After passing Bill C-45 in its second reading in April 2018, the government of Canada has made another step forward in legalizing cannabis nationwide by introducing a special program for the cannabis micro-cultivation license.

Followed by its 60-day consultation with the public, Health Canada came up with its report on the development of the regulatory framework for many discussed aspects of the legalization of marijuana, among which the cannabis micro-growing licenses have drawn the most of our attention.

The new licenses would allow smaller cultivators to grow cannabis and sell it to resellers in certain provinces without having to undergo the bureaucratic nonsense relating to the visual monitoring and intrusion detection requirements.

Such a wise move from the government aims at providing small-scale cultivators with the opportunity to contribute to the rapidly growing industry, which is great because small farmers are the ones who are usually the most dedicated to applying various innovations to their cultivation techniques and taking care of the quality of their crops.

But what exactly is the Micro-cultivation license? Who can apply and what are the potential requirements (or restraints) future micro-cultivators will have to meet?

If you could follow us, please.

What is Cannabis Micro-growing?

cannabis micro cultivation

Among the regulatory proposals mentioned in the paper discussed above, the first focuses on a system of licensing that has been designed to allow small-scale companies to partake in different activities in the industry.

Thus far, there were only standard licenses issued exclusively to large-scale growers who were able to meet the existing requirements set out by ACMPR. Now, the situation is going to change, as the proposal has outlined a new category of licenses, reserved for small-scale cultivators and processors.

So, in other words, the cannabis micro-cultivation license would allow smaller producers to grow cannabis and distribute it to provincial resellers or large-scale cultivators who will then sell it to the public or to other cannabis producers.

Actually, the cannabis micro-cultivation licenses fall into three categories:

  • Regular: this type of a cannabis micro-cultivation license applies to all subjects who want to grow and harvest material from those plants.
  • Nursery: the nursery program has been introduced to authorize the growing of cannabis plants in order to produce the starting material, namely seeds and seedlings.
  • Industrial hemp: it would authorize small-scale farmers to grow industrial hemp plants, i.e. those with 0.3% THC or less.

Now, let’s take a look at the anticipated production standards. Besides the standard processing – which would authorize the large-scale processing (packaging and labeling) of cannabis to the intra-industry sale of these products as well as to consumers – the government introduced the micro-processing framework for aspiring producers.

Micro-processing would enable small-scale companies to manufacture, package, label, and sell cannabis products to consumers and to provincially authorized distributors; this would apply to both the medical and recreational use of marijuana.

Okay, so you know what the small-cultivation license is, but do you know how it differs from the standard one?

If not, here’s the breakdown.

The Difference Between Micro-cultivation and Standard Licenses

cannabis micro cultivation

According to the Health Minister, MP Ginette Pets Taylor, the aim of the micro-cultivation licenses is to level out the inequalities between the large- and small-scale cultivators (at least at some points) and make it easier for aspiring growers to join the legal industry instead of dabbling with the black market.

Furthermore, the Health Minister announced that the current security requirements for large-scale marijuana licensed producers would also apply to the incoming recreational framework in order to prevent organized crime from drawing the benefits from the legal system.

To some extent, micro-cultivation licenses are pretty much the same as their standard counterparts, save for a few details:

Square footage 

There’s been a hot debate as to what the ultimate square footage for micro-cultivation licenses should look like. Suggestions for the maximum size varied between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet, but the final square footage for micro-cultivators would permit a canopy area of no more than 2,153 square feet (200 square meters). This is much less than in the case of large-scale cultivators, but it still allows craft cannabis growers to do their job.

Monitoring security

The main difference between large licensed producers and micro-cultivators and processors lies in the physical security standards. Companies with a micro-cultivating license will have just a handful of employees – their number generally doesn’t go beyond 25. Therefore, the government proposed to reduce the requirements for micro-businesses when it comes to monitoring the cannabis storage areas, which saves tons of paperwork during the attempt to obtain the license.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis Micro-Cultivation License

cannabis micro cultivation

Overall, we have explained cannabis micro-cultivation licenses pretty much, but there are probably many questions about specific details regarding the process of becoming a micro-grower.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about cannabis micro-cultivation licenses:

Who can apply for a micro-cultivation license?

Any company that would meet the standards designed by the Cannabis Act will be allowed to apply for the cannabis micro-cultivation license.

Can I micro-grow cannabis in the same place where I live?

You can not grow in the same building that you live in. You can grow on the property but will need to have a separate facility on your farm in order to obtain a micro-cultivation license.

Is the license reserved exclusively for growing cannabis?

According to the government’s plan, the license for micro-cultivation would authorize the participation of small growers in different activities in the industry, such as possession, research and development, transportation, storage, and destruction. Simply put, no, the micro-cultivation license doesn’t entail any activity restraints.

What is the quantity threshold for micro-producers?

The micro-processing license allows the producer to process up to 600 kg of dried cannabis or its equivalent (oils, concentrates, topicals, edibles, etc.) per year.

Does Cannabis Act support other marijuana-infused products?

Currently, there aren’t any proposals that would limit the number of forms in which cannabis can be manufactured and sold. Although the government suggested that cannabis oil should be limited to a THC concentration of 30 mg – and 10 mg for edibles – the public opinion was split on their proposal. The ultimate decision on these matters, however, is expected to be made by the end of 2018.

 

Discussion Topic

Are there any cannapreneurs seeking to obtain the cannabis micro-cultivation license once the recreational use of the plant is legalized nationwide? Share your enthusiasm and potential concerns in the comment section!

Author: Cannabisnearme Team

CannabisNearMe.ca helps Canadians and cannabis tourists find local dispensaries, accessory stores, licensed producers, product brands, and service businesses working in the Canadian legal cannabis market.
Contact us to join the network today!

84 responses to “Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Micro-Cultivation License”

  1. Luke says:

    We offer new cannabis micro cultivation applicants premium contracts at rebelcannabis.ca . We also are seeking production companies as well.
    We have many types of buyers looking to secure product up to two years out at great prices. Some offer financial asistance to skilled, experienced growers. Contact us to learn more or check out our profile on this site.

  2. Tamara says:

    I am a retired Pharmaceutical Regulatory Compliance Auditor and a craft-grower that is currently completing my MCL application. Is there any interest in a pre-packaged set of fill-in-the-blank MCL SOP’s for the micro-gowers out there? Please join the Facebook group: Atlantic Canada Cannabis to respond and discuss. Thanks.

  3. Beckie says:

    I have found application guidelines but where does one find the actual application?

  4. Hello
    Yes im inerested in your program for cultivation. How do i get started. I believe it would be helpful program in a farm succesion plan. Thank you.

  5. Michael says:

    Hello;

    Many thanks for this guide, as it’s helped to answer some questions I had with regards to the application process.

    I’m working on putting together an application for a Micro Cultivation license, and looking to find some sort of framework that I can use to develop SOPs as part of the overall Organizational Security Plan (OSP).

    I know Health Canada has identified 4 priority areas, as contained here in Appendix D:

    https://www.canada.ca /en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/industry-licensees-applicants/licensing-summary/guide.html

    Any guidance towards a framework or SOP best practices is greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

  6. Isaac 16:20 says:

    From what I’ve seen the only cannabis license available right now is the cannabis business license.
    We are working closely with people in the industry to help these craft or micro growers become licensed and set up to meet the standards and practices of the government and go far beyond that in the ways of quality control and keep BC bud the quality it is known for.

  7. Isaac 16:20 says:

    From what I’ve seen the only cannabis license available right now is the cannabis business license. We are working closely with people in the industry to help these craft or micro growers become licensed and set up to meet the standards and practices of the government and go far beyond that in the ways of quality control and keep BC bud the quality it is known for.

  8. Charlene says:

    Is the micro application out yet? I still cannot find it.

  9. Julia H says:

    Does anyone know if any new regulations have been released or finalized as of today??

    Thanks,
    Julia.

  10. Charlene says:

    I live in town and was wondering if I could do a craft license out if my detached garage. Totally separate from my house

  11. Michael says:

    Very useful information thank you for posting. Cant wait to jump into this exciting new industry and establish ourselves.
    It is great to see so many driven people willing to start a micro grow.

    I am looking to build a team for a micro grow here in the Colombia Valley BC.
    I have a 7000 sq ft facility sourced that will be used for growing, processing and cloning.
    A master grower and a production manager from Organigram willing to design and build the facility.

    If you believe you would be an asset to the team get in touch with me and we can move forward from there.

  12. JL says:

    Hi,
    If we have a micro-cultivation licence only.
    Can we buy seeds from the United-States?

  13. Thomas S. says:

    I’m working at helping a small company get started with a Micro-cultivation license. The entire process of licensing is biased towards existing large companies, and even existing illegal growers. Existing companies can easily swamp a market with product, leaving the small startup unable to make a go of it. The CTLS is unavailable until Oct 17th for new startups but is available for existing licensees now? A small startup can’t get a license until they are fully setup and have a final inspection. That process can take many months (I’ve read 18 months is an expected average). Current black market growers might even have an advantage, as they are already set up and running, and would just need to have their existing operation shut down for a while, then “approved’. The thought of having to spend $100K to $250K, just to get started with a micro-cultivation license is not out to lunch. Even after the license is granted, you are faced with another 4 to 6 months before your product is marketable, and even then, will you be able to find a buyer? In Ontario, the Ford Government is back-paddling on the previous governments plan of selling only through the Ontario Cannabis Store. On Oct 17, the OCS will be the only place in Ontario that can legally sell, and that is online. The Ford Government is expected to release plans for private “brick and mortar” sales outlets sometime in 2019. The more you dig into this stuff, the more hurdles you will see, and the risk becomes higher. It is the “wild west” and there is lots of ‘prime land’ already staked, possibly leaving just ‘wasteland’ for new entrants – even before it is legal.

    • Chris says:

      The first licenses are biased towards those that paved the way? Cry me a River. Ever hear of civil disobedience? Or the fact that if a law is unconstitutional it’s your job to break it?

      Maybe you shouldn’t have sat on the backburner while most of us were in the fire trying to get this plant legitimatized.

  14. al says:

    hello I’ve read your article and found some info that I did not know about. thanks
    my property is zoned agricultural, but the county I reside in has put in a bylaw that says you have to be 150meters away from any dwelling if you have odour control or 300meters without….is there any way if you meet federal requirements you could amend the municipal bylaw?

  15. Glen Comeau says:

    Im working on a micro grow application using the lp format hoping to jump all the hoops..2 seperate buildings each 24×24
    Im a certified grower for medical perposes
    With 30 plus yrs of pot growing experiece
    Will they accept my application?
    Thanks

    • steve grady says:

      Hi Glen,

      I am working on a micro-grow plan as well. However its high level without knowing the parameters, hopefully due soon. LP meaning the existing app ?

  16. Robert Moray Osler says:

    Hi!

    I am curious as to how the 2,000 sq ft limit of canopy size will be applied to micro-lp’s that are exclusively growing outdoor to make whole plant concentrates.
    The limit is 150kg of concentrate a year total production – yet the size of the field to produce that with our proprietary genetics would defiitely be bigger than 2,000 sq. ft.
    how to resolve the issue?
    This is a question that concerns me and my medical collective/guild of Organic whole-plant extract makers here in Quebec.
    so my next question would be:
    Will outdoor-grown cannabis be admitted/accepted by Health Canada as a safe product for the recreational market?

    thank you!

  17. C says:

    Hi,
    In the application guide section 6.10 in the first paragraph it says “Please also consult the Cannabis Regulations to obtain an understanding of the post-licensing regulatory record keeping and reporting requirements.”

    I can’t seem to locate it in the regulations. Any idea in which section of the Cannabis regulations it is?
    Thanks!

  18. Shelly Walton says:

    My family and I want to apply for a micro-cultivation license. The Federal Government is issuing these so that everyday people can participate in this industry, however, we are hitting brick walls Provincially and municipally. Thd entire County of Mountain View does not discern between large and small and have unequivocally eliminated any possibility for a person who owns farm land to use their land for cannabis production. They will only allow it on industrial lots, which is contrary to the intent of the Federal Government. The Federal Government states that a micro-cultivation produced may sell to larger producers etc. The Province of Alberta says, oh no you don’t. You will sell to the AGLC only and we may or may not purchase your product but you cannot sell to anyone else in Alberta. The Provincial and Municipal governments are creating an environment of shutting us out and allowing monopolies by the large producers to be created. Is this not contrary to The Charter and The Competition Act? I have an email from the Province stating I cannot sell to anyone but them and they may not buy my product. Somebody needs to step in from the Federal Level and set some ground rules because these other levels of government are simply not playing ball and not maintaining a framework in keeping with the intention of legalization.

  19. Rene says:

    Is it possible to grow 600g a year in such a small space?

    • Mike says:

      Not really. 500 grams per square foot is a reasonable estimate. Someone messed up the arithmetic.

      • Chris Drew says:

        I’m confused by your answer. 500 gm /sq.ft. x 2152 = 1,076,000 grms or 1,076 kilos. Am I missing something? I figured growing 3 or 4 crops per year you could reasonably expect to yield 300 to 500 kilos annually – I’m talking greenhouse not in a warehouse.

        CD.

  20. Jenna says:

    Does anyone know if I will be able to use part of the space as a nursery and part for production under a micro-cultivation license?

  21. Rob Davidson says:

    any idea what a micro cultivator can sell a pound for?

  22. William Emerson says:

    Hi there! This article is packed with great information that has answered a lot of my questions. I am glad to see that Canada is one of the first nations in the world to legalize weed. This business will become much larger than anyone can imagine and it will give us a better society as it reduces our consumption of alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, There are hundreds of uses of this plant that are yet to be discovered. Marihuana’s time has come!

  23. JOEL BERG says:

    Im aware that the Zoning requirements are not defined yet. I have a 5 acre property on Vancouver Island and have been speculating for months whether It will be suitable for a micro license. Do you think it will require Commercial/Industrial or Business Zoning only? I also contacted the Municipality on ALR land for the Outdoor Micro License, they informed me that it will probably not be permitted. So my hopes with many people I suspect, is that you can get a micro license on residential land. Otherwise eliminating the black market will prove to be less successful if the only options for a micro license are to throw down 100k or 250k of an investment to secure commercial land ect. You can barely get this land for less than a hefty investment before even thinking of the facility cost. What do you think?

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi Joel, at its core Cannabis is a plant that is farmed and cultivated, (so in my own uninformed, non-government opinion), I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to grow on ALR land even with a warehouse style building on the land. Dairy farmers build massive indoor facilities for their cattle operations, Blueberry farmers build massive processing facilities on ALR land, so I don’t see a difference.

      With that being said, each municipality and province will have slight variations in rules as to cultivation land requirements and zoning. Getting building permits will depend on your specific land situation and local government.

      Yes I agree that if the government makes too many barriers financially and land-wise, then many people wont move from the black market to the legal market. Facility costs alone will be huge, nevermind the cost of buying land for the facility. Fingers crossed ALR land is permitted!!

      • Barry Kuypers says:

        Great article !!

        Note ,,
        On Sept 19th the Richmond news published an article ” City cant refuse pot greenhouse ”
        Richmond doesn’t have the authority to override provincial agricuture land use rules
        BC Supreme Court ..

    • Tobin Hwang says:

      Hi Joel,

      If you’re still working on this, please let reach out and perhaps I can help.

      604-818-5034

  24. anson says:

    HALLO
    How to apply for a large area cannabis cultivation license

    Thank
    anson

  25. Crystalioness says:

    Super informative article~thank you! I’m curious if you would know even a guesstimate how much a craft licence will cost..?? I’m hoping to get a nursery licence since as a woman who has been working with the plant for many years I love working with seedlings and clones primarily! And yes c’mon Canada hurry up with the application!! We’re all needing to take the next step and it isn’t fair that big box cannabis gets such a head start..!

  26. JB says:

    Whats the difference between micro-processing and micro-cultivation?

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi JB, the Government of Canada has not clearly defined the definition of a micro-processor and what that entails, however, I’ll give you my best understanding of the difference. Micro-cultivation is a small scale cannabis growing operation. Micro-processing will likely involve packaging the cannabis from micro-cultivators to be sent to retail outlets.
      Hope that helps!

      • Chris says:

        As I understand it micro processing relates to oil extraction. Currently the only products allowed are dried flower and oil. As a processor you can buy bud from a MC, and process into oil which you can then sell to an LP or the prov reseller. Micro processing is limited to 600 kg anually. What I’m unsure of is if that’s 600 kg of material processed or 600 mg of processed product. I suspect it’s the former.

        While MPs are capped, as far as I can discern, MCs are restricted only by the 200 sq m grow area. If you can produce more than 600 mg per year in that space you won’t face penalties.. Can you verify that?

  27. Rob says:

    I have 2 1/2 acres of property with a house and a separate building on the property. Is it possible to have a micro -cultivation on this property. I am not sure what the zoning is but I know it is not agricultural?

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi Rob! The Government has not stated anything regarding Zoning for the Micro-cultivation license. From my research it appears that you will be allowed to have a separate facility on your property that you live on and operate a micro-cultivation business. Just not allowed inside your house. Hope this helps!

  28. Paul says:

    Hi there, How do I get the application for a craft grower ? I’m looking to be a craft grower and I can’t find any applications online.

    Thanks
    Paul

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hello Paul! The government has not released the application form for a craft grower license yet. You’ll find it on Canada.ca when released. Guess they are too swamped with the LP licensing at the moment…

  29. susan says:

    Thank you for this information. I am looking forward to applying for this license! I totally disagree with the poster who says a person has to ‘prove they can grow pot’ before getting a license. Too funny! That would knock out everyone except those who have already got a license to grow. There are many of us who grow ‘difficult and sensitive’ plants, such as various flowers and tomatoes, peppers, etc. who have years of experience gardening and who are very interested in testing their chops on marijuana / cannabis. Specifically women who have never been involved in the illegal market.
    I have heard that this license will be unlimited in terms of the number of people who can obtain one, then the market and reality will separate the people who are half assed from those who will give the plant everything it needs to flourish.

    Looking forward to a government regulated even playing field for people who believe in the plant and are excited to become craft growers! I hope lots of women get into the mix, because I know they are excellent gardeners and can do it, they just on the whole have not been interested in risking their reputations, or in rubbing shoulders with gangs and criminals. Marijuana never should have been illegal, I don’t criticize those who have preserved and improved this plant, but let’s face it, women have less of an appetite on the whole for the criminal element that has been involved up till now.

  30. GregM says:

    I read that Micro Cultivation requires a Master Grower with credentials. Is this true?

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi Greg, no, I have not seen anything about that in the official government documentation. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t have a partner or employee that is skilled at growing plants, then you’re going to have a bad time… and a low return on your investment $$$. Pests can destroy entire crops costing tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

  31. Luc Lapierre says:

    My named is Luc Lapierre am looking foward to obtain a micro producer liscence i already have a commercial building in Ontario and am growing already under acmpr law. Any advice to help me go thru the process. Please tell me if you can help me anyhow .

    Best regard.

  32. Paul says:

    SO where does one get the actual application form.
    Everyone seems to want to spread their “knowledge” but there seems to be no definitive, here is the application form to fill out.

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi Paul, the application form will be available on the Government of Canada website (canada.ca) but the actual application HAS NOT been released yet.

  33. Matt says:

    “no more than 2,153 square feet (200 square meters).” is very micro.
    My question: is there a good ready-made app or software for cultivation record-keeping that includes all the Canadian compliance factors?

  34. fergus Elliott says:

    Its strange that health Canada hasnt even opened the door for micro applications yet micro application “consult companies” are already claiming how many people have gotten this license with their help. So clearly …these firms cant be trusted. If you dont understand the application …just seek out a smarter friend. it cant be that complicated to apply to be a “recreational pot” grower. Youre not claiming your grow cures cancer. …….But theres no doubt (and Im self employed 40 years)…if you dont let business minded and business savvy people get into this green rush …..you are only encouraging the black market. Legal dispensary sells at $8/grm…the black market will sell at $6…every day ! And if one requirement to attain license….is to have $250K in the bank…you again encourage the black market. The requirements should be…1) a history of running a business for at least 5 years. 2) an excellent credit score over 650 3) not in debt with revenue Canada 4) A violence or marijuana possession charge must be at least 10 years old. ( the violence charge can be no more than SIMPLE assault..) 5) Since the person has been self employed for 5 years +….3 letters of reference from clients that have used this service at least 2x. To show he is a stable and rational businessman 6) a breif business plan layout , including security decisions such as the security company and the anticipated cost . for a 2200 sq ft space . but also a projected cannabis weekly output after the 60 day grow time for the first crop has been accomplished …and mother plants are flourishing . My point is this. Initial licenses should be given only to those who has prove they actually know how to grow pot. Its a very difficult and sensitive plant …the market could become saturated with terrible product if health canada dont pay attention to this. Then the canadian pot mkt here and abroad becomes a joke. We will be known as a big producer of crap pot because fools were allowed in. I think a pot cultivation questionarre …”in the moment” no time to google answers….is a great idea. Delete all those who just dont know how to grow. Someone today told me he heard you can sell a big plant for $7000. So many who want in …know nothing about growing and could hurt this great profitable momentum. Health canada must stop those who know nothing from getting licenses.

    • Wannabe Grower says:

      A good business person knows how to hire the right people to get the job done. For example, when you build a house…are YOU building the house or are you hiring professional contractors to build it for you? Same thing with this new Micro Cultivation License…you may not know how to grow Cannabis, but if you hire the right people, anything is possible.
      I have been a Safety Advisor in the Oil & Gas industry for many years, so I certainly know about Safety, Security and Compliance…do I know how to grow…NO, but can I find a “Master Grower” or contract service for that…absolutely YES. There is however a financial entry point to maximize the 2150 sqft Canopy…you will also require ancillary areas around your grow, maybe 2 or 3 grow rooms, Veg/Clone rooms, Dry/Curing/Cutting rooms, hallways, staff washrooms and rest areas, office(s), etc…so the actual square footage of the basic area I estimate to be around 3500 sqft. You won’t need Stock Market Money to start but you will need a significant amount in your “piggy bank” for the initial build-out and 1st year operation costs… est. 700-800K. It may sound steep, but if the wholesale rate (on the low end) stays at around $4/gr, with allowable 600Kg or 600,000gr/yr, that is a very healthy ROI.
      To reduce the investment risk, it may be worthwhile to get a few people together to make it happen. Just remember, each partner (over 10%) would have to complete the Canada Securities Clearance among other things…but that is the big one. I am applying for an MCL and could be looking for partners 😉

      • CannabisNearMe says:

        Very good points here! There are many variables to consider and factor in with a business like this. I agree start-up costs will be very high, and one thing everyone should consider with starting a business of this nature is if we have an oversupply of cannabis in 3-4 years compared to consumer demand for legal weed. This has been a major problem in Washington with outdoor grown cannabis plummeting to as low as $400 a pound. Low wholesale prices would greatly extend your ROI time frame. Then again, if you produce a superior product over most of the market, there will always be demand for your weed.

      • Mike says:

        You won’t make enough with a micro growers license to pay many skilled people. Rather that comparing to building a house, compare it to running a small business. Don’t expect to hire a lot of help both labor and skilled until you have grown for a few a few years. If you cannot handle even the application process, you are not fit to be a business owner. Go use the growing skills and get a job with a larger grower.

      • Chris says:

        I think you’re a little high (high, get it?) On your estimate but not by much. Im figuring about $600K. Also at 200 sq. m, you’ll be doing a LOT of the work yourself. Rather than hiring a master grower, hiring consultants on an as needed basis is probably a more likely scenario. You’ll need help at harvest, trimming time but that should be affordable although finding staff might be tricky.

  35. Jason says:

    Hurry up, Health Canada!!!!! Us little guys are getting left in the dust!!!! LP’s expanding like a bastard and the real cultivation pioneers are still criminals!!!!!

  36. George Baker says:

    I would appreciate if someone could help me with information on how to apply for a micro producer license.
    Thanks

  37. jimmy says:

    yes we are waiting to hear when we can apply??

    • CannabisNearMe says:

      Hi Jimmy, please see our response to Marco below. Government has yet to say when or how to apply for the license.

  38. Marco says:

    Hi how do I apply for micro-cultivation license?
    Is this the same has Craft License?

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