Federal government proposes 'micro' cultivation licences for small growers, rolls out public cannabis consultation

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      The federal government has proposed a licensing program that could allow for more of B.C.'s 'micro' producers to be included in the legal mix.

      This afternoon, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced the release of a consultation paper detailing the government's proposed approach to the regulation of cannabis.

      She also announced the launch of a 60-day consultation period, and said that the government is eager to hear from Canadians, provinces and territories, municipalities, industry stakeholders, patients and more on its plan.

      Among the regulatory proposals set out in the paper, the first proposes a system for licensing that intends to allow for different activities in the market.

      Cultivation licences would be divided into four categories, with standard licences being issued to large-scale growers who meet the existing requirements set out by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

      A second category of micro-cultivation licences would be established for small-scale growers of cannabis who meet a less extensive list of requirements.

      For example, while a standard producer would be required to install visual monitoring and an alarm or other intrusion detection system both inside and outside its facility, micro growers would simply be required to restrict access to certain areas with a system of key cards or keys. 

      Growers of starting materials including seeds, seedlings, and clones would be issued a nursery licence, while hemp growers cultivating strains containing less than 0.3 percent THC would be issued an industrial hemp licence.

      Manufacturers making oil and other products would apply for either a standard or micro processing licence, depending on the size of their operation.

      The paper also proposes requirements for security clearances, a cannabis tracking system, product standards, packaging and labeling, medical cannabis, and cannabis in other health products or cosmetics.

      Security clearances would be required for personnel operating under each cultivation licence except hemp.

      A tracking system would be implemented to track cannabis throughout the supply chain to prevent cannabis from being diverted from the legal market. 

      The consultation paper also proposes the implementation of certain limits on products, suggesting that pre-rolled joints should not contain more than one gram of cannabis, and that single-unit products intended for ingestion (like a capsule or metered spray) be limited to 10 milligrams of THC each.

      As for product labeling, manufacturers would be permitted to promote consumer choice, but colours, graphics, and other characteristics would be limited to discourage use among youth. Products would be required to list cannabinoid content (how much THC and CBD in a given product) as well as mandatory health warnings not unlike the warnings on tobacco products. 

      The paper maintains that Canada will keep a distinct system for medical patients, and that post-legalization, it won't undergo substantive change. 

      To participate in the government's public consultation, click here.