Today’s announcement by Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor of the Liberal government’s Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabiscontains a mix of what has long been expected by the majority of industry insiders, with a number of points that may come as a bit of a surprise to hardened ACMPR veterans and cannabis advocates.
While the rules for medical cannabis remain largely unchanged, a number of provisions have been made on the recreational side of things in an attempt to: “allow a range of different activities with cannabis (for example, cultivation, processing, research); enable a diverse, competitive legal industry comprised of both large and small players in regions across the country; […] and provide for legal cannabis products [of all sorts] that meet high quality standards.”
In the immediate wake of this announcement, here are a few key points that might catch a few people off guard.
The biggest news here by far is that all four of the different types of production licenses outlined in the proposed regulations will allow for the outdoor cultivation of cannabis. The implications of this announcement are staggering, especially as the market for extracts and edibles (which would also be provided for under the proposed regulations) continues to grow, and new export opportunities become available (imagine ‘Alberta Weed Pool’ weed silos lining the train tracks in small farming communities, waiting to carry their crop off to repurposed cannabis oil refineries).
Alongside familiar categories such as standard cultivation, processing, and sale licenses, the new proposal includes micro cultivation, micro processing, and nursery licenses, as well as notably upgraded hemp cultivation and research licenses.
While the new micro-license definitions have yet to be worked out, their inclusion in this proposal, alongside the inclusion of outdoor cultivation, heralds a legalization framework that will indeed include small “craft” companies and farmers.
The ability of cannabis companies to include people with previous criminal records in their swelling ranks has been an ongoing concern for many in the industry, and the new proposal addresses this.