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Cannabis industry calls for higher THC levels in edibles

The amount of THC — the psychoactive component in cannabis — currently allowed is 10 mg.
Cannabis Edibles 9014 BWC
Brent Calver/Western Wheel)

There’s a push for Health Canada to increase the amount of THC that’s allowed in legal edible products.

The amount of THC — the psychoactive component in cannabis — currently allowed is 10 mg. But those in the industry feel the federal health agency needs to readjust its rules.

Niel Marotta, president, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Indiva, says 10 mg is too low to meet the needs of consumers, and change is needed to protect their safety.

“What we’re calling on the federal government to do is really fix a half-a-billion-dollar market failure and a public safety problem,” Marotta said. “Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of the 10 mg limit is that folks are going back to the illicit market.”

Marotta adds the illicit cannabis market isn’t bound by Health Canada’s rules and is incredibly accessible. Some illegal online stores offer hundreds of milligrams of THC in their edibles, far more than the limit set by the government.

Brad Churchill, CEO of Phat420 and Choklat Inc., says the regulations around cannabis don’t make sense when compared to other controlled substances like alcohol.

“For example, you buy a case of beer. You don’t buy one beer with five per cent alcohol, you buy 12 beers or 24 beers,” Churchill said.

He adds the same logic should be applied to sweets infused with cannabis.

“We do individual packages of cannabis infused sugar, and it’s five-gram servings,” Churchill said. “It would be really nice if we could do a 500g bag of infused sugar that we can sell, and then people can self-dose with their own teaspoon in the morning, and that would save a huge amount of money on wasteful packaging and whatnot.”

He notes illegal sellers are not bound by packaging requirements that deter children from consuming cannabis, and they often sell products with incorrect dosages listed on the packaging.

Marotta says with the convenience of purchasing hundreds of milligrams of THC contained in a single package, millions in tax revenue is being lost to the illegal market.

“If you look at the edible category in Canada, it constitutes about five per cent of the total cannabis market,” Marotta said. “Whereas, if you look at more mature markets where they have higher potencies, 100mg or more, it typically is more like 15 per cent of the market.”

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