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Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis includes 'micro' grows

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Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis includes 'micro' grows

Highlights from today’s Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis

November 21, 2017
 
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Today’s announcement by Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor of the Liberal government’s Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis contains a mix of what has long been expected by the majority of industry insiders, with a number of points that may come as a bit of a surprise to hardened ACMPR veterans and cannabis advocates.

 

While the rules for medical cannabis remain largely unchanged, a number of provisions have been made on the recreational side of things in an attempt to: “allow a range of different activities with cannabis (for example, cultivation, processing, research); enable a diverse, competitive legal industry comprised of both large and small players in regions across the country; [...] and provide for legal cannabis products [of all sorts] that meet high quality standards.”

 

In the immediate wake of this announcement, here are a few key points that might catch a few people off guard.

License categories

The biggest news here by far is that all four of the different types of production licenses outlined in the proposed regulations will allow for the outdoor cultivation of cannabis. The implications of this announcement are staggering, especially as the market for extracts and edibles (which would also be provided for under the proposed regulations) continues to grow, and new export opportunities become available (imagine ‘Alberta Weed Pool’ weed silos lining the train tracks in small farming communities, waiting to carry their crop off to repurposed cannabis oil refineries).

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Alongside familiar categories such as standard cultivation, processing, and sale licenses, the new proposal includes micro cultivation, micro processing, and nursery licenses, as well as notably upgraded hemp cultivation and research licenses.

 

While the new micro-license definitions have yet to be worked out, their inclusion in this proposal, alongside the inclusion of outdoor cultivation, heralds a legalization framework that will indeed include small “craft” companies and farmers.

Security clearances

The ability of cannabis companies to include people with previous criminal records in their swelling ranks has been an ongoing concern for many in the industry, and the new proposal addresses this.

 

Under the new set of rules, the Minister of Health is explicitly authorized to grant security clearance to any individual on a case-by-case basis. This ability extends even to people who have had documented associations with organized crime, so long as the Minister judges that the individual is no longer a security risk.

 

This means that many people who might not otherwise be able to participate in this emerging marketplace—either because of some past indiscretion, or more notably because of past involvement with the underground cannabis economy—will now be included in the talent pool available to cannabis employers, and likely also be able to start their own enterprises, should they be in a position  to do so.

Screen-Shot-2017-11-21-at-12.41.52-PM.pnCannabis products

Along with the current staples of the ACMPR, the new proposal includes several new product categories, including edibles/drinkables and concentrates (hash, shatter, and wax are mentioned by name). While it doesn’t seem that these products will be included in the medical cannabis category, it does seem that they will be available to medical users through the recreational market.

 

In addition, the proposal would make allowance for “a new pathway to market for non-prescription health products with cannabis” where new products have “lower levels of THC and CBD than found in currently-approved prescription health products.” Given the vast number of molecules present in cannabis that could have medical benefits, this allowance has the potential to create entirely new categories of cannabis-based natural health products as research on various cannabinoids and terpenes continues to come down the pipeline.

Packaging

The rules around packaging are, for the most part, what has been anticipated, with strict rules around the type of information that is to be included in labelling, as well as limited colour options, a standardized font, health and safety labeling, and tamper/childproof packaging. They also call for a standardized cannabis symbol to be adopted and placed on labelling for all edible products to mitigate the risk of accidental ingestion.

The regulations do, however, make some minor allowances for branding, so long as that branding doesn’t appeal to children in any way (no smiley face logos, etc.). Hopefully this will leave enough room for truly creative companies to build brand-awareness, and for consumers to be able to differentiate a premium product from third-rate bag bottoms.

While a great deal of the proposal comes as no surprise given the previously stated mandate of the Liberal government to strictly regulate and control legal cannabis, one overarching theme here seems to contradict their oft-stated position that legalization is not a ‘cash grab.’

 

The new regulations seem to open the playing field, so to speak, to all kinds of players: small businesses, some former black market players, and even prospective farmers all have a place in these new regulations. New product categories are being opened up. There are endless new research opportunities at every turn.

 

And while we are by no means through the process of drafting and implementing this new legislation—this proposal is but one more step on the long road to legalization—there does seem to be an emerging trend of greater inclusion and a sense of greater opportunity as we near the end of our journey.

 

https://news.lift.co/proposed-approach-regulation-cannabis-includes-micro-grows

 

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Looks very good at the moment, the only thing for micro growers, processors and retailers is will the cost of the licenses be prohibitive to any profit one could make on a small scale production.

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