When Cannabis Act, was enacted last October, it regulated several types of cannabis products including flowers and oils while products like edibles and extracts were still deemed illegal. But now Health Canada is set to make some of those products legal to sell and consume. At the moment, there is still a lot that hasn’t been released but here is what we know.
The revisions to the Cannabis Act includes significant measures around child-resistant packaging and plain labelling to prevent children and young people from consuming the product. The revisions will come into law on Oct. 17, which will be the one-year anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada.
History Behind The New Regulations
Late last year, the Canadian government launched a 60-day consultation to seek feedback from Canadians on what they thought of the new marijuana laws. They specifically asked questions about the updates to the laws to support the production and sale of edibles, concentrates and cannabis topicals. The feedback received was carefully reviewed and helped to develop the final changes to the Cannabis Regulations which are now being unveiled to the public.
What Does The Amendments Mean to the Cannabis Act?
To be able to sell edibles, creams, and extracts, licensed producers must submit proposed products idea for approval two months before anything can be put into production. The government will then either approve or deny the application. Mid-December is likely the earliest any of these items will appear for sale in-store or online.
Edible cannabis products will carry a maximum of 10 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per package and cannot have added vitamins or nicotine. Beverages will also carry this 10 mg limit, meaning a six-pack will contain less than 1.7 mg of THC per can. This is to prevent overdosing and hospitalization as a result of overconsumption. Also, beverages with cannabis cannot contain any alcohol.
There will be small allowances for products with caffeine like cola drinks and maybe chocolate, although the exact amounts are yet to be set. Most importantly, edibles cannot contain sugar, sweeteners, or come in shapes, colours, or flavours that appeal to children.
However, the government regulators don’t want to eliminate THC-infused candy all together, but it says approval will happen on a case-by-case basis. This gives companies the ability to innovate within the regulations as the market demands. Edibles must also be prepared on a site separate to that of any other food or cannabis facility to prevent cross-contamination. If a company is found ignoring this regulation, it can carry up to $5 million in fines.
Marijuana producers will not be allowed to make any claims about the potential health or nutrition benefits on product labels, and packaging will also be required to display the standardized marijuana symbols and a health warning message.
Topicals, like marijuana-infused balms and creams, can carry up to 1,000 mg of THC per package. When it comes to cannabis extracts, the government says again it will prohibit certain flavours that are appealing to children but at this time, it’s unclear what flavours specifically will be targeted. This also means cannabis products cannot contain added sweeteners, colours, nicotine, or caffeine.
These regulations do not affect the way CBD is currently regulated and CBD-infused products would have to follow the current guidelines set out by the Cannabis Act.
Public education and safety efforts are critical to informing adult consumers about the health and safety risks posed by these cannabis products. However, as long as they are consumed properly and responsibly, they are safe. As the new laws are rolled out, Health Canada will monitor the situation and work closely with local government to ensure that the regulations are strictly enforced and there are no additional health dangers.
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