Health Canada is responsible for licensing cannabis distributors that supply the entire country. There have been 858 total applicants, which to me seems surprisingly low. So far there have only been 13 applications approved. That's a roughly 1.5% approval rate.
Out of the 858 applicants, 370 were denied for being incomplete. 149 were refused for other reasons, and 30 were withdrawn. That leaves 309 that are still under review, with more coming in every week. There is no estimated timeline for when the remaining applications will be approved. When it comes to Canada's cannabis industry, patience is a virtue.
"The backlog is beginning to frustrate prospective business owners. Uma Syed, president of Toronto-based CannMart Inc., said the agency is "dealing with a situation they weren't prepared for."
"We're all dressed up and nowhere to go," he said."
Canada's cannabis industry has been slowed by multiple lawsuits against Health Canada. That doesn't entirely explain the slow roll-out, but definitely is a contributing factor. A recent recall of medical cannabis hasn't helped either. When will the full roll-out occur? Only time will tell. Meantime, patients and business owners are left in the dark.