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Feds propose raft of changes to cannabis rules to reduce regulatory burden

Cannabis plants grow inside of Thrive Cannabis' production facility in Simcoe, Ont. Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Tara Walton/THE CANADIAN PRESS) Cannabis plants grow inside of Thrive Cannabis' production facility in Simcoe, Ont. Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Tara Walton/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
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OTTAWA -

The federal government is proposing a raft of changes to cannabis regulations ranging from packaging to reporting requirements in an effort to reduce the regulatory burden.

Outlined in the latest Canada Gazette released Friday, Health Canada said the changes will mean about $41 million in annualized net benefits in terms of administrative and compliance cost savings.

"Health Canada recognizes that there may be regulatory measures that could be made more efficient and streamlined without compromising the public health and public safety objectives."

Proposed packaging changes include allowing the lids and containers of cannabis products to be different colours, permitting cut-out windows or transparent packaging so that consumers can see the product before buying, and allowing QR codes so buyers are able to find more information.

Producers would also be able to package multiple products together as long as the package is still under the 30-gram limit, and products inside also meet packaging requirements. The change would mean producers could sell higher quantities of edibles in one outer package.

Images or information on the packaging would still generally not be allowed, but the rules would be eased to permit adding something specifc if other statues require it, such as the recycling icon.

The easing of rules would also mean producers no longer have to provide paper copies of information sheets to retailers, wouldn't have to submit a notice to government on every new dried or fresh cannabis product they want to sell, and the sale and distribution of cannabis pollen would be allowed.

Producers also wouldn't need to report annually on promotional efforts, and would no longer need to report on cultivation waste.

The changes come as the cannabis industry has faced numerous headwinds, bankruptcies and market consolidation following legalization in 2018.

A group convened by the federal government to study the legislation that made cannabis legal earlier this year made 54 recommendations the updates that range from packaging and labelling rule changes to a review of the excise taxes charged to pot producers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

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