Health Canada’s Rules Surrounding The Cannabis Edibles Market

Canadians looking to consume cannabis edibles once they become legal are being warned to ‘start low, go slow’ by the country’s health authority. The government has also released its list of rules and regulations surrounding the future market.

On October 17th, 2019, edible products containing THC and CBD such as candies, chocolate, and beverages, as well as cannabis extracts and topicals, will finally be legal. But don’t expect to be able to buy them right away.

Health Canada says products won’t be available for purchase before mid-December, and the selection will also be pretty limited. Products will appear gradually in physical and online stores that have given the government 60 days notice of their plans to sell them.  

Here’s The Deal

As expected, the rules are regulations surrounding the market are plenty. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the proposed government policies:

  • Cannabis edibles will be restricted to a maximum of 10 milligrams of THC in a package. Extracts are limited to 10 milligrams of THC per capsule, or 1,000 milligrams per package. Topicals are limited to 1,000 milligrams per package.
  • It is prohibited to make claims about potential health benefits associated with cannabis.
  • It is prohibited to make products appealing to youth.
  • Sweeteners and colorants will be banned in cannabis extracts.
  • Flavors appealing to young people cannot be displayed on the product label.
  • All packaging must be plain and child-resistant.
  • Labels must be clear and contain a health warning and the standardized cannabis symbol for products containing THC.

You can find a full list of the rules and regulations on Health Canada’s Website.

Industry Reaction

While it’s a relief the regulations have finally been revealed so the edible market can prepare for the official launch, there’s also quite a bit of disappointment.

The Garden Culture team caught up with Vanessa Labreque and Joshua Tuck of the Cannabis Cooking Company at Lift&Co in Toronto, Canada. They say the restriction of 10 mg of THC per package isn’t realistic.

“It’s not economical for the consumer,” Tuck says. “They’re looking at a price of $7 to $10 for 10mg of THC. The home cook can actually go and buy one gram of cannabis for between $10 and $15 and extract anywhere between 200-250mg and make their own doses. We just don’t think it’s a sustainable market and there are going to have to be some changes in there.”

The Cooking Company

Adds Labreque, “They’re restricting to 10mg per package […] One of my biggest problems with that is all the waste. All the garbage already with the cannabis packaging that we need already. These smaller companies are not going to be able to keep up.”

The general consensus from industry leaders at Lift&Co was that 10mg per package isn’t enough, but that it’s better to start with small doses and work our way up to higher ones than it would have been for Health Canada to start too high and have to reduce.

Start Low, Go Slow

As for the government’s warning to ‘Start low, Go Slow’, Labreque and Tuck of the Cannabis Cooking Company agree. Their business venture aims to educate people about how to cook safely with cannabis; when ingested, it is about five times stronger, and its effects can be felt for up to 12 hours.  

“We’ve seen the benefits [of cannabis edibles],” says Tuck. “The worst thing would be for someone to have a bad experience and never revisit cannabis again.”

Check them out if you’re looking for recipes and guidance. They’re a great team.

Stay tuned. The edibles market opens a whole new world of possibilities. It’s going to be a booming industry.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.