So, You Want to Grow Cannabis?

 In Cannabis

By: Paula Stanley, Manager Environmental Health & Safety Group, email


Cannabis is becoming a household word in Canada, and legislation and requirements continue to change

Did you know an estimated investment of 1-1.5 million dollars is recommended to get a micro facility up and running? Of course, this is starting from scratch with no prior access to a building, etc.

When the Cannabis Act and regulations opened up for cannabis license applications, a very large initial number of these applications were received. Many licenses sat in the queue for a very long time before regulators could review them. The government realized when the reviews started, that many applicants were no longer interested in pursuing a license.

Health Canada changed its license process as of May 2019, due to the vast number of cannabis license applicants that were perhaps not serious about pursuing a license or changed their minds before their application was reviewed. Now, the potential licensee must have their building in place to apply for a license to grow or process cannabis. The building must also meet the regulatory requirements before a license application is submitted.


Challenges in cannabis license submission

As you can imagine, financing before licensing then becomes the issue. In many cases, agricultural mortgages are not issued for cannabis unless the applicant has a cannabis license in place. This will be difficult for prospective licensees, but the challenge will certainly slow down the number of people applying for a federal cannabis license. This change should help reduce the time it takes to get a license submitted and approved for those who already have a compliant building and the funding to start.

In order to document your readiness, there is a site plan package that must be submitted. All sites must meet GPP (Good Production Practices) requirements. In order to achieve this level of readiness, it is an excellent idea to perform a gap analysis based on what you currently have in place. This way, a plan can be made to fulfill all the requirements and obtain a cannabis license.

With changes coming in October 2019 for different types of cannabis edible products, there will be license amendments required for existing producers that wish to enter this new market. As these newer types of edible cannabis are being created, there will also be important steps to ensure food safety. Identifying critical control points and ensuring the safety of these new products will become paramount.


We’re here to help!

If you have questions or need help to obtain your license, we offer full-service cannabis consulting. We can perform the gap analysis, prepare GPP procedures, prepare your site package for submission, and help you to understand the next steps, as well as guide you through the licensing process and/or amendments.


Dell Tech Laboratories
Paula Stanley, C.R.S.P., A.Sc.T.
Manager, Environmental & Health & Safety Group

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty industry in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 39 years.  Contact us today for more information.


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