Health Canada changes cannabis licensing process in bid to cut wait times

Agency says a ‘significant’ amount of resources has been used to review applications

A Canadian flag with a cannabis leaf flies on Parliament Hill during the 4/20 protest, Monday, April 20, 2015 in Ottawa. Health Canada says it is changing its process for issuing cannabis licenses in a bid to reduce wait times and use the government agency’s resources more efficiently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A Canadian flag with a cannabis leaf flies on Parliament Hill during the 4/20 protest, Monday, April 20, 2015 in Ottawa. Health Canada says it is changing its process for issuing cannabis licenses in a bid to reduce wait times and use the government agency’s resources more efficiently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Health Canada says it is changing its process for issuing cannabis licences in a bid to reduce wait times and better use the agency’s resources.

The Ottawa-based agency says new applicants for licences to cultivate, process or sell cannabis must now have a fully built site that meets the regulations when they submit their application.

READ MORE: Retailers struggle to keep popular cannabis extract CBD on shelves in Canada

Prior to this, cannabis licence applicants could submit an application with their plans and get approval before building.

The agency says a “significant” amount of resources has been used to review applications from entities that are not ready to begin operations, contributing to wait times for “more mature applications” and “an inefficient allocation of resources.”

Health Canada says over the past three years, more than 70 per cent of licensing applicants which passed its initial paper-based review have yet to submit the required evidence to demonstrate they have built a facility that meets the regulatory requirements.

The change comes as cannabis retailers across the country continue to face supply challenges, more than six months after Canada legalized pot for recreational use.

The Canadian Press

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