New cannabis regulations could be coming to Canada in the next two years.
In December, Health Canada released its Forward Regulatory Plan for 2023-2025 providing information on regulatory initiatives it plans to propose or finalize in the next two years. The plan also includes initiatives that are planned to come forward over a longer period of time.
Streamlining Cannabis Regulations
Health Canada is considering potential amendments to the Cannabis Regulations to streamline and clarify existing requirements; eliminate inefficiencies and duplications in the regulations; and reduce administrative and regulatory burden.
The proposed amendments include streamlining regulations in five priority areas: licensing, personnel and physical security measures, production requirements for cannabis products, packaging and labelling requirements for cannabis products, and record keeping and reporting for cannabis license holders.
Health Canada launched a 60-day public consultation in March 2023. The comments received are currently being reviewed by Health Canada to inform and prioritize proposed regulatory amendments. A second 30-day public consultation is expected to take place in spring 2024.
Flavours in Cannabis Extracts
Health Canada has proposed amendments that would restrict the production, sale, promotion, packaging, or labeling of inhaled cannabis extracts from having a flavour, other than the flavour of cannabis.
The proposed amendments would apply equally to inhaled cannabis extracts sold for medical and non-medical purposes. It first released the proposed changes in June 2021 with a 75-day public consultation.
Vaping Age Verification
Health Canada is proposing amendments to the Tobacco (Access) Regulations that would prescribe the actions regulated parties may take to verify age and identity in the context of online or distance sales for tobacco and vaping products.
A public consultation is expected to take place in spring 2024.
Health Canada is also proposing amendments to improve the information it collects from manufacturers and importers of tobacco and vaping products, and require that the Minister of Health disclose certain information to the public.
Health Canada is advancing amendments to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (Flavours) to “protect young persons from inducements to use vaping products.”
The amended order and regulations will establish restrictions on the use of flavours in vaping products. The promotion of flavours will be restricted to tobacco or mint/menthol. The use of all sugars and sweeteners as well as flavouring ingredients, with limited exceptions, will also be prohibited in the manufacture of vaping products. Sensory attribute standards are also being included for vaping products to further limit the range of ‘sensory perceptions’ experienced by the user to those typical of tobacco or mint/menthol.
Access to CBD Products
Health Canada has proposed amendments that would enable access to safe, effective, and high quality health products containing CBD that would not require the oversight of a practitioner (i.e., available without a prescription).
Stakeholder engagement and consultations have been ongoing since 2019 and are expected to continue in 2024.