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Under the Canadian Cannabis Act and Regulations, companies seeking to perform research on cannabis with the intention of developing new products and technologies will be required to hold this license as of October, 2018.

A Research & Development License holder is authorized to conduct experiments and testing on every form and derivative of cannabis, including live plants, fresh and dried plant material, seeds, oil, wax, and manufactured items such as edibles. This license encompasses all kinds of cannabis-related study, from advancements toward better growing and processing techniques, to improving upon cannabis-based products, and more. License holders are permitted plenty of material to experiment with as they are allowed to grow and possess cannabis, and they also have the right to distribute and sell it within a limited group of individuals.

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License Overview

Who is a Research & Development License for?

A Research & Development License is necessary for legal permission to grow, possess, and transport cannabis for the purpose of research. This could be desirable for many different businesses, including pharmaceutical companies, experimental laboratories, and cannabis producers large enough to have their own R&D departments. Those who already have a Dealer’s License under the Narcotic Control Regulations (for reasons related to cannabis research) will most likely need an R&D License, as the Regulations no longer apply to cannabis.

What can you do with a Cannabis Research & Development License?

A Research & Development License permits companies to possess and produce cannabis for study, as well as transport it between sites that are specified on the license. It also allows for the sale of cannabis plants and seeds to fellow R&D License carriers, entities which hold a Cultivation License or Cannabis Drug License, the Minister, and individuals who have an exemption under section 140 of the Cannabis Act. In addition, it authorizes the holder to legally administer cannabis to research subjects, plus distribute it in a limited manner to either the Minister, or companies with an R&D, Analytical Testing, or Cannabis Drug License. Plants and seeds may be distributed to Cultivation License holders and those who have a section 140 exemption.

What isn’t covered under a Research & Development License?

Those who hold a Research & Development License are allowed to grow, retain, sell and distribute cannabis – but only within the guidelines that the license terms provide for (listed above). This particular license does not authorize the holder to give the general public any kind of access to the cannabis, or cannabis materials, that they grow and work with.

Cannabis Research & Development License Requirements

1. The license holder needs to have an individual in their employment who can act as their “responsible person”. This person is considered accountable for the license holder’s actions and should have an adequate understanding of how the Cannabis Act and Regulations apply to the holder. Should they have to, this person also has the authority to bind the license holder.

2. The license holder’s facility must have restrictive measures in place around their operational areas in order to safeguard against unauthorized access. It should be possible to demonstrate how the area’s construction, as well as any access controls on the exit and entry points, are able to achieve this goal. Access to all operational areas must be restricted to certain personnel only.

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