Health Canada recently released its final regulations regarding the sale of cannabis-infused edibles, extracts, and concentrates, finally starting to open an expected $2.7 billion dollar business sector this December. Of course, the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this September 15-16 will have the latest crucial information and tips for industry participants. Prioritizing public safety, Canada has adopted a cautious approach that will lead to a slow rollout of new products. Starting October 17th, on the one-year anniversary of becoming the first G7 nation to legalize, licensed processors can apply to the government for approval of their cannabis product, triggering a 60-day review window. Thus, Canadian consumers, at the earliest, can expect to see more products on cannabis stores’ shelves on December 16th, just in time for Christmas.

From the CBC:

Greg Boone, CEO of the P.E.I.-based cannabis firm Dosecann, said he’s excited the regulations have been finalized. For the past three years, he said, his company has been preparing for this announcement.

“That will get us into the full production of these edibles or value-added products,” he said. “And the goal is to build inventory to be able to satisfy the market that we believe exists across the country for these types of products.

“Things such as vape pens, potentially topicals, and edibles such as chocolates and potentially gummies. Those types of products will eventually be rolled out.”

It is understandable that industry participants are wary of another conservative approach that will severely restrict edibles to 10 milligrams of THC, prohibit cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages, and mandate strict packaging and labeling requirements, along with other regulations. However, the new regulated market will provide great opportunities to those companies that best navigate the regulations, and, over time, the regulations can loosen up, opening up more sectors, and increasing the overall market size.

Having deja vu and feeling that the industry is taking two steps forward and one step back is a common feeling among many, but moving forward is much better than the alternative. The Canadian industry experienced record-high sales this past March. Next year, revenue numbers will certainly set new records.

Health Canada’s press release announcing the new rules:

Health Canada finalizes regulations for the production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals

News release

June 14, 2019 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for the Government of Canada. That is why the Government implemented a strict legal framework to regulate and restrict access to cannabis keeping it out of the hands of youth, and profits out of the pockets of criminals and organized crime.

Today, the Government of Canada announced amendments to the Cannabis Regulations setting out the rules governing the legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. In keeping with the federal government’s public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis, the amended regulations seek to reduce the health risks of these cannabis products. At the same time, the amendments provide for a broad diversity of cannabis products, which will help displace the illegal market. These products pose unique health risks, which is why we have taken the necessary time to establish appropriate safeguards.

As required by the Cannabis Act, the amended regulations will come into force on October 17, 2019. However, it will take time, after that date, before new cannabis products become available for purchase.

It is expected that a limited selection of products will appear gradually in physical or online stores, and no earlier than mid-December 2019. Federal licence holders will need to provide 60-days notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products, as they are currently required to do. Additionally, as with any new regulatory framework, federally licensed processors will need time to become familiar with and prepare to comply with the new rules and to produce new products. Provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers will also need time to purchase and obtain the new products and make them available for sale.

Public education and awareness efforts are critical to informing adult consumers about the unique health and safety risks posed by these cannabis products. Health Canada has made available today new evidence-based resources and updated content on its website to support consumers in making informed decisions about cannabis.

The Government will also continue to work closely with the provinces and territories, Indigenous communities, the regulated industry, public health organizations, and law enforcement to support the effective implementation of the amended Cannabis Regulations.

Quotes

“The amended regulations under the Cannabis Act will support our overarching goal of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and protecting Canadians by helping to mitigate the health risks posed by these new cannabis products. I encourage adult Canadians who choose to consume cannabis to remember to store it safely out of the reach of children and youth, and to consult the new evidence-based resources on Health Canada’s website that can support you in making informed decisions.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“The amended regulations are the next step in our process to reduce the risks to public health and safety from edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals and displace the illegal market for these products in Canada. We are committed to working closely with the provinces and territories as well as industry in the weeks ahead to prepare for effective implementation of these new regulations.”

The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Quick facts

  • The amended Cannabis Regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 26, 2019. In the meantime, Canadians may request a copy from Health Canada at cannabis@canada.ca. These regulations will not be in force until October 17, 2019.

  • The expert Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommended that the Government of Canada permit the legal sale of a diverse range of cannabis products to displace the illegal market and that the products be subject to strict regulatory controls.

  • In December 2018, the Government of Canada launched a 60-day public consultation to seek feedback from Canadians and a wide range of stakeholders on the draft amendments to the Cannabis Regulations to support the production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. The feedback received was carefully reviewed and helped to inform the development of the final changes to the Cannabis Regulations.

  • If adults choose to consume cannabis in any form, they should

    • Avoid consuming it with nicotine, alcohol, other drugs or health products,

    • Store all cannabis products securely and out of reach of children and pet, and

    • Not drive high.