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Update on Edibles: Legal Tomorrow!
Keeping Up With Cannabis

Almost 5 million Canadians reported using Cannabis in the second quarter of 2019. For those Canadians, partaking in Canada’s legal cannabis market is about to become much sweeter…

Update

The Federal Government’s Cannabis Act, S.C. 2018, c. 16 and supporting Cannabis Regulations, SOR/2018-144 (Cannabis Regulations) came into force on October 17, 2018 legalizing the purchase and sale of a variety of cannabis products across Canada. Cannabis legalization afforded adults the opportunity to make cannabis-infused products at home for personal consumption but these products could not be commercially bought or sold. The legalization of the sale and purchase of cannabis-infused products such as edibles, extracts and topicals (which are often referred to interchangeably as Edibles) was delayed to October 2019. This delay was attributed to the added complexity of dosing, packaging, and regulating of Edibles.

On October 17, 2019, the Regulations Amending the Cannabis Regulations (New Classes of Cannabis): SOR/2019-206 (Amending Regulations) will become law and establish a Federal regulatory framework for Edibles. This topic was previously discussed by Mark Mielke, a lawyer in our Field Law Cannabis Group, who wrote a blog post on the suspected content of the regulations at the time. 

Although legalization takes effect on October 17, the Federal Government expects that Edibles will not be available for purchase until mid-December 2019 and selection will be limited. As a result, there will be a further delay until a full range of Edibles will be available for sale to adults in Canada from licensed cannabis retailers. The regulations legalizing the purchase and sale of Edibles affect Cannabis business licencing, dosage restrictions, allowable ingredients, manufacturing and packaging. 

Read on for some tips on how to get rolling on complying with the Federal Government’s regime for the purchase and sale of Edibles.

Licenses

A contributing factor to the lack of cannabis product variety following legalization relates to amended licenses. In order to sell new products, licensed processors (those authorized to possess, produce and sell cannabis pursuant to the Cannabis Regulations) will be required to amend their licences and attest that they meet the regulatory requirements specific to Edibles before they are able to sell them. Licensed processors will also be required to provide Health Canada with written notice at least 60 days before a new cannabis product is available for sale at their facility. The written notice must outline the product class, description and the expected date the product will be available for sale. These amendments will not be approved or processed by Health Canada until the Amending Regulations come into force.

Dosage

The regulations set out the following THC limits for new products:

  • Edibles – 10 mg of THC per package;
  • Cannabis Extract (ingesting) – 10 mg of THC per unit (i.e. capsule) or 1000 mg of THC per package;
  • Cannabis Extract (inhaling) – 1000 mg of THC per package; and
  • Cannabis Topical – 1000 mg of THC per package.

Ingredients and Manufacturing

The Amending Regulations prohibit manufacturers from adding vitamins or minerals, nicotine, or alcohol to Edibles. Depending on the product, there will also be limits or prohibitions on adding caffeine, and sugars, sweeteners or colours. Edibles cannot be produced in the same facility as other food products.

Packaging and Advertisements

The Federal Government has reiterated its current restrictions regarding advertisements and packaging for Edibles, specifically noting that packages must not appeal to children, be child resistant and contain no health claims. Standardized cannabis symbols and warning messages must be on all packages. The maximum package size for Edibles is dependent on the THC content: 90 mL for liquid extracts with a THC concentration of 3% or less and 7.5 g for extracts over 3% THC. Any liquid cannabis extract products must also include a dispensing device.

Additional labelling requirements for Edibles include outlining the THC/CBD content, the equivalent measurement to dried cannabis, an ingredient list, allergens and nutrition facts.

Resources for Businesses and Employers.

Field Law’s Cannabis Industry Group will continue to provide periodic updates on the Federal Government’s evolving legislative framework for cannabis. Stay tuned for more information on labour and employment, occupational health and safety, intellectual property and business-related issues that may arise following the legalization and regulation of Edibles in Canada. 

Chloe Mathioudakis is a Calgary-based dispute resolution lawyer with cannabis industry expertise. Contact Chloe Mathioudakis at 403-260-8530 or cmathioudakis@fieldlaw.com for assistance with cannabis related disputes or questions regarding risk management for cannabis businesses.