In Canada, achieving a Nursery Licence allows a facility to create starter plant material and develop new plant varieties.
It will authorize a company to cultivate genetics (both cannabis and hemp) for the production of seeds, seedlings and clones. The plant genetics can then be supplied/sold to any other type of licence holder. Related activities such as possession, transportation, R&D, storage and destruction will also be permitted. Note that nursery production can be achieved either indoors (greenhouse, warehouse) or outdoors.
A notable change in the Canadian regulatory system for 2018 is that “black market” genetics (i.e., plants and plant seeds) that are illegal will now be allowed to be brought into a newly licensed facility. The plants or plant materials must be brought into the facility on the first day of licensing, as a one-time influx of genetics. As this was not permitted under the previous regulations, this is seen by many to be a huge opportunity to welcome illegal growers into the new legal market. Note that this is not an allowance for existing licensed producers; it will only be permitted as a one-time allowance for new applicants.
Historically, genetics were only available from other licensed producers, or from authorized international suppliers of seeds (which is a very short list). In the early days of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) which preceded the ACMPR, there was a window of time when licensed producers could bring genetics from the previously licensed designated growers under the earliest regulatory framework (Medical Marihuana Access Regulations), which process supplied most of the genetics we see today. However, with nurseries being permitted to bring in genetics from the black market on their first day of operations, these new cannabis nurseries have the potential to experiment with genetics providing a unique business opportunity.
The Nursery Licence differs from the other cultivation licences (Micro, Standard) in that the flowering plant canopy space is limited to 50 square metres (about 538 square feet). Also, the Nursery Licence does not permit the cultivation of finished product (e.g., dried flower) for commercial resale. A Nursery Licence holder is limited to no more than 5 kg of dried flower at any given point in time, and which must be destroyed within 30 days of harvest. Given the limitations of this type of licence, it is not surprising that the physical security requirements have been greatly reduced. Physical barriers (e.g., walls, fences) are still required, but there is no requirement for security cameras, vaults or intrusion detection systems. Key cards (or keys) restricted access to only employees while performing job duties. A Nursery Licence also requires a Master Grower with a valid security clearance to be employed by the licensee in some manner.
An application for achieving a Nursery Licence requires extensive paperwork and presentation to Health Canada, including (but not limited to): security clearances, notices to local authorities, professional floor plan, security plan (if being implemented), site survey, Standad Operating Procedures within GPP framework, and various quality and administrative reports. CCI is often recruited to complete a Nursery Licence Application in its entirety to avoid unnecessary delays and start the operation on a solid foundation. The timeframe for achieving a Nursery Licence is expected to be at minimum 18 months, but performance targets have not yet been set for this new type of licence. Note that only a fully built-out facility will be eligible for a licence, and Health Canada does not offer any “ready to build” (or similar) authorizations ahead of construction; the applicant will need to build out the facility before/during the application is under review.
Cannabis Compliance Inc. employs full-time professional cultivation experts with an extensive background in commercial horticulture and licensed cannabis production. We are the largest cannabis consulting firm in the world, with over 60 full time salary employees stretching across all provinces in Canada. Contact us today to start a conversation around achieving a Nursery Licence.