Health Canada releases proposed pot regulations

The framework for legal pot packaging and retailing in Canada is starting to take shape, with the federal government having released its proposed cannabis regulations on Nov. 21.

According to Health Canada’s report, the regulations would apply to dried and fresh cannabis and cannabis oil, plants and seeds sold by authorized sellers.

The report said regulations for cannabis edibles and concentrates could come at a later date.

The document outlines the need for a standardized cannabis symbol that could be applied to all cannabis products in order to avoid accidental consumption.

The report also includes regulations for cannabis use in veterinary drugs.

While the guidelines would be enforced federally, provinces and territories would be able to oversee the distribution and retail aspects of the cannabis and adjust certain rules.

Other regulations outlined in the report dictate that:

  • Licences would be required for small and large scale production, processing, sale, analytical testing, import, export and research.
  • The maximum amount of THC allowed in cannabis oil would be 30 milligrams per milliliter.
  • Packaging would need to be tamper-evident and child-resistant, prevent contamination, and keep cannabis dry.
  • The maximum amount of cannabis in a single package would be no more than the amount of cannabis an adult could legally carry in public.
  • The regulations would limit eye-catching colours and graphics and fonts on cannabis packages.
  • Instead, the standardized cannabis symbol and health warning messages similar to those on cigarette packaging would be the most visible elements.
  • Warnings would highlight risks, including impacts of cannabis on mental health, the dangers associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, drug-impaired driving and what can happen when alcohol is mixed with marijuana.

The plan also proposes a method to trace pot through the distribution system in order to curtail its sale in illegal markets.

Statistics Canada has said it also plans to start measuring the economic and social impacts of recreational pot — even before it becomes legal.

Along with the recommendations, Health Canada has launched an online public feedback questionnaire with a response deadline of Jan. 20, 2018. Canadians will have until then to submit their written responses as well.

“The purpose of this consultation paper is to solicit public feedback on an initial set of regulatory proposals that Health Canada is considering,” the report said.

The federal government has said it plans to legalize recreational pot by July 2018.