Statement from Health Canada on Improving the Licensing of Production of Cannabis for Medical Purposes


May 26, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

OTTAWA – Health Canada is introducing several improvements to its medical cannabis program that aim to streamline the application process for issuing production licenses and enable increased production under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).  

Health Canada has drawn on nearly four years of experience to identify measures that can be put in place to streamline licensing and enable increased production of cannabis. These measures will also help ensure that Health Canada’s approach to licensing and oversight continues to be aligned with the regulations, the existing evidence of risks to public health and safety, and its approach to other regulated sectors. 

Effective immediately, Health Canada is implementing the following measures:

  • Increasing the Department’s capacity to review and process applications.
  • Undertaking some stages of the review of the application concurrently.
  • Permitting licensed producers to manage production on the basis of their vault capacity.
  • Authorizing longer validity periods for licences and security clearances in accordance with the regulations.
  • Streamlining the review and approval of applications to modify or expand an existing production facility for licensed producers with a record of good compliance with the ACMPR.

Health Canada will continue to inspect all facilities before cultivation begins and before a licence to sell products to the public is issued. Henceforth, Health Canada will schedule this first inspection after it has determined an application meets the regulatory requirements and it has issued the licence to cultivate and once the producer is ready to initiate production in its facility. This approach will help provide successful applicants with a decision on their application as soon as possible while ensuring that all facilities are inspected as cultivation begins. 

Licensed producers and applicants must continue to meet all of the requirements under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The ACMPR represents among the most robust frameworks in the world for ensuring effective control and regulation of cannabis for medical purposes. The ACMPR includes security and inventory control measures that help prevent diversion, as well as requirements for Good Production Practices that help provide individuals with access to quality-controlled cannabis for medical purposes. Since licensed production began in June 2013, licensed producers have established a solid record of compliance with the regulatory requirements and Health Canada will continue to ensure compliance through regular inspection.

In addition to the measures announced today, Health Canada has already dedicated additional resources to accelerate the processing of applications from individuals who are authorized to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes.

Health Canada will continue to work closely with patients, patient advocates and licensed producers to identify and act on opportunities to improve access to cannabis and service to Canadians.

Associated Links
Backgrounder - Improving the Licensing of Production of Cannabis for Medical Purposes

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