The novel coronavirus has presented a slew of complications for cannabis producers and Canada’s regulator is issuing ongoing guidance on where it can and can’t be flexible.
On Monday, members of the cannabis industry tweeted out the latest email from Health Canada addressing topics ranging from international shipping to producing hand sanitizer on-site.
— Dr. Earl Oliver (@eaoliver) March 30, 2020
Regarding licences expiring in the near term, Health Canada said it’s currently working on a small number of renewals.
“We are working to issue final decisions on these applications within the coming days,” the regulator said in the email. “We are also checking our records to identify the licences that are set to expire within the next three months, and will consider other measures such as extensions for these licences until we can resume normal operations.”
To aid efforts against COVID-19, some companies have expressed a desire to produce related health products, like hand sanitizer, in their licenced cannabis facilities. In the U.S., there are multiple reports of weed businesses doing this already.
Health Canada said that if producers want to manufacture products that don’t contain cannabis, approval is not required. However, it asked to be notified of such operational changes and how the producer intends to prevent contaminating the new goods with weed.
Obviously, the implementation of international travel restrictions by the federal government has introduced unforeseen complications related to imports and exports.
In response, Health Canada said it recognizes specific ports of entry or exit specified on permits may no longer be available or may change without notice.
“Health Canada is temporarily adjusting its approach to the administration and enforcement of this requirement,” it said. “Effective immediately, permit holders will be able to use an alternate port of exit or entry provided that all other provisions of your permit are respected.”
The adjustment will be in place until May 1, 2020, and will then be re-evaluated.
One area that Health Canada made clear it’s not flexible on is external testing requirements.
Testing of cannabis products by licensed laboratories will continue to be mandatory. The regulator noted it has recently confirmed with a number of laboratories that they have made operational changes to ensure continuity of service to licence holders.
Producers also asked what to do if they couldn’t submit their monthly reports on time.
“As noted in the email from March 24, 2020, licence holders should make all efforts to submit a complete monthly cannabis tracking system report on schedule,” Health Canada said. “If necessary, these reports can be submitted and updated/revised at a later date.”
The deadline for the 2019 annual promotions reports has been extended to June 30, 2020, for licence holders unable to report by March 31, 2020.
Top image of Delta 9’s grow pods. Submitted photo