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Canadian Cannabis Regulatory News & Updates


Canadian Cannabis Sales Slow In 2020

A series of setbacks are taking their toll on the Canadian cannabis markets.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018 becoming the first country in North America to do so. While the program has seen successful launches and sales increases over the first year, 2020 has proven difficult. Canada’s legalization effort has been staggered with no edibles or vaporizer products, known as Cannabis 2.0, being allowed until the end of 2019.

The vape illness outbreak in the US caused concern for regulators in Canada and Quebec and Labrador and Newfoundland banned the sale of cannabis vaping products. Alberta originally did as well, but has since voted to allow vapes after reviewing “available evidence, data and other provinces’ positions on cannabis vaping,” according to Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.

Nova Scotia has banned the sale of non-cannabis flavored cannabis vaping products (True Terpenes Strain Profiles are allowed). British Columbia puts an added 20% tax on cannabis vapor products.

Despite these difficulties the Canadia cannabis market grew from $135.3M to $154.1M in sales from October of 2019 to January of 2020. The recent February report shows a drop to $149.9M, a rare decrease since the program launched. The delayed rollout of Cannabis 2.0 products plus the quarantine requirement from coronavirus have created a tight market in Canada.

Recent data indicates that 2,700 of the employees from the Canadian cannabis market, nearly 30%, were laid off over the last 9 months. Toronto-based Cannabis at Work has created a free jobs listing to help these workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

True Terpenes hopes the coronavirus pandemic slows and we can all return to our normal lives, jobs and business while staying safe.

Cities and provinces in Canada are starting to look at legalizing cannabis consumption spaces.

Currently, there are no legal consumption spaces akin to a bar for cannabis in Canada. However, that looks like it may change in the near future.

The Edmonton City Council has been investigating the issue and released a report with 3 options this week. The options are: allow patrons to consume cannabis edibles in a stand-alone facility, for both alcohol and cannabis edibles to be used in the same venue and the final option would allow cannabis consumption in the same venue, but required to be in a separate space from alcohol. Unfortunately none of these options will allow vaping or smoking of cannabis. For Edmonton to advance on any action the provincial Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act would have to be updated to allow cannabis consumption spaces.

The provincial government of Ontario has also launched a process to seek input on plans to create a permit system to allow cannabis consumption at festivals, concerts and venues. The province expects to look at how to define overserving, whether to allow alcohol use on site and related issues. It also appears that there is no plan to update smoke free laws and so no smoking or vaping will be allowed most likely it seems.

Health Canada doesn’t seem to believe there’s anything preventing these lounges at a federal level, but local approvals would be required.

“While a personal chef, restaurant or commercial kitchen could seek a federal licence to produce edible cannabis products for commercial purposes, they would not be able to sell those products to the public without a provincial or territorial licence,” Health Canada said.

Canada may have legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, but the country is still seeing snags to the launches of new products.

Canada’s initial legalization only allowed for the legal sale of cannabis flower and related products, while continuing to ban sales of what is being called cannabis 2.0 products such as: edibles, extracts, topicals or vape pens. Health Canada began reviewing applications from licensees to produce these cannabis 2.0 products for approval in October with expectations of products hitting shelves starting in late December.

While the federal government and Health Canada hit their timeline, it appears several provinces are causing hiccups in the roll out.

Alberta, Quebec and Ontario each had increased regulations implemented which delayed edible products until January to ensure compliance. Alberta, Quebec and Labrador and Newfoundland have also now banned the sale of cannabis vaping products, while Nova Scotia has banned the sale of flavored cannabis vaping products and British Columbia has levied an additional 20% tax on cannabis vapor products. Alberta officials have said they will reconsider the sales of cannabis vaping products after the results of a tobacco and vapor study are finalized and reviewed.

Meanwhile Ontario and other territories have had a smoother launch of cannabis 2.0 products and are expected to see these new categories quickly overtake cannabis flower as the leading sellers.

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