Reduced Physical Security Requirements for Cannabis Producers

On January 25, Health Canada announced two targeted changes to the physical security requirements for cannabis producers licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).1 These changes are effective immediately. They come after Health Canada's announcement last May regarding its plans to streamline the application process for cannabis production licenses,2 so that licenses may be issued more quickly, thereby enabling increased cannabis production and improved access for Canadians.

What You Need To Know

Licensed producers under the ACMPR are no longer required to comply with the following physical security requirements:

  • Vault storage. Compliance with the vault and storage measures set out in the Directive on Physical Security Requirements for Controlled Substances is no longer required. Cannabis may now be stored within a secure area of the producer's facility provided that the area is secured with physical barriers and an intrusion detection system with 24/7 visual monitoring and recording capability. The identity of every person entering or exiting the storage area must be recorded. Access to such storage areas must be restricted to persons whose presence is required by their job function.
  • Video surveillance in cannabis growing rooms. 24/7 video surveillance inside the rooms where cannabis is grown is no longer required. However, all access points to such rooms must continue to be under 24/7 video surveillance and recording.

Other Physical Security Requirements

Licensed producers must continue to meet all other physical security requirements under the ACMPR, including:

  • Site perimeter security. The perimeter of the growing and storage facilities must be secured in a manner that prevents unauthorized access. The perimeter must be visually monitored and intrusion detection systems must operate at all times.
  • Indoor cannabis area security. Physical barriers, intrusion detection systems, and visual monitoring and recordings are required as noted above. Furthermore, access to such areas must continue to be restricted and logged.
  • Inventory control and reporting. Licensed producers must continue to take inventory control measures and report regularly to Health Canada regarding their cannabis production, inventory and shipments.

What's Next

The changes to the physical security requirements reflect Health Canada's effort in reducing unjustifiable burden for licensed cannabis producers. The change brings the current medical cannabis regulatory regime more in line with the cannabis regulatory framework proposed as part of the recreational cannabis legalization process. Cannabis for recreational use is expected to be legalized in Canada by July 2018, with the medical and recreational frameworks to be consolidated under the federal Cannabis Act.

We will provide you with updates to the cannabis legalization process as they become available.

We have written extensively about emerging trends in the cannabis industry. You can read all of the team's insights by visiting our dedicated cannabis page.

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1 See https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2018/01/statement_from_healthcanadaphysicalsecurityrequirementsforproduc.html.

2 See https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2017/05/improving_the_licensingofproductionofcannabisformedicalpurposes.html.

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This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

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