Recreational marijuana has been legal in Canada for more than two months, but some companies have been in limbo as regulations remain to be put in place for cannabis edibles, topicals, and extracts.

Health Canada has now released a first draft proposal of regulations for those products, which may have a large impact not just on retail store sales but also on the ability to consume marijuana in public locations.

The provincial government of Alberta, for instance, has been waiting to approve public cannabis lounges until edible regulations are fully in place, effectively nixing public consumption until a full year after legalization at the earliest.

Under the stipulations of the Cannabis Act, those products must be regulated and ready for legal sale by the deadline of October 17, 2019.

Health Canada’s draft proposal will be officially published in the Canada Gazette on December 22, but these key points have already been made available to the public:

  • Beverages or edible products will be limited to 10mg of THC, with capsules and softgels limited to 10mg per unit, rather than per package.
  • Inhalable cannabis extracts will be limited to 1,000 mg per package, with nicotine and caffeine banned from these products.
  • Cannabis topicals for use on skin and hair will likewise be limited to 1,000 mg per package.
  • All edible, extract, and topical products will require child-resistant packaging with a plain appearance.

Those regulations are in line with Health Canada’s previous warnings against advertising marijuana sales and keeping packaging from potentially enticing underage users.

Celebrity names and endorsements are also not allowed by the Cannabis Act, a provision which is sure to face challenges as musicians such as Wiz Khalifa seek to enter the legalized Canadian marijuana market.

The draft proposal also notably prevents alcohol to be added to cannabis products, which may result in problems for various companies currently teaming up with breweries to produce THC- and CBD-infused beers. Those beverages will all effectively need to be non-alcoholic under these proposed regulations.

Health Canada commented on the need for marijuana regulation with the passage of the Cannabis Act:

The old approach to cannabis did not work. It let criminals and organized crime profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it has been easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

Public comment on the proposed regulations will be accepted from all Canadian citizens from today through Feb. 20, 2019 in written or email form.

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