With the legalization of recreational use of marijuana soon to pass in Canada, it is not surprising that the upcoming changes are building an interest in producing marijuana in Canada.
If you are interested in producing marijuana, you will need to apply to become a licensed producer. As you can imagine, the application process is a long one. However, in May of 2017, the federal government of Canada implemented changes to the application process to help expedite the process and improve the overall effectiveness of the production process.
Where do you start? How do you begin the application process? We cover what you need to know about the application process to become a licensed marijuana producer.
To apply to be a licensed producer, you must be an adult who resides in Canada. Or you can be applying as a corporation with a head office in Canada or one that operates a branch office in Canada. Officers and directors of your corporation must all be adults.
To obtain an application form, you have to email in to ACMPR-RACFM@hc-sc.gc.ca.
In addition to the main application form, you must also complete the following security forms:
- Security Clearance Application Form
- Security Clearance Fingerprint Third Party Consent to Release Personal Information Form
Once you receive one, you must fill it out in full. Note that as part of the application process, you will also need to have a few key items and details. For instance, you will need to select a staff and personnel team that will work with you to handle day to day operations.
You will also need to include information on the proposed site in which you will be cultivating marijuana as a licensed producer. The facility you propose must comply with provincial and municipal laws and you will need to provide notices to your local government, police and fire department about the location of your production site.
In addition, you can expect to provide detailed descriptions outlining things such as your operational methods, security systems, any activities that will be taking place in your facility and so on.
Initial Screening Stage
When you submit your application, it will go through the reviewing process. The first is the initial screening stage where your application will be checked for completeness. They will then assess:
- Your proposed business plan
- The Security Clearance Application Forms submitted
- Your record-keeping methods pertaining to security, Good Production Practices, inventory, and destruction methods.
If your application contains all the completed information, your application will be given a reference number. Note that applications that are missing information can be automatically be rejected.
Detailed Review And Security Clearance Stage
Next, your application will go through a detailed review stage where the security clearance forms for key personnel will be processed. Security Clearance Application forms must be submitted with your application for:
- the proposed senior person in charge
- the proposed responsible person in charge
- the proposed alternate responsible person(s) in charge (if applicable)
- the individual to whom the producer’s license will be issued
- if you are a corporation, each officer and director of the corporation.
You can visit the ACMPR regulations on security clearance for details on eligibility and the information required for submission with those applications. As part of the security screening process, once the security clearance applications are received, the Minister will begin doing background checks for criminal records.
Issuance of License to Produce
When your application has been approved and you and your team meet ACMPR standards, you will receive your license to produce and can begin producing marijuana. You will need to notify Health Canada that you are beginning the cultivation process first for initial inspections to ensure all standards are being met.
Extending Your License to Sell Marijuana
The natural next step you may be thinking about is selling marijuana as a licensed producer. If you want to extend your license to selling marijuana as well, you need to submit an amendment application to the Office of Medical Cannabis.
Health Canada will perform an in-person pre-sales inspection and then will take a look at the results of that inspection and the information in your application.
If successful, an amended licence will be issued allowing you to sell marijuana. According to the Government of Canada website, you can then begin supplying third parties such as registered clients or other licensed producers, depending on your license.
The Process: What To Expect
The entire application process is tedious and may take more than a year to complete. The timeline for security screening of key personnel can vary depending on the complexity of the applicant’s file.
Also, any changes to your application can lengthen the processing time depending on what changes you make. For instance, if you change any of your personnel or add new individuals, your application will be sent back to the Security Clearance stage.
Note that even though your application reaches a certain stage it can still be rejected at any time. Your application can be refused if there is insufficient or inaccurate information.
During the review process, you can expect to communicate with the Office of Medical Cannabis frequently for clarifications on the application or any additional information needed. As a tip, have your application reference number on hand during those times.
To ensure you have everything prepared and required to apply for your license to produce, download the OMQ Law Licensed Producer checklist to stay on track with your progress in the application process.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice. It is for reference and informational purposes only. OMQ Law has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy of the information provided and has listed resources from the Government of Canada and Health Canada where the above information and details can be found. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure any application made to the Government of Canada or Health Canada fulfills all requirements are met and confirmed with the proper government authorities and departments. The content and process described above is subject to change without notice.