Health Canada is preparing for legalized recreational cannabis with a rush of fresh employees and a new regulations branch in which to house them. The new branch is in charge of product licensing and regulations, quality monitoring, health research, and public education. It's ambitious, it's comprehensive, and with Canada being a country that seems to steer into bureaucracy, it would have been shocking if the department was never created.
The stars of the show at the moment are the inspectors and staff helping to relieve the backlog of licensing applications that, once approved, will allow more producers the ability to get their facilities off the ground. Experts have made wild predictions about how much cannabis is needed to avoid a supply crunch, with some saying there won't be enough to meet demand and others persuading us that there will be plenty. Either way, Health Canada isn’t taking any risks, pushing applications through as fast as possible and overlapping some steps to accordion the process further.
The Liberal government has earmarked $526-million in new spending over five years to ready the federal government for legalization, to which $418-million of that will go to Health Canada. By building this Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch, Health Canada is configuring its new marijuana-related functions into a well-oiled machine. As Health Canada continues to grow, its capacity to support a wide range of regulatory program functions will follow.
Currently, just under 300 people currently work in the departments cannabis branch, and additional hiring will depend on the volume of applications, compliance and enforcement activity. In addition, the department is also adding more staff to address industry concerns about the lack of inspectors after it was discovered that banned pesticides were used by three federally-licensed producers from the end of 2016 to mid-2017. Since then, Health Canada has moved to regulate the use of pesticides by cannabis producers and hit those who defy the rules with a fine up to $1 million.
Author Bio: Parker Wallace is a cannabis enthusiast to the core who shares a keen interest in listening to what others have to say and understanding what’s important to them. He is also a regular contributor for Roottie Media, a Canadian based cannabis news and information site. Those who know Parker know that his passion for health and wellness runs deep, and his love of Canada even deeper!