Why it matters: Canadian cannabis advocates are petitioning the federal government to increase the maximum permitted THC levels in cannabis edibles from 10 milligrams per product to 100 milligrams per package. They argue that the current potency limits are driving consumers to unregulated operators and hindering the competitiveness of licensed businesses.
What they are saying: Cannabis advocates and licensed retailers claim that the strict THC limits make it difficult for them to compete with the illicit market. They argue that consumers who purchase high-dose edibles on the streets are unlikely to buy from legal retailers offering lower-potency options. Government agencies and authorized cannabis distributors have also called for an increase in THC limits, stating that restrictions may not be necessary to achieve regulatory objectives.
The big picture: Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and allowed retail sales of cannabis extracts and edibles in 2019. However, the strict potency limits on edibles have created challenges for the regulated industry. The Independent Expert Panel, tasked with reviewing Canada’s cannabis regulations, released a report last month that recommended against making significant changes to the regulations. Some argue that increasing THC limits may pose public health risks, while others believe that loosening restrictions will help the licensed market compete with the unregulated trade.
What to watch: It remains to be seen whether the Canadian government will respond to the petition and consider increasing the THC limits for cannabis edibles. The ongoing debate highlights the tensions between regulation, market competition, and public health considerations in the cannabis industry.
My take: While the concerns raised by cannabis advocates and licensed retailers are valid, public health should remain a priority when considering changes to cannabis regulations. It is essential to strike a balance that allows the legal market to thrive while ensuring consumer safety and responsible use. Any adjustments to THC limits should be based on sound research and consideration of potential risks and benefits.