Health Canada has released its guidelines for legalized recreational cannabis. These guidelines governs the sale and production of adult-use cannabis, as well as the law enforcement and other aspects of the incoming recreational cannabis industry.
According to the Canadian federal government, their aim is to foster an industry that is capable of displacing the black market and to keep the drugs out of the hands of young people. The government, however, noted that a criminal record for a cannabis-related offence in the past would not keep people out of the legal industry.
What are these regulations?
Federal officials said that license holders for recreational cannabis, as well as people with key positions in a cannabis company — such as master grower — will also have to get a security clearance for them to operate. A security clearance will be granted upon consideration of factors like past criminal record and involvement in organized crime.
Officials, however, clarified that past convictions related to possession or trafficking of cannabis does not automatocally disqualify them participating in the industry.
These security clearances will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will be issued by the health minister.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale added that the federal government will look at the possibility of pardons for individuals who carry criminal records for the possession of cannabis after the new law comes into effect.
Moreover, the regulations spell out the required security setup at locations where legalized cannabis will be sold and produced, including surveillance cameras, physical barriers to prevent unauthorized access, and detection systems for break-ins.
Those engaged in cannabis businesses will be required to report on their company’s financial information annually, including the names and addresses of their major investors, key financial activities like loans and investments, and descriptions of the stakeholders’ involvement.
This, according to officials, will ensure that organized crime will stay out of the new market.
Micro and standard cannabis producers
The new industry will allow for six different license classifications for those who are looking into operating a cannabis business. These include licenses for cultivation, processing, analytical testing, research, and sale.
The cultivation class has sub-classes for micro-cultivation, nurseries, and standard cultivation. Micro-cultivation applies to producers occupying only less than 200 square meter with their cannabis plants. This also applies to those who do not sell or distribute more than 600 kg of dried cannabis over a year.
Health warnings and plain packaging
Two major components of the newly unveiled regulations pertain to the labeling and health warnings required on the packages.
Child-safe, plain packaging must include the standard symbol of a cannabis leaf with a red stop sign and “THC” written. It should also include warning labels such as “Keep out of the reach of children.”
Here are more examples of other approved warning messages:
- WARNING: Do not drive or operate machinery after using cannabis. More than 4,000 Canadians were injured and 75 died from driving after using cannabis (in 2012).
- WARNING: Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Substances found in cannabis are also found in the breast milk of mothers who use cannabis.
- WARNING: Cannabis can be addictive. Up to 1 in 2 people who use cannabis daily will become addicted.
THC limit for cannabis oil will be 30 mg per ml of oil. And while there is no specific THC limit in dried cannabis, each joint must not exceed one gram.
These regulations are set to be published online on July 11.
In addition to these parameters for legalized recreational cannabis, Health Canada also released separate sets of regulations for industrial hemp, police enforcement regulations, and the qualifications for analyzing cannabis.
According to officials, they are confident that there will be enough recreational cannabis products to go around come rollout on Oct. 17.