Canadian Cannabis Edibles Rules
Canada’s medical and recreational market is significantly expanding in terms of patient and consumer count and product diversity. Health Canada’s recent amendment to the Cannabis Act opens the door for edible, extract, and cannabis topical production, use, and sales. On June 14, 2019, new cannabis regulations were finalized, effectively beginning the second phase of adult use legalization in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.
Health Canada’s New Rules
According to the Cannabis Act, edible, extracts, and topicals would be available by October 17, 2019, exactly one year after legalization went into place. According to Health Canada, however, “federal license holders will need to provide 60-days notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products.” 60-day notices will be accepted starting October 17, meaning that the soonest you would see edible, extract, or topical products available is in mid-December.
Buying edibles, extracts, and topicals will soon be legal in Canada, but there are some regulations manufacturers have to keep in mind. Health Canada has instituted the following tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limits for each product category:
● Edible cannabis can contain no more than 10 mg of THC per package
● Cannabis extracts can contain no more than 1,000 mg of THC per package and 10 mg of THC per unit or dispensed amount
● Cannabis topicals can contain no more than 1,000 mg of THC
While many industry insiders scoffed at the incredibly low edible THC limits, others saw these regulations as a good first step toward cannabis market expansion and acceptance.
Packaging and Labeling Regulations
Like most packaging regulations in the states, Canada’s edible, extract, and topical packaging requirements include a call for plain and child-resistant packaging. Brands are limited to one logo per package in order to make room for the government-mandated health warnings.
Extract products and vapes will have a different maximum package size for liquids under and over 3% THC. More importantly, products must not be “appealing to children,” albeit, the language in the rules is purposefully vague to not stifle manufacturers. Each product will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Some of the required labeling information include the following:
● Cannabinoid content
● Ingredient list
● Nutrition facts
● Equivalency to dried cannabis to determine possession limit
● Intended use
How to Buy Edibles, Extracts, and Topicals in Canada
Edibles, extracts, and topicals will be sold through existing brick-and-mortar or online retailers, which have varying regulations depending on province or territory. Provinces and territories can amend the additional cannabis product regulations including determining where they can be sold and consumed (e.g. cannabis consumption lounges).
Flavors and Ingredients
Edible, extract, and topical manufacturers won’t be allowed to add vitamins, minerals, nicotine, alcohol, sugars, colors, or sweeteners to their product. Edibles, however, will have limits on caffeine. Vapes, in particular, won’t be able to use flavorings or colors to make their products more appealing.
Cannabis Businesses are Jumping On Board
Despite regulations not being official, Canadian cannabis corporations are trying to be first in line when the market opens up. Canada’s edibles, extracts, and topicals market is expected to be worth $2.7 billion CAD, which means the sooner cannabis brands can release a product, the better. From Green Organic Dutchman Holding’s new edible and drinkables production facility to Aphria’s joint venture with Perennial Inc to develop edibles and beverages, mega-producers are metaphorically revving their engines before the big race.
Health Canada’s approach to adding on more cannabis products to its list of regulated items focuses on protecting consumers from overconsumption or accidental consumption. The strict packaging requirements and low THC limits on edibles are intended to moderate cannabis use. Canada’s new rules may not be for everyone, but they’re a promising sign for a burgeoning international cannabis market.