On June 14, 2019, Health Canada announced the release of the final version of amendments to the Cannabis Regulations, which will permit for the production and sale of edibles, extracts and topicals.
The announcement follows recent changes to the cannabis licensing regime and was preceded by a 60-day consultation period on the strict regulation of additional cannabis products that opened in December 2018 (see our articled titled Canada's Proposed Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals Regulations Revealed for more information).
The announcement came with the release of a document titled Final Regulations for New Cannabis Products: Edible Cannabis, Cannabis Extracts and Cannabis Topicals.
WHAT HAS CHANGED FROM THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS?
Implementation and important dates
Several important deadlines were noted in the announcement:
- June 26, 2019 – the amendments to the Cannabis Regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette Part II.
- July 15, 2019 – license holders may submit requests for license amendments to permit production and sale of edibles, topicals and extracts. For processors licensed to sell already it is expected that amendments will be completed within 60 days.
- October 17, 2019 – edibles, extracts and topicals amendments to the Cannabis Regulations will take effect. Edibles, extracts and topicals will be added to Schedule 4 of the Cannabis Act and will be permitted as new classes of cannabis. Written notice of new edible, extract or topical cannabis products may be given to Health Canada pursuant to s. 244 of the Cannabis Regulations.
- December 16, 2019 – earliest date new products will be available for sale due to the 60-day notice period in s. 244 of the Cannabis Regulations.
Separate facilities required
The final regulations prohibit any class of cannabis from being manufactured at the same "site" as food products. It should be noted that the definition of "site" in the Cannabis Regulations is defined as an "area that is used exclusively by the holder (of the license) and that consists of at least one building or one part of a building".
Multi-packs of edible and drinkable cannabis will be permitted in the final regulations. The total quantity of THC in any multi-pack must not exceed 10 milligrams, and the total size of the multi-pack must not exceed 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent. Multi-packs will need to be comprised of discrete units that are consistent except for flavor and colour.
Packaging and labelling restrictions
Fold out panels permitted on labels
Panels can be provided on packages if the product is too small to provide all the required information but cannot display additional brand elements.
Equivalency and concentration to be included on labels
An "equivalency to dried cannabis" calculation in line with the deemed conversion table in s. 21(3) of the Cannabis Regulations will be required on every label in order to allow consumers to facilitate consumer compliance with personal possession limits.
THC and CBD concentrations have been standardized and must be displayed on packages in "milligrams per gram".
Pressurized containers permitted
The proposed prohibition on pressurized containers (e.g. metered-dose inhalers) will not form part of the final Regulations, as pressurized containers are subject to controls to regulate their safety under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
Further promotion restrictions
Association with flavours
Additional restrictions have been added to prevent promotion or images on labels of cannabis extracts, or cannabis accessories containing cannabis extracts that associate those products with flavours listed in the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act such as confectionary, dessert, soft drinks and energy drinks.
Creating health impressions
Restrictions were also added to prevent promotions or images on labels that creates an impression that:
- health or cosmetic benefits may be derived from the service or the use of cannabis or a cannabis accessory.
- edible cannabis meets particular dietary requirements for young persons, or those:
- with a physiological condition as a result of a disease, disorder or injury;
- for whom a particular effect, including weight loss, is to be obtained by a controlled intake of food;
No association with alcohol, tobacco or vaping products
Promotions or labels associating cannabis products with alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or vaping products are prohibited.
Promotions at age-gated events cannot be seen or heard outside event
New restrictions clarify that promotions in places where "young persons are not permitted by law" may not be audible or visible to young persons from outside the age-gated event.
Limitations on promotional items (swag)
In addition to current restrictions on utilizing items appealing to youth or associated with daring or adventurous lifestyles, any swag would now be limited to the display of only 1 brand element on a particular item. Further, the brand element will be restricted in size to an area equal to or smaller than 300 cm² and no letter may be larger than 4 cm high.
Display of brand elements
The amendments also restrict display of brand elements on any item that is "in a school, a public playground, a daycare facility or any other public place frequented mainly by young persons, or is visible from such a place".
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.