Cannabis edibles to be allowed for sale in December

Regulations announced today also cover packaging rules and who will be allowed to sell new cannabis formats.

The government of Canada is revealing its plans today for regulating products made from cannabis extracts – such as edibles, beverages, vape pens and topicals – as well as the expected timeframe for when they will be available for sale.

The new regulations will come into effect on Oct. 17, but producers have been given 60 days to implement the rules, begin making their products and build their inventory, meaning edibles will be allowed to hit the market in mid-December at the earliest. Edibles and other products made from cannabis derivatives and extracts were not legalized last October, with the government saying it would take a year to examine the category, which it said presented unique regulatory challenges.

Many of the regulations are similar to the broader cannabis category, with an emphasis on safe consumption, health and keeping the products out of the hands of youth. Much like the packaging for other cannabis products, rules will prevent the products from appealing to children, require health warnings and clear labelling about THC and CBD content and limit the degree to which corporate logos and branding can be used.

Cannabis-infused products will not be allowed to also include alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. They must be sold by licensed retailers, and restaurants will not be allowed to serve food containing cannabis. Vaping extracts will be allowed to be flavoured, but not in a way that could increase their appeal to young people.

A report from Deloitte released last week estimated the market for “next generation” cannabis products to be worth $2.7 billion, with spending on edibles predicted to be $1.6 billion, beverages at $529 million and topicals (covering products like skincare and makeup) at $174 million. Major beer companies like Molson Coors and Labatt (as well as some smaller craft brewers) have pegged cannabis-infused beverages as an opportunity to diversify their beverage portfolios beyond alcohol. That’s on top of new companies completely dedicated to cannabis-infused products, as well as efforts from established licensed producers to extend their expertise into new product categories, like skincare.