According to Canada’s Competition Bureau, Health Canada should relax its limitations on cannabis packaging and the maximum potency of edibles. According to the Competition Bureau, improving the appeal of legal items will increase sales and entice customers away from the black market.
The bureau’s watchdog feels that to encourage businesses to flourish and eliminate the black market while protecting public safety. The federal government should take into account relaxing the stringent regulations on cannabis packaging requirements and increasing the number of psychoactive substances that are permitted in edible goods.
Why is the bureau looking to update the Cannabis Act?
The cannabis sector has had trouble getting off the ground after debuting with much hoopla and exorbitant valuations due to production, management, marketing, and demand issues.
What were the recommendations from the competition bureau?
The bureau made three primary suggestions to assist the sector in getting better, all of which it claims will increase customer choice, encourage innovation, and crush the illegal market.
- The bureau suggests that the health organization reevaluate the permitted level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a serving of edible cannabis. THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes users to feel high, is now limited to 10 milligrams per serving under the law. Still, many black-market products provide far higher concentrations.
- The second suggestion is to loosen prohibitions on cannabis advertising, packaging, and labeling, so that legitimate vendors may adequately explain product distinctions to customers. The laws, as they are now, require cannabis products to be sold in mostly plain packaging, sometimes even with a limit on the number of colors that can be used.
- The third suggestion is to assess the licensing procedure and associated regulatory compliance costs to ensure they don’t significantly hamper competition.
What are the public health concerns?
In general, the proposals make sense for a developing sector. Still, increasing potency is the least likely to occur, according to Michael Armstrong, an associate professor of business at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.
In an interview, he stated, “I don’t think there’s any harm from a public health perspective in allowing producers to put more information and descriptions on their packaging, but the one that would enable edible foods with cannabis to have higher potency… I think the public health people would get apprehensive about it.
One such public health expert, Rebecca Haines-Saah, an associate professor and researcher at the University of Calgary, is concerned about increased potency but claims she can see both sides of the argument.
“It’s tricky,” she said in an interview with CBC News. “The illicit market is far more inventive and will respond when we don’t make a concerted effort to provide legal access to products,” said the author.
Although she claims that “prohibition always comes with harms” and that her general rule of thumb is that a legal product is nearly always preferable to an unregulated illicit counterpart, she does not believe that increased potency should be permitted just because there is a market for it.
She cites clinical evidence demonstrating a rise in the frequency of adolescents and kids visiting emergency departments after being introduced to food intentionally or by accident.
For inexperienced users, elevated THC “carries risks and requires a lot of consumer education,” she said.
The government’s guidelines will likely be less satisfactory in the end, according to Armstrong, even though the sector is happy with the suggestions made on Friday. This is because the government’s and business objectives are sometimes different.
“The federal government wants existing consumers to switch to the legal industry,” he declared. They are attempting to strike a balance since they do not want new consumers to start up.
How we can help?
Cannabis License Experts offers support from day one of starting your cannabis business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, Preventive Control Plans (PCPs), and more.
Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan for your edibles business to help get your products on store shelves.
Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your cannabis business to meet federal or provincial regulations.