OTTAWA—The federal government has released a raft of proposed new rules for legalized marijuana that would require mandatory health warnings and child-proof packaging, security screening for pot executives, and limits on the amount of cannabis in each legal joint or vial of cannabis oil sold.
The Liberal government wants to create a range of licenses for large-scale and smaller “craft” cannabis cultivators, as well as separate licenses for large and small cannabis processors.
Ottawa would establish a Cannabis Tracking System to follow the seed-to-sale supply of cannabis in the production and sale chain in an effort to prevent the diversion of illegal pot into the legal market, or the shifting of pot produced legally into the black market for sale, according to senior officials who briefed reporters.
Unveiled late Tuesday by Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and parliamentary justice secretary Bill Blair, the proposed regulations are outlined in a 69-page consultation paper, subject to a 60-day period for public comments.
The government is not proposing to regulate the potency of THC or CBD, the active ingredient in legalized products, but will limit the amount of cannabis per unit. So in rolled cigarettes or vaping products, there would only be 1 gram of cannabis per unit. In cannabis oil or ingestible products, the limit is set at 10 mg per unit or per vial of cannabis oil.
Edible products are not yet legal, and officials said the framework to allow those is expected to be ready for July 2019.
Officials said the strength of THC in the natural plant product averages in the 20 to high-20 per cent range, and rarely up to 30 per cent. That changes for resin products, where some products might have up to 70 or 80 per cent THC.
Petitpas Taylor said packaging would be required to include information on the THC and CBD levels in products “so that Canadians will know what they’re consuming.”
Health warnings will be required and there will be restrictions on colours and prints on packaging so that the products are not enticing to children, Petitpas Taylor said.
The task force led by Anne McLellan last year recommended the government adopt plain packaging rules. The minister insisted that the new rules reflected those concerns.
The proposed regulations would bar anyone with a criminal record for drug trafficking, serious drug-related or violent offences from obtaining a licence to operate or work at a senior level in a cannabis company. However, the minister would be able to license people who have a history of non-violent, lower-risk offences, say for simple possession or small-scale cultivation of cannabis.
The minister who would have final authority over the granting of security clearances insisted she was open to public feedback on that proposal.
The proposed regulations would also set strict security requirements on producers, big and small, including secure areas for pot inventory, video surveillance of their premises, and on site security-cleared personnel.
Asked whether that would exclude many small-sized pot businesses, Petitpas Taylor insisted the government’s priority is public safety and public health.
Source via Toronto Star