Posted June 27, 2018 ¦ Last updated June 28, 2018
The new Health Canada regulations, released earlier today, have carved out an allowance for large-scale outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation in Canada.
On page 58 of the regulations, it states “cannabis may be obtained by cultivating,
propagating or harvesting it outdoors.”
Parliamentary Reporter Daniel Leblanc stated in a Globe and Mail article, “While it is too late in the production cycle in most of the country to start outdoor cultivation this year, the new rules will be in place for next year’s production season.”
Under the existing Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), Canadian licensed producers can only grow marijuana in greenhouses or in indoor facilities under lights.
The following brief was submitted to the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) in response to Bill C-45: Outdoor Cannabis Production: A Vital Component of Canada’s Cannabis Regulations
The following is an excerpt from this brief:
“It is our firm belief that outdoor cultivation should be part of the new regulations from the outset, as it is ideally suited to encourage a “diverse, competitive market that also includes small producers” and that reasonable and appropriate security measures, outlined herein, can be established to achieve the enormous environmental benefits of outdoor production in comparison to indoor or greenhouse production.”
“Moreover, we believe that the timely licensing of outdoor production is the best way to rapidly ramp up supply to meet the increased demand in the short term and thus help to achieve the intended goal of “keeping profits out of the hands of organized crime.”
Thierry Bélair, a spokesman for Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said, “Our decision to allow outdoor grow under strict rules is the result of extensive consultations and will contribute to creating a diverse and competitive legal cannabis industry with the ultimate goal of displacing the illegal market.”
Health Canada, under its ACMPR program, only permits Canadian marijuana companies to grow indoors, so that it can implement the highest of security measures and establish standard operating procedures to keep products free from harmful pesticides, moulds and mildew.
Leblanc said, “Allowing outdoor cultivation is the latest example of federal rules being modified to help new producers enter the recreational market.”
The current licensed marijuana companies in Canada are spending billions of dollars to build operations that are compliant with existing Health Canada regulations. These companies have, in the past, urged senators to prohibit commercial outdoor cultivation.
The executive director of the Cannabis Canada Council, Allan Rewak, asked senators last month to ban large-scale outdoor grow operations in the government’s Cannabis Act, Bill C-45.
He said permitting it could expose plants to unintentional pesticides and cross-pollination and, could present a “heightened degree of risk for diversion into the illegal market place.”
Other companies in the cannabis space have been planning for the possibility of outdoor growing being added to existing regulations. The Globe and Mail article reported that Ontario-based cannabis producer CannTrust, has been preparing for this.
Eric Paul, CEO of CannTrust said that the company has been preparing for outdoor growing, and hopes to grow cannabis on land beside it’s new Niagara Region greenhouse. He stated that it would cost less than 25 cents per gram to grow, compared to their current costs of $1-$2 per gram.
Although large-scale outdoor cannabis production will present its own unique set of challenges, it could have a major impact on the cannabis industry in Canada, primarily in the area of production costs. Currently production costs can range from $1-$3 per gram, and with Eric Paul’s outdoor estimate, these costs could be reduced to a fraction of the current indoor costs.
Also, outdoor growing is much more environmentally sustainable, given how energy intensive indoor growing can be – due to the high intensity lighting, air conditioning and dehumidifying that is required to control temperature and humidity.
If overall production and energy costs are reduced with outdoor production, Canada would fair much better in competitive global markets, especially with the ever increasing number of legal medical and recreational jurisdictions around the globe.
By Marijuana.Ca Staff