Canada’s Government Faces Legal Challenge Over Potency Limits In Edibles

Canada’s Government Faces Legal Challenge Over Potency Limits In Edibles
Canada’s Government Faces Legal Challenge Over Potency Limits In Edibles

A persistent problem with respect to the legalization and normalization of cannabis in our societies is the gross over-regulation of the legal cannabis industry. The Seed Investor has regularly reported on this.

Such over-regulation comes in many forms. In Canada, an issue that is more of a problem for consumers than cannabis companies has now resurfaced: potency limitations with respect to cannabis-infused products such as edibles.

As Phase 2 of legalization kicks in on October 17th, cannabis edibles and other infused products now become legal. Regulations on these new products restrict the content of tetrahydroncannabinol (THC) to 10 milligrams per package of edible cannabis.

The Seed Investor has already pointed to the idiocy of such tight limitations. Cannabis edibles are typically sweet products of some sort. While the cannabis itself is safe, the (toxic) refined sugar that is added to most edibles products is a real health hazard.



Now a new legal challenge is attacking the potency limitation itself. This reflects an ongoing problem as Canada has legalized cannabis for recreational use. Access to cannabis for medical purposes has actually worsened since legalization.

B.C. lawyer John Conroy, one of Canada’s most-established cannabis attorneys is suing the federal government because current potency limitations are limiting access to cannabis for medical purposes. An article in The Georgia Straight outlined the issue.
 
...To illustrate his point, he cited the example of Shawn Davey, whom Conroy represented in the Allard case in the Federal Court of Canada. Many years ago, Davey suffered a permanent brain injury after a motorcycle accident and he has used cannabis since 2002 to relieve pain.

According to the 2016 court ruling, Davey was being prescribed 25 grams per day when he and the other plaintiffs won the right to grow their own weed. He required such a heavy dose because he made cannabis butter for his edibles.

“So if he was doing [legal] edibles, he would have to buy 2,500 packages a day, which is ludicrous,” Conroy said. “He’ll die from the sugar content in the edibles.” [emphasis mine]

There is simply no necessity for such tight potency/content restrictions. Cannabis is non-toxic. No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose.

All that is needed with higher potency edible and infused products is a more prominent warning that novice cannabis consumers need to begin by consuming small amounts.

Presumably the “thinking” by government is to make potency limits so strict that someone consuming an entire package of an edible product – even a new cannabis consumer – could not become even mildly ill (nauseous).

But that’s just more government anti-cannabis hypocrisy with respect to cannabis. Hard alcohol (a toxic, addictive drug) is sold in bottles that contain enough alcohol to send people to the hospital, or even kill them, if consumed in their entirety. More than enough to kill a child.

Imagine how the alcohol industry would howl with outrage if hard liquor could not be sold in bottles containing more than 250 milliliters (8-ounce bottles). Even that quantity is sufficient to make people sensitive to alcohol ill.

In order to “protect” novice cannabis consumers from the potential of even the most mild illness from consuming cannabis-infused products, the Canadian government wants to poison people with refined sugar instead. Pure stupidity.

Legal challenges to Canada’s framework for legalized cannabis were inevitable, led by the harm and inequities that medicinal consumers of cannabis are now facing.

For the cannabis industry (and cannabis investors), the first inclination may to be applaud the federal government. With such strict potency limitations, consumers will have to purchase more units of edibles (or other products) for the same recreational/medicinal effect. Ka-ching!

But is this really how the cannabis industry wants to do business? Cannabis can currently be clearly distinguished from dangerous drugs like alcohol and tobacco (nicotine), which kill more than 500,000 Americans per year.

Cannabis kills no one. But sugar does. Forcing the consumers of edibles products to load up on sugar in order to have an enjoyable cannabis experience will harm the industry over the long term.

Diabetes (and pre-diabetes) is already at epidemic levels in North America – and much of the world. These people will never become consumers of sugar-laden cannabis edibles.

Increasing the number of people of diabetes/pre-diabetes through excessive ratios of sugar to cannabis (THC) only further decreases the potential consumer base.



This is the problem that the tobacco industry faces. It needs to continually lure children into becoming new “consumers” of tobacco products (i.e. addicts), because its products regularly kill off its adult customers.

Cannabis is medicine. It is non-toxic and non-addictive. But thanks to nearly a century of cannabis Prohibition, the legal cannabis industry continues to face enormous ignorance and bias (in government) as cannabis is legalized.

The cannabis industry in Canada (and the U.S.) needs to resist the urge to cave in to political expediency. It needs to support legal challenges such as this.

Higher potency limitations can only boost cannabis revenues over the long term. This is why the alcohol industry packages its own products in unit sizes that are as large as allowed by law.

The Canadian government is clearly on shaky ground. The courts have shown that they will (no longer) tolerate governments refusing to provide adequate access to cannabis for medicinal users.

Canada’s federal government may see nothing wrong with poisoning Canadians with sugar in order to indulge its own phobias regarding cannabis usage. Those with a more objective perspective (like judges) will reject such biased thinking.  Expect regulatory movement here.
 

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