Canada Proposes Strict Pot Rules

Canadian Flag Marijuana
Photo by: Waehasman Waedarase/Shutterstock

TORONTO — Canada revealed its regulations for legal recreational marijuana on Monday, according to Reuters. Health Canada has published the government's proposals on cultivation, licensing, and packaging for Canada's much-anticipated legal recreational marijuana market.  

The regulations state that those with a license to cultivate marijuana will be limited to processing less than 600 kilograms (approximately 1,300 pounds) of marijuana annually on an area of less than 200 square meters (approximately 2,150 square feet).  

Packaging Rules 

Proposed regulations will also require that all packaging of marijuana products be the same color, with no fluorescent colors allowed. No metallic colors will be allowed as well, and one logo or slogan will be permitted on the packaging along with the name of the marijuana business.  

Canadian Marijuana Stop Sign LabelThe color of the packaging must also contrast with Health Canada's mandatory yellow warning sign and include a red pot leaf stop sign with the letters “THC” printed within the sign warning consumers that the package contains marijuana. The slogan on the packaging cannot be larger than the font on the warning label, and the logo must be smaller than the marijuana logo within the red stop sign.   

All packaging must also be child-proof and include the amount of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol content on the label. The regulations would also demand that the warning labels on all marijuana packaging rotate 14 mandatory health warnings throughout the year in equal segments. The yellow Health Canada labels include warnings about mental health, risks of consuming cannabis while pregnant, addiction, and driving under the influence.  

The proposed regulations also ban the use of inserts inside any marijuana products. The ban is meant to impede marijuana cultivators and processors from taking advantage of the labeling restrictions by sneaking ads inside packaging.    

Youth prevention of marijuana consumption is also important to the government, and the proposed regulations aim to limit accidental consumption with the labeling, according to the Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. "The red stop sign, it's an alarmist type of sign and people are going to recognize that they have to be aware that there is cannabis inside this product," she said. She added that the stop sign symbol is easily recognizable and has been tested by focus groups.   

The Decision-Making Process 

Canadian Attorney General and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Bill Blair, told the press that public opinion played a large part in the regulations, which have yet to be finalized. Blair said that the input from citizens was clear and that the country's regulations must consider the health and safety of its citizens, particularly young people. Also important is Canada having a diversely competitive marijuana industry that can replace the existing illegal marijuana trade.   

The federal government used feedback from the public through discussions conducted online, as well as written submissions and live discussions. Canada received 3,218 online responses, 450 written submissions, and had 192 people participate in live roundtable discussions.  

Canadians consumed $6 billion worth of marijuana last year, with almost 90 percent of that figure being from the illegal marijuana market. That number is expected to soar once legal recreational marijuana is implemented sometime this summer. The Senate will hold a vote on the bill legalizing recreational marijuana by June 7 of this year. Petitpas Taylor said that provincial governments require between two or three months’ additional time in order to implement the program and begin retail sales.