April 18, 2019 / 2:02 PM / 6 months ago

Canadian industry body makes recommendations to boost cannabis sector

April 18 (Reuters) - The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) on Thursday made several recommendations that address issues affecting the Canadian province’s booming marijuana industry, including having a common excise stamp to help cannabis makers ship their products smoothly.

The industry body also recommended bolstering Health Canada, the country’s health regulator, so that it can issue licenses to facilities at an “accelerated rate” without compromising the inspection process.

Ontario is home to more than half the licensed producers of recreational cannabis in Canada and a majority of employment, said Michelle Eaton, vice president of communications and government relations of the OCC.

Last year, Canada became one of the first major economies to legalize recreational marijuana, a move that has led to the creation of a multi-billion dollar industry. In its report on Thursday, the industry body backed a merit-based licensing system and allowing consumers to buy directly online from licensed producers.

Later this year, Canada will allow sales of new classes of cannabis products, namely edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals, and the OCC believes the government needs to strike a balance between prioritizing public safety and eradicating the illegal market.

The body also recommended working with Ontario’s higher education institutions to highlight employment opportunities related to the sector. (Reporting by Debroop Roy and John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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