Cannabis Micro-Cultivation Licensing and Its Security Requirements

Oct 10, 2019

When cannabis was first legalized in Canada, small growers were permitted under the same standards as large growers. The costs of licensing, staffing, and operations made small growing a cost-prohibitive venture. But with changes in the law in 2018 that permit small growers to operate under a micro cultivation license, small cannabis growers can operate a lean operation with minimal staff and minimal security. Here are the basic requirements every micro-cultivator needs to know.

Health Canada Security Requirements for a Cannabis Micro-Cultivation License

The experience of new licensees has been “and there are other regulations they don’t tell you about.” But these requirements apply to every new holder of a cannabis micro-cultivation license.

  • Each micro-cultivation license is linked to a single physical address. This property must meet municipal zoning requirements for the cultivation of cannabis,
  • Only one micro-cultivation license will be granted for each physical address.
  • Micro-cultivators are limited to a growing area with no more than 200 square meters (2152 square feet) of canopy space. They are allowed to stack grow units vertically as long as the “roof” over the growing area is no more than 200 square meters.  Growing space can be indoors or outdoors.
  • The growing space has to be fully built out before it can be licensed. The building cannot be made of materials that have porous surfaces, such as unpainted brick. Any materials used for the walls and floors must be suitable for repeated washing and application of disinfectants. The production rooms must be laid out for a logical flow of work. Modular panels may be necessary to change the configuration of the growing space in response to future inspections. These panels must be part of the construction at the time the license is granted.
  • Micro-cultivators must follow Good Production Practices to ensure the cleanliness of the growing space and any processing area separately licensed. For indoor growing spaces, micro-cultivators must maintain temperature and humidity controls and document any failures of their heaters, fans, and humidifiers.  This means that they need to choose well-insulated materials for building their growing space. Temperature, humidity, and light must be controlled in any storage space. Vehicles used to transport cannabis must also be temperature- and humidity-controlled. 
  • Producers must practice regular quality control by engaging the services of a quality control specialist.
  • All packaging, labeling, and shipping requirements require strict compliance.

There are strict regulations for documentation of procedures, pest control, storage, distribution, air filtration, water supply, equipment sanitation, chemical and microbial contamination, solvents, cleaning agents, and documentation of the amount of cannabis produced. But all your efforts to meet all of these requirements require having the right construction in the right location before your first day of production.

Your choice of building materials affects your chances of getting your license

 The security requirements for a cannabis micro-cultivation license begin with the build-out. Buildings made from secure, durable, washable, aesthetically pleasing, thermal-efficient building materials such as SIP steel IsoWall are strong, reliable, cost-effective, and easy to install. Choosing Structural Insulated Panels for your new cannabis micro-production facility won’t guarantee you will get your license. But choosing the right building materials makes it a lot easier to meet the most stringent Good Production Practices.

9 thoughts on “Cannabis Micro-Cultivation Licensing and Its Security Requirements”

  1. I wish to upgrade an old 12000 sq ft greenhouse that I wish to use for cannabis micro cultivation. Do you know if the 200m2 is lineal feet or canopy space? If canopy space, at what stage of the growing cycle is it calculated?
    Obviously a 2 leaf plant will have significantly less area than a mature plant. I guess the question is : Can I plant the entire 12000 sq ft but space the plants so that only 2100 sq ft of canopy is occupied?

    1. Hi Paul! Thanks for your message. I’m going to forward your questions on to one of our sales reps and we’ll follow up with you ASAP. Thanks again, Lee.

      1. Hey just curious is you ever replied to the question that Paul had asked as I’m very interested in the answer

        1. Hey Alex! Where we’re a manufacturer, I’m not sure we were able to confidently answer the question above, We’re normally long gone by the time product reaches the facility. We do, however, recommend getting in touch with George Lettorio from Innovative Growers Equipment in Newmarket, Ontario. He knows a great deal about micro-cultivation and might be able to assist. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 416-277-7137.

          Apart from George, the following links might also be helpful:

          Definitely let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help, and good luck with your project. Thanks again!

  2. Lee,
    I sent my question to George weeks ago but did not receive a response. The answer would seem to be fundamental to micro grower profitability but no one has been able to provide a clear answer. Health Canada,s poorly written and confusing regulations clearly do not mention canopy space as the determining parameter but I known that there was pre-legalization talk of this. Talking to Heath Canada is like communicating with a large stone wall. I was sent a hockey rink diagram by Heath Canada depicting a small green square at centre ice which, I guess, is my growing space. You would think that if canopy space was the determining factor then the solid green square would instead be filled with small green circles representing the plants.
    Any further ideas that you may have would be welcome.
    Regards, Paul

    1. Hi Paul.. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time getting the information you need from Health Canada about canopy space and micro growing. I’ll reach out to George, but where this doesn’t seem to be something HC knows about it may be beyond George’s scope as well. I’ll keep an eye out for additional resources as well and follow up with you if I find anything useful. Have a great weekend and thanks for your comment!

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