The legalization of marijuana in Canada is here!
With the passing of Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, the landscape has been radically changed, and marijuana dispensaries have to prepare for this new reality.
In order to take advantage of these opportunities, new recreational marijuana organizations must be aware of every legislation in Canada’s marijuana space.
This includes physical security requirements that, if left unattended, will be problematic for dispensaries looking to get off the ground.
What is the Current ACMPR Legislation?
When it comes to medical marijuana, dispensaries have had to adhere to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) that was passed in 2016.
Under the ACMPR, every registered medical marijuana producer must comply with the physical requirements revealed in 2018.
These requirements were made mandatory in January 2018:
“Health Canada has drawn on four years of experience, and nearly 1000 physical inspections of licensed producers, to determine that the current requirements for physical security under the ACMPR, specifically the requirements that licensed producers maintain a high-security vault for the storage of cannabis products and that areas where cannabis is grown be under constant visual surveillance, do not align with the existing evidence of risks to public health and safety.” – Health Canada
The addition of security features to the ACMPR means that the cannabis industry is no longer subject to the vault and storage measures outlined in the existing Directive on Physical Security Requirements for Controlled Substances.
Medical Marijuana vs Recreational Marijuana Law
It is important to differentiate the two business models. Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries must adhere to different policies.
While medical marijuana producers must adhere to the stringent security policies laid out in the ACMPR, recreational marijuana dispensaries do not. Instead, they must follow the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) and are subject to provincial and territorial restrictions.
So How Does ACMPR Affect Your Recreational Marijuana Dispensary?
The short answer is that the ACMPR does not directly affect your recreational marijuana dispensary security requirements
However, the security requirements are remarkably similar.
For example, recreational cannabis, similar to medicinal cannabis, is not required to be stored in accordance with the Controlled Substances Directive and also does not require 24/7 visual monitoring of areas where it is grown.
Legalization is an incredible business opportunity for marijuana dispensaries, both medical and recreational. Once fully legalized, marijuana sales are expected to reach a staggering figure of $10 billion annually.
But to take advantage of this opportunity, you must be prepared. Whether it be medicinal or recreational, the physical security requirements for any facilities are stringent, and often will require the aid of a third-party security expert.
What About Other Provincial Legislation?
Unlike the ACMPR, the Cannabis Act defers the right to define marijuana markets to each individual province.
This has separated recreational marijuana dispensaries into both privately-owned in some provinces and provincially-owned in others.
But First, are there Other Federal Laws Around Cannabis Legalization?
No! Before the Cannabis Act, the only federal legislation that existed was the MMAR.
Other than the MMAR and ACMPR, Bills C-45 and C-46, and any individual provincial law, at the time of this writing, there is no other legislation around cannabis.
Security Requirements According to Provincial Law
Provincial requirements around physical security can be split into two categories: privately-owned and provincially-owned.
You can read the complete differences between each province in our previous blog or keep reading for the summary below.
|Provinces With Privately-Owned Marijuana Dispensaries|
|Alberta||Applicants must comply with the security regulations outlined by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.|
|British Columbia (BC)||BC’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch requires all retail store license holders to follow a set list of terms and conditions that include physical security.|
|Manitoba||After originally selecting just four retailers, Manitoba has opened the door to more applicants, who must adhere to the province’s Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act.|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||By February 2019, Newfoundland intends to issue a total of 41 licenses to private dispensaries that must adhere to its Cannabis Control Act.|
|Northwest Territories||The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission is open to more applicants that must adhere to the Retail Cannabis Framework Information Guide.|
|Saskatchewan||Similar to Alberta, Saskatchewan has 51 dispensary licenses that all must adhere to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority guidelines.|
The provinces with provincially-owned marijuana dispensaries are:
- Prince Edward Island (PEI)
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
While this limits investment opportunity in these provinces, that is subject to change.
For example, currently in Ontario, you can only purchase cannabis from Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) locations, but in August 2018, the province announced it would scrap that idea and move toward a private retail system in 2019.
For individual security requirements in those provinces, we’ll have to stay tuned.
Learn More About Marijuana Security:
- How Canadian Laws Affect Recreational and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
- Physical Security Requirements For Canadian Medical Marijuana Producers
- Marijuana Security System Best Practices: Building a Dispensary Security Plan
How Veridin Can Help With Your Marijuana Dispensary Security
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of regulation that is tied to Canada’s legalization of marijuana. If you’ve read through this blog and have no idea where to start, you need the help of an advanced security company.
At Veridin, we will take you through each step of the security process in order to assure compliance. On top of that, one of our security specialists can be on-hand during any Health Canada inspection to provide guidance and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Veridin leverages over 25 years of experience with integrated security systems in a variety of complex industries, including the marijuana industry. Contact us today to learn how we can help your recreational dispensary meet legislation standards.