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Health Canada has just released its final set of regulations for cannabis-infused edibles, drinks, vapes and other extract-based products. Below, Cannabis Professional breaks down the key details, which are virtually identical to the draft set of rules released last December.

Health Canada’s final set of regulations
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THC Limits

The 10 mg limit for THC in cannabis-infused foods and drinks set in the draft rules has been maintained in the final rules. That means each edible serving (such as a cookie or a soda-can-sized drink) must be individually packaged and multiple servings will only be allowed to be packaged together if the total THC is under 10 mg (i.e. six-packs of soda-can-sized drinks can be sold as long as each can contains no more than 1.67 mg of THC).

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Vape cartridges will be allowed to contain up to 1,000 mg of THC, but cannot contain any added vitamins, minerals, nicotine, caffeine or sugars. The same 1,000 mg limit will apply to topicals intended to be applied to skin, hair and nails.

Packaging

Plain packaging and child-resistant requirements initially proposed in the draft rules are unchanged in the final rules. No health or dietary claims will be allowed on product labels and no associations with alcohol or tobacco products will be allowed (i.e. cannabis-infused beer and wine will be allowed, but cannot use terms such as “beer” or “wine”).

Last month, Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance, an industry lobby group, released examples of compliant and non-compliant packaging. The two middle cans would be considered acceptable under the newly released regulations from Health Canada, while the cans on the far left and far right would not.

Cannabis Beverage Producers AllianceCourtesy of Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance

As is already the case for dried flower and ingestible oils, labels will also need to display the standardized cannabis symbol and a health warning message. A federal government official said in a technical briefing on Friday there are no restrictions on volume or size for beverages, meaning wine and beer bottle-shaped containers will be allowed.

Production

Cannabis-infused foods and drinks must be produced in a separate facility from other food and beverage production. For existing food and drink producers looking to enter the cannabis business, this will require having a second kitchen. This requirement was also included in the draft rules published in December and were among the most widely criticized as overly onerous by the food and beverage industry.

Timeline

Producers will need to apply to Health Canada for a license amendment before they can begin producing new classes of cannabis products. Applications can be submitted as of July 15th. The final regulations also will not take effect until October 17th, at which point producers with the relevant licenses will be allowed to provide 60 days notice before bringing those products to market. That means the absolute earliest cannabis-infused foods, drinks and other extract-based products will become available for sale is December 17th. New products are expected to “appear gradually in physical or online stores," Health Canada said in a release.

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