The que to establish a Canadian legal marijuana business is getting unruly as applicants struggle to keep their dreams of selling med pot growing.
Written By: Matt Mernagh
This week licensed producer New Age Medical Solutions Inc. launched a lawsuit seeking a federal judge review their denial. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/medical-marijuana-applicant-takes-health-canada-to-court-1.2823362
The business waited a year and spent approximately one million dollars Canadian before Health Canada nixed their application. The company is part of a growing list of applicants who have spent a considerable sum and are in an approval quagmire.
Many are designated growers under the old program who have teamed up with investors and require to submit to extensive RCMP background checks. Long suspecting these growers are earning income from illegal sales – the RCMP is possibly using this as an opportunity to punish via slowness.
You’ll never prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they’re not moving paperwork quick enough because of political reasons, but they’re notoriously slow on regular background checks and blame staffing levels.
Having faced numerous constitutional challenges (including my own R v. Mernagh) – the agency responsible for overseeing licensed producers appears to have established their medical marijuana program with one eye on the courtroom.
Denied applicants may re-apply by fixing the identified problem – it’s alleged by Health Canada New Age Medical Solutions needs to hire a qualified quality assurance specialist.
Who is exactly qualified to be a quality assurance specialist for cannabis?
I have a book and held a court ordered exemption to grow cannabis – does that make me qualified.
A federal judge decision on that question could be years away and in the meantime the production facility sits empty.
Currently some 1,100 businesses have applied to sell medical marijuana to approximately 10,000 people. This number is growing as more doctors appear willing to sign paperwork. (I’m registered with Peace Naturals – which is not listed on TSX).
Health Canada claims about 291 businesses are in process of approval, but when will they be approved?
There’s a fairly impressive backlog of applicants and it includes a company headed by a former prime minister (John Turner) and another by a former Ontario provincial Liberal cabinet minister (George Smitherman.)
One would think a former prime minister would have some approval sway, but it doesn’t appear to be the case.
The snail’s pace approval is most likely somewhat intentional on government’s part. Unfortunately intentional government incompetence is a challenge to measure and if you’re one of 291 about to be approved – do you risk the agency’s ire by launching a lawsuit or speaking out.
To applicants and advocates it’s obvious pot hating Conservatives have slowed down the licensed producer application process to a God Bud couchlock.
Is this government incompetent business as usual or is an extra layer of personal dislike thrown in for good measure?
The Conservatives 2012 federal budget was described as “tough times for federal civil servants” with approximately 19,000 government employees given pink slips or retired out. The federal government shrank 4.8 percent and its effects are being felt everywhere, including medical marihuana approval.
Paper is not being pushed as quickly as applicants wish, probably because Health Canada doesn’t have adequate resources. Every business that qualifies will be granted a license, but Health Canada needs to have staff in place to manage all that Conservative created paperwork and oversight.
Will positive political muscle make a difference in moving paperwork?
The Mayor of Campbellton New Brunswick has come forward seeking the approval pace be quickened for Zenabis – which has promised a remarkable 400 weed jobs – when they open in his community. Campbellton’s been hard hit by unemployment and approximately 1400 people have applied for weed employment.
Is local Conservative MP Bernard Valcourt more interested in upholding prohibition or job creation?
It’s not uncommon for an MP to lobby on behalf of a business in their community that promises job creation – so why isn’t he going to bat for Zenabis?
The Conservative’s believe they are getting a two-for-one political ideological deal – smaller government and maintaining pot prohibition – but should be viewed as hampering job creation and investment.
Investors have tied up their cash flow in an investment that may or may not pay off. Many companies’ are bleeding money before they have even opened their doors. The approval uncertainty is finally causing investors to examine the possible payout more diligently.
Cannabis conspiracy theorist need look no further than Health Canada not having enough staff as to why more companies are not retailing medical cannabis than any other theory being floated.