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Legislation Regarding Edibles

Recent cannabis legislation is providing new opportunities for Canadians. In particular, the Cannabis Act, SC 2018, c 16 (the “Act”), allows for Canadians to grow their own cannabis, and even make and consume their own homemade cannabis-infused edibles.

However, the federal government has yet to enact legislation respecting the distribution and sale of edibles for recreational use. When the Act came into effect, it was intended that regulations authorizing the legal production and distribution of cannabis-infused edibles would come into effect no later than October 17, 2019.

Q: What can be included in edibles?

A: Edibles must be shelf-stable, not contain poisonous or harmful substances, and not be fortified with vitamins or mineral nutrients. Ingredients can include food and food additives; however, the use of raw meat, poultry and fish is prohibited. Caffeine is also prohibited as an additive and can only be used where it is naturally occurring, such as chocolate, providing it does not exceed 30mg.

Q: What is the maximum dosage?

A: Health Canada has also proposed a maximum dosage of 10mg of THC per individual serving and per package. This limit has been suggested in order “to reduce the risks associated with overconsumption and accidental consumption” of cannabis.

Q: What must be listed on the package?

A: The packaging must include a list of ingredients, the common name of the cannabis, an indication of any allergens, a best-before date, and a nutrition facts table. Prohibited content includes depictions regarding health and beauty benefits, as well as any association with alcoholic beverages and “nutrient content representations beyond those stated in the list of ingredients,” such as stating the product as a high source of fibre.

Q: Will craft products be allowed?

A: Unfortunately for Canadians, it is unlikely (in the short term) that consumers will see the wide range of products and branding that our friends to the south enjoy when it comes to cannabis edibles. Tight restrictions will not only limit edible selection, but will also limit producers and suppliers to a select few. Those hoping for ‘Mom & Pop Shops’ and crafted products may still be looking elsewhere come October 17, 2019.
Perhaps an unintended consequence of the proposed regulations is the stifling of entrepreneurship within the cannabis industry. The people in the cannabis industry have an abundance of creativity, knowledge and skill when it comes to developing products and meeting consumer demands. Unfortunately, there is an expectation that the final regulations for cannabis edibles will be rigid and will require significant activism to change or amend them.

Q: When can I start selling edibles?

A: The proposed regulations much like the Act will strictly regulate all classes of cannabis products. At this time, cannabis-infused edibles cannot be distributed and sold for recreational use. However, by October 17, 2019 Canadian retailers can expect to be able to sell edibles as long as they have the appropriate licensing and comply with very strict rules and regulations. Anyone interested in cannabis edibles should certainly seek professional advice so as to stay within the bounds of the Act and the Regulations.

Nathan Lidder BA, JD, Barrister & Solicitor is the founding lawyer at Coal Harbour Law. Coal Harbour Law is a firm specializing in hemp and cannabis related law. The firm specializes in helping clients seeking, strategic, legal and regulatory advice on corporate and licensing matters.