Health Canada expects cannabis exports to continue to increase significantly, with more than a thousand applications already submitted as of September 12, 2023.
The federal regulator has already received 1,211 applications from Canadian companies seeking to export cannabis since the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1, 2023, and has approved 1,147. In a presentation made online on Tuesday, October 24, a representative with Health Canada said they expect these numbers to continue to increase.
The number of applications and permits issued has been increasing on an annual basis, with 1,805 permits issued in 2022-2023, 1,421 in the previous year, 1,267 in 2020-21, 1,213 in 2019-20, and 272 in 2018-19.
The top countries for Canadian companies to export cannabis to are, in order, Australia, Germany, Israel, Argentina, the UK, and the US.
Canada’s Cannabis Regulations allow for the export of cannabis to countries with a recognized legal medical cannabis framework. Currently, exports are only allowed to countries with a medical cannabis framework, often helping to address supply gaps in various countries that have recently legalized.
Canada also allows imports of cannabis on a very limited basis, such as importing starting materials (e.g., seeds, plants) for a new licence holder, or for small quantities of cannabis for research purposes.
Canadian licensed producers have been increasingly looking to overseas markets to address challenges related to the supply glut domestically.
As of March 2023, the most recent data from Statistics Canada shows that 125,981.76 kg of dried cannabis had been permitted to be exported from Canada, and 98,260.18 litres of cannabis oil. Only 28.05 kilograms of dried cannabis and 65.88 litres of oil were imported into Canada.