Applying to become a licensed cannabis producer in Canada (and other jurisdictions) is a complicated task. Over the years, we at Theracann have learned how best to navigate the application process.  Here is a brief summary of suggestions to help you successfully apply to become a licensed producer.

Top Ten Tips to Ensure Success:

  1. Understand the licensing process. It is essential to know that you cannot get a Health Canada cultivation license until you have a functioning facility.  In addition, you cannot sell cannabis until you pass inspection and testing for two sequential production batches. Unlike other jurisdictions that require non refundable deposits (some as high as $50K), the Canadian program does not charge an application fee, however you need to secure construction and financing up front.
  2. Location, Location, Location. Make sure you have appropriate zoning permission and follow all local bylaws with respect to land use, security, distance from schools, etc. Make sure your site will have sufficient power and water services to accommodate your facility and production plan.
  3. License application accuracy is critical. Answer every section carefully and thoroughly, and have another person review all aspects of your submission. Applicants have become stuck in the security clearance phase because of a misspelled middle name or incorrect birth date, so don’t let this happen to you.
  4. Avoid making changes to a submitted application. If at all possible, do not make changes to your submission once it is in the queue. Changes to key personnel or company name may interrupt the approval process and lead to a longer wait time for approval. A change of location will require a new application.
  5. Choose key managers wisely. Being a Licensed Producer is serious business, and although friends and family are easy to recruit, they most likely do not have the expertise required to operate a highly regulated production facility. Both Health Canada, and potential investors, will want to see that you have hired a talented and qualified management team.
  6. Check credentials and references. Make sure key personnel on file (SPIC – Senior Person in Charge, RPIC – Responsible Person in Charge, QAP – Quality Assurance Person) can withstand vigorous scrutiny. Do not take anything for granted. Obtain original or notarized copies of diplomas, degrees and other qualifications; and be sure to proactively reach out to all references.
  7. Time is money. For every step of the process, from planning, application, construction, facility set-up and establishment, there is potential for delays and resulting reduction of revenues. Avoid opportunity costs associated with delays by having the right people and a well developed plan.
  8. Have a marketing plan in place. Competition in the Cannabis Industry is growing rapidly so you need to understand early on where your company and products will best fit within the marketplace.
  9. Keep moving forward. Keep your application file active by answering any questions that Health Canada may have, and by keeping them informed of all updates. Show that you are actively progressing with your project because any files that languish over time may be flagged as inactive and moved to the bottom of the pile.
  10. Why reinvent the wheel? Partner with an experienced multi-disciplinary team, who has a proven track record and knows how to navigate the process. Ensuring that all aspects of your business are integrated and fully compliant with regulations will get you up and running faster. See point #7.

By Brenda Marks – Customer Service Manager for TheraCann International.

For more information on  the Cannabis Industry and our services,  please contact Brenda Marks, Customer Service Manager for TheraCann International.