2 major Canadian cannabis wholesalers put brakes on delta-8 THC products

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Cannabis wholesalers in Ontario and British Columbia – two major Canadian adult-use marijuana markets – are suspending orders of products containing delta-8 THC.

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) wholesaler is citing “an abundance of caution” over potential health risks from the novel cannabinoid.

However, dried cannabis products containing “low levels of naturally occurring delta-8 THC” will be unaffected, Denny Palarchio, chief operating officer at the OCS, wrote in a Thursday email to licensed cannabis producers.

In the email, the OCS said it has been “monitoring emerging concerns in the United States” around delta-8 THC, in particular public health warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and efforts by state governments “to regulate or ban products that contain this cannabinoid.”

The OCS said it has been distributing products containing delta-8 since earlier this year, including cannabis vapes, edibles, beverages, oils and topical products.

“Although we are not aware of any adverse reactions to these products in the legal cannabis market in Canada to date, products containing delta-8 THC fall outside the definition of THC under the federal Cannabis Act,” the wholesaler wrote.

In British Columbia, a spokesperson for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) told MJBizDaily via email that delta-8 THC products “(fall) outside the definition of THC under the (federal) Cannabis Act.”

The BCLDB’s cannabis wholesale operation “will not be registering or replenishing any products that contain delta-8 THC,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.

“Information about delta-8 THC and the potential biological effects and health risks to consumers is new and emerging, and the BCLDB is working with its government counterparts to determine the appropriate next steps.”

In its email to cannabis producers, the OCS said it has sought “guidance and direction” on delta-8 THC from Health Canada, the country’s marijuana regulator, asking whether federal cannabis law needs amendments “to address intoxicating cannabinoids and other synthetic derivatives not explicitly captured within the (legislative) framework.”

Until then, the OCS said it would stop:

  • Accepting delta-8 THC products in product calls.
  • Issuing notices to purchase new delta-8 THC products.
  • Dispersing purchase orders for delta-8 THC products and cancel any purchase orders that have been issued, but not fulfilled.
  • Issuing replenishment orders for currently listed delta-8 THC products.

Meanwhile, existing delta-8 THC product inventory will continue being sold through OCS’ wholesale channels as well as to consumers through the OCS website.

Ontario consumers purchased 155.5 million Canadian dollars ($113.7 million) of legal adult-use products in September, or 39.9% of all regulated recreational cannabis sold in Canada that month.

British Columbia sales of regulated marijuana comprised 15.2% of September sales, worth CA$59.4 million.