According to a report by the Canadian Press, Canada’s four Atlantic premiers say Ottawa needs to speed up licensing of licensed producers during a meeting in Ottawa.
Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant discussed the issue at a meeting of Atlantic premiers in Halifax on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.
The premiers also discussed establishing a common price per gram of cannabis across the region to discourage cross-border shopping.
Prince Edward Island’s premier said he believes that having enough supply is crucial so that provinces can sell a “reliable quality” of cannabis.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil also mentioned a formal agreement with a producer for supply, with more details expected soon.
"It's a two-year deal that would be reviewed in two years as we start finding out what the unknowns are," he said at a news conference at the end of the Atlantic premiers' meeting. "At the same time, looking at if there is a markup that a respective province wants to do, it would be outside of that taxation model."
Some Atlantic provinces have already announced supply deals with producers within their jurisdiction. While there are currently 80 licensed producers in Canada, the bulk are in Ontario (45) and BC (14). Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province without a licensed producer, while New Brunswick and Nova Scotia each have two and PEI has one. Only two of these Atlantic producers currently have sales licenses, PEI’s Canada’s Island Garden and New Brunswick’s Organigram.
Health Canada has been speeding up the licensing process for medical cannabis producers under the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations), after hiring new inspectors and a change to licensing announced last May. 43 new cultivation licenses have been issued in 2017.
While Ottawa has announced a draft framework of what licensing may look like for cannabis cultivators and processors post-legalization, those currently licensed under the medical cannabis regime will be tapped as the first suppliers for the non-medical, recreational regime post legalization.
While many Canadians supplied under the medical regime have said they face supply shortages, Health Canada maintains there are no concerns with supply.
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— Emily Baron Cadloff (@EmilyBCCTV) December 11, 2017