Delays in cannabis research licensing are plaguing Canada, as well as the United States.
Health Canada has been criticized for its sluggish approach to reviewing cannabis research licenses, with reports stating that over 250 applicants were awaiting review in July.
The green plant was legalized in Canada late last year and despite a strong market that is expected to be worth USD$5 billion by 2021, researchers are yet to get their hands on licenses. With a research license, scientists can legally explore the therapeutic qualities of cannabis, as well as investigate the plant’s biological buildup.
Health Canada claims it is devoted to dealing with cannabis license application backlog
Applicants of cannabis research licenses are being told by Health Canada not to panic. The Agency has confirmed its commitment to dealing with the overflow of applications, many of which have been left on the back burner since legalization rolled out mid-October 2018.
It was at this time that the Cannabis Act went into effect, putting Canada second in line to legalize the plant nationwide after Uruguay. Amidst the excitement of cannabis legalization in Canada, Health Canada officials claim that they were instantly bombarded with applications.
In addition to being faced with the responsibility of reviewing medical cannabis research applications in Canada, the agency was also left sifting through applications from cultivators and processors.
Health Canada will process cannabis license applications “as quickly as possible”
This is what a spokesperson for the agency said in an official statement. Health Canada also revealed that it had increased its workforce for managing cannabis license applications to 140, so as to deal with the backlog.
Despite the fact the North American country has legalized cannabis on a recreational scale, the Cannabis Act implements rigid oversight of the plant’s use in research laboratories, production, sale and distribution.
“We expect the weekly number to grow in coming weeks,” said the Health Canada spokesperson.
Varying degrees of urgency will be applied to the reviewing of medical cannabis research applications in Canada. For example, researchers who are interested in carrying out small investigations into cannabis’ medical efficacy using small quantities of plant material will likely be fast-tracked.
The primary goal is to turnaround single-project applicants within 42 days. Applicants who wish to perform multi-faceted research will have their applications reviewed within 180 days.
In order to be considered for expedited reviewal, applicants will be required to record information pertaining to the amount of cannabis they want to cultivate or obtain. They will also need to demonstrate their ability to conduct safe and proper cannabis destruction.
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