Canada consulting on possible amendments to Cannabis Regulations

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Canada’s federal government is launching a consultation that could lead to amendments to the country’s Cannabis Regulations, which govern the production of legal marijuana.

The notice of intent for the consultation was included in the March 25 edition of the official Canada Gazette publication.

The consultation opens the door to possible cannabis regulatory reforms in several areas, including licensing rules, security requirements, production requirements and packaging and labeling regulations.

According to the notice, Canada’s “legal cannabis industry has matured, the marketplace has evolved, and there is increased knowledge and data on public health and public safety risks associated with certain activities.”

As a result, “Health Canada recognizes there may be regulatory measures that could be made more efficient and streamlined without compromising the public health and public safety objectives in the (Cannabis) Act.”

It’s unknown exactly how the Cannabis Regulations might be amended.

However, the notice said Health Canada is interested in streamlining regulations, reducing inefficiencies and “(reducing) administrative and regulatory burdens where possible.”

Possible regulatory changes would involve five “priority areas,” with Health Canada providing specific questions to prompt responses to the consultation:

  • Licensing: According to the notice, Health Canada is considering tweaking its cannabis licensing regime. For example, the regulator is asking whether the licensing system could authorize new “activities with cannabis that are not currently authorized” or whether certain activities could be accomplished without a license or a permit.
  • “Personnel and physical security measures”: The regulator seeks feedback on whether “personnel security requirements … could be changed without increasing the risk of diversion or inversion of cannabis” or whether physical security rules “could be changed without posing a risk to public safety.”
  • Cannabis production requirements: “Health Canada has heard that there are product requirements that are more burdensome than those in analogous frameworks, such as those for medical devices or cosmetics,” the notice points out. Among other questions, the regulator is asking whether production rules could be changed to benefit micro-cultivators and micro-processors or whether certain regulatory requirements from food, vaping, or cosmetics rules could be applied to cannabis.
  • Cannabis packaging and labeling rules: Health Canada is asking for feedback on whether packaging and labeling rules could be changed, such as removing requirements to include certain information.
  • “Record keeping and reporting” requirements: “Some license holders have raised concerns with respect to onerous and duplicative requirements,” the notice said. Potential regulatory amendments could change those requirements.

“Input received will ensure that regulatory amendments are informed by and responsive to the cannabis industry, other interested parties, and the public,” according to the notice.

The consultation period is open until May 24.

Any concrete regulatory proposals resulting from the feedback would be subject to “further stakeholder consultation” before being finalized.