So, your cannabis license has been issued by Health Canada and operations have begun, but now you need to make a change. You might be thinking “How do I update my license and know if my change is okay to make?”. This blog will answer that question and more! Here we’ll be discussing cannabis license amendments and when you need them.
After your cannabis license is issued, you will need to notify Health Canada whenever there is a change made to your corporate structure, key personnel, licensed activities or licensed operations areas, in the form of a license amendment application or notification. Some of these changes will require a simple notification to Health Canada, whereas others will require submitting a request for approval, prior to implementing the change. Other changes may not require any notification at all.
Situations where a license amendment requires a request for approval prior to implementing the change include:
- Change in the Quality Assurance Person (QAP) – applicable to cannabis processors (standard or micro)
- Change in License Holder name or site address – note that cannabis licenses are site-specific and cannot be moved. A site location change requires a new license application to be submitted.
- Adding cannabis possession to a building – if you want to add the activity to possess cannabis in an approved building
- Adding sales activities for processing licenses – this is also known as a “sales amendment” application. Processors initially have conditions on their license which restrict the sale of packaged cannabis products. Therefore, a cannabis license amendment must be filed to add the activity of sales.
- Change in the Site Plan – some changes made to the site plan require approval by Health Canada. This includes changing the site perimeter, adding a new building to the licensed site, adding/changing a storage area, adding an outdoor grow area, or modifying an approved building to include possession of cannabis
- Change in license class or subclass – Health Canada will need to provide approval in order for you to add, change or remove a license class or subclass from your cannabis license
Situations where a license amendment requires only notification to Health Canada and no approval is needed are:
- Changing the Responsible Person or Adding/Changing/Removing the Alternate Responsible Person
- Changing the Head of Security/Master Grower or Adding/Changing/Removing the Alternate Head of Security/Master Grower
- Adding, changing, or removing Directors and Officers of the corporation that holds the cannabis license
- Changing the Site Plan in a way that does not affect the site perimeter or physical barrier surrounding the site or changing an approved outdoor grow area’s size
- Updating or changing your Organizational Security Plan (OSP)
- Changes to administrative information such as mailing address, phone number, email address or fax number
- Ceasing license activities – You need to tell Health Canada if you plan to cease authorized activities on your license and the notification should be submitted 30 calendar days before stopping activities.
Finally, some situations do not require approval or notification to Health Canada. For example, adding an operations area (including a growing area) within an approved building that is already authorized for the possession of cannabis on your license does not require approval or notification. Keep in mind that you still need to meet applicable physical security requirements and Health Canada can verify compliance at any time.
It’s important to remember that compliance is still key – therefore, anytime a change is made, no matter how small or large, you must keep records and update your internal documentation accordingly. This includes the Organizational Security Plan, the Good Production Practices report, Standard Operating Procedures, etc. You also need to assess whether the changes require notification to local authorities. A written notice needs to be provided to the local authorities within 30 days after these events, and a copy of each notice needs to be emailed to Health Canada as well:
- issuance of a license
- amendment of a license
- reinstatement of a license
- suspension or revocation of a license
As always, Health Canada may inspect your site to verify compliance with the regulations.
We hope the information above has helped to clarify what cannabis license amendments and notifications are, and when you need to use them. Understanding the requirements will ultimately lead to a successful, profitable, and compliant cannabis business!
How we can help you
At Cannabis License Experts, we will provide you with the guidance to plan your business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate license(s) 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, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, and more! Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan to help get your edibles products on store shelves.