Canada’s health regulator has blamed Covid-19 for the delay in approving export permits to Australia after admitting it is still processing applications received in January.

With staff working remotely because of the pandemic, Health Canada warned the industry to expect “disruption and delays” as it works through applications.

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Nevertheless, the regulator still said it has so far approved 33 permits to export dried cannabis and cannabis extracts to Australia in 2021, mainly from applications lodged in 2020.

Four of the 33 permits have been issued for applications received in 2021, Health Canada said.

Cannabiz is seeking to clarify how many of the approved permits included dried flower.

The delays go some way to explaining Australia’s shortage of dried flower in recent weeks, which have hampered the ability of patients to secure a continuous supply of medication.

A sharp rise in demand for dried flower has also added to the paucity of available product.

Health Canada told Cannabiz in a statement that it receives “many” applications to export dried cannabis and cannabis extracts to Australia.

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...