Canada’s New Marijuana Licensing Rules Favors Wealthy Companies, Says Industry Experts

According to a report by Reuters, industry experts say that a new licensing process for legal cannabis producers in Canada limits the ability of smaller companies to attract investment, which could leave the fledgling industry dominated wealthy companies.

The rule changes for licensing came about after Health Canada, the federal health agency in charge of the licensing process, was swamped by applications for licensed producers, putting a strain on its resources and causing months of delays for applicants. The agency has received over 800 applications for cannabis licenses since 2013. Of those, 457 passed the initial paper-based review, but 70% of them have yet to show evidence they have built a facility.

This backlog is “contributing to wait times for more mature applications and an inefficient allocation of resources,” Health Canada spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau said.

According to Reuters, the licensing process has come under increased scrutiny since CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) revealed this month they were being investigated by Health Canada for selling marijuana grown in unlicensed facilities.

Under its new system, Health Canada requires a new facility to be fully built before one can apply for a license, moving away from a process under which a company could apply for

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