Since it was legalized back in 2018, the cannabis industry has had a difficult time transitioning from the legacy market to the legal market. It’s no surprise, then, that interested entrepreneurs are finding it tough to navigate the scene and understand exactly what’s going on. But despite these difficulties, data shows that the industry is growing and new licences are being issued each week in order to meet the demand.
If you want to get in on the action then you are probably looking for some guidance on the whole process of becoming a licensed producer. A licensed producer (legally referred to as a licence holder) is someone who has been licensed by the government to conduct business relating to the following activities:
1. Cultivating: The act of growing cannabis.
2. Processing: The act of processing grown cannabis into saleable product, then packaging these products before they are sold to a retailer or Medical Sales licence holder.
3. Sale for Medical Purposes: The sale of packaged products directly to medical patients or a fellow licence holder (excluding cultivators).
Depending on what kind of cannabis-related business activities you’d like to do, you’ll need a certain licence class. Check out the section “Cannabis classes and subclasses of licences” on the official Cannabis Licensing Application Guide to learn more.
How to Get a Licence
In order to apply for a cannabis licence in Canada you will need to follow a number of steps. The application queue is in fact lengthy, and for most applicants it takes as long as 12 months to get approved, so you definitely don’t want to make any mistakes that could send you to the back of the line.
Step 1: Set Up Your Facility
Before getting licensed, you must have a fully built site where business activities will take place. This is because the government will need proof that you are ready and able to operate if a licence were issued to you.
Step 2: Create a CTLS account
You will need to set up an account on the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS) in order to submit and manage your application. It is also necessary for licence renewal as well as submitting monthly tracking reports to Health Canada.
Step 3: Fill Out the Application Form
You can apply for multiple licence classes during the application. While filling out the form, make sure you pay particular attention to these requirements:
• List all areas in your site of business that will involve cannabis activities
• Include all site personnel; note that these employees must also create their own CTLS accounts and pass security checks
• Submit proof that you’ve contacted local authorities about planning to own and operate a cannabis facility
• Provide a detailed description of how you will meet record-keeping requirements – this is where seed to sale tracking software comes in handy
Consider Working with a Consultant
As you can see, the process can be timely and complex, so you may want to consider hiring a reputable cannabis consultant or consultancy to help guide you through it. Though it may seem like an extra expense, they will help you avoid making mistakes that could cost you time and money.