Toronto – On Wednesday, Health Canada announced that it will make significant changes to the process for approving licensed cannabis producers. Specifically, Health Canada will now require all new producer applicants to have a fully built and compliant site at the time of their application. Health Canada has justified the move by citing that a majority of applications in the current process undergo review, but have not yet provided evidence that they have a fully built and compliant production site.

The fear is that red tape and a major initial financial output would be too much for business owners.

David Clement, Toronto based North American Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “This move is a significant blow for Canada’s cannabis market, especially cannabis consumers nationwide.

“The process to qualify as a licensed producer is already incredibly rigid. These changes will simply make it harder for new producers to enter the market, which ultimately ends up hurting recreational consumers and medical patients. More red tape will translate into higher prices for consumers, and less product availability. Higher prices and poor access will encourage consumers to continue to purchase in the black market, which runs directly against the Federal Government’s stated goal for legalization,” said Clement.

“If Health Canada has an issue with the amount of pre-approved producers who end up grow-ready, then they should simply liberalise the regulations on the production side to make it easier for producers to go from paper review to fully operational. Rather than take this approach, the government has doubled down on bureaucracy and red tape, which harms everyone involved,” said Clement.

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