I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Cannabis 2.0: Edibles in Time for Christmas

Health Canada unveiled regulations for the legalization of cannabis edible, extract and topical products on June 14th. The new regulations will come into effect on October 17, 2019. Canada’s 180 licensed producers and cultivators must provide Health Canada with 60 days’ notice of their intent to make products for sale. Federal licensed holders are required to seek an amendment to their license and may do so starting on July 15th. Products will be available for sale legally in mid-December.  This will also give time for retailers to prepare for the sale of these items.

The rollout of Cannabis 2.0 is an exciting time for the cannabis industry, as more products become available to meet high consumer demand. Several major cannabis industry players are developing their edibles and extract product lines, including Canopy Growth, Tilray and Organigram.

“Deloitte’s 2019 Cannabis Report estimated the legal market for marijuana-infused beverages at CA$529million, Topicals (CA$174 million) and concentrates (CA$140 million)”

Authorized retailers and distributors will now have access to new classifications of cannabis products: edibles and beverages, topicals (i.e. lotions), and extracts. The following items are not included: cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages, and cannabis products containing tobacco, nicotine or added caffeine. Concentrates such as vaping oil and/or resin will be permitted. However, no products that have scents, flavours or sweeteners that appeal to children will be allowed. Topicals may not allege any “health or cosmetic benefits” on the label.

Notable Regulations

Amounts of THC permissible in each category:

  • Edibles are limited to 10 mg of THC per package, and may not include added nicotine or alcohol. Caffeine quantities are limited.
  • Cannabis extracts (for ingesting) 10 mg of THC per unit (such as a capsule) or dispensed amount, and; 1000 mg of THC per package.
  • Cannabis extract (inhaling) 1,000 mg of THC per package.
  • Cannabis Topical (applying to skin, hair, nails) 1,000 of THC per package

Labelling and Packaging

Health Canada has given strict rules on labelling and packaging, including:

  1. Standardized Cannabis Symbol
  2. Packaging: plain with minimal use of logos and branding colours
  3. child resistant packaging
  4. health warning listing the products tetrahyrocannabinol (THC) content and cannabidiol (CBD) content
  5. maximum package or bottle sizes

The regulations take measures to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, stating that the production, packaging, labelling and storage of any cannabis products, not just edibles, must occur in a separate building from any food production. While this will add extra expense for producers, it will mitigate against the risk of mislabelling and product mix-ups. 

Products Appealing to Youth

Of paramount concern is that products, such as gummies and chocolates, do not appeal to youth. Health Canada will review each product on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the shape, colour and taste of the product. All product classifications must be child resistant, regardless of the form of the packaging. There cannot be any association with tobacco or alcohol.

Checklist for Entering the Edibles and Topicals Market*

  1. apply for your license early, it’s a minimum 60 days process
  2. do your research, check market indicators; demographics and demand
  3. select one or only a few core products to focus on
  4. approval is not assured; make sure your product and testing stability is solid
  5. line-up distribution and agreements with retailers, if applicable

At Cannary, bringing our clients' products to market is our passion. Our in-house design and development team are experts at creating innovative packaging that is appealing to consumers, as well as adhering to compliance regulations. Our expertise includes brand development, intellectual property, and ancillary products.

Yes, the #greenrush is definitely on. Deck the halls.

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