Since the passage of the Cannabis Act in October of 2018, which officially legalized marijuana in all Canadian territories, there has been a lot of important news to keep up with for folks in the cannabis industry. For marijuana growers, producers and entrepreneurs, the Cannabis Act has brought along with it all of the usual red tape and legal bureaucracy that is expected to come along with a groundbreaking piece of regulation. This includes the ongoing battle over how cannabis can be advertised and marketed to customers in Canada, as well as all of the normal guidelines that need to be established regarding how exactly cannabis can be bought and sold. Even for companies that are based in the United States, there has been a lot to keep up with. As the world moves closer to a global cannabis marketplace, the variety of laws and regulations that are being debated and implemented in Canada are bound to effect a much larger marketplace. For MMG and our clients, one piece of recent news is of particular importance.

Shortly before the start of the New Year, Health Canada launched a “public consultation on draft regulations” for a whole host of cannabis products. In layman’s terms, this means that Health Canada, which is the equivalent of the United States Department of Health, is reaching out to the scientific and business communities to find the best ways to introduce cannabis products to the market in ways that are safe and healthy.  This new fact-finding mission is particularly concerned with edibles and extracts, as well as creams and ointments. In the case of edibles, Health Canada is suggesting that products be limited to 10 milligrams of active THC per serving. For creams and topical applications, the suggested upper limit is 1,000 milligrams. As more research is done, these suggested dosages could change.

In addition to trying to establish reasonable limits on the strength of cannabis products, the main concern of Health Canada’s program is to introduce marijuana in ways that ensure deterrence for children and young adults. The Canadian Minister of Health was quoted as saying “These proposed regulations under the Cannabis Act support our overarching goal of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and protecting public health and safety.” This goal is clearly tied in to much of the advertising legislation that Canada has put in place for the cannabis industry, which prohibits the use of cartoons and celebrity endorsements to sell products. For edibles and creams, the Canadian government is hoping to ensure that companies are using plain, child-resistant packaging so that children do not inadvertently come into contact with cannabis products. We ensure that our clients’ products are packaged in accordance with their use as health products, and are designed to not attract curious hands. It makes sense that Canada would want to steer the future of cannabis advertising away from many of the mistakes that have been made in the past with alcohol and tobacco. Looking back in time, there is no way that Joe Camel was really a good idea.

We’re constantly watching legal progress and more information from the Canadian government in the coming years, as well forward movement from many US states that are likely to follow suit with legalization. In the meantime, there is plenty of positive news for the cannabis industry to hang its hat on. Results of a University of Michigan study were recently published concerning the relationship between the use of medical marijuana against other prescription drugs. 2.1 million Americans currently hold medical marijuana prescriptions, and among those sampled for the study, 42 percent reported quitting another prescription drug in favor of medical cannabis. Another 38 percent of surveyed patients reported decreasing their dosage of another prescription drug. Results from studies such as these continue to pour into the consciousness of everyday people who have for years been misled regarding the medical applications of cannabis. The results continue to affirm what we at MMG and so many other people have known for years, that cannabis offers effective treatment for inflammation, joint deterioration, muscle aches, anxiety and a whole host of other maladies.

Studies such as these are likely to continue shedding light on the uses of marijuana. Thirty percent of participants in the Michigan University survey noted they have not told their primary care physicians that they are using medical cannabis as a treatment. This also fails to take into account the hundreds of thousands or millions of people across the United States who use cannabis for medical applications without legal permission. As we move toward a more open dialogue with the medical community, benefits will continue to come to light.