Article by David Brown, Lift
Health Canada implemented the new rules for accessing medical cannabis in Canada on August 24th, generating enormous attention for the inclusion of personal cultivation into the new regulations.
The new rules require someone to register with Health Canada for the authorization to grow (after getting a doctor’s approval) and receiving a certificate back. They can then purchase their ‘starting materials’ (seeds, clones) from one of 23 licensed producers currently licensed to sell cannabis for medical purposes.
This was greeted by many as a big step forward for Canada’s medical access program. We are now over a month into this new program, however, and those seeking to legally grow their own cannabis for medical purposes are left with no legal source for seeds or clones. While some producers are scrambling to figure out the logistics (shipping, production space, liability, etc) of how to sell clones or seeds, others are simply not making it a priority. As of publishing this, none of the 23 licensed to sell are offering starting materials of any kind.
Part of the issue appears to stem from the lack of forewarning licensed producers received. Health Canada says they informed all licensed producers of the new regulations on August 11, just under two weeks before the full regulations were announced publicly. Many producers say this was not enough time to add something new into their highly regulated and regimented business models. Some say they only found out in a conference call just a few hours before the regulations were made public.
“Effective August 24, 2016, all licensed producers that have a license for sale of cannabis are permitted to sell starting materials to registered persons for the six-month period following the coming into force of the ACMPR. After this period, LPs will need to seek Health Canada’s authorization to sell starting materials in the same way that they seek authorization to sell other cannabis products.” -André Gagnon, Media Relations Officer, Health Canada