Marijuana Edibles are Here! Government of Canada Unveils Its Regulations for Edibles, Oils and Topicals
New rules proposed Thursday by the Government of Canada outline how the sale of marijuana edibles, cannabis infused drinks, oils and topics are to be produced and distributed across Canada.
These products will be eligible for sale to consumers across Canada no later than October 17, 2019 – being 1 year since the legalization of dried flower cannabis.
Much to the industry’s dismay, the regulations prohibit cannabis-infused alcoholic products outright, except where the alcohol content is minimal, and the drinks would have to be labelled as non-alcoholic. There goes the beer infused cannabis that some in the industry were anticipating.
Packaging or labelling beer or wine products together with cannabis would also be prohibited. The GC feels mixing these two substances can pose a health risk to Canadians. Instead, the draft regulations, which can be accessed here, announce that big brand beer and alcohol producers may infuse their drinks with Cannabis, provided they do not put their names or brands on the exterior of the cans or bottles. This is consistent with the Governments strict regulation and prohibition of advertising cannabis, demanding a ‘plain marked’ packaging across all cannabis products, whatever the form.
Restrictions are also placed on the ingredients within the edible cannabis – such as sweetners or colourants – as these cause the product to become more appealing to children and minors. Edibles that are packaged like candy or other children’s food would also be banned. Further, there is an outright restriction of infusing nicotine with cannabis products for fear of its incredibly addictive effect.
The draft regulations also put a hard cap on the maximum amount of THC that can be produced within these products. Edible packages (including beverages) and cannot exceed 10 milligrams of THC, while extracts and topicals could not exceed, 1,000 milligrams of THC.
As far as topicals which are strictly for use on skin, hair and nails, manufacturers are prohibited from making any health claims or benefits on their packaging or advertising. We see this is consistent with the restriction faced by Cannabis Store Dispensaries in most provinces across Canada.
Canada has sought to make a clear distinction between medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis – the latter is permitted to be sold in cannabis stores across Canada under the recreational banner, while the former can only be sold by the LP’s direct to medicinal users who posses such qualification. The effect being in most provinces, cannabis stores and proposed cannabis store owners are prohibited from using any imagines or making any references to ‘heath’, ‘dispensary’, ‘medicinal’, or ‘green’.
Across the board, all packaging would have to be plain and child-resistant and display the standard cannabis symbol with a health warning.
Presently, the Government of Canada is gathering public input on these proposed rules until Feb. 20.
In respect of these new proposed regulations, the Government has stated that “Giving adults legal access to cannabis products will help to achieve the Government’s objective of displacing the illegal market and keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”
What does this mean for LP or Micro-Cultivation License Holders?
The manufacturing of cannabis food products fall within the Micro Processing and Standard Processing Licenses once regulations are introduced and come into force (as per above).
However, many companies are getting ready by applying for a Research and Development License under the Cannabis Regulations.
This would permit a company to “play around” with cannabis in creating recipes and product formats ahead of large-scale manufacturing which will begin in late 2019. Given the expected very high demand around edibles in the years ahead, getting an early start in the R&D is highly recommended.
In addition to achieving a Research & Development License, an edibles manufacturer would also implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and good practices within their facility, which is standard practice for many food manufacturers.
With legalization next year, established food manufacturers who do not yet have cannabis experience would be very interested in achieving a Research & Development License for a designated area in their existing facility. For example, a brownie manufacturer could continue manufacturing non-cannabis brownies while at the same time devoting some of their facility space to experimenting with infusing cannabis into brownies, assessing the shelf life and taste, and testing the consistency and potency of its experimental formulations.
Contact a Cannabis Lawyer
Our lawyers have extensive experience in Retail Cannabis Store licenses, Micro-Cultivation and Standard Cultivation Licenses and R&D License for experimentation prior to the legalization of edibles. Should you require further information regarding the process or what we do to help our clients, contact us to speak directly with a cannabis lawyer.
-Shira Kalfa, BA, JD, Partner
© Kalfa Law, 2018