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Canada Increases Legal Cannabis Drink Limit

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Dec 12, 2022   
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Any cannabis consumer in Canada can now buy up to 48 cans (17.1 liters) of cannabis beverages – a substantial increase on the previous limit of five cans (2.1 liters).

The change comes from the Canadian government, which amended a few rules in the country’s Cannabis Act on December 2.

The beverage rule change was made to bring the consumption limits of cannabis drinks in line with the limits imposed on cannabis foods, such as gummies and chocolate.

99 bottles of bud on the wall

In a notice published on December 9, Health Canada (the country’s cannabis regulator) says it remains confident that existing measures, such as child-resistant packaging and strict limits on the amount of THC per container, can still mitigate the risks of over- and accidental consumption.

Beverage producers now have a 12-month transition period to update their labels.

The new rule has been welcomed by many in the cannabis drinks sector.

“Canadians can finally purchase a six-pack, 24, or up to 48 of their favourite cannabis beverages to enjoy with family and friends, which represents a win for consumer choice as this innovative category takes a leap forward,” David Klein, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth Corp., said in a statement.

“As our sector matures, today's changes mark a critical next step by the federal government and demonstrate the necessary evolution of cannabis regulations to support a responsible and competitive cannabis industry in Canada.”

The new Cannabis Act amendments also affect cannabis testing labs in Canada. Lab license holders and federal labs are now permitted to “produce, distribute and sell” reference standards and testing kits. This freedom was given in the hopes of widening “access to cannabis testing materials” and thereby supporting “access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis”.

Health Canada also made an amendment to “broaden” the educational qualifications required for the role of Head of Laboratory at a cannabis lab.

“This change allows for a larger pool of eligible candidates for this role, while still ensuring that those individuals are able to fulfill the duties of the position”, Health Canada wrote in its notice.

Another amendment consolidates most non-therapeutic cannabis research – research that can inform product development, for instance – under the Cannabis Act. Previously, this kind of research was categorized under “clinical trials” and regulated under the Cannabis Regulations and the Food and Drug Regulations.

All amendments were made following “extensive engagement” with stakeholders, including researchers, cannabis license holders, and public health workers.


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