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Edibles, infused products coming in mid-December: Health Canada


June 14, 2019
By Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press

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A “limited selection” of next-generation cannabis products such as edibles will “gradually” hit retail shelves no earlier than mid-December 2019, Health Canada says.

The Ottawa-based agency on Friday released details of the final version of its regulations governing these cannabis products, including topicals and extracts, and indicated the rules will come into force on Oct. 17.

However, Health Canada noted that after the law takes effect, federal cannabis licence holders must provide 60 days notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products.

That means that these new cannabis products won’t be available for legal sale until Dec. 17 at the earliest.

“As with any new regulatory framework, federally licensed processors will need time to become familiar with and prepare to comply with the new rules and to produce new products,” Health Canada said in a statement.

“Provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers will also need time to purchase and obtain the new products and make them available for sale.”

A recent report by Deloitte estimated the Canadian market for these cannabis products is worth about $2.7 billion annually, with edibles contributing more than half of that amount.

Health Canada in February wrapped its public consultation on the draft rules for these additional cannabis products.

The final rules dictate that edible cannabis, whether food or beverage, will have a cap of 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per package, consistent with the proposed regulations. Cannabis extracts for inhalation or topicals, such as pot-infused lotions, will have a cap of 1,000 milligrams of THC per package, also in line with the draft rules.

All packaging must be plain and child resistant, and must not be appealing to young people.

As well, as proposed in the draft guidelines, no elements on these products would associate them with alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or vaping products.

The major rollout of this new class of cannabis products will likely happen further into 2020, said Jefferies analyst Ryan Tomkins in a note to clients before the government announcement.

“We are likely to only see the first products launched late into December… with regulators likely to review numerous details of proposals including testing, manufacturing and packaging procedures as well as product data and ingredient specifications.”