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Canada’s legalization of cannabis puts new demands on manufacturers

In October, Canada became the first major economy, and the second country, to legalize cannabis. While this policy shift will undoubtedly have consequences for consumers, law enforcement officials and others, it also presents new challenges for the cannabis manufacturers seeking to profit from what could be a $5 billion industry. As manufacturers compete for a limited number of licenses and confront an increased level of scrutiny, recall preparedness and a thorough understanding of regulatory requirements will be crucial to success.

The increased regulatory scrutiny that comes along with legalization will require a level of preparedness and knowledge that many manufacturers may not be expecting. Like manufacturers in other industries, cannabis manufacturers will be expected to have the infrastructure and processes in place to regularly test systems, accurately report adverse events, track relevant data and ensure proper manufacturing practices. To be sufficiently prepared, manufacturers will also need to leverage expertise in Quality Assurance and technical specifications. As they do for other products and industries, proper Standard Operating Procedures, recall plans and contingency plans will help manufacturers avoid costly fines while keeping consumers safe.

In fact, in order to receive one of the limited licenses being issued by Health Canada, every cannabis manufacturer must have a recall procedure in place. Once granted a license, manufacturers must test their recall process every 1-2 years unless they’ve experienced a recall during that time. For organizations that previously may not have even considered recalls to be a concern, the right preparation and contingency planning expertise could make all the difference.

With the potential for serious media scrutiny and significant regulatory fines stemming from a recall or adverse event, cannabis manufacturers cannot afford to be unprepared in this new environment. With the right planning, processes and knowledge, they can be sure to maximize profits and limit risk as they take advantage of a huge new business opportunity.

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