December 20, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

The old approach to cannabis did not work. It let criminals and organized crime profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it has been easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

On October 17, 2018, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, the Government of Canada implemented a new framework that legalizes, strictly regulates and restricts access to cannabis. The expert Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommended that the Government of Canada permit the legal sale of a diverse range of cannabis products to successfully displace the illegal market, and that the products must be subject to strict regulatory controls.

Today, Health Canada is launching a public consultation on draft regulations governing the production and sale of additional cannabis products, namely edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. These consultations build on the Government of Canada’s public health approach to cannabis, which aims to better protect the health and safety of Canadians. These cannabis products will be permitted for legal sale under the Cannabis Act no later than October 17, 2019.

Canadians and interested stakeholders are invited to share their views on the proposed regulations until February 20, 2019. Health Canada welcomes written submissions or input provided online.

Key takeaways from the draft regulations include:

Edible cannabis

Draft regulations propose the following:

  • Restricting the use of ingredients that could increase the appeal of edible cannabis to young persons, increase the risk of food-borne illness and accidental consumption, and encourage over-consumption.
  • Placing a hard cap of 10 mg of THC on the amount of THC that could be in a package of edible cannabis.
  • Requiring child-resistant and plain packaging for edible cannabis to lower the risk of accidental ingestion and making packages less appealing to young persons.
    • The label would need to display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message.
    • It would be prohibited to make any claims respecting health benefits or nutrition on the label.
  • Putting in place strict new manufacturing controls for the production of edible cannabis products to reduce the risk of food-borne illness; and
  • Prohibiting the production of food and edible cannabis in the same facility to ensure the safety and integrity of Canada’s food system.

Cannabis extracts

Draft regulations propose the following:

  • Restricting the use of certain ingredients that could appeal to young persons, such as sweeteners and colourants, or ingredients that could encourage consumption, such as nicotine.
  • Prohibiting certain flavours that are appealing to youth from being displayed on a product label, consistent with rules for other vaping products.
  • Placing a hard cap on the amount of THC that could be in a unit of a cannabis extract—such as a capsule—of 10 mg of THC per unit. The total amount of THC in a package would be capped at 1,000 mg (e.g., 100 10-mg capsules).
  • Requiring child-resistant and plain packaging for cannabis extracts. All packaging, as well as certain pre-filled accessories, such as a vape pen, would be required to display the standardized cannabis symbol.
  • Prohibiting any claims respecting health benefits or nutrition on the label.
  • Putting in place strict new manufacturing controls for the production of cannabis extracts to control the quality of the products.

Cannabis topicals

Draft regulations propose the following:

  • Like edible cannabis and cannabis extracts, restrictions would be placed on the types of ingredients that could be added to cannabis topicals.
  • A hard cap of 1,000 mg of THC would be placed on each package of a cannabis topical.
  • The packaging would need to be child-resistant and display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message.
  • Any claims respecting health benefits on the label would be prohibited.

The draft regulations for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals announced today will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 22, 2018. In the interim, Canadians may request a copy of the draft regulations from Health Canada at cannabis@canada.ca.

In addition to the online consultation, Health Canada will convene regional roundtable discussions and webinars to explain and seek input on the proposed regulatory controls across the country. Health Canada will also continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners, and community-based organizations to continue to increase public understanding of the facts about cannabis and its use.