The New Licencing System
The Canadian cannabis economy is about to undergo a massive change. With adult-use legalization here, now is the time for BC’s long-time craft cultivators to come to the fore.
The new licensing system has created an incredible opportunity for small, independent growers to jump into the legal side of this fast-growing industry.
Although some will try to keep doing things the same way they always have, experts predict that the legal market prices will be competitive enough to wipe out the illicit market within the first few years after legalization. Now is the time to get in and to get ahead.
Adjustments will need to be made, however. Old-school cultivators face a number of hurdles before they can begin selling legal product, and we are here to help!
Here are just a few of the changes facing the market:
The Legal Supply Chain
The legal market will be different from the illicit market in a number of different ways. One of the biggest changes will be the supply chain. There will be licensed processors who will serve partly as brokers in this economy. This is particularly pertinent for independent growers, as quality assurance and compliant packaging will now be handled by the licenced processors. These processors will then facilitate the sale of formally approved cannabis to medical retailers and provincial distribution systems.
As a Licenced Producer, BC Craft Supply will not only guide you through this process to ensure that your cannabis is up to standard, but will also purchase your product for competitive market prices and bring it to retail. We will perform all the required tests, package your product, formally approve it for sale, and then enter it into the distribution system at the best price possible.
We want to get you onto the market as soon as possible, receiving the best price for your product.
Like all Licenced Producers, BC Craft Supply can only do business with licensed cultivators. Tracking is very stringent in the legal space, and diversion of product is a major violation. No Licenced Producer will take the risk of selling illicit cannabis. This means that small and medium sized cultivators who are already operating must acquire either a micro- or standard cultivation licence to remain viable in the new market.
It is our hope that the wealth of growing talent that currently operates illicitly can be brought into the legal fold. For cultivators interested in making the transition, we can help facilitate the process. In order to get licensed, owners and key personnel from prospective businesses will need to pass security screening, establish suitable Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), meet physical security requirements, and have the facility approved by inspectors. The facility can be on residential land in a municipality that has approved this use in its by-laws, but can not be shared with a dwelling. It may sound like a lot, but having gone through this process ourselves, our team knows how to navigate the application procedures.
It is mandatory that any licensed facility meets basic security requirements. These requirements include perimeter barriers, key card locks, secure storage space, intrusion alarm, backup power, and lots of cameras. The business also needs a security plan, org chart, and a head of security on staff. Many existing facilities will require retro-fitting in order to meet these requirements. When building from scratch, consideration must be made for security infrastructure.
Complicated though it may seem, our security specialists will make it seem like a walk in the park. From staff training to systems design and implementation, we’ll ensure that your business ready to meet even the most stringent of Health Canada’s demands.
When we talk about ‘quality’ from the regulator’s perspective, it actually means safety. Quality Assurance in this case means that any product must meet certain minimum requirements prior to being sold. This is monitored through analytical testing with very specific criteria. The list of permitted pesticides is a short one, and bacteria, molds and yeasts cannot appear beyond a very specific amount.
Passing Health Canada’s quality-control tests requires a holistic, top to bottom approach. Crucial elements for success include making sure the grow spaces are clean, using personal protective equipment (PPE) and air pressure to keep unwanted organisms out, maintaining a suitable climate, and filtering particulates from the air.
Once again, it sounds like a big task, but we can assist you with the design and implementation of an infrastructure that assures your product will pass inspections every time.
Reporting and Standard Operating Procedures
This final consideration for those stepping into the legal marketplace might just be the biggest adjustment. In order to get a license, all cultivators will need to conform with Health Canada’s ‘Good Production Practices,’ a.k.a GPP.
Interfacing with the government is at the core of these requirements, as Health Canada will want details about everything you do, and about how the facility was assembled. The three big categories here are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), reporting and tracking, and equipment/infrastructure.
SOPs are a written catalogue of every action taken in the facility, including how to proceed if there are problems or failures. Reporting is the written or digital acknowledgment of all actions taken, and a trackable history of how the product moves on-site. Equipment and infrastructure is simply a list of everything that is used on the site. Health Canada must approve each of these elements in order to approve any license.
It is very important that SOPs be developed in a way that is organized and accessible to regulators, that reporting is comprehensive and can be easily accessed in case of an inspection, and that the facility not be built of porous materials.
We are here to help with all of these hurdles. The application can appear challenging, but we have a number of regulatory and operational experts available to help get you through.
Bringing Craft Cannabis Into the Light
There has long been a wealth of talent producing high-quality cannabis in the illicit marketplace. Most do so on a small scale. Our goal is to help these producers enter the newly legal marketplace in Canada, and facilitate the distribution of this artisanal craft product. To this end, we are here for you, with the goal of establishing a long-term relationship that benefits all parties.
The time has come for small-scale cannabis cultivators to come out of the shadows and share their amazing product with all of Canada. In truth, it is long overdue