After years of being extremely selective when granting cultivation licenses, Health Canada is starting to comprehend supply and demand. The federal agency has doubled the number of licensed cannabis producers across the nation over the past six months, with hundreds more applicants in the final stages of approval.
It has been well documented that the public appetite for legal cannabis will far outweigh existing crops when legalization comes in the summer of 2018. To combat this shortage, Health Canada announced in May that it would streamline the approval process to open the doors for more cultivators. The feds also made it easier for existing licensed producers to expand.
When the announcement was made, Health Canada had granted 44 production licenses. Since then, the number of cultivators has jumped to 80, with more on the way.
As of the beginning of December, 208 applicants are in the final stages of approval to become licensed cultivators of marijuana.
“These applicants have completed the security clearance process and their application is being reviewed to determine whether it meets all the requirements of the regulations,” said Health Canada spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau.
Although this move is progress on behalf of Health Canada, some experts believe it may not be enough to quell the insatiable need for weed in the Great White North.
“It might lessen the shortages in the first couple of months. But I still predict we will see shortages [and] sellouts, especially in provinces and areas that haven’t locked down their supply,” said Vahan Ajamian, a research analyst with Beacon Securities Ltd.
The addition of more marijuana for the pending legal market will undoubtedly be welcomed by consumers and government alike, but what about the existing cultivators who will need to compete with the ever-growing list of competitors?
“It’s good to see more licenses because it increases the amount of supply in the legal system,” said Jordan Sinclair, director of communications for Canopy Growth in a statement to Marijuana.com. “As an industry, more suppliers means more reasons for consumers to choose the legal market.”
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Jon Hiltz: Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.