The Cannabis Act of Canada approved the production and sale of cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals on October 17, 2019. Today, there are many kinds of these legal products on the shelves of legal dispensaries. What is the impact of these regulations on businesses and consumers?
A New Opportunity for Business
The recreational use of cannabis became legal in October of 2018. After legalization, the Canadian government started consulting the public on the possible regulations for edible cannabis and other potential cannabis products.
Businesses in the food industry began speculating about the potential market opportunities of merging with the cannabis industry. The forecast for the next generation of cannabis products was expected to be worth $2.7B annually. Most users reported that they were more likely to consume cannabis-infused brownies, cookies, and chocolates at least once in three months.
Before the regulations were released, business opportunities were expected to come from different sources, including:
- Selling cannabis-infused food and drink
- Selling pre-packed cannabis-infused edibles
- Revenue from lounges and clubs specifically for cannabis consumption
- Revenue from tourism
- Retail sales of cannabis edibles and other products
If you plan to get into the cannabis business, there are now new rules and regulations on processing cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals. Read on to learn more.
Overview of Cannabis Edibles Regulations
The Cannabis Regulations for edibles can be summarized as follows:
- The THC limit for edibles is 10 mg.
- The product should not contain added vitamins, minerals, nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.
- The packaging should be plain and child-resistant.
- Products that contain THC should have a standardized cannabis symbol.
- Products should include a health warning message.
- Products should state the THC/CBD content, list of ingredients, and allergens.
- Product labels should consist of a nutrition facts table.
- Products should display their equivalent to dried cannabis to determine the public possession limit.
Under the law, edible cannabis is considered cannabis and will be under the strict regulation of the Cannabis Act of Canada. The rules are meant to protect public health and safety and eliminate the possibility of food-borne illnesses caused by product contamination.
Health Canada oversees these regulations and puts them into effect to control the manufacture and production of cannabis edibles. Cannabis edibles and their ingredients must be strictly controlled to prevent contamination. These measures align with the requirements of the other regulations of food safety.
The regulations ban the production of:
- Frozen or refrigerated cannabis products
- Edibles that include raw animal products
- Cannabis alcoholic beverages
- Cannabis products that contain nicotine or caffeine
- Cannabis products that appeal to children
- Vapes that have scents that appeal to children
If you plan on venturing into the cannabis industry, some regulations may frustrate you. Some of these regulations include the following:
- Restaurants are now allowed to serve foods or beverages that contain cannabis.
- Cannabis products cannot be manufactured in the same facility as food products.
- Cannabis edibles have to be produced in facilities that meet sanitary conditions imposed by the government.
- You need to get a license from Health Canada to manufacture cannabis edibles.
- License holders cannot sell non-medical cannabis products directly to the public.
- Retailers have to acquire the proper authorization from provincial or territorial authorities to sell cannabis edibles.
The Cannabis Act provides detailed enforcement tools to determine the appropriate action in the case of non-compliance. Hence, it is essential to study the regulations in this act before entering into the cannabis industry.
Remember that the regulations are designed with public health and safety in mind. You may have to seek legal advice to ensure that you do not break any rules as you start venturing into any business involving weed.
The Cannabis Act of Canada
The Cannabis Act of Canada came into full force on October 17, 2018, to legalize and regulate the sale, possession, production, and distribution of cannabis products. The act was not drafted to provide cannabis regulations but also to prevent young people from getting access to cannabis and displace the illegal trade of cannabis in the illicit market.
The proposed regulations aimed to protect the health and safety of the younger population of Canadian society. Hence, the Cannabis Act established severe punishments for anyone who sells or provides cannabis to the youth or uses the youth to commit criminal offences involving cannabis.
Organized crime and illegal traders profit much from the sale of illicit drugs. Hence, to reduce and potentially eliminate the unlawful sale and distribution of cannabis, the Cannabis Act came into being. With legal cannabis available from federal licence holders, more consumers are expected to stay away from the illicit market and purchase their cannabis legally.
Cannabis is available for adults at least 18, 19, or 21 years old (depending on the province or territory). They are allowed to possess a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis or its fresh cannabis equivalent in public. They can also share the same amount with other adults of legal age.
There are prohibitions under the Cannabis Act that are essential to note. For example, cannabis products, including their packaging and labelling, should not be appealing to the youth. Remember that one of the act’s purposes is to prevent the youth from consuming cannabis. Also, cannabis products cannot be promoted unless it is authorized under the Cannabis act.
Legalization of Edible Cannabis
The final regulations for edibles were made available on June 14, 2019, and enacted on October 17, 2019. At this time, the Cannabis Act included the legalization of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. Edible cannabis can be bought from licensed provincial retailers or federally-licensed sellers for medical purposes.
Due to the legalization of edibles, many edible cannabis products such as gummies, candies, chocolate bars, and the like became more prevalent in cannabis dispensaries. For public health and safety, these products are subject to regulations.
The objective of legalizing edible cannabis, cannabis extract, and cannabis topical is to displace the illegal cannabis product market. Criminals and organized crime are profiting from the illicit trade of cannabis oil, medical cannabis, cannabis plant seeds, cannabis edibles, and the like. However, these products are usually not subjected to lab tests and quality standards.
Health Canada and Edibles Regulations
Health Canada regulates the sale of cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals at various weed dispensaries in Canada. The sale of edibles, extracts, and topicals became legal on October 17, 2019. How do they classify these products?
Edible cannabis refers to foods and beverages that contain cannabis. These are intended to be eaten or drunk. Cannabis extracts refer to cannabis products extracted from hemp or marijuana or synthesized in a lab. Cannabis topicals refer to cannabis products that are not intended to be eaten but are designed to be applied on external body surfaces, such as the skin and hair.
Cannabis licenses can be obtained from Health Canada. You may also need one from the Canada Revenue Agency.
A license from Health Canada will authorize you to:
- grow cannabis commercially on a small or large scale
- process cannabis finished products complete with packaging and labelling
- sell medical cannabis
- conduct tests on cannabis
- conduct cannabis research
If you already hold a license and are interested in producing edibles, extracts, and topicals, you need to contact Health Canada for amendments to your license.
If you are a cultivator and a processor of cannabis products and want to sell, you must obtain a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) license.
When you get your license, you also have to purchase and apply cannabis excise stamps if you package your cannabis products, compute the duty on your sales, and file your return and excise duty to the CRA.
All legally produced cannabis products should have an excise stamp unless it contains less than 0.3% THC or does not contain any THC.
For recreational cannabis products, you have to visit the proper provincial or territorial licensing authority to get authorization.
Regulatory Requirements for Good Production Practices
Part 5 of the Cannabis Regulations provide requirements related to Good Production Practices. This part is related to quality control in producing, distributing, and storing cannabis products. The provisions impose rules to prevent any product contamination and ensure the safety of consumers.
The guide is divided into three organized sections. The first section deals with general requirements to be satisfied before selling, distributing, or exporting cannabis. The second section involves additional requirements for processing before selling, distributing, and exporting cannabis. The third provides testing requirements needed before selling or exporting cannabis products.
Standard operational procedures have to be set in place to comply with the GPP and ensure the quality of finished products. Some examples of SOPs include the following:
- Sanitizing the building or parts of the building
- Ensuring employee hygiene
- Proper distribution, transfer, and receipt of ingredients
- Proper production and processing of products
- Testing and sampling of cannabis
- Appropriate packaging, labelling, and storage
Cannabis should not be treated with any pest control product unless duly registered under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) for cannabis use. Also, any sanitizer or non-food chemical agent has to be identified before being used in the production site.
Processors and cultivators must also have ventilation systems to provide clean air within production facilities. Any unclean air can have an adverse impact on the quality of cannabis and other ingredients for edibles.
Licensed processors can conduct testing for microbes and chemical contaminants either at the final production process or on the product’s final form. Testing ensures the quality of the final product because it checks for potentially harmful bacteria or chemical pollutants that may affect consumers’ health.
The complete regulatory requirements for good production practices are available on the official website of the Government of Canada.
Rules for Edibles, Extracts, and Topicals
Prohibition on Risky Product Forms
The Canadian government has to impose rules on new classes of cannabis products to ensure public safety. There are product forms that may have a potential risk to human health. For example, products intended to be used on the human eye, on damaged or broken skin, or to penetrate the skin barrier, may continue to be prohibited.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Limit
The Cannabis Act imposes a limit of 10 mg of THC on edible cannabis. This limit applies to discrete units (individual servings) and immediate containers. For example, every immediate container should only contain cannabis products having a total of 10 mg THC. If one serving of cannabis edible includes 10 mg of THC, then one immediate container should hold only one serving. If the discrete units contain 2 mg per serving, the immediate container could contain five discrete units.
The rules for cannabis extracts are different. The limit is 10 mg of THC for every discrete unit intended for ingestion. The limit per immediate container is 1,000 mg of THC. Therefore, an immediate unit can contain up to 100 discrete units of 10 mg THC or 200 discrete units of 5 mg THC.
Variability Limit on CBD and THC
There are variability limits on the CBD and THC content on a cannabis product.
For edibles, if the total CBD or THC content displayed on a product is more than 5 mg, the product should not have less than 85% or more than 115% of the declared amount. If the total CBD or THC content displayed on the product label is less than 5 mg but more than 2 mg, the product should not have less than 80% or more than 120% of the declared amount. If the total CBD or THC content displayed on the product label is less than 2 mg, the product should not have less than 75% or more than 125% of the declared amount.
For cannabis extracts and topicals, the products should not contain 85% or more than 115% of the total CBD or THC displayed on the product label.
Rules for Edible Cannabis
Edible cannabis should contain ingredients that are classified as food and food additives. When using food additives, make sure to follow the limits and purposes prescribed by the Food and Drug Regulations for food.
Cannabis edibles should not be fortified with any vitamins or minerals.
Cannabis edibles should not contain any caffeine unless it is infused into products that naturally have caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee, or chocolate. However, the total caffeine contained in the immediate container should not be more than 30 mg.
Cannabis edibles should not contain ethyl alcohol. However, since ethyl alcohol, as a by-product of some fermented ingredients, such as vinegar, can be present in some products, a small concentration not exceeding 0.5% will be permitted.
Rules for Cannabis Extract, Topicals, and Accessories
Cannabis extracts are not permitted to contain any other ingredients except for carrier substances, flavouring agents, and substances that maintain the stability and quality of the product. They should not contain any sweetening agents, sweeteners, or sugars. They should also not contain any vitamins, minerals, or probiotics.
Cannabis topicals should never contain any ingredient that may lead to injury or harm the consumer’s health when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
Cannabis accessories should not cause any potential harm to the cannabis consumer. Hence, a cannabis accessory should not enhance or alter the effects of the product, increase its toxicity, or increase its likelihood of causing physical dependence. If the accessory is intended to dispense cannabis for ingestion, it should only dispense up to a maximum of 10 mg THC.
Packaging and Labeling
The packaging and labelling requirements that apply to cannabis products in general also apply to edibles. They should have a standardized cannabis symbol if they contain THC. They should display the correct THC and CBD content on the product label. They should also display health warning messages to alert the public at all times. The products should come in child-resistant containers.
The label should show the equivalent of the product to dried cannabis to ensure that consumers know if they have cannabis compliant with the public possession limit.
There are also other labelling requirements for all cannabis edibles. The label should include:
- A list of all ingredients
- The name of the cannabis product
- Any source of gluten or allergen
- Best before date
- Nutrition facts table
For extracts, the label should include:
- A list of all ingredients
- The identity of the specific cannabis product
- A list of potential allergens
- The intended use of the product
For the packaging of edibles, the following should be followed:
- Product packages should have one uniform colour only
- Packaging should be plain and not scented, textured, or embossed
- Inserts, fold-outs, and tags are not allowed
- Corporate branding is not allowed
- Cut-out windows are not allowed
- It should be child-resistant
- It should prevent any contamination
For additional rules, check out the official website of the Canadian government and proceed to the information on cannabis.
What Edibles Regulations Mean to Consumers
Safe and Quality Products
Thanks to the Cannabis Act, cannabis edibles are now legal. With the release of regulations to control the production of cannabis edibles, it means that you can buy safe and potent products from licensed dispensaries. All cannabis edibles undergo safe manufacturing processes before they enter the market. They are also lab-tested for potency and quality. Getting your cannabis products from licensed dispensaries is crucial to avoid getting low-quality products.
Avoid Illegal Products
One of the reasons for legalizing and regulating cannabis is to displace the illegal market. Many unscrupulous sellers still trade unregulated weed products in the shadows. Be careful not to buy from any illegal source. You have no idea if the product is safe or not. If you experience any health issues resulting from consuming an unlawful product, you may have no way of getting the justice you deserve.
Thankfully, cannabis products are now legal. They are packaged and labelled to provide accurate THC and CBD content. When you buy legal products, you know what the package contains because it lists all ingredients and possible causes of allergies.
Knowing the THC or CBD content of a product allows you to obtain a controlled intake. Proper dosing is crucial to the cannabis experience. You do not want to go beyond your tolerance level, but you also do not consume too little. If you’re going to experience the euphoric high of THC, you should get enough of it in your system. However, you do not want to go beyond your dose if you do not experience adverse side effects such as anxiety and paranoia.
Protect Children and Youth
Cannabis regulations provide stipulations that help protect children and youth from consuming cannabis products. Cannabis products are available only for adults at least 18, 19, or 21 years old, depending on the province or territory. The younger generation members are still growing, and cannabis use may interfere with their mental and physical maturity.
Thankfully, new regulations prohibit visual designs and scents that appeal to the younger population. The packaging and labelling requirements are meant to prevent accidental consumption.
Licensed producers follow government regulations to provide sufficient warning on the product labels. However, it is the user’s responsibility to take heed of these warnings. Some products cause psychoactive effects that may impair your mental and physical coordination. Never drive or operate heavy machinery at all costs while taking psychoactive products. If you want to reap the health benefits of cannabinoids but are under prescription medications, always consult your doctor first.
Where to Buy Quality Weed Online
If you plan to buy cannabis flowers, concentrates, tinctures, or edibles, always get them from licensed producers. There are health and safety risks of buying from the illicit market. You never know what you get. We recommend buying from a trusted online source for your safety and protection.
By buying legal weed, you know that it complies with all the regulations of the Cannabis Act. At Pokebud, we ensure that our customers get quality weed at affordable prices. Check our website now to learn more about us and check our shop as well to get your supply of excellent weed today.