Tuesday, October 21st13.6°C
23836
22952

Applications up, approvals slow for Health Canada medical marijuana licences

OTTAWA - The number of Canadian firms applying for lucrative medical marijuana licences has topped 1,000, as a so-called "greenrush" continues to overwhelm Health Canada.

So far, only two new licences have been approved this summer even as the department tightens the application rules — and as nervous investors await decisions on their multimillion-dollar bids.

Health Canada says that as of Aug. 25, it had received 1,009 formal licence applications to grow medical weed since a call for proposals was issued last year, with 462 returned as incomplete, 201 rejected and 32 withdrawn.

That still leaves almost 300 applications being assessed.

Some 13 licensed producers are actively providing medical marijuana to patients, while another nine Health Canada-approved producers are about to market their products.

Just two new licences were issued in the last three months, raising questions among applicants about why the department's approval process is so slow.

In July, Health Canada tightened the rules for prospective producers, increasing some security requirements to ensure inventories of medical marijuana were stored in secure facilities.

A spokesman for the department says the new restrictive rules have not affected the approval process.

"The increased security requirements have not had an impact on the processing of active applications," said Gary Scott Holub in an email.

Even so, some applicants say the move appears to be aimed at smaller players, to discourage them from applying. And some still-unapproved firms are under pressure from their impatient investors, who have leased buildings, hired staff and paid legal fees with no returns in sight.

"Everybody is just living in fear" of having their applications rejected, said one insider. "It's a pressure-cooker ready to blow."

Health Canada radically changed the rules for medical marijuana on April 1, to end home-grown weed production in favour of commercial products under a new licensing system.

The department expects the new regime will create a private industry eventually worth some $1.3 billion in sales annually with perhaps half a million customers. Some applicants want to position themselves in the medical-marijuana market for the day when recreational cannabis may become legal.

As of August, some 9,448 clients had registered under the new system to order medical marijuana from the newly licensed commercial producers.

The issue of marijuana has become a hot potato politically, as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau calls for legalization of recreational marijuana, and the Conservatives oppose the move, saying it would only increase use, especially among youth.

At the same time, Justice Minister Peter MacKay has said the government is examining whether police should issue tickets for possession of marijuana rather than clogging the courts with criminal cases.

Health Canada has imposed no limits on the number of licensed producers.

An estimated 500,000 Canadians use marijuana for medical purposes, though most do not obtain it through Health Canada-approved suppliers.

Follow @DeanBeeby on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23028


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14337.77+110.09
S&P CDNX811.351.22
DJIA16399.6719.26
Nasdaq4316.075+57.637
S&P 5001904.01+17.25
CDN Dollar0.8881+0.0022
Gold1248.70+4.00
Oil81.39+0.01
Lumber330.40-0.50
Natural Gas3.679+0.009

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.10-0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.12+0.01
Cantex0.055-0.025
Anavex Life Sciences0.191+0.001
Metalex Ventures0.050.00
Russel Metals32.28-0.07
Copper Mountain Mining1.99+0.05
Colorado Resources0.15+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.0111-0.0019
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.060.00
Mission Ready Services0.450.00

 



22970

FEATURED Property
18046612155 Bennett Road, Kelowna, BC
10054028 bedrooms
$329,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Keep it rubber side down

This time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided. Having won the...


Big bank predicts rate hike

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe end of record-low rates is nigh, according to one major bank, which has taken a stance and predicted when the Bank of Canada will raise its long-standing overnight rate. &ldq...


Experts share strategies in Kelowna

The third week in October is “Small Business Week”, a week dedicated to supporting local, small businesses. The week was designed to bring awareness to Canadians about the role small busin...

_





23545


Member of BC Press Council


22771