Cannabis edible and topical products will be available to Canadian consumers by the middle of December, according to media reports. Rules to regulate the products are expected to be released by the federal health agency Health Canada on Friday and would go into effect on October 17, one year after Canada legalized cannabis with the passage of Bill C-45. Initial regulations only included provisions that allowed the sale of cannabis flower and oils.
Once the new regulations for cannabis edibles and topicals go into effect in October, manufacturers would be given 60 days to implement them before products go on sale in December.
Sources speaking with CTV News on the condition of anonymity revealed that the regulations are expected to limit the amount of THC in edible products to 10 milligrams per package. Edibles would also be subject to strict requirements to lessen their appeal to children, including limitations on the packaging and the shape of products. THC capsules are also expected to be allowed by the new regulations, which would limit the potency to 10 milligrams of THC per capsule and 1,000 milligrams THC per package.
Cannabis products will not be permitted to contain tobacco, nicotine, or added caffeine. Alcoholic beverages infused with cannabis will also not be allowed.
Cannabis packaging is expected to have requirements including child-resistant features and plain labels that do not advertise dessert or confectionary flavors. The use of logos and celebrity endorsements is also expected to be restricted, leading many cannabis industry insiders to maintain that branding and marketing products could be challenging.
Greg Boone, the CEO of cannabis firm Dosecann, said in a press release that his company has been looking forward to the release of the final regulations.
“That will get us into the full production of these edibles or value-added products,” he said. “And the goal is to build inventory to be able to satisfy the market that we believe exists across the country for these types of products.
Proposed Regulations Criticized
When the draft regulations were released in December of last year for public scrutiny, many cannabis consumers and businesses were critical of the proposed rules. Jessika Villano, the owner of Buddha Barn dispensary in Vancouver, was opposed to rules stipulating that no more than 10 milligrams of THC are allowed per edible serving and that each serving must be sold separately in child-resistant packaging. With some medical marijuana patients taking doses of 500 or even 1,000 milligrams of THC daily, Villano fears that the cost and all of the packaging will become overwhelming.
“I feel that Health Canada is creating an environmental nightmare,” Villano said.
Andrew Grieve, the CEO of cannabis edibles manufacturer Zenabis Global Inc., said that his company had plans to produce multi-serving packages in an effort to reduce packaging.
“We’ve been working really hard to reduce our packaging overall,” Grieve said. “We’ve been making progress on that point. From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, we think it is very important to reduce packaging wherever possible.”
Yannick Craigwell of edibles company Treatsandtreats said that he fears that the over-regulation of cannabis products will enable the illicit market to continue to survive.
“If there’s a need, people are going to fill that need. If there’s a financial reward for filling that need, that’s the whole premise of the black market,” Craigwell said.