Federal

Health Canada Releases Summary Report following Public Consultation on Proposed Cannabis Regulations

By Whitney Abrams | March 19, 2018

In November, Health Canada released its proposed regulations under the Cannabis Act, which was followed by a 60-day public consultation period.  Health Canada received approximately 4,000 responses to its survey by way of online responses, written responses, roundtable discussions and webinars. .  This afternoon, Health Canada released a report which summarizes the findings of its public consultation.

The report reviews responses to each section of the proposed regulations, including: licenses, permits and authorizations; security clearances; the cannabis tracking system; cannabis products; packaging and labelling; cannabis for medical purposes; and health products and cosmetics with cannabis. The report also includes details on proposed label content requirements for cannabis, including display requirements and health warning messages.

What follows are some of the interesting responses and changes coming out of the report:

Micro-Cultivation and Processing License Thresholds Set

The consultation paper proposed that the regulations establish micro-cultivation and processing licenses to encourage and facilitate the participation of small scale cannabis producers. The thresholds for these micro-licenses were subject to feedback and has proposed the following in its response issued today:

“Based on the government’s objectives, the feedback received during the consultation, and drawing from the experience of U.S. states that have established similar categories of licenses for small producers, it will be proposed that the final regulations define micro-scale licenses as follows:

  • Micro-cultivation license would authorize the cultivation of a plant canopy area of no more than 200 square metres (approximately 2,150 square feet).
  • Micro-processing license would authorize the processing of no more than 600 kilograms of dried cannabis (or equivalent) per year, or the entire output of a single micro-cultivation licence.”

Security Clearances

The proposed regulations proposed that personnel associated with certain licenses issued under the proposed Cannabis Act hold a valid security license issued by the Minister of Health.

A “strong majority of respondents” agreed that individuals with histories of non-violent, lower-risk criminal activity should be able to obtain a security clearance and participate in the industry. In response to this feedback, Health Canada has stated that it would consider this response and take it into consideration while developing its official and final regulations.

Cannabis Products

The proposed regulations proposed that under the Cannabis Act, dried cannabis, cannabis oil, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants, and cannabis seeds could be sold to the public. The report indicated that many respondents “took the opportunity to urge the government to allow the sale of cannabis edibles and concentrates immediately upon coming into force of the proposed Cannabis Act.”

The report did not expedite the timeline for regulations on edibles: “necessary regulations addressing edibles containing cannabis and cannabis concentrates will be put in place within one year following the coming into force of the proposed Cannabis Act.”

Although many were hoping for otherwise, the maximum THC concentration for cannabis oil of 30 milligrams of THC per milliliter of oil and limit of 10 milligrams of THC per dose or unit of any cannabis product intended for ingestion, remain the same after the public consultation.

Packing and Labelling

The report detailed the importance of providing “orderly implementation of the proposed Cannabis Act.” To contribute to the success of this goal, the paper included two Annexes (A and B) to the report, which provide “detailed descriptions of label content and labelling requirements that are intended to be proposed for the final regulations”.

These details include:

  • “a standardized cannabis symbol that would need to appear on every label, including specific requirements with respect to its size, placement and appearance;
  • mandatory health warning messages that would need to appear on every label, including specific requirements with respect to their size, placement and appearance. The warnings, covering six topics, are listed in Annex C of this document. A warning (comprised of a primary and secondary message) would need to appear on every label, and the different warnings would need to be rotated on package labels; and
  • requirements with respect to information on THC and CBD content, as well as other information that would be required on each label, including specific requirements with respect to the size, placement and appearance of this information.”

The report, on page 16, also includes very specific and strict requirements related to the use of branding, logos, and colours.

The Standardized Cannabis Symbol

The standardized cannabis symbol proposed is:

According to Annex B to the report, the standardized cannabis symbol must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum size is 1.27 cm (w) x 1.27 cm (h)
  • Outset of 2 point (pt) on all sides in white
  • Must appear in the upper left 25% of the principal display panel
  • The symbol will be available for download from canada.ca/cannabis
  • All components of the symbol must be presented as displayed and as a single unit, cannot be altered in any way, except that it can be enlarged provided all elements remain the same proportionally
  • The symbol must be oriented in such a manner that its text is readable from left to right when the package is displayed, and is parallel with the base of the package

Mandatory Health Warnings

There are 14 proposed mandatory health warnings that appear in Annex C to the report.  Each health warning message is comprised of a primary and secondary sentence.  There are 6 primary sentences, and 1-3 secondary sentenced associated with each of the primary sentences.  Under the regulations, all health warning messages must be rotated and appear on each package of each brand name with equal frequency in a calendar year.  An example of this may be “WARNING: Do not drive or operate machinery after using cannabis.  After cannabis use, coordination, reaction time and ability to judge distances are impaired.”

Mandatory health warnings must be in yellow, and will be required to appear as follows:

A full list of the proposed health warning messages are located at Annex C to the report.

The report also included the following examples of what cannabis product packaging may look like under the regulations:

 


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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