Cannabis seedlings at the new Aurora Cannabis facility in Montreal on November 24, 2017. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa announces cannabis industry regulations

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The federal government announced Wednesday new regulations in support of the newly adopted Cannabis Act, outlining the rules for the legal production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis.

The Cannabis Regulations and the new Industrial Hemp Regulations also set standards for cannabis products that will be available for legal sale once the law comes into force later this fall.

The regulations include strict specifications for the plain packaging and labelling and analytical testing of all cannabis products as well as stringent physical and personnel security requirements for all federally licensed production sites, according to Health Canada.

Public health approach

A man smokes a marijuana joint during the annual 4/20 marijuana celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 20, 2018. Using recreational marijuana products will become legal in Canada as of Oct. 17, 2018. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

They outline details on the licences for cultivation and processing of cannabis, including micro-size licences, industrial hemp, research and analytical testing. The regulations also maintain a distinct system for access to cannabis for medical purposes, said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

“We’ve taken a public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis to ensure that proper precautions are in place to protect Canadians, especially youth,” Petitpas Taylor said in a statement. “The Cannabis Act and its regulations provide strict national standards and oversight for the production, distribution and sale of legal, quality-controlled cannabis, which will help protect public health and safety.”

The Cannabis Act received Royal Assent on June 21 but will enter into force on Oct. 17, 2018. However, until then, cannabis remains illegal across Canada unless authorized for medical purposes.

Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

The new legal framework, based on the previous regulations for producers of medical marijuana and industrial hemp, was created following extensive consultations held by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation since 2016, officials said.

The government-appointed task force received nearly 30,000 online submissions from individuals and organizations.

In addition, in the fall of 2017, the federal officials undertook consultations on the proposed regulations covering cannabis products, including licensing, products, packaging and labelling.

More than 3,200 Canadians and 450 stakeholders, including existing licensed producers and prospective producers, provinces and territories, and Indigenous organizations provided input, according to Health Canada.

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