Christmas has come early for cannabis lovers who prefer to ingest their product from time to time.
Today (Oct. 17) is the day cannabis edibles officially become legal in Canada (and while you might not love everything the Liberals did these last four years in office, this is a “promise made, promise kept” situation).
It’s also one year to the day that cannabis was legalized across the country.
Back in June, Health Canada released the amendments to the country’s cannabis regulations to control the legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals.
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The amended regulations include restricting the use of ingredients that could increase the appeal of edible cannabis, increase the risk of food-borne illness, and encourage over-consumption; placing a limit of 10 mg on the amount of THC that can be in a package of edible cannabis; and requiring child-resistant and plain packaging for edible cannabis to lower the risk of accidental consumption and make packages less appealing to young residents.
Labels on products will need to display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message. Also, the packaging cannot make any claims regarding health benefits or nutrition.
The new regulations also prohibit the production of food and cannabis in the same facility to ensure food safety protocol is followed.
With respect to cannabis extracts, amended regulations include prohibiting the use of certain ingredients that could appeal to young persons, such as sweeteners and colourants, or other ingredients that could increase the appeal of cannabis extracts.
The regulations also prohibit certain flavours that are appealing to young people from being displayed on a product label, which is consistent with rules for vaping products.
Health Canada has also placed a limit on the amount of THC that could be in a unit of a cannabis extract—such as a capsule—of 10 mg. The total amount of THC in a package of a cannabis extract is capped at 1,000 mg (e.g., 100 10‑mg capsules).
All packages, as well as certain pre-filled accessories, such as vape pens, are required to display the standardized cannabis symbol. Packages are also required to display a health warning message and boast child-resistant features.
Health benefits cannot be included on any labelling.
With respect to cannabis topicals, the amended regulations include restricting the use of certain types of ingredients; placing a limit of 1,000 mg of THC in each package; and requiring child-resistant and plain packaging for cannabis topicals.
Much like with edibles and extracts, all packaging must display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message and refrain from boasting health benefits.
Although edibles, extracts and topicals are legal today, the roll-out will take some time.
Health Canada says consumers should expect to see a limited selection of new products appear gradually in physical or online stores no earlier than mid-December 2019.
In order to sell new products, federally licensed processors will need to seek an amendment to their licence and attest that all the regulatory requirements specific to the new cannabis products have been met before being authorized to sell them.
Licensed processors will also need to provide Health Canada with a written notice at least 60 days before making a new cannabis product available for sale.
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