Freshly baked cannabis-infused cookies cool on a rack inside Sweet Grass Kitchen, an established Denver-based gourmet marijuana edibles bakery which sells its confections to retail outlets throughout the state. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Canada’s proposed edible pot regulations would result in tasteless products wrapped in wasteful packaging, shutting out medical patients and fuelling a continued black market, critics say.

The consultation period on the proposed rules ended Wednesday and Health Canada is now reviewing the responses. Jessika Villano, owner of Buddha Barn dispensary in Vancouver, says she hopes the government genuinely wants her opinion.

“I don’t feel like anybody’s been listening. I feel a little bit deflated, actually,” she said.

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds. Health Canada released its proposed regulations for edibles, extracts and topicals in December and asked for feedback.

The government plans to have regulations in place for those products no later than Oct. 17 this year.

Villano said she’s concerned about a number of elements of the proposed regulations. A single serving would be limited to 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and each serving must be individually wrapped.

The rule is more strict than regulations in Colorado or Washington, where multiple servings are allowed per package, for example in a chocolate bar demarcated into squares that each contain 10 milligrams.

“I feel that Health Canada is creating an environmental nightmare,” Villano said.

Long-time users who take cannabis to combat pain, stress or nausea use much higher doses, with some cancer patients using up to 650 milligrams per dose, she said. The regulations would outlaw higher-dose products and any substitute would be unattainably expensive, she said.

The regulations also say the products must not be appealing to youth and the packages can’t advertise dessert or confectionery flavours. Edibles must also not “encourage over-consumption” and be shelf-stable, so no refrigeration.

While there’s nothing in the rules that explicitly outlaws sweet ingredients, Villano said she’s worried the restrictions mean brownies, cookies and candies are off-limits.

“They’re proposing that we sell sand,” Villano said. “I think a lot of adults would like to have cannabis sugar in their tea.”

Health Canada was not able to provide a response before publication.

Yannick Craigwell’s company, Treatsandtreats, sells sweet goodies containing up to 220 milligrams of THC to medical patients. His packaging isn’t colourful or bright — it’s simply a black bag with a clear window to show what’s inside and a muffin on the logo. But the proposed regulations would not allow a cut-out window nor the advertising of confectionery flavours.

READ MORE: Health Canada releases draft regulations for edible cannabis products

READ MORE: ‘Lock it up’: B.C. doctor warns parents planning to cook up cannabis

Craigwell said he hopes Health Canada sets up an office where companies can send their package designs for approval or disapproval, because “there’s no way to know” what’s acceptable based on the proposed regulations.

He said he had no doubt the black market would persist if the proposed rules are finalized without changes.

“If there’s a need, people are going to fill that need. If there’s a financial reward for filling that need, that’s the whole premise of the black market,” Craigwell said.

Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., said the rules aren’t perfect, but they’re very good. His company is developing a calorie-free cannabis beverage and he doesn’t see an issue with the 10 milligram limit per serving for drinks.

The one type of product where the limit might be too strict is a vape pen, which usually hold a higher dose so they can be used on multiple occasions, he said.

But for the most part, the government is moving forward in a very well-regulated, incremental way, he said, adding it’s easier to increase the allowed dosage later rather than decrease it.

“In the context of how governments normally work, this is astounding,” Linton said.

“The government of Canada has come up with how you can drink and eat and vape cannabis and are regulating it at a federal level and are selling it through provincially controlled stores. Are you sure we’re not making all this stuff up?”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rimbey RCMP members involved in pursuit, shots fired

Rimbey RCMP assisted other central Alberta detachments in significant arrests involving shots… Continue reading

Town to sign five-year policing agreement with Ponoka Stampede

The Town of Ponoka will go ahead with a five-year renewable agreement… Continue reading

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre host Respect Day on May 24th

Event features BBQ, Country Pride line dancers, Indigenous drummers,dancers, and information booths

UPDATED: Ponoka RCMP arrest male on Canada wide warrant

UPDATE for Immediate Release: Collin James Courteoreille was wanted on a Canada… Continue reading

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Driver of semi truck taken to Ponoka hospital after rollover

A semi truck rolled over on Hwy. 2, near the 604 junction… Continue reading

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

Alberta Health Services said there were no life-threatening injuries

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear Alberta murder appeals

Sheena Cuthill and her husband Timothy Rempel were found guilty three years ago of killing Ryan Lane

Most Read