‘Everything is fine’: Canada’s health minister addresses cannabis supply issues

WATCH: The federal health minister says extra staff have been hired to try and speed up the authorization process for licensed producers waiting to receive approval to sell cannabis from the federal government. Alexa MacLean reports.

Despite daily early closures and shortages of supply, Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says demand issues are being “handled well.”

“We did recognize there was perhaps going to be some types of cannabis that were more popular than others but so far the supply and demand issue has been dealt with quite well,” she said.

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Petitpas Taylor is on a country-wide tour addressing questions surrounding the newly-minted legalization of cannabis.

READ MORE: Homegrown Nova Scotia cannabis on the way to NSLC shelves

While legalization still remains fresh, licensed producers in Nova Scotia are eager to receive approvals from Health Canada to start selling.

“We are in the very last stage that you can possibly be in prior to beginning cultivation operations,” Sandy Schembri said, the vice-president for strategic initiatives at the Truro Herbal Company [THC].
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After THC receives the green light from Health Canada to begin cultivating, they’ll submit two test crops to the governing organization for approval purposes. Once that stage is complete, Health Canada will issue a sales licence to the company.

Despite the lengthy process, Schembri is satisfied with adhering to stringent testing. He says in the long run it will benefit the market by weeding out producers who are aiming to achieve large quantities of product that aren’t necessarily quality-driven.

“The demand has been difficult to forecast and it’s likely going to exceed what producers, what market analysts, what government had anticipated prior to legalization,” Schembri said. “But one of the side effects of that has been is that it’s encouraged many producers to build as fast as they can, as big as they can, in order to produce as much as they can.”

In an attempt to help expedite the backlog of licensed producers seeking Health Canada approvals, the federal government says they’ve hired extra staff.

“We have close to 130 licensed producers that are able to do the work,” Petitpas Taylor said. “We certainly recognize that we have several more actually in the queue and as such we’ve hired additional staff in order to deal with the processing.”


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