine days alone, Health Canada has granted five additional cultivation licenses, bringing the number of licensed marijuana producers (LPs) in the country to 50. Sundial Growers, International Herbs Medical Marijuana and Canveda Inc. were granted official permission to begin growing pot at their facilities on Monday, June 12.
Four days later, two additional growers — Northern Lights Marijuana Company and rTrees Producers Ltd. — obtained cultivation licenses.
This is in sharp contrast to the pace at which Health Canada was issuing licenses prior to the federal government’s official announcement on the full nationwide legalization of marijuana. Between January 1 and May 31 this year, only six licenses to grow were handed out by Health Canada — in fact, in all of 2016, only 10 marijuana producers received permission to begin cultivating pot.
As VICE News recently reported, Health Canada introduced new changes to its notoriously cumbersome application process about a month ago, with the aim of clearing the backlog of more than 400 applicants aiming to become licensed producers before weed becomes legal next July.
Under the current vetting process, Health Canada will no longer physically inspect a growing facility before issuing a cultivation license. An inspection, however, WILL take place before the government issues an authorization of sale license, meaning that producers won’t be able to put their weed on the legal market until the government deems it safe for consumption.