The Liberal government is actually soliciting feedback on the proposed regulation of cannabis in Canada. When we first gained access to the Cannabis Act there were a lot of questions, and blurry suppositions. And everyone had their own reasons for being concerned.

So now we have our say, until January 20th, 2018. But in order to have legal cannabis before July 2018 the government won’t radically alter anything. And they won’t release any more drafts of the regulations. So this is pretty much it.

Here’s the page to start from: Consultation on the Proposed Regulation of Cannabis.

Licence and Registration, Please.

One major problem that loomed was licensing: what about craft-growers? Were LPs going to dominate the market with no room for the little guy? People rely on the income they get from growing, and they can’t afford to be priced out by conglomerates and a new Big Cannabis.

The government has ideas on that, and hopes to keep small growers and bring small producers into the legal scheme. But the Liberals definitely need the opinions of actual small growers and producers.

proposed regulation of cannabis Licensing table

The bad news is they’ve separated growing, processing, and selling licences. The “good” news is the same organization can hold multiple licences … wonder how much that’ll cost. They’ve also got separate licences for regular and micro company sizes. And there’s a few questions on that: how to define micro growers and processors.  

There needs to be a way to ensure that huge corporations don’t easily buy licences that mean their product is the first and fastest to reach the consumer. Craft growers should be able to get their product to consumers as quickly, or else it will end up on the black market.

The first four questions cover the possible licenses and proposed regulations for them.

Security, Are We Clear?

The problem I mainly had with the Cannabis Act was two-fold: the hardline against the visible but not legal industry before implementing the act, and the need to forgive convictions in order to stay in the industry. Combined, the continued dispensary raids, bank crackdowns, and time for more arrests did no one working in the grey market, or the consumers in the coming legal market who could benefit from their experience, any good.

It seems like the wishy-washy wording of the Act, where the Minister may or may not grant a licence or security clearance, was purposeful. This will not be a purely cookie cutter process; every application will be reviewed, not just processed by a system.

proposed regulation of cannabis security clearance

Nowhere in the proposed regulation of cannabis growing, processing, or selling does it say you cannot work with cannabis if you’ve been convicted of a crime. But people with less than minor convictions won’t be able to run the garden, manufacturer, or store.

Security Clearance Requirements

Similar to the “responsible person in charge” requirement, the regulations call for security clearance of “key positions” (Section 2.3.5 Personnel Security):

I. individual responsible for the licensed activities conducted by the organization;
II. chief of security;
III. for processing licences, a quality assurance person;
IV. for cultivation licences, a master grower; and
V. for licences to sell to the public, the head of client services.

And people who can control or coerce people in key positions:

I. all Directors and Officers of the organization and any parent company;
II. any shareholders that own more than 25% of the organization (if it is privately held) or more than 25% of a privately held parent company;
III. owner of the site, if different than the applicant, and in the case of a numbered company, the directors and officers; and
IV. any individual that is in a position to legally bind the applicant or licence holder.

Relax and Strike a Balance

So I understand why head of security needs to have a clean record. Also I understand why the person in charge has to have a clean-ish record. And people who can control or coerce have to be reliable and not tied to organized crime.

But good master growers get busted. And people who know how to street hustle are great as client service leaders. While someone who’s cut hundreds of thousands of buds and got caught in a raid could be the best quality assurance manager.

Most of all, it’s not enough to only excuse minor cannabis crimes. If someone with needed skills wants to enter the legal market, and they aren’t a danger to themselves or society, they should. The rest of the proposed regulations — including other security and product tracking requirements — should be enough to keep legal cannabis in the legal market. So a relaxing of the key positions requirement could attract skilled labour from the illegal market.

The proposed regulation of cannabis questionnaire includes two questions about security clearance and cannabis convictions.

Don’t Let This Chance Go By

There are twelve questions on the proposed regulation of cannabis (and a few demographic questions). You don’t have to answer them all. But I hope you will read each one and the linked relevant sections, and answer questions where you see problems.

I’ve had my say, please go have yours.