Cannabis has been so popular since legalization that smoke shops regularly sell out. Still sales are expected to blow up once cannabis infused foods and drinks become legal which is expected to occur sometime next fall, late 2019.
Although cannabis foods and beverages are still prohibited for sale, cooking with cannabis or using it with tea and coffee is nothing new. People have been using cannabis as a herb and have included it in the preparation of their meals as early as the 7th century B.C.E.
We have certainly come a long way since the overly-potent, burnt tasting pot brownies and we have a long way to go, especially when it comes to the restaurant industry. Although more than half the country is for the legalization of the herb in some form, some are still concerned when it comes to the production and sales of marijuana edibles and other similar products which raise some concerns especially when it comes to the safety of the Canadian youth.
Let’s have a look at what kind of changes we can expect in the following year or so.
Rules and Regulations on Using Cannabis as an Ingredient or Selling Cannabis-Infused Food
The government is asking Canadians to weigh in on the proposed regulations. These are some of the rules and regulations that the cannabis industry will have to follow are these:
- Products must not require refrigeration and freezing;
- They must provide the best-before date, an ingredient list and nutritional information on the label;
- They cannot contain sugar, sweeteners, added vitamins, minerals or flavours and colours that may be appealing to children;
- Products cannot have candy or dessert-like flavours;
- Marijuana infused foods and drinks must be limited to 10 mg of THC per single dose;
- Regular food and cannabis infused products must not be produced in the same facilities.
For more details on the subject, check out the proposed regulations for additional cannabis products.
These are still draft regulations and will be up for discussion before cannabis infused drinks and foods eventually reach the Canadian market.
When it comes to restaurants, the laws are not yet clear concerning the use of cannabis as restaurant ingredient. Restaurants will have to comply with not only state law, but with federal law as well, same as with any other restaurant operation.
Although plants, seeds, fresh or dried bud, and cannabis oil are legal as of Oct. 17, edible legalization will take a bit longer, particularly when it comes to the restaurant businesses.
The federal government intends to finalize all the rules and regulations regarding edibles within a year of that time, but details regarding what will and will not be legal are still sparse.
What the Future Holds
According to the department of justice “cannabis edible products and concentrates will be legal for sale approximately one year after the Cannabis Act came into force on October 17th, 2018.”
At the moment, no restaurants in Canada are legally permitted to sell any cannabis or hemp infused foods and beverages and although edible cannabis products will be permitted for legal sale, this won’t apply to restaurant meals, according to an email written by spokeswoman for Health Canada, Tammy Jarbeau.
One way for restaurants or commercial kitchens to produce and sell cannabis drinks and edibles is to seek a federal licence to produce edible cannabis products. In this case they can produce and sell products that contain marijuana as an ingredient but they will still have to follow the same rules as all dispensaries and smoke shops, which include packaging and labelling their products in accordance with the rules and regulations and using child-resistant containers with a health warning on them.
What this basically means is that the sale of prepared meals containing cannabis will not be permitted anytime soon.
Although restaurants might have to wait a little longer to put cannabis infused foods on the menu they are hopeful for the future and predict a future with cannabis certified chefs and a lot of food options with cannabis as a main ingredient.
The truth is that there is a huge customer base for such products. People are excited to try these foods and are willing to pay for them.
Traditional restaurants could even be facing a huge competition from new marijuana focused businesses, but for now it’s hard to say for sure what the future plans for such businesses will look like and how things will unravel.
Although it’s only been a few months since legalization, the future of the Canadian cannabis culture looks promising. And even though we are all anxious to see how it all plays out, we will need to wait until fall to see what the new wave of legalized cannabis products will bring.