Regulations under the Cannabis Act

On June 14, 2019, the Government of Canada announced new regulations for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. These regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 26, 2019, and came into force on October 17, 2019:

  • Regulations Amending the Cannabis Regulations (New Classes of Cannabis)
  • Order Amending Schedules 3 and 4 to the Cannabis Act
  • New Cannabis Tracking System Order

Regulations under the Cannabis Act set out the rules and standards that apply to the production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis by federal licence holders.

There are 2 main sets of regulations that support the Cannabis Act. These are the:

  • Cannabis Regulations
  • Industrial Hemp Regulations

On this page

Cannabis Regulations

As set out in the Cannabis Regulations:

  • licences are required for:
    • cultivating and processing cannabis
    • sale of cannabis for medical purposes
    • analytical testing of and research with cannabis
  • permits are required to import or export:
    • cannabis for scientific or medical purposes
    • industrial hemp
  • licence holders are subject to strict physical and personnel security requirements
  • plain packaging is required for cannabis products:
    • the Regulations set out strict requirements for:
      • logos
      • colours
      • branding
    • cannabis products must also be labelled with:
      • mandatory health warnings
      • standardized cannabis symbol
      • specific information about the product
  • access to cannabis for medical purposes continues to be provided for patients who need it
  • manufacturers of prescription drugs containing cannabis, while primarily subject to the Food and Drugs Act and its Regulations, are also subject to certain regulatory requirements set out in the Cannabis Regulations

For more information on the Cannabis Regulations, please refer to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement that was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on July 11, 2018 (begins on page 2802 of the PDF version).

Regulations for Edible Cannabis, Cannabis Extracts, and Cannabis Topicals

On October 17, 2019, the Cannabis Regulations were updated to establish rules for the legal production and sale of three new classes of cannabis:

  • edible cannabis
  • cannabis extracts
  • cannabis topicals

As required by the Cannabis Act, the amended regulations came into force on October 17, 2019. However, it will take time, after that date, before new cannabis products become available for purchase. Adult consumers can expect new products to appear gradually in physical and online stores beginning in mid-December 2019.

For an overview of these new rules, please review: Final Regulations: Edible Cannabis, Cannabis Extracts, Cannabis Topicals.

For a complete description of these new rules, please see the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS), as published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 26, 2019.

The Safe Food for Canadians Act and its regulations will not be applied to edible cannabis. For more information, please review the Notice: Control Framework for Edible Cannabis.

Industrial Hemp Regulations

Industrial hemp is cannabis that contains 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less in the flowering heads and leaves.

The Industrial Hemp Regulations under the Cannabis Act set out the requirements for cultivators of industrial hemp. Cultivators of industrial hemp must grow from the hemp varieties approved for commercial cultivation.

While the Industrial Hemp Regulations are generally consistent with the old Industrial Hemp Regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, some changes were made to align licence requirements to the relatively low risk posed by industrial hemp as compared with other varieties of cannabis.

One of the changes that was made is that the sale of hemp plants (flowers, leaves and branches) to licensed cannabis processors is now permitted, to provide a source of low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis products.

Consultations

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation undertook extensive consultations with:

  • experts
  • patients and advocates
  • employers and industry
  • provinces, territories, and municipalities
  • Indigenous governments and representative organizations

In November 2017, we launched a 60-day public consultation on a detailed consultation paper entitled Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.

In March 2018, we published a Summary of Comments Received During the Public Consultation, which summarized the feedback received from thousands of Canadians.

On December 20, 2018, we also launched a public consultation on proposed regulations to minimize the risks posed by edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. These were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 22, 2018.

During the 60-day public comment period on the proposed regulations, we received nearly 6,800 responses to an online questionnaire and 450 written submissions. We also undertook targeted consultations with:

  • youth
  • industry
  • the provinces and territories
  • public health organizations
  • patients and patient advocates

We carefully considered all feedback in the development of the final regulations.

Documents incorporated by reference in the regulations

Documents "Incorporated by reference" are documents or lists not in the text of the regulations that are made part of the regulations.

Documents incorporated by reference have the force of law.

Notice of Modifications

On October 17, 2019, the Cannabis Regulations were amended to establish rules for the legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. Updated versions of certain documents incorporated by reference took effect on October 17, 2019. Previous versions of certain documents will be maintained during the 12-month transition period for cannabis oil (i.e. from October 17, 2019 to October 16, 2020).

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