Health agency calls for stricter rules on cannabis edibles

You might not be able to buy cannabis-infused lollipops, gummy bears and certain types of cookies in Ottawa this October, when cannabis edibles will be legalized.

That’s the suggestion from Ottawa Public Health, who wants to see tougher rules around cannabis edible regulation before the products become available.

“We are looking at things from other jurisdictions, like prohibiting products that mimic some foods that are attractive to children,” Marino Francispillai, the program manager of school, community mental health and wellness for Ottawa Public Health, said in an interview on News and Views with Rob Snow.

In their regulations, Health Canada suggests that the packaging for edible products must include “standardized cannabis symbols”, a health warning message, and list the THC and CBD content. Edible products, they continue, must not appeal to children.

But, Francispillai said, these regulations do not go far enough to protect Ottawa’s children.

“How do we make sure that we have something that is imprinted on these products so we know that it's cannabis and it's not something else,” he said.

The OPH report, that is being presented to  also recommends that extracts sold in the city do not use any flavouring agents that could make the products more appealing to a younger audience.

What the federal agency has done right so far, Francispillai said, was set the concentration limit for edible products to 10 milligrams.

Francispillai said it is better for the city of Ottawa to impose strict regulations at the beginning of cannabis edible legalization, because they can be loosened if need be down the road.

Cannabis edible products are not yet available in legal Canadian pot shops. The federal government agreed to postpone their legalization until this October, giving experts an additional year to study how and where edible products should be sold.

There is no law, however, that stops buyers from using buds and oils to create their own.