The Cannabis Act currently authorizes the legal sale of dried cannabis, cannabis oil, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants and cannabis plant seeds. In furtherance of its public policy objectives respecting cannabis legalization, the federal government has announced proposed legislative changes to allow for the sale of three additional classes of cannabis. Cannabis oil will technically be removed as an authorized class of cannabis under the Cannabis Act, however, the legal sale of cannabis oils will continue under the new authorized classes.

The proposed Cannabis Act amendments would authorize the sale of:

  • Edible cannabis: products containing cannabis that are intended to be consumed in the same manner as food or drink,
  • Cannabis extracts: products produced using extraction processing methods or by synthesizing phytocannabinoids, and
  • Cannabis topicals: products containing cannabis as an ingredient that are intended to be used on external body surfaces, including skin, hair, and nails.

Proposed amendments to the Cannabis Regulations would establish new regulatory controls to address the public health and safety risks associated with these new classes of cannabis. Some of the new regulatory requirements are drawn from the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, including various production, recall, and preventive control requirements. The new changes also propose various concentration limits depending on the class of cannabis product and, in the case of edibles, a cannabis-specific nutrition facts table. Minor changes will be made respecting drugs containing cannabis, including the removal of the requirement that a person have a drug establishment licence before they can obtain a cannabis drug licence.

As for a timeline, the federal government has been clear: these three new classes of legal cannabis are to be implemented no later than October 17, 2019.