Health Canada Proposes Fees to Recover Costs of Regulating Cannabis

The agency proposes to scale fees according to the size of the business and to provide for lower fees for the newly proposed micro-scale license holders, with some types of license—those for research, analytical testing, and hemp production—being exempt from fees.

Canada's Cannabis Act will come into force Oct. 17, 2018. With the government committed to fully recovering the costs of regulating the new cannabis industry, Health Canada on July 12 launched a 30-day public consultation on the proposed approach to cost recovery for the regulation of cannabis. "The proposed cost-recovery approach is guided by the principles that fees should allow for both larger and smaller players in a diverse market. The approach proposes to collect no more than the cost of delivering the regulatory program," the agency's announcement said.

The cost-recovery proposal includes four fees:

  • A fee for screening license applications
  • A fee for conducting security screening of key persons
  • A fee for reviewing applications to import or export cannabis for scientific or medical purposes
  • An annual regulatory fee to cover other regulatory costs, including the detailed review of license applications, issuing licenses, inspections, and compliance and enforcement activities.

The agency proposes to scale fees according to the size of the business and to provide for lower fees for the newly proposed micro-scale license holders, with some types of license—those for research, analytical testing, and hemp production—being exempt from fees. The public and interested stakeholders are asked to comment online by Aug. 13, 2018.

"Cost recovery is a standard practice across the Government of Canada to support program delivery. The proposed fees have been designed to enable a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of large and small players, to facilitate research and development, and to maintain access to cannabis for medical purposes. We look forward to hearing the views of Canadians on our proposed approach," said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada's minister of Health.

"The previous approach to cannabis was not working. Our goal in legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis is to keep it out of the hands of youth and profits out of the pockets of criminals and organized crime. We also aim to minimize the cost to Canadians of regulating the cannabis industry. Implementing cost recovery will do just that. I encourage all interested Canadians to share their views with us," added Bill Blair, Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health.

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