Data from the Canadian government reveals that no medical cannabis is being imported into the country.
The data from Health Canada reveals that just 20 kilograms of dried cannabis flower was imported into Canada between October 2018 and August 2020. In the same time period, Canada imported just 200 ml of cannabis oil.
According to a representative from Health Canada, these imports were for scientific purposes only – meaning no Canadian patients have no access to imported cannabis.
This has given rise to Canada’s critics, who argue Canada has given local companies an unfair advantage by effectively banning international cannabis imports.
Figures from the Canadian government revealed that Canada exported 5,372 litres of cannabis oil overseas in 2019. This is an 82% increase from 2018 when 919 litres were exported.
Canadian exports of dried cannabis in 2019 also doubled exports from the year before, reaching 3,740 kilograms. Canada is exporting to 17 countries, including Australia. We are Canada’s largest medical cannabis buyer, receiving 3,700 litres in 2019. Figures from 2020 are currently unavailable.
While international medical cannabis companies cannot import their products into Canada, the countries cannabis export market is working overtime.
While Canada’s lack of imports has protected local medical cannabis companies from international competition, countries like Jamaica and Israel are unhappy. Jamaican officials recently appealed to the Canadian government about the “unfortunate situation”, with no success.
Canadian patients are also getting a rough deal, according to the CEO of a multinational cannabis company. While patients in Australia are able to access internationally recognised medications, Canadian patients are restricted to local drugs. These drugs are often more expensive, as companies aren’t forced to undercut each other.
Toronto lawyer Mark Warner specialises in international competition, investment and trade law. He was quoted in the Marijuana Business Daily report:
It’s a no-brainer from a trade law point of view that what Canada is doing violates our international agreements. Canada is begging for a lawsuit.
Warner believes Jamaica will not pursue this with the World Trade Organisation, but the European Union will likely request a framework of cooperation under the Canada-EU trade agreement. Currently, Europe’s medical cannabis industry is in a pickle of its own, as the continent is over saturated with unsold cannabis.
Read that story here.