The sale of cannabis edibles will be legal in Canada no later than October 17, 2019. To prepare, Health Canada recently released its proposed regulations for manufacturing and selling them. While the regulations are likely to be tweaked before edibles sales are legalized, they provide a useful glimpse into the sort of regulatory framework anybody working in the cannabis sector can expect.
If you’re thinking about a career in cannabis, you should pay close attention to the proposed rules. The regulations will affect many different sectors of the cannabis industry, including retail, marketing, and production. Let’s take a look at three important things you should know about the proposed edibles regulations.
1. Limits on THC Will Apply to Packages Rather Than Servings
One of the most contentious aspects of Health Canada’s proposed edibles regulations is the limits it has placed on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The regulations propose a limit of 10 mg of THC per package rather than per serving, which is considered a low-to-moderate dose.
The reason that limit is controversial is because a package can contain multiple servings. For example, a box of five cookies would have just 2 mg of THC per cookie. That means that edibles like cookies and gummies could end up being individually packaged in order to get the maximum amount of THC in each edible. In turn, that could lead to a lot of wasteful packaging.
2. There Will Be Strict Rules Against Cannabis Products That Appeal to Children
Many of the rules for edibles are designed to make the products as unappealing to children as possible. For example, edibles must come in opaque, child-resistant packages with a solid background colour and display a number of prominent health warnings. Marketing for cannabis must also not portray cannabis use in a healthy or glamorous manner. You can learn more about Health Canada’s marketing and advertising restrictions for cannabis by enrolling in cannabis retail courses.
Edibles are also forbidden to be appealing to children in any way. How a product will be deemed to be appealing to children, however, is currently unclear. We know, for instance, that food shaped like animals and cartoon characters will be prohibited (so no gummies shaped like bears), but we don’t know if edibles that are simply sweet or colourful, such as lollipops or brownies, will also fall afoul of Health Canada’s regulations.
3. Cannabis Retail Stores May Have to Wait Longer for Some Popular Edibles
The regulations also state that edibles must be “shelf stable.” What this means is that they cannot require refrigeration or freezing to avoid spoilage. The shelf-stable requirement means that baked edibles like brownies may be difficult to find under the rules. Ice cream, popsicles, and most meats infused with cannabis would also be illegal to sell under the proposed shelf-stable regulations. So if you are planning on progressing into cannabis retail, you may want to hold off on investing in a refrigerator for your store for selling edibles.
Additionally, the regulations state that cannabis products cannot contain any added caffeine, and cannabis-infused alcohol beverages are strictly forbidden.
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