Canada: Weeding Out The Edible, Extracts And Topical Appeal

Last Updated: January 14 2019
Article by Jennifer A. Humphrey and Rick Moscone


On December 20, 2018 Health Canada launched a 60-day public consultation on draft regulations to amend Schedule 4 (the "Schedule") to the Cannabis Act (the "Act") to include the following classes of cannabis that can be legally sold in Canada: "edible cannabis", "cannabis extracts" and "cannabis topicals". The draft regulations also propose that an Order be made to remove "cannabis oil", which is currently listed in Schedule 4 of the Act, from the Schedule six (6) months after the amended Regulations come into force. Following this 6-month transition period, cannabis oil would be subsumed under the new product classes.

The draft regulations also seek to address public health and safety risks associated with the new classes of cannabis, including its appeal to youth and the risks of accidental consumption, overconsumption and foodborne illness, among others.

Public Health and Safety

The proposed amendments to the legislation will put in place new manufacturing controls for the production of edible cannabis products to improve cleanliness and reduce the risk of food-borne illness. For example the legislation proposes:

  • that requirements pertaining to cleanliness of equipment used with cannabis or ingredients be expanded to also include conveyances, which refers to anything that is used within the licensed facility to transport cannabis or ingredients used in the production of cannabis products (e.g., a forklift or hand lift) (requirement would apply to licensed cultivators and processors);
  • a new ventilation requirement that provides clean air and removes unclear air that may have a negative impact on cannabis or ingredients (requirement would apply to both licensed cultivators and processors);
  • an expansion of the sanitation requirements to explicitly require hand cleaning / sanitizing stations and lavatories in buildings where cannabis is produced (requirement would apply to licensed cultivators and processors);
  • protective coverings for employee clothing and footwear (for licensed processors only);
  • that licensed processors who produce edible cannabis or cannabis extracts would be required to prepare, retain, maintain and implement a written Preventive Control Plan ("PCP") to identify and address, through effective control measures, any potential hazards that pose a risk to the production of these products;
  • that all licensed processors would need to take steps to ensure that animals and pests are not able to enter into any building or part of a building where cannabis is being processed; and
  • a requirement that any water, including ice or steam used in the production of a cannabis product, coming into contact with cannabis or an ingredient be potable, unless the water does not present a risk of contamination.

Packaging and Labelling

Part 7 of the Cannabis Regulations identifies the mandatory requirements that currently apply to the packaging and labelling of all marijuana products. The proposed regulations would expand on the information that is required for each product depending on its type.

Currently, Part 7 requires that packaging and labelling of all products include:

  • a standardized cannabis symbol;
  • health warning messages;
  • the identification of THC and CBD content; and
  • child-resistant packaging.

The proposed regulations would also restrict packaging for all classes of cannabis products from including any representation of a health benefit, as well as prohibit against any representation that associates a cannabis product, its package, or its labelling with an alcoholic beverage.

It is also proposed that an exception be made to allow the use of containers that contain metal (such as beverage can) and that the exterior of a container in which a cannabis product package no longer need to have a matte finish.

Edible Cannabis (solid and beverage)

A cannabis edible includes products containing cannabis intended to be consumed in the same manner as food (i.e. eaten or drunk). The proposed regulations seek to limit the amount of THC per package or container to 10 milligrams and will not permit any vitamins, minerals or alcohol to be added to products.

All edible cannabis products also would need to be shelf-stable (i.e. not require refrigeration or freezing), and not contain any product that is considered to be unsafe or would cause the sale of a food regulated under the Food and Drugs Act ("FDA") to be unsaleable.

In addition to the current labeling requirements listed above, the draft regulations propose that edible cannabis products also include the following on its labels:

  • a list of ingredients;
  • the common name of the cannabis product;
  • an indication of the source of an allergen or gluten, or that sulphites have been added to the product;
  • a "best before date" if the product is expected to deteriorate over a period of ninety (90) days or less; and
  • a cannabis-specific nutrition facts table ("NFT").

Further, any nutrient content representation that goes beyond those permitted on the list of ingredients and cannabis-specific NFT (including those that are currently permitted on food such as "low fat") or mention of additional vitamin or mineral content of the product is prohibited. There would also be a new requirement to use "food-grade packaging" for the immediate container of edible cannabis and for any wrappers.

Cannabis Extracts (ingested, inhaled or concentrated)

The cannabis extracts class in the proposed regulations will include products that are produced by using extraction processing methods or by synthesizing phytocannabinoids. As is the case for cannabis oil, the draft regulations would limit the amount of THC per package to 1,000 milligrams and there would be a limit of 10 milligrams of THC per discrete unit that is intended to be ingested or per use (such as in a capsule). Additionally, the proposed regulations seek to restrict any ingredients that include either nicotine or caffeine, as well as prohibits against any added vitamins or minerals. As well, to ensure consistency with the objective of limiting the appeal of marijuana products to children, no sugars, colours or sweeteners are permitted to be included in cannabis extracts.

In addition to the current packaging requirements discussed above, it is proposed that cannabis extract products will also be required to include the following on its packaging:

  • a list of ingredients;
  • the identity of the cannabis product in terms of its common name or function;
  • a list of allergens; and
  • the intended use of the product (i.e. for "vaping").

The container of extracts will also require a design such that it could not be easily poured or drunk directly from the container.

Cannabis Topical

A cannabis topical is proposed to include products that use cannabis as an ingredient and which is intended to be used on external body surfaces (i.e., skin, hair, and nails). The proposed regulations would limit the maximum of amount of THC that can be dispensed per activation of a product at 10 milligrams, and permit a maximum of 1,000 milligrams per package.

In addition to the packaging requirements for all other marijuana products, it is proposed that the labelling for topical products include:

  • a list of ingredients;
  • intended use of the product (i.e. "apply to skin");
  • directions for use (but the content would not be prescribed); and
  • the following warning statement: "Do not swallow or apply internally to broken, irritated, or itching skin".

Products also are not permitted to make any cosmetic benefit claim, such as "reduces the appearance of wrinkles" or "soften skins".


For further information please refer to the proposed regulations which was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on or about December 22, 2018.

The consultation period for the proposed regulations will remain open until February 20, 2019.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions