With the public’s interest in cannabis getting higher than ever, the industry is changing at a breakneck pace — so much so that sometimes, it can be difficult to stay abreast of its evolving rules and regulations. Thankfully, KGK has got you covered. Here’s our breakdown of recent and projected regulatory developments for this budding industry.
High Times for Edibles, Concentrates, and Topicals
By October, Health Canada is set to release its final regulations for edibles, concentrates, and topicals, following a public consultation period which closed on February 20th. Once released, edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and topically-applied cannabis products will be legal for sale under the Canadian Cannabis Act.
What’s more, edible cannabis-based goods may soon become available in the United States. While cannabis is currently considered illegal by the federal government, the FDA is has opened a public consultation for cannabidiol (CBD). This action comes as a bid to develop a regulatory framework for this compound, which would allow for its inclusion in dietary supplements and/or foods.
“Yes, We Cannabis:” Developments in the US
Recently, Canopy Growth (the largest global cannabis company) signed a US $3.4 billion deal to acquire Acreage Holdings (an American cannabis firm). This made waves in the US industry, with major players seeing this as an indicator that American federal legalization could be forthcoming.
Should legalization occur, it would certainly change the marijuana game. And, if the aforementioned FDA CBD consultation goes through, it would allow the industry to include this chemical in a variety of products. Subsequently, this would increase demand for commercial hemp imports and domestic production, and could also open the door for increased research into cannabis and its medicinal effects.
If the US were to legalize CBD, it could greatly affect our Canadian cannabis regulations. Certainly, it would put pressure on our government to create a less strict regulatory framework for CBD, labeling it as separate from psychoactive THC (the two are currently marked as the same). However, it could also set us at a disadvantage, especially if our regulations were to remain the same: more lenient CBD guidelines in the US could seriously hinder the growth of cannabis products in the Canadian health sector.
Growing Trademark Laws
In Canada, upcoming changes to cannabis trademark laws could also impact this industry. If passed, these regulations will allow companies to hold trademarks on cannabis products and marketing materials — even when they aren’t using them. Consequently, businesses will be able to purchase trademarked names and branding elements that are currently non-compliant but may become compliant in the future as regulations evolve. Potentially, this could lead to the advanced domination of valuable market space by singular entities.
Andrew Charrette leads the regulatory affairs division of KGK Science and has an in-depth knowledge of cannabis regulations in North America and Europe. He has experience in submitting Cannabis Research License applications to Health Canada under the new Cannabis Act, organizing over 50 entries to date. Additionally, he has provided consulting for numerous product claims, as well as NDIN and GRAS supplications to the FDA.
Andrew received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Western Ontario, and later obtained a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa.