Federal

Canadians Hungry for Regulations on Edibles

By Whitney Abrams | April 24, 2017

The Cannabis Act applies to dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, plants, and seeds. The Act, however, did not provide for recreational sales of cannabis-infused food products, which are more commonly known as edibles. Health Canada provided a Q&A on the Introduction of the Cannabis Act. In that report, it was confirmed that once the appropriate “regulatory oversight” for edibles has been put in place and unique health risks and harms are “carefully understood”, the regulations on edibles will come into force.

The government certainly wants to get it right the first time, by ensuring that “measures to protect public health and safety, standardized serving sizes and potency, child-resistant packaging requirements, and standardized health warnings” are developed. The government said that it would develop and publish regulations in line with the Task Force recommendations. We know for sure that sales will, at the very least, have to conform to “the strictest packaging and labelling requirements currently in force in U.S. states.”

The Task Force Report extensively referenced Colorado, and cited the Colorado government’s experience as providing “a number of specific ‘lessons learned’” for the implementation of edible regulations in Canada. In Colorado, sales of edibles have soared since the recreational market was legalized in 2012. The high demand for edibles, paired with the government priority to reduce accidental ingestion incidents (especially by minors) has resulted in stringent regulations. Edibles in Colorado are subject to restrictions that set out standard serving sizes of up to a maximum of 10 milligrams of THC, requirements for child-resistant packaging, and the use of warning labels. In fact, in October 2016, an additional requirement was implemented where a new “THC warning symbol” is required to be embossed on all edible cannabis packaging sold in their recreational market.

The type of edibles that will eventually be permitted for sales under the Act may be somewhat limited. There is a strict prohibition in the Act against mixing cannabis products with any substance containing nicotine, caffeine, or ethyl alcohol. This will be a complete regulatory roadblock for cannabis infused coffee edibles and the full range of chocolate products. The inevitability of a prohibition on edibles that are “appealing to children” may limit possibilities for certain shape and colours of gummies.

In the meantime, while regulations on edibles are still being “cooked up” by the government, recreational users under the Act will be permitted to alter their cannabis at home. The preparation of edibles for personal use, as opposed to sales, is A-OK, so long as no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process of doing so.


Whitney Abrams

Whitney Abrams

Whitney’s work focuses on providing regulatory advice and advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses in the North American market. She is a frequent contributor to Canada Cannabis Legal.
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Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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