The fate of CannTrust Holdings Inc. is in Health Canada's hands after the cannabis company formally responded to the regulator's finding that it was growing pot illegally at its Ontario greenhouse.

The licensed producer said Monday it officially submitted its response to Health Canada and it awaits the regulator's response, while an investigation into what transpired by CannTrust's special committee is "ongoing."

Matt Maurer, a cannabis lawyer with Torkin Manes, said lawmakers' intention when drafting those provisions of the Cannabis Act was to target illicit market sales and players.

However, if CannTrust or any other company is doing something that is not in accordance with their licence, it may fit the definition, he said.

"In this case, if what turns out to be true is that there were grow rooms that were not licensed then ... on a real technical definition, that would be illicit cannabis," he said.

That being said, whether heavier penalties would be levied will likely depend on the severity of the infraction, Maurer said.

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