Cannabis Production (Processing & Packaging)
One of the final stages of cannabis production is the processing and packaging of the finished product. This includes packaging the dried plant or cannabis-based products, such as edibles, concentrates, and topicals. In each case, professionals working in this stage are required to hold a Processing license.
Health Canada Cannabis Processing License Regulations:
According to the cannabis regulations in Canada, there are several conditions that a processing license holder must meet. These include things like security clearance, proper facilities, and the requirement of retaining a Quality Assurance Person (QAP). Check out our blog on the top 5 things to look for when hiring a Quality Assurance Person.
Licence Holders are permitted to designate 2 alternates as QAP. The QAP and any alternates are required to hold a security clearance and must be identified and approved in advance by Health Canada prior to Licence Holders submitting their application.
Health Canada QAP Mandates:
Health Canada mandates that the QAP has the proper training, experience, and technical knowledge. This is important so they can perform the duties and responsibilities required for the role. The Quality Assurance Person (QAP) is responsible for establishing and maintaining the quality of cannabis processed by the facility. Additionally, they oversee the processing of cannabis products, packaging, labelling, distribution, storage, sampling, and testing. This is according to the Good Production Practices (GPP).
The QAP is also responsible for writing and approving Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), as well as managing and overseeing all quality assurance activities, including initiating recalls and investigating complaints. Finally, read on to learn more about the requirements for cannabis processing and how specialized cannabis training can help!
Who Needs a Cannabis Processing License?
A cannabis processing license is essential for anyone looking to sell and distribute cannabis and cannabis-derived products. The holder of this license can produce, retain, sell and distribute cannabis within certain guidelines. The different types of processing licenses include:
- Standard Processing license: allows you to possess an unlimited quantity of cannabis and produce it by any means other than propagating, cultivating, or harvesting
- Micro-Processing license: allows you to handle up to 600kg of dried flower
According to the Health Canada Guidelines, a processing license permits some activities and restricts others. For example, processing licence holders can sell cannabis seeds or plants to licensed nurseries and deliver products to other license holders that are authorized to sell cannabis in a province or territory. However, cultivation is not permitted with a Processing license.
The Role of a Quality Assurance Person (QAP)
The role of a Quality Assurance Person (QAP) is essential to the success of a processing business within the cannabis industry in Canada. The QAP will verify the quality of the final cannabis product before it is released for sale. The QAP will also oversee the entire Quality Management System (QMS) at the facility. This includes handling any complaints about the quality of the finished product. It also includes finding ways to improve the quality or prevent the problem from occurring in the future.
Since the QAP is responsible for leading quality and compliance throughout the production process, it’s important that they meet the education and experience criteria established by Health Canada.
Licence holders are expected to provide clear concrete examples and details of how the QAP meets the technical knowledge, training, and experience requirements. This includes details of when, where, and how the knowledge, training, and experience were obtained by the QAP. A resume or CV as well as supporting documentation which may include letters of reference, diploma, degree, certificate, or transcripts.
Cannabis Training for your Quality Assurance Person (QAP) by AAPS
At a minimum, prospective QAPs are expected to have a degree in a field of science related to the work to be carried out (agriculture, biology, chemistry, etc.). Furthermore, it is often recommended that they have additional training or education on quality assurance operations and procedures specific to cannabis. This can be achieved through post-graduate certificate programs, such as the one offered by the Academy of Applied Pharmaceuticals Sciences (AAPS).
Additional education and training can help you avoid any potential issues or delays when Health Canada reviews the qualifications of your QAP during the application process.
Quality Assurance Person (QAP) Graduate Programs:
These post-graduate programs like the one offered at AAPS cover key topics in quality assurance and quality control, such as:
- Preventative Control Plan (PCP)
- GPP and regulatory compliance
- QMS development
- Writing and developing Standard Operating Procedures
- Handling recalls and complaints
- Sanitation Protocols and Procedures
Whether you’re interested in obtaining your cannabis processing license or pursuing a career in cannabis quality assurance, formal training is the best way to gain the knowledge and qualifications you will need. Their programs are outlined here:
How can Cannabis License Experts help Cannabis Processing License Holders?
At Cannabis License Experts, we provide you with the guidance to plan your cannabis business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate license for your operations. As the Canadian cannabis industry develops, more and more licensed producers will be needed to meet the demands of consumers.
Cannabis License Experts offers support from day one of starting your cannabis business This includes strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, Preventive Control Plans (PCPs), and more.
Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan for your edibles business to help get your products on store shelves. Give us a call at 1-800-651-6280.
For more information about the critical role a Quality Assurance Person can play in your cannabis business click here: