Canada is now the only G7 country that has legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes on a national level. As of October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis will be permitted for general retail across the country.
This should be contrasted with other quasi-legal jurisdictions such as the United States, where cannabis is still a retricted narcotic on a federal level (and therefore federally illegal) despite many US states allowing its medical production and retail. In Canada, there is no cap in the number of licensed facilities that can cultivate, process, test and research cannabis for both medical and recreational use.
The cannabis landscape is changing
Historically, cannabis was only available online for medical purposes under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Now, with the Cannabis Regulations published, the Canadian government is accepting applications for the cultivation, processing, testing and research of cannabis for both medical and recreational use. The Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch (CLRB) is responsible for overseeing the licensing process. The individual pages in this section provides a general overview of the different types of licences permitted.
With the Cannabis Regulations coming into force, Canada is allowing various forms of cannabis to be produced, including concentrates, cannabis oil, dried flower, live plants, seeds and tissue culture. Also, cannabinoids will be permitted in cosmetic products, and are also eligible for a drug licence (DIN) with adequate research. In late 2019 the federal government is expected to permit cannabis edibles as well as concentrates, and many anticipate that cannabis health products (e.g., dietary supplement formulations) containing cannabinoids will be permitted at some point in the near future.
Perhaps more importantly, Canada will allow both the import and export of medical cannabis with other countries that also permit the activity. For example, licensed producers in Canada are already exporting medical grade cannabis to markets such as Australia, Germany and Italy. This is notable because most emerging markets do not have a domestic supply, making Canada an ideal exporter in the global cannabis market.
The retail framework varies from province to province, where most western provinces are licensing privately owned stores and most eastern provinces are retailing through government-owned stores.
Note that at the present time, individual products are not licensed, but rather only the facilities that manufacture them; product licensing is expected to be introduced alongside edibles and concentrates manufacturing in late 2019. It should also be noted that cannabis products are only intended for human consumption, not for animals or pets.
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There are two types of facility licences that can be obtained from Health Canada that permit the cultivation (production) of cannabis…
The Canadian government has created a unique legal framework that will now enable the research (and eventual manufacturing) or cannabis finished products.
As the first G7 country to legalize cannabis finished products, in Canada, there will be stringent requirements for finished product testing and licensing.
Canada is the only G7 country in the world to legalize recreational (adult-use) cannabis on a federal level.