How Can You Obtain The License For A Cannabis Dispensary In Canada?

Canada made history as the world’s second country to legalize cannabis for adults. At the moment, demand for retail dispensaries outnumbers supply, creating an opportunity for entrepreneurs eager to enter the cannabis industry.

If you want to establish your own cannabis business in Canada you need to use a reputable pr company, there’s no better time than now to start the application process. Many Canadian jurisdictions are adopting a cautious approach to marijuana legalization. In some instances, this means putting the whole retail market in the hands of the provincial government. In other words, several provinces have made it illegal for private cannabis merchants to open up shops.

Residents buy marijuana from a publicly-owned or government-run outlet, which is usually affiliated with the provincial liquor authority, else, they order it through an internet marketplace. There is one of the oldest online dispensary in canada that caters to consumers’ needs. 

Health Canada License

To market cannabis to the following people, a Health Canada license is required:

  • Patients with a prescription from a physician and registered to access medical cannabis products.
  • Wholesalers and distributors who supply cannabis stores in provinces and territories.

A provincial government license (or permit) is required for private retailers to sell recreational cannabis in-store and online in Canada. So the above rules should apply to the sale of cannabis in Canada.

Just know that there are many online dispensaries in Canada at the moment. For example, this weed shop sells really great cannabis products:

General Requirements For A Cannabis Dispensary License In Canada

While each province may have its requirements, to obtain a license, the applicant must generally present the following information:

  • Criminal histories of all employees and business information.
  • A business plan
  • Any involvement they may have with current Licensed Producers (LPs);
  • Have approval from their municipal government; and
  • Be in good standing with Canada Revenue Agency;
  • Able to operate the business financially and personally.
  • Business information

However, it is the responsibility of each province and territory to create, implement, maintain, and enforce the regulations and guidelines governing the distribution and sale of cannabis and cannabis seeds in their jurisdiction. Such guidance includes the following:

  • How to sell cannabis?
  • Where can stores be located? How must they be prepared?

Are Dispensaries Legal In Canada?

Bill C-45 (Cannabis Act) has been signed into law in Canada, allowing for the cultivation and retail selling of cannabis for recreational purposes. Retail and distribution of recreational cannabis are governed by provincial (rather than federal) laws; in other words, each province has its licensing system. You can start a legal cannabis dispensary as of October 17, 2018. In the meantime, a business strategy is vital for anyone seeking a cannabis sales license. Sharp can assist you in preparing a professional cannabis business plan that will boost your chances of approval with Health Canada. Cannabis cultivators, producers, and packagers must have a Health Canada license and a Canada Revenue Agency Excise Tax license.

You will not be able to obtain a dispensary license in Canada in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, or Prince Edward Island. Because these provinces have all chosen to prohibit private cannabis sellers, there is no way to apply for a dispensary license. Other regions have given private merchants the green light, but they are taking a cautious approach to building the market. Before legalization, government officials in these provinces had previously approached several manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for licenses. Business owners had ample time to comply with provincial cannabis laws, allowing them to begin selling soon after legalization took effect. So, if you want to open a dispensary in Canada, you’ll have to go to Alberta or British Columbia since those are the only places where you can do so, at least for the time being.

How To Obtain A Dispensary License in Alberta, Canada? 

The process of obtaining a dispensary license in Alberta is simple. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission’s website has all the information you’ll need. However, be aware that the application is 70 pages long. And, before you start working on it, Alberta advises that you make sure you meet the requirements. All dispensary applicants must meet these prerequisites.

  • All candidates, associates, and employees are subjected to a background check.
  • Fees: Each business must pay a $400 non-refundable application fee, a $700 yearly license charge, and a $3,000 deposit to cover background checks and other expenditures.
  • Licenses, location, land use, and zoning all require municipal permission.
  • A business must be incorporated in Alberta and have a signed lease or title.
  • Retail stores must meet a long list of requirements, including supply, hours, non-cannabis items, minors, and intoxication.

How To Obtain A Dispensary License in British Columbia, Canada? 

Like Alberta’s, the province of British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch accepts applications for private, non-medical cannabis retail outlet licenses. You submit your application through an online gateway. Furthermore, British Columbia has provided clear application instructions and interactive tools to assist prospective applicants throughout the application process. There are 12 steps to the overall application procedure and maintaining your license. The website also includes connections and information to help you along the process. There are similar requirements to the ones in Alberta.

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Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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