Article by Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTV News
TORONTO — New regulations for cannabis edibles and topicals come into effect on Oct. 17, with products expected to reach store shelves in December.
Here’s what consumers and parents need to know.
WHAT ARE EDIBLES?
“Edibles” is the umbrella term for cannabis-infused products, which can include beverages, cotton candy, dissolvable strips, gummy candies or baked goods. And topicals are products which can include lotions, balms, and oils absorbed through the skin for relief of pain or inflammation, according to Leafly.
They’re typically made with cannabis oils or dried flowers and can be a good option for consumers looking to avoid inhaling the smoke from joints or pipes. However, the cannabis effects in edibles can be more potent and affect users for longer periods of time.
Health Canada also notes the latency period after consuming edibles can range from half an hour to four hours before the effect fully kicks in.
This was the “most profound difference” to other cannabis products, Adine Fabiani-Carter, chief marketing officer at cannabis company Tilray, told CTVNews.ca over the phone. “If you’re not feeling an immediate effect, don’t just consume more.”
Otherwise, users can accidentally consume too much and experience stronger, unpleasant and unintended effects. The general advice that she and Health Canada have for new users is to “start low and go slow.”
“The beauty of edibles and beverages is you can really manage the potency … people can really control how they feel,” Fabiani-Carter explained.
WHAT HAPPENS ON OCT. 17?
Beginning on Thursday, licensed producers can begin submitting their edible and topical products to Health Canada. Those products will then be subjected to a 60-to-90-day approval and procurement process.
In other words, Oct. 17 is simply one of the first hurdles for edibles to reach the legal Canadian market. A Health Canada press release said it’s created a “strict legal framework to regulate and restrict access to cannabis keeping it out of the hands of youth, and profits out of the pockets of criminals and organized crime.”
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I BUY EDIBLES?
Well, it depends. Because of the aforementioned approval process, products couldn’t hit the legal market until mid-December — at the earliest.
On top of that, provinces will each be allowed to further regulate the products. Depending on where you live, new products can be available in licensed cannabis retail stores, Crown companies such as the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC), and online.
As to whether gummies or beverages will come out first, Alanna Sokic, senior consultant for Global Public Affairs, told CTVNews.ca said that will depend on the focus of individual companies and provinces.
“I would say that B.C. and Quebec tend to take a more robust and certainly more aggressive public health approach to regulating industries such as cannabis,” she said.
And despite the wide variety of products available in the U.S. market, many licensed producers have been concentrating on certain products such as gummies which they get on the market earlier on.
Health Canada further explained that licensed vendors and producers will “need time to become familiar with and prepare to comply with the new rules.”