Health Canada announces regulations surrounding cannabis legalization
Health Canada just released the regulations that support the Cannabis Act, which will come into effect on October 17.
The nearly 400-page document outlines cannabis and industrial hemp regulations at the federal level, but provincial and municipal governments will be able to enforce their own bylaws.
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Government of Canada officials stated that a previous criminal record does not specifically or automatically exclude an individual from participating in the legal cannabis market.
Prior convictions will be evaluated according to circumstance, seriousness, recentness, and frequency.
Eric Costen, Director General of Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch for the Department of Health, said that “all facts will be determined. A trafficking charge doesn’t automatically exclude people from participating under the Cannabis Act.”
However, the security requirements prevent anyone with a previous controlled substance offence within the last 10 years from holding a senior position within a cannabis-affiliated company.
Security clearances will be required to hold a licence for cultivation, processing or sale, with the goal of preventing people with ties to organized crime from being involved in the legal industry.
Outdoor and home cultivation
Health Canada regulations will allow outdoor cultivation for licensed producers, but provinces will have the ability to ban it.
No extra security measures will be required for outdoor cultivation, as long as all necessary steps have been taken to adequately control the area and prevent theft.
Home cultivation of up to four plants per household, which has been a point of contention throughout the debate of Bill C-45, will be allowed by the federal government. Provinces are able to impose restrictions on private gardens, as expressed by Quebec and Manitoba.
Micro versus standard licensing
Subclasses of licenses will be issued for micro, standard, and nursery cultivation.
Micro-cultivation will allow producers to grow cannabis within a 200 square metre area that contains all parts of the plant within that threshold. The requirement also pertains to vertical farming.
There is no limit as to how many micro-licenses an individual can hold, nor are there restrictions on having adjacent micro-sites, but they will be subject to municipal zoning bylaws.
Micro-licenses will be issued once cannabis legalization comes into effect on October 17.
Cannabis oil is restricted to 30 mg of THC per millilitre of oil.
No THC restrictions have been imposed for dried flower, in an effort to compete with the black market by dissuading people from having to seek out higher potency cannabis from illicit sources.
Pre-rolled joints will be limited to a one gram maximum.
There has been much concern in the industry regarding seeds that cultivators can use to grow cannabis.
According to new regulations, “a holder of a licence for cultivation is authorized to
possess cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds that were not obtained in accordance with subsection (1) if the holder had submitted to the Minister, with the licence application, a declaration, signed and dated by the individual who signed and dated the application, indicating the quantity of such cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds that they will have in their possession on the effective date of the licence.”
This means that individuals with a cultivation license will be able to use seeds that were not obtained in accordance with Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), effectively allowing for diverse genetics to enter the pool of legally accepted cannabis cultivars (strains).
Branding and packaging
Strict branding and packaging restrictions will be imposed, as previously recommended. Cannabis must be sold in sealed child-resistant, opaque or translucent packaging, with a red cannabis symbol and a yellow warning label.
A brand name will be included on packaging with the option to include one brand element. The font must also be smaller or equal to the font of the health warning, and cannot be metallic or stand out in any way.
THC and CBD concentrations must also be listed.
Several provinces have already passed their cannabis legislation in an effort to prepare for legalization this fall.
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