Strict edibles guidelines could bog down nascent industry, say lawyers – Canadian Lawyer

Susan Newell

Jul 19, 2019

A recent article by Canadian Lawyer looks at the amendments to the Cannabis Regulations that establish the rules by which cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals will be produced and sold. Author Aidan Macnab reports that although cannabis edibles will be legal October 17, Canadians will not be able to purchase them until at least mid-December, as licence-holders are required to give Health Canada 60 days’ notice, and producers will have to navigate strict guidelines.

Susan Newell, an associate in Osler’s Health  and Cannabis Practice Groups, discusses the guidelines and tells Canadian Lawyer that if edible cannabis is being produced, packaged, labelled or stored on site, regular food for retail sale cannot be manufactured there unless the cannabis and non-cannabis products are in different buildings.

Furthermore, although alcohol companies, with the experience in a highly regulated industry, may be participants in the edible cannabis market, cannabis-infused beverages can’t contain alcohol, can’t be marketed under alcohol brands and can’t be likened to alcohol products in advertising, says Susan.

“So that means that it's not just alcoholic beverage brands. But it would preclude branding flavours with terms that we would associate with alcohol such as IPA or Chardonnay,” Susan adds. “You wouldn't be able to say this cannabis-infused beverage is chardonnay-like.”

According to the article, the regulations also “prohibit flavours, sweeteners and colours that would appeal to minors.” “The appeal to youth is, of course, the overarching concern that the Canadian government has with any of these regs in legalization. That's a primary theme that we see throughout,” says Susan.

For more information, read Aidan Macnab’s article “Strict edibles guidelines could bog down nascent industry, say lawyers” in Canadian Lawyer.