What industry needs to know about cannabis

Cannabis is not legal yet

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Impact of the new law on current licence holders and new applicants

The Cannabis Act has received Royal Assent. Regulations to support the coming into force of the Cannabis Act were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on July 11, 2018.

Both the Cannabis Act and the regulations will come into force on October 17, 2018.

Until October 17, 2018, it will remain illegal to possess, sell or conduct other activities with cannabis, unless you are authorized to do so (for example, for medical or scientific purposes).

Current regulations continue to apply:

Until the Cannabis Act and its regulations come into force, Health Canada will continue to accept and review applications to become a licensed producer under the current Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Application requirements under the Cannabis Act

Further guidance will be given closer to October 17, 2018. This guidance will include when Health Canada will accept applications under the Cannabis Act and its supporting regulations.

To learn more about application requirements under the Cannabis Act, access the Cannabis Licensing Application Guide.

We encourage you to continue to monitor this website.

Leaving Canada

The legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada will not change Canada's border rules. It is illegal to take cannabis across Canada's international borders.

If you try to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession, you could be subject to criminal charges. You could also be denied entry in any country, if you have:

  • involvement in the legal cannabis industry in Canada
  • previously used cannabis or any substance prohibited by local laws

Transition period to new regulations

Between now and coming into force of the Cannabis Act, there will be a transition period. This will help ensure as orderly a transition to the new law as possible. There are provisions in the Act to take note of regarding:

  • licences
  • exemptions
  • security clearances
  • applications for licences

In the weeks following Royal Assent, Health Canada will be giving licence and exemption holders detailed information and guidance on specific transition requirements, processes and procedures.

New online tracking and licensing system

Health Canada will launch a new online cannabis tracking and licensing system. It will allow industry to submit and view the progress of applications online. It will also allow industry to submit amendments to their licence, as well as inventory reports.

Cannabis Tracking System

The Cannabis Tracking System will:

  • enable the tracking of cannabis
  • prevent legal cannabis from being diverted to the illegal market
  • prevent illegal cannabis from being introduced into the legal market

It builds on a system for cannabis for medical purposes that has been in place for nearly five years. It will track the movement of cannabis from cultivation, to processing to sale. The system will not include information on individual consumers. It will protect confidential business information.

The Ministerial Order regarding the Cannabis Tracking System was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on September 5. It will come into effect on October 17, 2018.

All those with a federal licence to cultivate and process cannabis, and provinces and territories, will be required to submit monthly tracking reports to the Minister of Health. Information on reporting requirements and procedures will be made available online in September.

Information on reporting requirements and procedures are available online.

Changes to the Excise Act 2001

Industry may also need a licence under the Excise Act 2001, depending on which activities are conducted with cannabis. For more information please contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

Packaging and labelling requirements under the new Act

The regulations on plain packaging and labelling of cannabis for sale under the new Act will:

  • minimize its appeal to children and youth
  • protect against accidental consumption
  • provide consumers with information they need to make informed decisions before using cannabis

The plain packaging and labelling requirements  were shared in advance of the final regulations. This is enabling industry and provinces and territories to prepare legally compliant cannabis products in time for the coming into force of the Cannabis Act.

Until the regulations come into force, all packaging and labelling for cannabis must meet the requirements of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

Including additional information on the product label (such as the Standardized Cannabis Symbol) may be done as long as the packaging and labelling requirements of the ACMPR continue to be met.