How to Start a Marijuana Business in Canada

Growing and distributing marijuana in Canada is perfectly legal as long as you have a federal license. This means any individual or business entity can grow and market marijuana in Canada with the proper federal licenses.

However, using marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes is different from using it for recreational uses. To this extent, the federal license required for dealing in the medical marijuana business is different from the federal license needed for recreational marijuana.

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The administration of President Trudeau made it clear that by the spring of 2017, there would be federal legislation to legalize the production, use, and sales of marijuana throughout Canada.

Commercial Growing of Marijuana and Appropriate Licensing

While there is current legalization for medical cannabis, there is no such thing for recreational cannabis. But, this is coming along the way. As soon as the legislation passes, both medical and recreational marijuana will be on an almost equal footing in Canada. To this extent, the application process to obtain a license for growing recreational marijuana might be similar to that required for growing medical marijuana.

Commercial Growing of Marijuana and Appropriate Licensing
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To start a marijuana business in Canada, you should seek professional help and guidance. In fact, in some cases, you need to consult with lawyers, tax experts, accountants and other public officials before you venture into growing and selling marijuana for any purposes. Whether for personal home use or for commercial sales to the general public, you must consult with marijuana laws professionals before you begin cannabis production.

Whether to grow marijuana for personal use at home or to produce it for commercial distribution in Canada, you need to obtain the requisite license from the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR) program. The program is under Health Canada.

Marijuana Dispensaries in Canada: What You Need to Know

The idea of marijuana dispensaries in Canada also brings the notion of compassion clubs. Marijuana dispensaries often operate as for-profit business entities that dispense medical marijuana products to members of the public. They often operate on a medical basis, so they regulate the dispensation of cannabis products for medical purposes only.

Marijuana Dispensaries in Canada
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Cannabis clubs and dispensaries are illegal in Canada. But, the general public and local communities turn “blind eyes” to these for-profit companies. Since the public looks forward to using marijuana for any purposes, supports for marijuana dispensaries is not out of place.

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These cannabis dispensaries often have a storefront where they attend to customers. Cannabis products are displayed at these stores and made available to customers who would buy them. Customers can consult with sellers on what is best for them by way of prescriptions, and some other customers simply know what they want.

Many of these marijuana dispensaries are in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia areas, among other Canadian cities. They do not sell marijuana products to minors and other unqualified persons. And, they operate in a very professional manner and approach the business with all legal seriousness.

Marijuana Dispensaries in Canada What You Need to Know 3

But, the fact remains that marijuana dispensaries and cannabis clubs are still illegal in Canada. That is… until federal legislation is made to approve their existence and business.

Law enforcement has not been too forceful in Canadian cities where most cannabis dispensaries operate. This is encouraging for cannabis businesses in the country. Given that the activities of marijuana dispensaries are still illegal, they scout the peripheral of legal boundaries by having health professionals handy to verify the claims of any customer requesting medical marijuana products.

Marijuana Compassion Clubs in Canada: How Are They Different?

There is a thin line between a marijuana dispensary and a compassion club in Canada. While cannabis dispensaries are for-profit businesses, compassion clubs, on the other hand, are non-profit health-related societies. Just like marijuana dispensaries, compassion clubs are currently illegal in Canada until legislation validates their existence.

Yet, people continue to patronize them because the political will is weak at the moment to clamp down on them since the general public approves of their existence.

Marijuana Compassion Clubs in Canada
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It is, however, hoped that when federal legislation legalizes medical and recreational marijuana in Canada, it will also bring about the legal approval process for marijuana dispensaries and compassion clubs. But until then, compassion clubs and cannabis dispensaries continue to operate within the “grey area” of the law… making it technically hard for law enforcement to prosecute them.

All things being equal, the cannabis market in Canada promises to be very large. Millions of people are buying into medical and recreational cannabis business, and it is fast becoming a profitable industry that sustains other related businesses.

Providing a Few Answers on Canada’s Cannabis Act

The Cannabis Act of Canada covers marijuana legalization and regulation in the country. It is essentially federal processes that should be followed by marijuana growers and users as well as marijuana businesses within Canada. To this extent, proper legalization and regulations will ensure that people and businesses comply with federal legislation and adhere to licensing agreements.

Canadas Cannabis Act
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Also, the Cannabis Act will provide legal access for the production, distribution, and sales of marijuana. The Act will equally impact on marijuana users – whether for personal home use or commercial application. It will serve as a deterrent to teenagers trying to access cannabis in any form.

Ultimately, the Act will protect public health and safety by ensuring product safety and quality for users. To add to this, it will put in place heightened penalties for persons who misuse cannabis or its derivatives as a stimulant to perpetrate crimes.

Why Not Now?

Canada Legalize Cannabis
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One of the questions people have asked about the current legal status of marijuana in Canada is… why doesn’t the government approve the free use of marijuana until prohibiting legislation is put in place?

The truth, however, is that legalizing cannabis before appropriate legislation takes effect will put the substance into the hands of teens as well as people who could slip into crimes. Allowing people to use it before federal legalization will only make it unregulated and a stimulus for organized crime.

Marijuana VS Tobacco

Marijuana VS Tobacco
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Another clarification that people desire is the difference between the current legal status of marijuana and tobacco. The answer is that there is the Cannabis Act and there is the Tobacco Act. Both Acts seek to protect the general populace from misusing both marijuana and tobacco in a bid to protect public health.

The Tobacco Act enforces a ban on public smoking as well as proposes prohibitions on the way tobacco is packaged and promoted, but this remains to be seen with the Cannabis Act.

Legally Growing Cannabis in Canada

Legally Growing Cannabis in Canada
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The public has also demanded to know when people will be legally allowed to grow, use and buy marijuana without any sense of illegality. The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in Canada believes this should become possible before July 2018.

When the legislation goes into effect and becomes legal, Canadians will be able to grow, possess, use and sell marijuana without any legal fears. But this will only be for limited quantity of the substance so that people will not misuse it, and purchase will only be from federally licensed retailers.

Keeping Teens Safe

Keeping Teens Safe

There is no fear that growing cannabis for home use may make it accessible to teens or criminal gangs. The reason for this is because the Cannabis Act provides that parents should keep the plants inaccessible to their children; and then, only four plants are allowed per household.

No single family will be allowed to cultivate above four marijuana plants. And, these should be kept away from youths.

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Limited Advertising for Marijuana Businesses

Limited Advertising for Marijuana Businesses
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Lastly, commercial cannabis growers and distributors will be able to do so but with limited public advertising. This is essentially to discourage teens and young adults from trying out cannabis products.

Approved cannabis ads will be factual and contain accurate information on the product as well as risk factors. To this extent, youths will not be targeted in the ads, and there won’t be promotional endorsements by celebrities or other sponsoring organizations.

How to Get a License to Legally Grow & Sell Cannabis in Canada

Becoming a Commercial Producer, Distributor & Seller of Medical Marijuana

If you’re interested in starting a marijuana business in Canada, you will need a
commercial license. This will allow you to legally grow, distribute and sell it within the country. The rules related to the process to become licensed are regulated by Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

These regulations set the standards for growing, distributing and selling cannabis within the country. They ensure that licensed producers, distributors, and sellers of cannabis remain in compliance. The standards involved include record-keeping, security measures, and quality assurance.

Cannabis in Canada
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Under ACMPR, once licensed, you may grow/produce, distribute and sell cannabis as a business commercially. This is called a Commercial Production License. It must be obtained through Health Canada.

Application for Licensing

Download the following application to start the licensing process:

APPLICATION TO BECOME A LICENSED PRODUCER under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

If you’re interested in starting a marijuana business in Canada, this is the legal way to go about it.

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Need to know the latest and greatest of marijuana news? Alice has you covered! She loves to travel all around the globe and manages the pick up important bits and pieces from all over the place.... [Read full bio]


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    11 comments on “How to Start a Marijuana Business in Canada”

    1. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am going
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    2. Thank you for this! I’m Currently in the planning stages and am hoping to luach by fall. I was struggling with finding a merchant processor but luckily found Good luck!

    3. Hello. Can a foreigner that has emigrated to Canada open a legal cannabis dispensary business? Thank you.

    4. Hi, I’m interested to run a business for cultivation and retail of recreational Cannabis in Nova Scotia. Is it necessary to apply always at first for a license for medical Cannabis or is there an opportunity to a unique license for recreational Cannabis?

    5. Hi I am a resident of the UK and would like information how I can own a cannabis business in Canada.