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Navigating the Canadian Cannabis Market: What Type of Licence Do You Need?

Cannabis License Experts and Cannabis Regulations

The Cannabis Regulations were officially published in Canada Gazette Part II on July 11, 2018. The regulations outline several different types of licenses which will be issued to companies throughout the industry. These licenses are set in place to regulate the permitted activities associated with the cultivation, processing, testing, sale and research of cannabis.

Cultivation Licences

Cultivation licences are divided into 3 subclasses based on the area in which the cannabis is to be grown:

  1. Standard cultivation – for growing and handling of cannabis (dried, fresh, plants & seeds) in areas greater than 200 m2
  2. Micro-cultivation – for growing and handling of cannabis (dried, fresh, plants & seeds) in areas up to 200 m2
  3. Nursery licence – for growing cannabis (plants & seeds) in areas up to 50 m2.


Additionally, in order to receive approval of any type of cultivation licence, the applicant must have a master grower and alternate master grower on staff. These individuals must pass security clearance, are responsible for the cultivation, propagation and harvesting of the cannabis and must have sufficient knowledge in order to carry out these duties.


Processing Licences

Processing licences are issued to authorize the possession, manufacturing and sale of cannabis and cannabis products.


These types of licences are divided into 2 subclasses the quantity of cannabis processed on an annual basis:

  1. Standard processing – for quantities greater than 600 kg dried cannabis, or equivalent
  2. Micro-processing – for quantities up to 600 kg or more dried cannabis, or equivalent


In order to receive approval of for a processing licence, the applicant must have 1 trained quality assurance person and may have 1-2 alternate quality assurance person(s) on staff. These individuals are responsible to ensure the quality of the cannabis prior to sale and must pass security clearance. The quality assurance persons are also responsible to investigate and take corrective actions, if necessary, in response to all quality-related complaints. It is important to note that an application must be submitted and approved in order to make a change to the listed quality assurance persons. Therefore, it is beneficial to have more than 1 quality assurance person on your application.


Analytical Testing Licences

Holders of licences for analytical testing are authorized to possess and obtain cannabis by altering its chemical or physical properties by any means. A holder of an analytical testing licence is required to have 1 qualified head of the laboratory on staff and may have 1 or more alternate heads of the laboratory. Each head and alternate head of the laboratory must have a degree in science from a Canadian or accredited foreign university, have sufficient knowledge and experience to fulfill the required duties and be responsible for the test methods carried out. It is important to note that an application must be submitted and approved in order to make a change to the listed laboratory head or alternate. Therefore, it is beneficial to list more than 1 individual on your application.


Licence for Sale for Medical Purposes

Holders of a licence for the sale of cannabis for medical purposes are permitted to possess and sell cannabis products. Licence holders are permitted to sell as follows:

  • Cannabis products to licence holders (other than cultivation licence holders),
  • Cannabis products (i.e. Dried, fresh, plants and seeds) to a holder of a licence for micro-cultivation or standard cultivation
  • Cannabis products (i.e. plants and seeds) to a holder of a licence for a nursery
  • Cannabis products to hospital employees


Licence for Research

Holders of a licence for research are authorized to possess, produce and transport cannabis for research purposes only. The licence also authorizes the sale of cannabis plants and seeds to a licensed cultivator, another licensed researcher, a holder of a cannabis drug licence and to administer cannabis to a research subject.


Licence for Cannabis Drugs

Holders of licences for cannabis drugs are authorised to possess cannabis and manufacture and/or sell a drug containing cannabis. In order to be eligible for a cannabis drug licence, the manufacturing facility must possess a valid establishment licence as approved by Health Canada.


Holders of a cannabis drug licence must retain a senior person in charge who is responsible for the management of the cannabis-associated activities as authorized in the licence. Additionally, a licence holder must retain a qualified person in charge and may designate an alternate. A qualified person in charge must pass a security clearance, work at the facility, have a relevant post-secondary education, sufficient knowledge/experience with drugs and a familiarity with the applicable regulations. This person is responsible for supervising the cannabis-related activities as authorized under the licence and for ensuring that those activities comply with the Cannabis Regulations. It is important to note that an application must be submitted and approved in order to replace the senior person in charge, qualified person in charge or the alternate person in charge.


If you are looking to enter the Canadian cannabis industry, Quality Smart Solutions and its new division, Cannabis License Experts,  has a team of specialists who can assist you in obtaining the correct license for your business. Contact us today to discuss how we can be your solution!


Quality Smart Solutions is an end-to-end compliance solutions expert which has been assisting clients for 10 years in the areas of Dietary Supplements/NHPs, Foods, Cosmetics, Cannabis, Medical Devices and OTC drugs. Ask us for details or visit our website at and





Cannabis Regulations: SOR/2018-144. Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 152, Number 14. June 27, 2018 –