Licensed dealer testing of cannabis produced by individuals

On August 24, 2016, Health Canada issued a Section 56 Class Exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to enable registered persons under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), and individuals responsible for them, to access testing services for dried or fresh marijuana or cannabis oil produced for their own medical purposes (whether produced by themselves or by the person designated to produce for them).

This testing will also be enabled for 'authorized persons'. An authorized person means a person who:

  • was authorized to possess marijuana for their own medical purposes under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) that were repealed on March 31, 2014; and
  • is a member of a class of individuals who continue to be authorized to possess marijuana for their own medical purposes by virtue of a court order.

This could enable registered and authorized persons to have more information about their cannabis, such as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) content of the strain(s) that is produced for their own medical purposes, as well as information about potential contaminants (such as heavy metals and microbial) or residues in their product.

Analytical testing must be conducted by an authorized licensed dealer under the Narcotic Control Regulations. A list of authorized licensed dealers is available online.

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Who can send cannabis for testing

You can send cannabis to authorized licensed dealers for testing if you are:

  • registered with Health Canada to produce a limited amount of cannabis for your own medical purposes under the ACMPR
  • registered with Health Canada under the ACMPR to have a designated person produce a limited amount of cannabis for your own medical purposes
  • an authorized person, as defined above

The only cannabis that may be sent for testing is cannabis that was produced:

  • in accordance with the registered person's registration under the ACMPR; or
  • under the terms and conditions of a court order

Products obtained from unlicensed organizations, such as dispensaries, may not be sent for testing.

Those who are designated to produce a limited amount of cannabis for an individual, either as a designated person under the ACMPR or as a designated producer under the MMAR, cannot send cannabis for testing. Only a person who is authorized to access cannabis for their own medical purposes (either under the ACMPR, or under a court injunction) is permitted to send cannabis for testing.

What can be sent to a licensed dealer for testing

You are only permitted to send fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil. You cannot send any other cannabis derivative products for analysis.

Also be advised that you cannot send a quantity of fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil that exceeds your possession limit.

Your possession limit is:

  1. 30 times your authorized daily quantity of dried marijuana, or 150 grams, whichever is less; or
  2. the equivalent of (a) if you are sending fresh marijuana or cannabis oil. The equivalent is considered to be:
    • in the case of fresh marijuana, 5 grams is considered equivalent to 1 gram of dried marijuana
    • in the case of cannabis oil, taking into account the weight of the fresh or dried marijuana that was used to make it

What tests can be done

You should contact an authorized licensed dealer to find out what testing they offer. Ask for an estimate of how much these tests cost and how much fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil is needed for an accurate result.

Be sure to contact the licensed dealer before you send your fresh or dried marijuana, or cannabis oil. They may have individual requirements for product submissions. Any cannabis sent to a licensed dealer cannot be returned.

This testing could include:

  • determining THC/CBD content
  • microbial testing
  • testing for heavy metals or other contaminants
  • other chemical analyses

What do you need to send

Once you contact a licensed dealer and arrange for testing, you should prepare a package. You will need to include with your package a copy of your authorization, which could be either:

  • a registration certificate issued under the ACMPR; or
  • an authorization to possess issued under the MMAR

If you do not include this document, the licensed dealer cannot proceed with the testing. They need verification that you are within the scope of this exemption in order to legally conduct activities with the fresh or dried marijuana, or cannabis oil that you send. If you do not include this, your fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil may be destroyed. It will not be returned to you.

If you are sending fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil to a licensed dealer, you must use a method of sending that ensures the tracking and safekeeping of the package during transportation.

When you are packaging fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil to send to a licensed dealer you will need to prepare the package in a manner that ensures the security of the contents. This means that the package:

  • will not open or permit the escape of its contents during handling and transportation;
  • is sealed so that it cannot be opened without the seal being broken;
  • prevents the escape of cannabis odour; and
  • prevents its contents from being identified without it being opened.

You should consider including a description of what you are sending as part of your package. It is recommended that this description include:

  • any additives or ingredients or components used to make the cannabis oil;
  • the net weight of the fresh or dried marijuana or the cannabis oil that is being provided, delivered, or sent;
  • the quantity of dried marijuana that is being provided, delivered, or sent, calculated by:
    • considering five (5) grams of fresh marijuana as equivalent to one (1) gram of dried marijuana; or
    • in the case of cannabis oil, taking into account the weight of the fresh or dried marijuana that was used to make it
  • the packaging date

You should ask the licensed dealer what other information they will need to test your fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil.

Notifications

Please remember that in the case of the loss or theft of cannabis during transit to a licensed dealer, the ACMPR require that the registered person:

  1. Within the 24 hours after becoming aware of the occurrence, notify a police force; and
  2. Within the next 72 hours after becoming aware of the occurrence, notify the Minister, in writing, and include confirmation that the notice required under paragraph (a) has been given.

Section 56 exemption

Learn more about the Section 56 Class Exemption for registered persons and individuals responsible for them or authorized persons to provide, deliver, transport or send fresh and dried marihuana, or cannabis oil to licensed dealers for the purpose of analytical testing.

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