Canada: Health Canada Releases Consultation Paper On The Regulation Of Cannabis – Part 2

Last Updated: January 12 2018
Article by Andrew J. Wilder, Yale Hertzman and Vlad Mihaescu

In November 2017, Torkin Manes published an article that provided an overview of Health Canada's consultation paper, Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis (the "Consultation Paper"), which sets out proposals regarding the regulation of cannabis in Canada. Specifically, we considered the proposals related to licensing, permits and authorizations and security clearances. This article considers the remaining proposals in the Consultation Paper, namely:

  • Cannabis tracking system;
  • Cannabis products;
  • Packaging and labelling;
  • Cannabis for medical purposes; and
  • Health products and cosmetics containing cannabis.

Cannabis Tracking System

Under Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the "Cannabis Act"), the Minister of Health (the "Minister") is authorized to establish a national Cannabis Tracking System (the "CTS") that enables the tracking of cannabis throughout the supply chain. The purpose of the CTS is to provide governmental authorities with data to verify compliance with federal and provincial cannabis laws and to prevent the diversion of cannabis into the illegal market. It is proposed that all persons authorized to conduct activities involving cannabis be required to report into the CTS on a monthly basis through an online portal.

Cannabis Products

Health Canada's proposals in the Consultation Paper enable the sale of a range of cannabis products to the public, specifically permitting the sale of the following classes of products: dried cannabis, cannabis oil, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants, cannabis plant seeds, edibles containing cannabis and cannabis concentrates. The Consultation Paper recommends permitting the sale of all the product classes upon the Cannabis Act coming into force, except for edibles and cannabis concentrates, which would be permitted within one year of the coming into force of the Cannabis Act.

Dosage forms of cannabis products such as pre-rolled cannabis and vaporization cartridges, which are not currently permitted under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations ("ACMPR") regime, would be permitted for sale in the recreational market pursuant to the regulations proposed in the Consultation Paper. What would not be permitted, however, is the mixture of cannabis with prohibited substances listed in Schedule 5 of the Cannabis Act, which include nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.

In line with the purposes of the Cannabis Act, the proposed regulations in the Consultation Paper seek to deter and reduce the appeal of cannabis to youth. As such, the sale of cannabis that has any appearance, shape or other sensory attribute that would reasonably appeal to youth is strictly prohibited.

Packaging and Labelling

The Cannabis Act contains general prohibitions on the promotion, packaging, labelling, and display of cannabis and cannabis accessories. The Cannabis Act prohibits the sale of cannabis and cannabis accessories that are packaged and labelled in a manner that is appealing to youth or includes elements to encourage consumption, such as lifestyle branding elements or testimonials.

The Consultation Paper proposes comprehensive packaging and labelling requirements. Specifically, it calls for tamper-evident and child- resistant packaging for cannabis products, with no single package containing more than 30 grams of dried cannabis, or the equivalent amount of cannabis for other classes of products such as oil and edibles.

Labelling requirements include a product description, name and contact information of the processor, packaging date and THC/CBD content. There will be strict regulations with respect to the use of colour, graphics and font size on packaging, in order to reduce the appeal of products to youth. It is proposed that packages must include mandatory rotating health warnings, in a manner similar to what is currently in place for tobacco products. Health warnings must include messages with regard to health effects, impaired driving, use during pregnancy, risk of combining cannabis with other substances, and impact on mental health. Finally, a standardized cannabis symbol must be displayed on all products that contain more than 10 parts per million of THC.

Cannabis For Medical Purposes

Health Canada's proposals with respect to the regulation of medical cannabis are generally the same as under the ACMPR regime, with several proposed changes. Under the ACMPR, patients that have the support of their medical practitioner can access medical cannabis in one of the three ways: by registering with a federally licensed producer ("LP"), by cultivating their own cannabis if they are over 18 years of age or by designating another party to grow cannabis on their behalf.

One proposed change to the ACMPR regime is to enable the transferability of a patient's medical document, which is required by a patient to purchase medical cannabis from a LP. Under the ACMPR, a patient is limited to selecting one LP from which to purchase medical cannabis. The Consultation Paper proposes that a patient would be able to request the return of his or her medical document in order to select a different LP or, in the event of a merger or acquisition between LPs, the medical document could be transferred between LPs with the patient's consent.

Other proposed changes require Health Canada to notify LPs to not fill cannabis orders from health care practitioners who have contravened a rule of conduct or have been found guilty of certain offences. The regulations also propose to expand the grounds on which the Minister may deny an application by a patient to produce medical cannabis privately or arrange to have a designated producer produce it on his or her behalf on the basis of risks to public health or safety.

Health Products and Cosmetics with Cannabis

It is proposed that health products containing cannabis (including prescription and non-prescription drugs, natural health products, veterinary drugs and veterinary health products, and medical devices) be governed by the current framework under the Food and Drugs Act (the "FDA"). Under the FDA, such products can only be sold to the public once they have been approved by Health Canada following a scientific review process, which assesses the safety, efficacy and quality of the product. Also considered in the review process is whether there is a need for healthcare practitioner oversight, in which case the product would be available by prescription only.

Natural health products ("NHPs") are also subject to Health Canada's review process. Currently, there are approximately 220 NHPs containing cannabis that are authorized for sale, all of which contain parts of the cannabis plant that are not captured by the legal definition of cannabis in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act ("CDSA") and contain no more than 10 ppm THC. A new pathway to market is proposed for NHPs containing parts of the cannabis plant that will be regulated under the Cannabis Act, however such products would still be subject to a 10 ppm THC limit.

Veterinary drugs, similar to drugs for human use, must be approved by Health Canada prior to being permitted for sale. In terms of veterinary health products ("VHPs"), which are products used to promote the health and welfare of animals (such as vitamins and minerals), VHPs that contain parts of the cannabis plant not subject to the legal definition of cannabis in the CDSA and containing no more than 10 ppm THC are currently permitted for sale, provided they comply with Health Canada's requirements. The Consultation Paper does not propose to change this framework.

The Consultation Paper provides that health products containing cannabis would be subject to certain provisions of the Cannabis Act. Manufacturers of health products containing cannabis would need to comply with the licensing requirements under the Cannabis Act. Subject to certain exemptions, health products would be subject to the restrictions on promotion, packaging and labelling under the Cannabis Act.

Precautions are being considered for health products that do not require healthcare practitioner oversight (such as non-prescription drugs and NHPs) by controlling the sale of such products behind a pharmacy counter or using the provincially regulated distribution system.

Certain exemptions from the Cannabis Act are proposed for health products containing cannabis. Given that such products would be subject to Health Canada's review process, restrictions on classes of cannabis and package size would not apply to such products. Prescription health products containing cannabis would be exempt from restrictions on access, such as place of sale, because such products have been reviewed by Health Canada and are subject to the oversight of a healthcare practitioner.

Cosmetics containing cannabis- derived ingredients are currently prohibited, with the exception of certain hemp seed derivatives that contain no more than 10 ppm THC. The Consultation Paper recommends that cosmetics containing cannabis- derived ingredients that are currently prohibited would be subject to the provisions of the Cannabis Act, thus making these cosmetics available for sale to the public.


As the proposed regulations in the Consultation Paper are for consultation purposes only, the public and interested stakeholders are invited to provide comments to Health Canada by January 20, 2018 by way of an online questionnaire or written submission. A set of consultation questions can be found in Annex 1 of the Consultation Paper, and more information can be found on the Government of Canada website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Andrew J. Wilder
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions