April 20, 2018
Health Canada has released the first look at what the packaging and labelling provisions of the proposed regulations might look like. The Cannabis Act is still making its way through Parliament so the proposals aren’t final, but they do give a sense of what recreational cannabis packaging will look like – and it’s not dope.
On March 19, 2018, Health Canada released the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis: Summary of Comments Received During the Public Consultation (the “Report”), which summarizes the feedback Health Canada received following the 60-day public consultation on the proposed approach to developing regulations under the Cannabis Act. It appears that tobacco-style packaging may be required for this new product category. Additionally, like alcoholic beverages, cannabis will be sold under regulated conditions.
The Report is meant to give the industry as much information as possible to start preparing for the implementation of the new legal framework and addresses several elements including licenses, permits and authorizations; security clearances; cannabis products; cannabis for medical purposes; and health products and cosmetics with cannabis.
With respect to packaging and labelling, Health Canada made several proposals. In addition to the restrictions set out in the proposed Cannabis Act (discussed in previous articles here and here) which must be complied with, the proposed packaging and labelling requirements from Health Canada would also require compliance with the following:
Further, cannabis products (other than cannabis plants or cannabis seeds) would have to be packaged in an immediate container that is tamper-evident, child-resistant, prevents contamination and keeps the cannabis dry. The immediate container would have to be opaque or translucent.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor tweeted some of the design rules the government is considering:
Plain packaging will be mandatory for all #cannabis products, ensuring that they are not appealing to kids and have information necessary for consumers to make an informed choice. pic.twitter.com/wyVQp2VGgU— Ginette Petitpas Taylor (@GPTaylorMRD) March 19, 2018
Draft regulations will not be pre-published and the final regulations will be published as soon as possible following Royal Assent of the Cannabis Act. Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana is currently before the Senate, which has agreed to hold a final vote on the bill by June 7, 2018.
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