Information for new cannabis licence holders: Cultivation, processing or sale for medical purposes licences
On this page
- Who this is for
- Information on your licence
- Before you start producing cannabis
- Participating in an inspection
- Making changes to your licence
- Contact us
Who this is for
Use the information in this page to guide you as a new cannabis licence holder. It includes information to get you started on your daily activities, such as:
- your licence conditions and authorized activities
- your cannabis operation
- reporting requirements
- managing your licence
This content only applies to the following cannabis licences:
- micro-cultivation, nursery and standard cultivation
- micro-processing and standard processing
- sale for medical purposes
You need to read this page along with the Cannabis Act (the Act) and the Cannabis Regulations (the Regulations). If there are differences between this page and the Act and the Regulations, the legislation is correct. If there are differences between the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS) and this page, this page is correct.
Information on your licence
This section describes the information on your licence, including:
- Licence number
- Licence holder
- Licensed site
- Information for each type of licence
- Authorized areas
- Effective date
- Expiry date
Figure 1 shows an example of a cannabis licence document. This example is for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of your specific cannabis licence.
Figure 1: Example of a cannabis licence document
Figure 1: Text Description
The cannabis licence document includes texts presented in both Canadian official languages (English and French). This document includes the following information presented from top to bottom:
- Licence number
- This licence is issued in accordance with the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations
- Licence Holder
- Licensed Site
- The above-mentioned person is authorized to conduct, at the site specified on this licence, the activities listed below for the following licence class and subclasses
- Activities within a table
- Conditions within a table
- Indoor Area(s)
- The possession of cannabis and the other activities mentioned above are authorized in the following building(s):
- Outdoor Area(s)
- The cultivation, propagation and harvesting of cannabis are authorized in the following outdoor area(s):
- Effective date of the licence:
- Expiry date of the licence:
Your licence number is specific to your licensed site. You should include this number in all of your written communication with Health Canada, for example in the email's subject line.
The licence holder is the name of the individual or organization that owns the licence. All the official documents about your cannabis licence will use this name.
The licensed site is your site address, as submitted in the CTLS. This is the only location where you can do your authorized cannabis activities.
Information for each type of licence
If you have more than 1 licence at your site, you'll see this section repeated for each type of licence. This document will only include information on licence for:
- micro-cultivation, nursery and standard cultivation
- micro-processing and standard processing
- sale for medical purposes
Other types of cannabis or industrial hemp licences won't appear on this document. For more information about your licence and other licence types, refer to the Types of cannabis and industrial hemp licences.
Your type of licence will specify your authorized activities at the licensed site. For example, a cultivation licence allows you to grow cannabis indoors and outdoors by cultivation, propagating and harvesting. A processing licence allows you to process harvested cannabis and industrial hemp. This licence doesn't allow you to grow cannabis.
The activities list what you're allowed to do according to your type of licence. Each type of licence will have its own authorized activities such as growing (cultivating, propagating and harvesting), producing or selling cannabis.
Health Canada may place conditions on a licence which are specific to each licence class and sub-class and to the licence holder. These conditions may restrict the activities that you’re authorized to conduct at your site. Conditions may include:
- pesticide testing requirements
- limitations on sales activities
- limitations on processing activities
Important: Make sure you understand the licence conditions applied on your licence. Conditions may restrict the authorized activities at your site, for example limiting the type of cannabis you can sell.
The authorized areas list where you can conduct authorized cannabis activities. Indoor areas will list the authorized buildings and outdoor areas will list authorized growing areas.
The effective date listed on your licence is the first day you can start your authorized cannabis activities. Health Canada will update the effective date on your licence anytime you make changes to your licence, for example, when your authorized activities change. Licences can be issued and renewed for a maximum validity period of 5 years.
The expiry date is when you'll no longer be authorized to conduct cannabis activities with this current licence. To continue beyond the expiration date, you need to renew your licence before its expiry date. You should start the renewal process no less than 3 months before your licence expires.
Before you start producing cannabis
After receiving your cannabis licence from Health Canada, it's important to be aware of and understand information about cannabis and its production. This will help with your daily cannabis operation.
This section includes:
- Receiving cannabis at your site
- Producing cannabis
- Voluntary recalls
- Promotions prohibitions
- Cannabis fees
You also need to have a cannabis licence from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before you can start producing cannabis. For general questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Familiarize yourself with the legislation listed below to see how they apply to your licences.
- Cannabis Act and its regulations, including the Cannabis Regulations
- Excise Act, 2001
- Legislation in your province or territory
- Your municipality's or local government's laws, by-laws, policies
These laws could also apply to you:
- Fertilizers Act
- Food and Drugs Act
- Pest Control Products Act
- Safe Food for Canadians Act
- Tobacco and Vaping Products Act
- Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Receiving cannabis at your site
Any cannabis you bring into your site must meet the requirements of the Act and the Regulations. This includes cannabis bought from an industrial hemp licence holder.
As a holder of a licence that authorizes possession, you can only obtain cannabis:
- according to:
- the former Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations
- the former or current Industrial Hemp Regulations
- the Cannabis Regulations (for example, from a federal licence holder)
- from a person authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial act
You need to understand the good production practices requirements for your licence type and for the activities you'll be conducting at your site.
For processing licence holders: If you conduct activities with cannabis extracts or edible cannabis, you must have a preventive control plan in place.
Testing your cannabis
You'll need to complete these types of testing on your cannabis, including industrial hemp, as applicable:
- pesticide testing
- contaminant testing
- phytocannabinoid testing
- dissolution and disintegration testing
For detailed information on testing for pesticide active ingredients and the timing of the testing including other requirements such as reporting and record keeping, refer to:
- Requirements: Mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients
- List and limits: Mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients
You'll need to do all required tests if you're selling cannabis that's packaged and labelled for retail and export outside of Canada. The Good production practices guide for cannabis outlines the testing requirements and when to test your cannabis.
Cannabis composition and limits
There are other requirements, such as composition, maximum quantities and prohibited ingredients, specific to the type of cannabis you produce for the intended market. The Guide on composition requirements for cannabis products outlines cannabis composition, specification and details on the limits of quantities of various cannabis types.
Packaging and labelling
Each type of cannabis has its own packaging and labelling requirements. These requirements aim to:
- reduce the appeal of cannabis to young persons
- prevent young persons from using cannabis
- reduce the risks of accidental consumption and overconsumption
- provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions
For more information on these requirements and how to meet them, refer to the Packaging and labelling guide for cannabis products.
Record keeping and retention
You need to keep all records as required by the regulations. The retention period varies depending on the record type.
Retention of documents and information in the Good production practices guide provides a summary of record keeping requirements on producing cannabis.
A recall is any action you take to correct or remove cannabis from sale or distribution and to notify your customers and the public of a problem or potential problem with the cannabis. For more information on what you need to send when you recall a product, refer to the Cannabis voluntary recall guide.
You also need to complete a recall simulation (or a mock recall) at least once per year based on your site's recall procedures.
There're a number of prohibitions as well as various exemptions on the promotion of:
- cannabis accessories
- services related to cannabis
Promotion includes advertising by any means. This includes:
- media releases
- printed publication
- online materials such as your website or social media
For more information on promotion prohibition, refer to:
- Promotion of cannabis: Prohibitions and permissions in the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations
- Policy statement on Cannabis Act prohibitions referring to appeal to young persons
There are fees that apply to you, such as:
- application or transactional fees (security clearance fee, import or export permit fee)
- annual regulatory fee
Application and transactional fees change annually, refer to Cannabis transactional fees for licence holders for updated fees.
For information on fees and how to calculate your cannabis revenue, refer to Cost recovery for the regulation of cannabis.
You have to send various reports to Health Canada by email or through the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS), such as:
- monthly inventory reporting
- key investor report
- notice of new cannabis product
- promotions (advertising)
- adverse reactions
- positive pesticide case
- loss or theft
- statement of cannabis revenue
Participating in an inspection
Once you receive your licence, Health Canada may conduct inspections to make sure that you're meeting the requirements of the Act and the Regulations. During an inspection, a Health Canada inspector may enter:
- places of business of a licence holder, for example offices, factories, warehouses
- places of business of a seller or distributor, for example storefronts, storage areas, hospitals, pharmacies
- personal residences or "dwelling-houses", with the permission of an occupant or under the authority of a warrant
- conveyances or means of transport, for example cars, trucks, trailers, boats
Inspections can be unannounced or scheduled in advance. Health Canada may conduct them onsite or virtually through video communications.
The length of time of your site’s inspection and the issuance of your inspection report will depend on many factors, including:
- the complexity of your activities
- the size of your operation
- your cooperation
The Compliance and enforcement policy for the Cannabis Act describes Health Canada's compliance and enforcement approach. A Guide to Health Canada inspections can help you prepare for a Health Canada inspection. Refer to What to expect on an inspection for the general steps of an inspection.
Making changes to your licence
If you want to make changes to your licence, you’ll have to submit a change request or apply for licence renewal to Health Canada. This can include:
- changing your site personnel or site plan
- changing the activities at your site
- renewing your licence
Your responsible person needs to send change requests and information in the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS).
Refer to Manage your cannabis licence for the steps on how to submit these changes.
Change of ownership
Cannabis licences are specific to an individual or organization at a specified site. The licences aren't transferable. Health Canada will review and assess the proposed business arrangement on a case-by-case basis. You may need to apply for a new licence.
If you're planning a business transaction, email email@example.com for further instructions. This can include selling an asset or shares that will result in a change of ownership.
Here are links to resources that will keep you informed with the latest rules and guidelines. We’ll update this section regularly as we add new resources.
Updates for cannabis and industrial hemp
Updates for cannabis and industrial hemp allows you to view the most recent updates for the cannabis and industrial hemp industry.
Cannabis and hemp licence holders should subscribe to receive notifications of new posts.
This self-paced course will help you understand your obligations under the Act and the Regulations. It lets you review information any time and at your own pace, and provides you with important resources.
Refer to Online course for licence holders for instructions on how to access this course.
To contact Health Canada, your email subject line should include the following:
- licence number
- licence holder's name
- reason for the email
Refer to the following contacts for questions related to:
- Cannabis commercial licensing (cultivation, processing and sale for medical purposes):
- Cannabis compliance (for example good production practices, pesticide requirements, recalls):
- Cannabis import and export:
- Cannabis specialized licensing (research, analytical testing and cannabis drug licence):
- Industrial hemp licensing:
- Monthly inventory reporting and promotions reporting:
- Notice of new cannabis products (NNCP):
- Security clearance applications:
- CTLS support:
For general questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Health Canada by phone at 1-866-337-7705.
- Date modified: