Prospective Canadian Medical Marijuana Producers Concerned over Slow Approvals

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Prospective Canadian Medical Marijuana Producers Concerned over Slow ApprovalsThe number of Canadian businesses that have applied for medical marijuana permits has surpassed 1,000, overwhelming the already-overstretched Health Canada.

At the moment, only two licenses have been awarded in summer amid tougher rules, making jittery investors even more nervous as they await the results of their bids. Health Canada disclosed that formal applications to grow the marijuana totaled 1,009 as of Aug. 25 since the department started receiving proposals last year. 201 applications were rejected, 462 sent back as incomplete while 32 were withdrawn, leaving nearly 300 applications pending.

About 13 licensed growers are selling medical marijuana to registered patients, while another 9 are about to start selling their products. Over the last three months, only two new permits were issued, fuelling speculation over why the agency’s approval process isn’t as fast as expected.

Health Canada toughened the application rules in July; requiring prospective growers to show proof of adequate security arrangements that premises are safe enough to ensure medical marijuana stocks are safely stored. However, Gary Scot Holub, a spokesman for Health Canada, said the tighter rules weren’t the reason why the approval process is slow.

“The increased security requirements have not had an impact on the processing of active applications,” Mr. Holub told the Canadian Press in an email.

Despite this, some applicants are of opinion that the slow approval process appears to be targeting smaller players in order to discourage them from submitting their applications. Moreover, some unapproved companies are feeling the heat from edgy investors who have hired staff, leased buildings and paid legal expenses with no earnings flowing in yet.

Health Canada banned patients from growing their own medical marijuana on April 1, instead requiring them to obtain the drug from commercial growers.To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com