In early 2014, Canada’s rules regarding medical marijuana underwent a significant change. While prior to March 31 individuals were able to obtain permission to grow the drug, now only commercial producers licensed by Health Canada are legally able to do so.
Those with permission to use medical marijuana must now go through a registration process with commercial producers that are themselves licensed. And of course, any marijuana growers in the country that are not licensed commercial producers are now subject to law enforcement action.
The requirements to become a licensed commercial producer under the new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) include meeting physical security requirements for areas where cultivation and storage take place, getting personal security clearance and submitting a licensed producer application. Starting materials for licensed marijuana production can come from Health Canada, other licensed producers or importation. Licensed producers may set their own prices and are only permitted to sell dried marijuana — not oils, resins, extracts or edibles.
Below is some information on six of the 13 licensed producers in Canada. Though all but one are private, they deserve a look from investors given that they’ve been successful in getting through a process that many other marijuana hopefuls are trying to navigate.
Bedrocan Canada is a joint venture between the Netherlands’ Bedrocan and Bedrocan Canada. Its roots date back to 2011, when Bedrocan was invited to Ottawa from the Netherlands to comment on the MMPR. Ultimately, Bedrocan decided that “Canadian producers, patients, and healthcare professionals could benefit” from the knowledge and experience it’s gained from “producing medicinal cannabis in Europe.”
The company stresses on its website that it bases its activities on all applicable laws and regulations, as well as on evidence from scientific studies on the cultivation and medical use of cannabis. It works with researchers from academia, the industry and governments around the world to engage in cannabis research. It also gives manufacturers of pharmaceuticals raw cannabis or extracts to aid in the development of new cannabis-based drugs.
Pricing for all Bedrocan’s strains is $7.50 per gram.
Established this year, Canna Farms is located in British Columbia and grows its strains in house. Management and production staff have a combined 45 years of industry experience, and the company says its purpose-built facility goes above the standards set by Health Canada.
Canna Farms uses traditional names for its strains so that patients can continue to use the varieties of marijuana that have worked for them in the past. Registration opened June 23, and the company has no waiting list. Credit cards are accepted for payment, with strains priced as low as $1.75 per gram.
CanniMed was established in 2013, and its stated goal is to “help people with chronic and terminal illnesses improve their quality of life when conventional medicine just isn’t enough.” It’s committed to pursuing safety standards and quality by following pharmaceutical manufacturing standards at its growing locations.
Like Bedrocan, CanniMed collaborates with academic institutions and healthcare professionals on research and development. Cannabis produced by Prairie Plant Systems, under contract with CanniMed, has been used in clinical trials that demonstrate the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for chronic pain management. Currently, the company’s strains are being used in other clinical trials as well.
The company’s prices range from $7.50 to $13.50 per gram.
Delta 9 Bio-Tech
Delta 9 Bio-Tech produces organic medical cannabis products in a sustainable manner. One of its aims is to elevate cannabis to the status of a recognized medicine with scientific backing.
The company’s first harvest occurred this summer, and in the future it plans to produce new strains, including some that are high in CBD, or cannabidiol. Delta 9 is at full capacity for registered patients and it intends to implement a compassionate pricing program to subsidize the cost of cannabis for eligible clients who live on disability or have a low level of income.
In the Zone Produce
British Columbia’s In the Zone Produce will not be registering clients until fall 2014 as it currently has no product for sale. When it does start producing it will do so under the supervision of a microbiologist, offering four strains to start off with.
The company is a small, mom-and-pop-style farm and advertises its strains as boutique and premium. A large pool of strains will be available in the future.
Mettrum, which was incorporated in Ontario in 2012, provides medical marijuana to its clients as well as educational material for patients and providers alike. For instance, it has developed the Mettrum Spectrum, a system that “categorize[s] medical cannabis according to THC potency, as well as CBD levels.” It’s aimed at helping healthcare professionals “more confidently recommend strains that may be appropriate for specific medical conditions.”
On June 18, Mettrum announced that it has entered into a binding letter of intent with Cinaport Acquisition (TSXV:CPQ.H) that will lead to a reverse takeover of Cinaport by shareholders of Mettrum. Five days later the company put new client registrations on hold due to a greater-than-expected number of registrations.