Today, Canada houses one of the most developed national cannabis markets in the world. Unlike the United States, where cannabis remains federally illegal, Canada has legalized cannabis in all forms, nationwide.
If you’re a cannabis-minded entrepreneur and want to take part in this exploding market, contact the professionals at Higher Yields Consulting. These seasoned experts will guide you as you realize your dreams of cannabis business ownership.
The History of Cannabis in Canada
In the 1800s, cannabis was completely legal and unregulated in Canada. In fact, it was quite common to use cannabis medically to treat anything from depression to insomnia.
However, early European settlers brought with them a strict attitude that frowned on anything deemed “immoral” — alcohol and drugs being foremost of those things. The Opium and Drug Act of 1911 illegalized opiates and cocaine, and the illegalization of cannabis joined in 1923.
Over the decades, however, Canadian citizens appeared largely undeterred by the up to seven years of imprisonment that could result from recreational cannabis use.
In 1969, the Commission of Inquiry in the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (nicknamed the Le Dain Commission) was formed to investigate cannabis use and costs. From there, the path to eventual legalization began in earnest.
Finally, in 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to federally legalize cannabis in all forms when the federal “Cannabis Act” went into effect.
Now that cannabis legalization in Canada is complete, the opportunity is ripe for prospective cannabis entrepreneurs to enter the cannabis industry.
The experts at Higher Yields Consulting can help you understand Canada’s cannabis laws and regulations so that you, too, can take part in this emerging, lucrative industry. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of Canada’s present cannabis laws.
Questions on cannabis
Canada’s Current Regulations
In Canada, personal cannabis use is strictly regulated according to the federal “Cannabis Act,” and those regulations are laid out clearly on a dedicated, government-run website.
Thanks to the recent cannabis legalization in Canada, adults 18 years of age and older may legally possess and share set quantities of cannabis, which quantities are based on dried cannabis. Adults may also grow, for personal use only, up to four cannabis plants per residence.
Most provincial and territorial governments have storefront operations where recreational cannabis is sold. These are operated by either the government or by private enterprises.
Because cannabis technically remains a controlled substance under Canadian law, cannabis is sold only through government-licensed retailers and is grown only by government-licensed producers (other than the four-plant allowance for personal use).
Note: Cannabis legalization in Canada holds that each provincial government can set its own rules and procedures for establishing retail sales.
As such, it’s important to research those local rules and procedures before establishing a venture.
Cannabis legalization in Canada isn’t just big news for residents; it’s big news — and big money — for producers. However, because cannabis is still a controlled substance under Canadian law, the government requires prospective cannabis business owners to comply with a number of licensing requirements. Accordingly, anyone looking to take advantage of the cannabis legalization in Canada needs to look into the legal requirements.
These legal requirements depend on the type of cannabis activity you would like to do in Canada.
The professional consultants at Higher Yields Consulting are experts at navigating licensure requirements for new cannabis businesses and can help guide you through the process from beginning to end.
For greater details on each type of license and relevant details, visit Canada’s cannabis and hemp licensing webpage.
For your convenience, we’ve included below a succinct summary of the three main types of licenses involved in cannabis legalization in Canada.
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Licenses in Canada
If you are looking to attain a license for hemp or cannabis in Canada Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our team of cannabis licensing consultants and technical writers has had great success helping newcomers and experienced operators attain licenses all over the world.
In terms of cannabis legalization, Canada currently offers three types of cultivation licenses: (1) Micro-cultivation licenses, (2) Nursery licenses, and (3) Standard cultivation licenses.
Whichever route you choose to go, a cultivation license allows you to possess cannabis, conduct growing activities, process the cannabis, conduct analytical testing, and perform research and development with cannabis.
To apply for a cultivation license through the Canadian government, you will first need to apply for a cannabis license.
You will also need to supply detailed information about your prospective business in your application.
You will be required to divulge information about your business location and the people who will be partners, directors, officers, and participants in the business. You will also be required to obtain a surety bond for cannabis.
Once you’ve submitted this information and are approved by the Canadian government, you may then apply for approval to conduct your business activity, specifically through Health Canada.
Given the detail required for comprehensive, organized cannabis legalization, Canada also created a number of other cannabis licenses.
These include licenses for the analytical testing of cannabis, researching licenses, and licenses for the distribution and receiving of cannabis.
A processing license (micro or standard) is limited only to processing and does not allow the license holder to cultivate or grow cannabis.
The processing license allows you to possess any type of cannabis, process the cannabis into bulk or wholesale, package and label the products, conduct analytical testing, and do research and development within authorized activities.
Fortunately, the process for obtaining a processing license is the same as it is for a cultivation license.
In Western Australia (WA), possession of up to 10 grams of dried cannabis is largely decriminalized on the first offense, requiring offenders to attend drug counseling. After the initial infraction, if you’re caught possessing cannabis, you can be charged criminally.
Though currently prohibited in WA, there have been recent efforts to legalize recreational cannabis.
Medical Sales License
Though the process of applying for a medical sales license is roughly the same as it is for cultivation or processing, the medical sales license only allows the sale or distribution of packaged and labeled cannabis.
You have the option to either sell with a possession license (which allows you to physically possess the packaged and labeled cannabis), or without a possession license (which merely allows you to sell another license holder’s packaged and labeled cannabis without possessing it on your site).
If you would like to conduct sales for recreational purposes, you may follow the same link as above to get your initial cannabis retail license approved.
Whichever license you are interested in, the experts at Higher Yields Consulting can help you make that happen. Higher Yields Consulting’s seasoned experts will guide you each step of the way, from concept to completion and beyond. Reach out to us now and make your cannabis business ownership vision a reality.
Takeaways from Canada’s Cannabis Market
As one of the first countries to nationally embrace full cannabis legalization, Canada is home to a cannabis market that is maturing fast. Canada has become a global supplier of cannabis to other countries such as Denmark and Germany.
With a domestic market estimated to be worth about $4.4 billion as of 2021, and which is expected to reach $8.8 billion by 2027, it is clear that Canada’s cannabis market will continue to climb and thrive.
These numbers represent the magnitude of the opportunities a cannabis-minded entrepreneur has within the Canadian cannabis industry.
With the advice and support of the expert consultants at Higher Yields Consulting, you can get your foot in the door now in this rapidly maturing global market. Reach out today to schedule an initial conversation.
Last updated: July 2022