The government officially laid out the rules governing the legal production and sale of marijuana edibles, cannabis extracts, and topical products Friday.
The new regulations—which include significant measures around child resistant packaging and plain labelling—will officially come into effect on Oct. 17, marking the one-year anniversary of marijuana legalization in Canada.
But that doesn’t mean pot enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on legal brownies or gummies right away.
When will edibles be available for purchase?
Consumers shouldn’t expect to see edible products for sale any earlier than mid-December.
The government says federally licensed cannabis producers will need time to become familiar with and comply with the new rules to create new product lines. Producers will also need to provide Health Canada with 60 days’ notice of new products.
What are the regulations surrounding edibles, extracts and topicals?
Edibles and extracts will all be limited to a maximum of 10mg of THC per package.
Edible products will require child-resistant packaging and plain packaging in an effort to make the products less appealing to youth and children and lower the risk of accidental consumption.
Cannabis producers will not be allowed to make any claims about the potential health or nutrition benefits on product labels, and packaging will also be required to display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message.
When it comes to marijuana extracts—which include vaping products—the government says it will prohibit certain flavours that are appealing to young people; however, it’s unclear what flavours specifically will be targeted.
Topical products will be limited to 1,000mg of THC per package and will be subject to the same packaging rules.
What do I need to know about consuming cannabis?
Along with the new regulations, the government has issued several cautionary statements to consumers about consuming cannabis, especially when it comes to “double dosing.”
“If consuming edibles, look for products that contain 2.5 mg of THC or less and wait to feel the effects before taking more,” reads the documentation.
“It can take up to 4 hours to feel the full effects of edible cannabis. Consuming more within this time period can result in overconsumption and adverse effects that may require medical attention.”
This isn’t the first warning Canadians have heard about edible marijuana.
During the first wave of legalization, doctors in Colorado issued a warning to their Canadian colleagues, noting that in the five years since the state legalized recreational marijuana use, researchers reported an uptick in cannabis-related hospital visits.
A large number of those cases were reportedly attributed to inexperienced users who consumed too much, too quickly.
The government also reminds consumers to store all cannabis products safely, out of reach from children and pets, and not to operate vehicles or heavy equipment following use.