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Medical Marijuana in Canada

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Medical Marijuana in Canada

A medical marijuana industry consultant says the federal government is getting in the way of would-be growers, alleging that Health Canada’s regulations for the new, potentially lucrative licences are difficult to understand and applied unevenly.

Georges Routhier is a consultant for people wishing to set up medical marijuana growing operations under a new set of regulations. He said he represents about 40 clients.

But Routhier said these operations have been held up by an unco-operative government bureaucracy.

Officials began accepting applications for grow licences a year ago, but the initial trickle of forms has turned into a torrent.

In September, Health Canada was sorting through 156 applications — but the number tripled by February this year and then doubled in just the next three months.

So far, only 13 licenced suppliers have made it to the finish line, listed on the department’s website as authorized marijuana sources for patients who have their doctor’s approval to use cannabis for pain and other symptoms.

Meanwhile, business newcomers say they’re frustrated by the inability of Health Canada to process their applications in a timely way, as their leased grow-space gathers dust and their investors become impatient.

“They’re really an unfortunate bureaucracy under siege,” says Umar Syed, president of Toronto-based CannMart Inc., which has been patiently waiting for a distribution licence since October.

“They’re dealing with a situation they weren’t prepared for. … there’s something really out of whack.”
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