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How Does Canada's Legalization of Marijuana Work?

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On October 17, 2018, Canada officially legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana use by adults. It was only the second country in the world to do so (the first country was Uruguay, which legalized marijuana use in 2013). Other countries where marijuana has been legalized include Georgia and South Africa.    

While marijuana legalization has been a headline-grabbing topic throughout the United States as well, the U.S. has so far not made a similar move at the federal level. However, 15 states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Alaska) and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana in the U.S.  

In countries and states where marijuana has been legalized, it's been demonstrated that there are substantial benefits for the economy. In fact, many of the most successful businesses in the legal cannabis space are based in Canada. At the outset of legalization, many analysts in the legal cannabis industry speculated that Canada's legalization proceedings would place it at a distinct advantage in terms of reaping financial rewards, and these predictions ended up materializing for the country.

However, it’s important to recognize that the Canadian legalization process was not without its complexities. Below, we’ll explore some of the details of the Canadian legalization process.

Multiple Sets of Rules

One of the most important stipulations of the Canadian marijuana legalization procedure was that, while certain rules are set at the national level, the country's 13 provinces also retain a great degree of autonomy to set their own regulations. This means that details as significant as where customers can buy marijuana are determined differently depending upon where those customers are throughout the country.

For example, Ontario, which is Canada's most populous province, allowed for privately-run cannabis stores to open on April 1, 2019.   Initially, customers in British Columbia only had a single, government-run store in the city of Kamloops on which to rely for their in-person cannabis purchases, but more than 100 private retailers also applied for licenses.   Now, there are over 200 private-sector stores in British Columbia, after municipal consent further defined how cannabis could be bought and sold.  

Saskatchewan took a contrasting approach, allowing for 51 privately-run stores from the outset of legalization.   Quebec initially limited in-person sales to government-run dispensaries, although Quebec's government-owned Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) still maintains a monopoly on regulated recreational cannabis sales in the province. While most provinces have allowed new, private-sector cannabis retailers to open, by province, Quebec has one of the lowest cannabis stores per capita in Canada.  

All of this means that customers cannot assume that the process of obtaining cannabis products will be the same when they travel or move from one province to the next. This will also have a significant impact on the companies which develop in each of the provinces; it's difficult to imagine a retailer focusing on an area in which only government-run stores are permitted to operate, for instance.

Product Roll-Out

As of legalization day, only oils, seeds, flowers, and marijuana plants themselves were available. Edibles, concentrates, and other related products were rolled out later, in 2019.   Still, other products that have been in development, including creams and cosmetic products, are still restricted by regulations in Canada.  

Government's Role

A significant consideration for Canadian cannabis companies of all types, as well as investors in those companies, is the role of Canada's government in the various regulatory measures that govern legalization. In addition to in-person sales at licensed provider (LP) stores, the regulations also allow for online sales. In most provinces, government-run dispensaries facilitate online sales. Additionally, some provinces allow for government dispensaries to regulate the distribution of cannabis products, acting as a middleman between LPs and the consumer.

As to be expected, over time the way that the government has regulated cannabis sales in Canada (and in each separate province) has changed. For example, in 2020, the provincial government of British Columbia amended regulations so that private cannabis stores could sell non-medical cannabis products online for pickup in-store. Previously, customers could reserve products online, but they had to pay in person.  

Separate Legal Questions

There are many other legal questions that have been raised surrounding cannabis use in Canada. At the outset of legalization, it was unclear how individuals previously convicted of cannabis-related crimes would be treated post-legalization. The government rejected a proposal for records for possession to be expunged, or completely erased. Instead, they passed a version of the pardon—called a “record suspension."

This process is also available for other crimes, but, in the case of cannabis-related crimes, there is no waiting period and applicants are not required to pay the $631 fee. Approximately 250,000 Canadians are thought to have records for simple possession of marijuana.  

The age required to legally purchase cannabis also varies from province to province, which poses legal challenges. While the legal age for marijuana use is 19 in most provinces, there are exceptions. As of January 1, 2020, the legal age in Quebec is 21. (Prior to this date, it was 18.)   In Alberta, the legal age is 18 years old.  

Similarly, depending on the province, there are different legal restrictions that regulate where exactly consumers are allowed to smoke marijuana. In many of the provinces, marijuana consumption in public is banned. Still, other provinces allow cannabis to be consumed in areas where tobacco can be smoked.  

The Bottom Line

The legal cannabis industry in Canada has shown tremendous promise. The past few years have seen huge growth for marijuana companies across the country. In some cases, investors should be wary of the hype, and caution may be the best approach. However, just like any other company, cannabis companies publish their financial results. Beyond the hype, this is where the real proof of their success can be found. And in the past several years, many of the early kinks of the industry have been worked out.

Analysis in Brief
Classifying Cannabis in the Canadian Statistical System

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by Franklin Assoumou-Ndong

1. Introduction

With the new legal regime in effect, Statistics Canada is responding to the legalization of cannabis by measuring various aspects of the introduction of cannabis in the Canadian economy. Some questions needed to be answered. Questions like how much cannabis is being consumed and by how many people? What are the production, price and sales of cannabis and cannabis products? What is the part of cannabis in the gross domestic product estimates? What are the revenues generated by cannabis producers and taxes on cannabis products? How much cannabis is being distributed by wholesalers and retailers? How much cannabis is sold or bought overseas? Are there educational programs for cultivation and production of cannabis? What types of occupations are demanded by the cannabis industry? To be able to compile high quality data to help answer these questions, Statistics Canada needs robust and comprehensive classification systems, which are useful for collecting, compiling, analyzing and disseminating national data, as well as to compare data to international socio-economic data (Statistics Canada, 2017b).

This paper covers the various statistical classifications used by Statistics Canada when measuring socioeconomic activities related to cannabis.

2. Why revise the classifications now for cannabis?

Until the new Canadian Cannabis Act came into effect in October 2018, the statistical classification systems used by Statistics Canada generally did not explicitly identify industries and products that include cannabis production and distribution for medical purposes because of their small economic contribution. Also, illegal production and distribution of cannabis are not explicitly included in our North American Classification Systems, even though there has been an illegal market or “economy of cannabis” for quite a long time. For these reasons, classifications could not be used to publish specific data about cannabis for years preceding the expansion of the Canadian cannabis legal framework.

It is common practice with classifications that they are updated and revised as new industries, products, occupations, and educational programs are introduced in the Canadian economy and society. With cannabis, the situation is somewhat unique since the introduction of some of the “new” products, industries, occupations, instructional programs, etc., already existed legally and illegally. In fact, the illegal cannabis market is already substantial (Macdonald &Rotermann, 2017) and well established, and the newness of this industry and these products is merely their legalization of cannabis for non-medical use.

For a purely methodological perspective, Statistics Canada decided not to wait a couple of years to see how the expanded legal market for cannabis unfolds, before defining new classifications. The classification systems will be continuously updated and improved as Statistics Canada obtains more information related to cannabis production, distribution and consumption.

3. What is “cannabis” that we are trying to classify or measure?

It may seem obvious that we know what we are supposed to classify by just saying “cannabis”. But it is important to know what is new about the “cannabis” being legalized for uses other than medical-uses in Canada. Even though “cannabis” is most often thought of as a “drug plant”, it is a multipurpose plant used for a number of products including fibre, paper, medicine, food, and oil. From a classification perspective, it is important to clarify or define exactly which type of cannabis or parts of the cannabis plant is covered by the new Canadian legislation, and which parts are not.

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The plant of the genus Cannabis refers generally to three varieties, which are Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. C. sativa and C. indica are the most commonly used in cannabis varieties or strains for cultivation. The genetics of the different cannabis strains are widely mixed or cloned to create cannabis hybrids. Cannabis contains a number of active elements, including cannabinoids such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (dronabinol, in its synthetic form), cannabidiol (CBD), and terpenes (aromatic compounds or chemical markers).

A synthetic cannabinoid which does not exist in nature, is not covered by the definition of cannabis under the proposed Cannabis Act; it is covered by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or CDSA (Health Canada, 2017a).

3.1 Hemp vs Cannabis

Depending on how the cannabis plant is grown and used will determine which term is correct. In fact, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a cannabis plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a cannabis plant that contains only trace amounts of THC . Hemp is a high-growing plant, typically bred for industrial uses such as oils, topical ointments, fibre for clothing and construction, etc. (Table 1).

Although the growth of industrial hemp crops was previously permitted for scientific research purposes, the first licence to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes was issued in May 1998 by Health Canada. Cannabis is following the same path. Both cannabis and industrial hemp production are activities that are authorized by a licence issued under the law.

Table 1
Cannabis: A plant of many uses, some examples
Table summary
This table displays the results of Cannabis: A plant of many uses. The information is grouped by Use category (appearing as row headers), Plant parts used and Material type or other benefits (appearing as column headers).

Use category Plant parts used Material type or other benefits
Cordage Stem or stalk bark Long cellulose fibers
Cordage and woven textiles, building materials Stem or stalk fiber Long cellulose fibers, concrete reinforcement
Paper Stems/stalk wood and bark Long and short cellulose fibers
Building materials, animal bedding Stem/stalk wood without bark Chip board, concrete matrix
Medicinal All parts: Primarily female flowers and seeds Herbal remedies, pharmaceuticals/medicines, nutraceuticals
Recreational drugs Female flowers and associated resin glands Marijuana or dried cannabis, hashish (charas)
Human food Seeds, seed oil Proteins and essential fatty acids, essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6)
Animal feed Seeds, seed cake, foliage Proteins and essential fatty acids, proteins and trace fatty acids, vegetable mass
Industrial feedstock Seed oil Oil used in paint and plastic manufacture
Fuel Stem/stalk wood without bark, seed oil Heat, light
Ritual and social All parts: Primarily bark, seeds, and female flowers Social activities employing various plants parts such as healing and life cycle rituals and inebriation
Source: Clarke C. Robert and Mark D. Merlin, 2013.

3.2 Cannabis for medical use

The consumption of cannabis for authorized medical purposes has grown substantially in recent years. Health Canada first established regulations on access to cannabis for medical or therapeutic purposes in 2001. This regulatory framework has undergone a number of changes since then, most notably in 2014 and 2016.

According to Health Canada’s documents, federal licence is required to cultivate, process and sell cannabis for medical or non-medical purposes. Currently there are 185 licensed holders (cultivators, processors and sellers) holding a licence issued by Health Canada under the Cannabis regulations (as of June 26, 2019), the majority (90) in Ontario, followed by British Columbia (40) and Quebec (14). An enterprise can hold multiple licences. The number of licence holders has been growing since the confirmation of the legalization of cannabis for non-medical use. Before the legalization of cannabis for non-medical use, the licensed producers proposed their cannabis products for medical use on web sites and filled “medical orders” by mail. The clients were asked to submit their authorizations to licensed producers by electronic or postal mail. There were no legal retail or wholesale intermediaries for the distribution of cannabis for medical use before the Cannabis Act came into effect. Importation and exportation of cannabis for medical purposes are still relatively small and require special circumstances (e.g., research projects) and government permits (Statistics Canada, 2017a).

“Cannabis for medical use” (often called “medical cannabis”) should not be confused with “cannabis-based medicines or prescription drugs”. Cannabis used for medical purposes refers to a three-step method, as set out in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) governed by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which establishes a framework for access to cannabis for medical or therapeutic use. This framework is described in the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45). To obtain cannabis for medical use, an individual (registered patient) must accomplish three steps:

  1. Get an authorization from a registered health practitioner to buy cannabis for medical purposes;
  2. Get an authorization or a licence from Health Canada to buy cannabis for medical purposes;
  3. Independently register with a holder of a licence for sale of cannabis for medical purposes, with a medical document and a written order (authorization of a health care professional). The registered patient can do this online, by fax or by regular mail.

Additionally, before selling cannabis for medical use to a patient, the licence holder must validate that the client is registered by Health Canada and is authorized by a health care professional to use cannabis for medical use. When the patient is validated, he or she is ready to place an order by phone, email or online form directly from the licence holder. The order can only be delivered by postal mail to the patient. As of June 26, 2019, based on Health Canada’s data, about a dozen licence holders have offered to sell seeds or plants (starting materials) to individuals registered with Health Canada for personal or designated production of cannabis for medical purposes. Adult Canadians can also purchase seeds and plants from authorized provincial and territorial retailers and online platforms.

This definition of “cannabis for medical use” supports the split made in the North American Product Classification System, Canada Version 2.0, between “cannabis for medical use” and “cannabis for non-medical use”.

Cannabis itself, as a plant, has not been authorized as a therapeutic product or a drug in Canada, or in any other country (Health Canada, 2017a). According to Health Canada, therapeutic products refer to a broad range of products, including drugs (pharmaceuticals, radiopharmaceuticals, biologics and genetic therapies), natural health products and medical devices. Products can either be regulated as a drug under the Food and Drug Act and Regulations and require a Drug Identification Number (DIN), or as a NHP under the Natural Health Products Regulations and require a Natural Product Number (NPN) (Health Canada, 2006). In fact, it should be noted that “synthetic cannabinoids” which do not exist in nature, are not covered by the definition of cannabis under the Cannabis Act. The Act includes “synthetic substances identical to phytocannabinoids produced by, or found in the cannabis plant”. There is a prescription health product or pharmaceutical containing synthetic cannabinoid named “Nabilone”, which does not exist in nature, therefore is not covered by the Cannabis Act (Health Canada, 2017a). The distinction between products being authorized as pharmaceuticals or drugs under the FDA , and those that are not, is used as a way of splitting industries and products in some classifications. In fact, the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) Canada Version 2.0, for example, includes pharmaceuticals or drugs with a DIN in a separate group or class, compared to products that are not authorized to be treated as such. Hence, in NAPCS Canada Version 2.0, dried cannabis and cannabis oil, for example, are classified under NAPCS group 213-Cannabis products (output of cannabis industries; see NAICS codes in section 5, Table 2), while a cannabis-based drug like Nabilone is classified under NAPCS group 273-Pharmaceutical and medicinal products (output of the pharmaceutical industry or NAICS 3254).

4. Consultation and research prior to revising NAICS Canada and NAPCS Canada

Before adding new industries in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and products in the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS), an extensive consultation process involved the Statistics Canada Cannabis Working Group and subject matter areas, other government departments (Health Canada, in particular) and private sector contractors. In addition, research of numerous Internet sites and direct contacts was undertaken to better understand what cannabis is, how it is grown, processed or manufactured into products, sold and used or consumed (including the accessories and equipment).

Consultation was undertaken via live visits by Statistics Canada’s staff members to cannabis licensed production facilities. The primary goal of this consultation was to understand the business operations, production processes of this new and evolving sector in the Canadian economy, and the different types of cannabis products cultivated and manufactured by those producers. This helped build a portrait of the industry and products for their classification.

Research was done to see how cannabis is classified in other countries. It was quickly realized that because Canada will be, after Uruguay, the only country in the world to legalize cannabis entirely for medical and other uses (namely recreational use), no particular classification deals with the cannabis products in such detail needed to cover the whole spectrum of the supply chain. A request for information on classification of cannabis industries and products was directed to Statistics Netherlands and the Office for Medicinal Cannabis (OMC) of the Netherlands, which referred to the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA 2008) and the Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE Rev. 2); both classifications do not contain specific codes or categories for cannabis products. Those classifications are used by most European countries.

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5. Revising the industry classification

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is designed to provide common definitions of the industrial structures of Canada, Mexico and the United States. In this classification businesses are grouped together based on the kinds of processes they use to make products. The criteria used to group business and government establishments into industries are similarity of input structures, labour skills required and production processes.

Upon legalization of cannabis for non-medical use, it is anticipated the growth of businesses in NAICS sectors 11 (for agriculture), 31-33 (manufacturing), 41 (wholesale trade) and 44-45 (retail trade).

Because of the importance of the new legislation and the impact cannabis will have on Canadian economy and society, it was determined that cannabis-based activities demand specialized industries through the creation of new industries, in particular at the national level or 6-digit level of NAICS Canada.

Table 2
Classifying cannabis-related activities in NAICS (Canada)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Classifying cannabis-related activities in NAICS (Canada). The information is grouped by Type of industry (appearing as row headers), NAICS Canada V3.0 Code and Title (appearing as column headers).

Type of industry NAICS Canada V3.0 Code and Title
Agriculture industry 111412 Cannabis grown under cover
111995 Cannabis grown in open fields
Manufacturing industry 312310 Cannabis product manufacturing
Wholesale trade industry 413410 Cannabis merchant wholesaler
Retail trade industry 453993 Cannabis stores

6. Revising product classifications

The expanded legalization of cannabis will also have an impact on goods and services related to the cultivation and production of cannabis, wholesale and retail trade of cannabis, and other services. Since the North American Product Classification (NAPCS) Canada is directly linked to the supply and use product classification (SUPC) in the macroeconomic accounts, international trade and price indexes, the impact of any changes to NAPCS Canada on those statistical programs also need to be considered.

Under the law in effect before October 17, 2018, cannabis for medical use was delivered to users directly by the same entity which produced it. Therefore, no products were identified for wholesale and retail services in the release of NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 1.0.

6.1 Classifying cannabis products in NAPCS Canada

During the process of revising the Canadian version of the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS), a number of questions needed to be answered while following the classification conceptual framework. Questions like the need for separate groups and classes for cannabis products vs using the existing categories? Can we treat cannabis plants and parts as pharmaceutical products (as discussed in section 3.2)? Is dried cannabis a processed (manufactured) or an agricultural product? Should we classify cannabis activate powder and dried buds in the same category? Should the popular expression “recreational cannabis” be used to name the categories instead of “non-medical cannabis”? What are the detailed levels needed (e.g., the split between cannabis for medical use and cannabis for non-medical use)? Should we create categories for cannabis concentrates and cannabis-infused-edibles at this time? Should the level of THC and CBD be used as a criteria to split categories?

Classifying cannabis products is not a straightforward exercise. It has to be done in a way that considers some important information. For instance, the period of legalization needed to be considered: transitioning from prohibition to legalization of cannabis where legalization has two main phases: a) legalization of cannabis for medical use, and b) legalization of cannabis for non-medical use. Many different cannabis strains are collectively called “cannabis for medical use”, but the same strains will also be called “cannabis for non-medical or recreational use”. There are more than 2,000 known cannabis strains derived from Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis varieties. The number of strains will grow fast with the legalization of cannabis for non-medical use. Since many varieties of the cannabis plants and plant parts (including the derivatives) all share the same name (sativa, indica, hybrid), the terms used to “qualify” cannabis (“medical cannabis or for medical use”, “recreational cannabis”, etc.) can easily become ambiguous.

The full structure of NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 2.0 containing classification items for cannabis products is now available online. The following summarizes the classification of cannabis products in NAPCS Canada:

6.2 Price indexes

6.3 International trade

The Harmonized System (HS) is the international classification of goods traded internationally as imports and exports. The following are the most important HS codes related to cannabis.

Canadian Export Classification

  • 0602.90.90 Live plants, nes
  • 1209.99.00 Seeds for sowing, nes
  • 1211.90.10 Cannabis plants (including seeds, and fresh and dried cannabis)
  • 1301.90.10 Cannabis resin
  • 1302.19.10 Cannabis oil and extracts
  • 3004.90.10 Cannabis medicaments (including solids and non-solids containing cannabis, and cannabis solid and non-solid concentrates)

Customs Tariff (Imports)

  • 0602.90.90.90 Live plants, nes
  • 1209.99.10.29 Seeds for sowing, nes
  • 1211.90.90.50 Cannabis plants (including seeds, and fresh and dried cannabis)
  • 1301.90.00.10 Cannabis resin
  • 1302.19.00.10 Cannabis oil and extracts
  • 3004.90.00.21 Cannabis medicaments (including solids and non-solids containing cannabis, and cannabis solid and non-solid concentrates)

The Cannabis Act authorizes the import or export of cannabis for medical or research purposes (Health Canada, 2017a). Cannabis for use other than medical (except for industrial hemp) cannot be imported or exported legally when national and international laws prohibit such trade.

7. Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts

7.1 Goods and services account

  • MPG111C00 Cannabis plants, seeds and flowering tops
  • MPG312300 Cannabis products (except plants, seeds and flowering tops)
  • MPS453BL0 Retail margins – cannabis products (licensed)
  • MPS453BU0 Retail margins – cannabis products (unlicensed).

For the Input-Output Industry Classification (IOIC), the new codes include:

  • BS111CL0 Cannabis production (licensed)
  • BS111CU0 Cannabis production (unlicensed)
  • BS453BL0 Cannabis stores (licensed)
  • BS453BU0 Cannabis stores (unlicensed).

7.2 Government services and revenue

The Canadian Classification of Functions of Government (CCOFOG) and the Canadian Government Financial Statistics (CGFS) are used in the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts to release financial statistics of the federal, provincial, territorial, and local governments; Government Business Enterprises; health and education institutions; and the Canada and Quebec pension plans. The legalization of cannabis for non-medical use will have an impact on government revenues and expenditures, and can be represented in classifications such as the CCOFOG and CGFS . The following categories are proposed to be introduced in next revisions:

Canadian Classification of Functions of Government (CCOFOG)

  • 70311 Cannabis-related use of police services
  • 70334 Cannabis-related use of law courts, affairs, and services
  • 70343 Cannabis-related corrections
  • 70735 Cannabis-related use of hospital services
  • 70762 Cannabis-related health prevention programs

Canadian Government Finance Statistics (CGFS)

  • 1142.4 Cannabis taxes
  • 1143.4 Remitted profits from cannabis sales
  • 11452.8 Cannabis licences and permits

7.3 Personal Expenditures

In the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (CSMA), the classification system used to classify household final consumption expenditures is reflected by the Canadian version of the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP). COICOP is an international system included in the 2008 SNA as the recommended classification system to use when classifying household expenditures. Based on the COICOP 2018, cannabis is classified as follows:

Division 02 – Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics

  • Narcotics
  • Includes: Cannabis for non-medicinal use
  • Excludes: cannabis for medicinal use.

Division 06 – Health

  • 06.1.1 Medicines
  • Includes: cannabis for medicinal use.
  • Excludes: cannabis for non-medicinal use.
  • Restaurants, cafés and the like
  • Includes: cannabis-infused food or drink.

8. Educational programs

Table 3
Variant of CIP 2016 – Cannabis groupings
Table summary
This table displays the results of Variant of CIP 2016 – Cannabis groupings. The information is grouped by CIP 2016 (appearing as row headers), Title (appearing as column headers).

CIP 2016 Title
71.0101 Cannabis processing and inspection
71.0102 Cannabis production operations and management
71.0103 Cannabis product development and breeding
71.0104 Cooking with cannabis, general
71.0105 Cannabis culinary arts/cannabis chef training
71.0106 Cannabis health policy analysis
71.0107 Cannabis abuse/cannabis addiction counselling
71.0108 Cannabis public health, other
71.0109 Cannabis health professions and related clinical sciences, other
71.011 Cannabis selling skills and sales operations
71.0111 Cannabis marketing and marketing operations
71.0199 Cannabis, other

9. Labour market information

  • 0212 Architecture and science managers
  • 0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers
  • 0822 Managers in horticulture
  • 2121 Biologists and related scientists
  • 2211 Chemical technologists and technicians
  • 2225 Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists
  • 3233 Licensed practical nurses
  • 6421 Retail salespersons
  • 7514 Delivery and courier service drivers
  • 8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • 8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers
  • 9213 Supervisors, food and beverage processing
  • 9461 Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing
  • 9617 Labourers in food and beverage processing.

10. Conclusion

When cannabis for use other than medical purpose was officially legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018, Statistics Canada was ready to appropriately classify the various products (goods and services) and activities related to the introduction of cannabis in the Canadian economy and society. Statistics Canada will continue monitoring the evolution of the cannabis industry making sure the classification systems are adapted to future changes. On the international front of statistical classifications, Canada did not have much to borrow from other countries, and will be looked at as a pioneer in classifying cannabis activities and products within the broad-spectrum supply chain.

Normally, Statistics Canada updates its classification systems in an ‘as-timely-as-possible’, but ‘after-the-fact’ fashion. We try to observe the emerging on-the-ground marketplace characteristics before classifying the products and industries. In the case of cannabis, there are compelling reasons for us to do things differently by trying to get ahead of the game. We are introducing new classifications for cannabis products for non-medical use now so we can begin producing statistics quickly that will allow Canadians to monitor the transition from illegal to legal non-medical cannabis as it happens. This is to some extent a risky strategy because we are trying to anticipate what a new marketplace will look like before that marketplace actually arrives on the scene. Accordingly, the new classifications must be regarded as “work in progress” and updates and revisions to them must be expected.

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Health Canada: Licensed cultivators, processors and sellers of cannabis under the Cannabis Act: (site last visited June 26, 2019).

Herb (Information on cannabis): (site last visited December 05, 2017).

Jane Exchange (The): (site last visited July 24, 2019).

LCBO Cannabis Updates: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Leafly (Information on cannabis): (site last visited December 05, 2017).

Lift (Information on cannabis): (site last visited December 05, 2017).

Manitoba: Cannabis in Manitoba: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Monitor Cannabis Uruguay: (site last visited November 19, 2018)

National Cannabis Industry Association (United States): (site last visited November 20, 2017).

New Cannabis Ventures: (site last visited November 20, 2017).

Newfoundland and Labrador: Cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

North American Industry Classification (NAICS), Canada: (site last visited November 19, 2018)

North American Product Classification (NAPCS), Canada: (site last visited November 19, 2018)

Northwest Territories: Cannabis in the NWT: (site last visited July 24, 2019).

Nova Scotia: Be in the know about legal cannabis in Nova Scotia: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Nunavut: Cannabis: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Office of Medicinal Cannabis (The Netherlands): (site last visited November 06, 2017).

Ontario: Cannabis Legalization: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

PotGuide: (site last visited December 05, 2017).

Prince Edward Island: Cannabis Policy, Legislation and Regulation: (site last visited November 19, 2018)

Quebec: Regulation of cannabis in Québec: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Saskatchewan: Cannabis in Saskatchewan: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

Yukon: Cannabis legalization: (site last visited November 19, 2018).

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City charges retailer for illegally selling cannabis seeds

City officials have busted a Calgary retailer for allegedly illicitly selling cannabis seeds.


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Responding to a tip from the public earlier this month that a store in the city’s southwest was operating as a dispensary and selling cannabis seeds without proper permits, city business licensing officials began an investigation, says a city press release.

City charges retailer for illegally selling cannabis seeds Back to video

“A business licence inspector visited the store and observed plant growing equipment, fertilizers, cannabis seeds and cannabis-related retail items for sale,” it states.

“All businesses displaying, selling or offering for sale cannabis (including cannabis seeds) in Alberta must also obtain a retail cannabis licence from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).”

The operators of the shop — which hasn’t been named — have been issued two mandatory court summonses related to violations of the city business licence bylaw.


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They’re due in court in September.

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“This serves as a reminder that business owners must obtain all AGLC and City permits and licences prior to operating a cannabis store,” said acting acting chief business licence inspector Michael Briegel.

“In addition, all cannabis offered for sale must be sourced from a federally approved and licensed cannabis facility.”

The maximum fine for violations is $10,000 and additional action could be taken by provincial and federal officials, says the city.


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Breigel said consumers should ensure they’re purchasing from licensed retailers whose permit credentials are displayed in the store.

In the earlier months of legalization, city officials handled breaches as part of a learning curve and sought to educate retailers, and these charges are believed to be the first of their kind in Calgary said Abdul Rafih, the city’s manager of compliance services.

“There was a bit of confusion but I think now federal, provincial and municipal governments have provided that education,” said Rafih, adding the store has not been shut down.

“This is a rarity…the rate of compliance in the city has been fairly good.”

A spokeswoman with the AGLC said the investigation is outside its purview because the store apparently didn’t have the provincial regulator’s approval to sell cannabis products.


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Since recreational cannabis legalization took effect in October 2018, the AGLC has slapped 14 cannabis retailers with fines or warnings for violations ranging from serving underage customers to insufficient security to improperly procuring product.

The numbers of breaches have been limited because “inspectors work quite closely and frequently with the retailers,” said the AGLC’s Heather Holmen.

The regulator has approved 461 cannabis stores throughout the province, 105 of those in Calgary.

Last January, city police announced charges against three people and four companies for illegally manufacturing and selling cannabis products online.

Two of those suspects had been denied licenses by the AGLC, said police.

They were the first charges laid in Calgary for allegedly operating an illegal cannabis operation online since recreational legalization.