More than half of all new federal cannabis production licenses issued since legalization have been micros, Health Canada has confirmed.
In response to an email from StratCann, Health Canada says that of the 199 licence holders who applied for their licence on or after October 17, 2018, just over half of these are micro cultivators, processors, or nurseries.
Of the 479 currently active cannabis licence holders, Health Canada confirms that 280 had applied prior to October 17, 2018, either under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, or the Narcotics Control Regulations. The remaining 199 licence holders applied for their licence on or after October 17, 2018.
Although there are 484 licences listed, four are inactive. Three of these are currently listed as Revoked and one as Expired.
Of these 199 post-legalization applications, 100 of them are micro cultivators and/or processors. Another 12 are cannabis nurseries, 87 are standard cultivators and/or processors. One current micro licence holder originally applied as a standard licence prior to legalization and changed their application after October 17, 2018. As of today, there are 101 micro licences.
There were 132 Licensed Producers on the first day of legalization.
Although standard cultivation and processing licences existed prior to legalization under the medical cannabis regulations previously in place, the new licences categories of micro and nursery were created as part of legalization to accommodate different approaches to cannabis cultivation. In addition, what were originally a one-size-fits-all cannabis production license prior to legalization was divided into cultivation and processing licenses after legalization to address stakeholder feedback that sought more nuanced license approaches.
While processing times for standard applications, especially prior to legalization could often take several years, many new micro and nursery licence holders have received their license in around six to twelve months.
A micro cannabis licence can also cost considerably less than a standard cannabis licence, both in terms of scale of the facility, as well as licensing fees. The application screening fee for a Standard Cultivator, Standard Processor, and a Sale for Medical Purposes is $3,277 compared to $1,638 for a Micro Cultivator, Micro Processor and Nursery.
For a Micro or Nursery, the Annual Regulatory Fee is the higher of $2,500 or 1% of the first $1 million in gross revenue, and 2.3% on revenue above $1 million. For a Standard licence, the Annual Regulatory Fee is the higher of $23,000 or 2.3% of gross revenue.
Micro cultivation licences are limited to 200m2 of canopy space while standard cultivators have no size limitation. Micro cultivators also have a lower regulatory burden because of their smaller size, with lessened security and staffing requirements.
While a high end, purpose built micro facility can still cost well over a million dollars to build out, there are examples of micros who have done so for much less, some even well under $100,000.
You can read more about micros here.