When Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, was enacted last October, it regulated several classes of marijuana products including flowers, seeds, plants, and oils Meanwhile products like cannabis-infused edibles, creams, and extracts were still deemed illegal, following more research. However, now Health Canada is set to make some of those products legal to sell and consume. At the moment, there is still a lot we don’t know, but here is what we can tell you.
The revisions to Bill C-45 includes significant measures around child-resistant packaging and plain labelling. The revisions will come into law on Oct. 17, 2019, marking the one-year anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada.
What Do The Amendments Mean to The Cannabis Bill?
To be able to sell edibles, creams, and extracts, licensed producers must submit proposed products for approval two months before anything can be put into production. The government will then either approve or deny the application. It seems 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 THC per package. Beverages will also carry this 10 mg limit, meaning a six-pack will contain less than 1.7 mg of THC per can. Government officials say this is to reduce overdosing and hospitalization as a result of overconsumption. Also, beverages infused with THC cannot contain alcohol.
In addition, edibles can’t have added vitamins, minerals, or nicotine. There will be small allowances in ingredients already containing caffeine but those limits are still to be set. Edible products also cannot contain sugar, sweeteners, or come in shapes, forms, colours, or flavours that appeal to children such as any type of candies. In addition, edibles will require child-resistant packaging and plain packaging in an effort to make the products less appealing to youth and children and lower the risk of accidental consumption.
Health Canada says these rules reinforce its overall goal of reducing youth interest or accidental consumption but whether regular cookies will be allowed but m&m cookies will not is unclear.
As far as gummies, chocolates and candies, Health Canada didn’t want to eliminate these types of products all together, but it says approval will happen on a case-by-case basis. This gives companies and those with an entrepreneurial spirit the ability to innovate within the regulations. 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 and Health Regulations
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 cannabis symbol and a health warning message. The packages, however, are now approved to have a peel-away information panel to allow for more information.
Cannabis topicals, like infused balms, salves, and creams, can carry up to 1,000 mg of THC per package. When it comes to cannabis extracts, the government says it will prohibit certain flavours that are appealing to young people; however, it’s unclear what flavours specifically will be targeted.
These regulations do not affect the way CBD is regulated—which falls under the Industrial Hemp Act—and CBD-infused products would have to adhere to federal food and drug regulations. Both ingestible and inhalable extracts also cannot contain added sweeteners, colours, nicotine, or caffeine.
Public education and awareness efforts are critical to informing adult consumers about the unique health and safety risks posed by these Marijuana products. Health Canada has made available today new evidence-based resources and updated content on its website to support consumers in making informed decisions about cannabis.
If you think you can go out in October and buy some edibles, you’ll likely be disappointed. The government says federally licensed weed producers will need time to become familiar with and comply with the new rules to create new product lines. Producers will also need to provide Health Canada with 60 days’ notice of new products.