What to Expect Once You Receive Your Cannabis Licence

A cannabis grow operation greenhouse

You did it! After months of hard work, undergoing a pre-licence inspection by Health Canada (if needed) and patiently waiting, you’ve finally received your cannabis licence!

But wait – a more thorough look at your licence shows there are some conditions which limit the activities you’re permitted to perform. While you have achieved a major milestone by securing your licence, clearly there is still some work left to be done before your cannabis business is fully licensed and operational.

You might be asking yourself, “Why are there conditions on my licence, and how do I remove them?”. Well, CLE is here to answer your question and explain exactly what to expect after you receive your cannabis licence.

After Health Canada completes the review of your application (including the results and observations from the pre-licence inspection), and all security clearances have been granted, an initial licence outlining authorized activities will be issued. (This is likely what you’ve received).  Also, a hard copy of this initial licence, as well as an accompanying issuance letter detailing any conditions around the issued licence, will be mailed to your identified mailing address. Health Canada will hold a teleconference with you to discuss the licence, including any conditions that are placed on it.

For example, cultivation and processing licence holders are generally restricted to the sale of cannabis products, such as plants and seeds, to other licence holders. The sale of cannabis products of all other cannabis classes (e.g. dried cannabis, cannabis extracts, cannabis edibles and cannabis topicals) is usually restricted by a condition on the licence. Therefore, to gain authorization for the sale of cannabis products of all other classes, you’ll need to submit an Amendment Application to Health Canada to change the condition of the licence and have it removed. This graduated licensing approach allows Health Canada to verify the cannabis products intended for sale to the public meet all of the quality standards set out under the Cannabis Regulations.

As mentioned above, an amendment application will need to be submitted to Health Canada to change the conditions on your licence, to authorize a new cannabis class for sale to a provincially or territorially authorized retailer and/or a holder of a licence for sale for medical purposes.

In addition to submitting your amendment application, an on-site inspection by Health Canada may also be required prior to approval of the request to amend your licence. Therefore, it’s important that the information you provide as part of the amendment application accurately reflects your site. If an inspection is required and Health Canada’s inspector finds the cannabis product(s), SOPs and/or documentation is significantly different than what was provided and reviewed for the application, the inspection may be terminated, and your application may be refused. You would then be required to submit a new amendment application, which will add a minimum of 6-8 weeks to the processing of your application. You certainly don’t want that!

The documentation that will need to be submitted as part of your amendment application will depend on the classes of cannabis you’re looking to get authorized for sale. For example, a processor who’d like to sell cannabis extract and/or edible cannabis would need to submit documentation for two lots of representative lots/batches of cannabis extract, OR cannabis edibles (i.e. packaged and labelled for sale to a consumer at the retail level).

In addition to the amendment application and on-site inspection, licensed processors must also notify Health Canada of any new cannabis products they intend to sell (excluding cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds) at least 60 days before making that new product available for sale.

How we can help you

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 licence 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, 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.

Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your cannabis business to meet federal or provincial regulations.

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