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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

City of Kelowna receives $100K provincial grant to support forestry workers

When the Kelowna Tolko mill shut down in November, 233 full-time employees were put out of work

Okanagan home sales increase over last month, still below 2019 numbers: OMREB

Sales, listings see increase over May’s numbers but dwindle in comparison to 2019

Defence claims Surrey man was mentally unwell at time of West Kelowna murder

Tejwant Danjou’s jealousy ‘tormented him’, according to his defence lawyer

PPE donation reaches Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society

Ending Violence Association of BC received a $20,000 donation for personal protective equipment

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

HERGOTT: Can you get money back if COVID-19 disrupts plans?

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Suspicious activity on North Okanagan bike trails

A rock deliberately placed on a hazardous corner results in bolstered security, cameras

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Trial of accused in Salmon Arm church shooting expected to be brief

Crown won’t dispute not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder defence

Most Read