Ottawa Creates Industry Panel To Help Cannabis Sector

Canada’s federal government is establishing an industry panel aimed at helping struggling cannabis companies.

In the budget introduced yesterday (April 7), the federal government announced that it will form a strategic panel led by the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development aimed at engaging with cannabis industry participants and other stakeholders to help grow Canada’s domestic legal cannabis industry.

 The measures come after industry executives and advocates complained about the need to fix government regulations that have weighed on Canada’s licensed cannabis producers, many of whom have struggled to make a profit and been hit by a wave of bankruptcies and consolidation.

Health Canada is tasked with coordinating a mandated review of the Cannabis Act, the legislation that legalized recreational cannabis sales in Canada three years ago but has yet to formally begin that process. The review of the Cannabis Act is scheduled to be completed a year from now. 

Industry executives have said that Ottawa needs to address several regulations in the legislation, namely potency levels on cannabis products such as edibles, excise taxes, and inconsistent lab testing standards, all of which would help drive away illicit operators from selling to consumers.

In addition to establishing the industry group, the federal government plans to amend several cannabis-related excise tax regulations that include allowing duty payments to be made on a quarterly basis, transferring excise stamps between licensed producers, and penalty provisions on lost excise stamps.

Ottawa also plans to work with Indigenous groups to create a potential fuel, alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco sales tax framework for those communities.