The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), effective
April 1, 2014, is a new set of rules for growing, purchasing and
selling medical marijuana in Canada. Replacing the previous rules
of the Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) (officially
repealed on March 31, 2014), the MMPR provides the framework for
the first commercial medical marijuana industry in Canada.
While hundreds, if not thousands, of hopeful entrepreneurs are
rushing to cash in on what has been coined the Green Rush, there
are several hurdles to becoming a Licensed Producer (LP) under the
MMPR. With hundreds of applications submitted, Health Canada has
only 13 authorized LPs listed on their website as at May 5, 2014.
In an effort to increase the quality of a potential applicant's
application, below are four potential pitfalls to avoid when
applying to become an LP.
Proposed Site & Physical Security Measures
The MMPR brought an important change in production possibilities
and specific guidance on physical security measures. The most
significant change is that production sites must be indoors and not
in a private dwelling (i.e., a place of residence). Further,
Division 3 of the MMPR sets out guidelines for physical security
measures which must be observed at the proposed site, some of which
include: visual monitoring; intrusion detection systems; visual
recording devices; monitoring by personnel; and restricted access.
Health Canada has published several guidance documents to assist
applicants with understanding these requirements.
The lesson: Applicants should complete appropriate due diligence
on their proposed site and ensure it will meet MMPR standards prior
to submitting an application. Consider engaging a specialized
consultant to help you through this process.
Applicants need to familiarize themselves with the regulations
relating to "Good Production Practices," which include
product testing, storage of dried marihuana, equipment, the
sanitation program, standard operating procedures, recall of
product and quality assurance personnel.
The lesson: LPs and hopeful LPs are cautioned to follow the
regulations and seek guidance when necessary to avoid possible
refusal, suspension or revocation of an LP's licence on the
basis of risks to public health, safety or security.
Prior to submitting an application to become an LP, an applicant
must provide written notice to several stakeholders of their
intention to become an LP. Failing to inform the local police
force, local fire authority and local government (i.e., City of
Toronto) will likely result in a rejected application.
The lesson: Consider obtaining letters of support from key
stakeholders to bolster your application.
Applicants will want to provide comfort to Health Canada that
their proposed team has the required qualifications to enable them
to become an LP. Specifically, a quality assurance person must be
designated and must have the appropriate qualifications. Health
Canada will verify the accuracy of the information provided.
The lesson: Securing a talented and qualified quality assurance
person will assure the quality of your application.
Applicants are encouraged to read and understand the MMPR,
Health Canada's guidance document "Application To Become a
Licensed Producer Under the Marihuana For Medical Purposes
Regulations" as well as the other applicable guidance
documents Health Canada has published to date. Applying to become
an LP is a time consuming and potentially expensive process.
Completing the appropriate due diligence in advance may help you
avoid pitfalls and ultimately improve the quality of your
application. At Bennett Jones we have a team of professional
advisors that have been through the process with our MMPR clients
and we would be happy to help you navigate the process.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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