Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis in Canada

The Canadian government announced on November 21st, a proposed approach to expand the regulatory framework for cannabis cultivation, processing and potential product uses. Health Canada is proposing to build upon established regulatory requirements that have long been in place for current producers of cannabis and add a number of smaller and ancillary licences including, micro-cultivation, micro-processing and nursery licences. Micro-cultivation for example is to allow small scale growers the ability to produce cannabis with THC less than 0.3%. The proposed regulations also allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp and a potential framework for retail medical and non-medical sale licences.

The proposed changes will also potentially impact the current and future ACMPR Licenced Producers (LPs) in terms of onsite security. The changes include; LPs would no longer require cannabis to be stored in accordance with the Directive on Physical Security Requirements for Controlled Substances (Security Requirements for Licensed Dealers for the Storage of Controlled Substances). Second, the proposed regulations would require visual recordings to be kept for one year, rather than for two years. Based on experience with the current program, this period of time is considered to be sufficient for compliance and enforcement purposes. Third, the proposed regulations would not require visual monitoring of areas where cannabis is grown. Considering the lower risk of theft of whole plants compared to processed material, other physical security requirements respecting cultivation areas (such as visual monitoring of the perimeter and points of entry) are considered to be sufficient mitigation against the risk of theft. Finally, the proposed regulations would no longer require the presence of a security-cleared individual when others are in an area where cannabis is present.

The government will be soliciting public input and views on the approach to these new regulations until January 20th, 2018. Health Canada encourages all interested parties to provide feedback online. For more information regarding the public consultation process, please see: www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-proposed-approach-regulation-cannabis.html.