Canadian government says no to THC beer

Published Mar 27, 2019 09:14 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

When the Canadian government first introduced marijuana legalization it did so in a way that was like a slow roll out of pot-based products beginning only with the most basic, cannabis flowers. The only thing that Canadians had access to was green herbs with absolutely no legal concentrates whatsoever.

After a few months of waiting for a press release showing the suggested list of what  will and won’t be legal on the first anniversary of legalization, a massive list of strict regulations each type of concentrate will have to abide by, was released. The most commonly sought-after product is marijuana edibles which include any drink or food type product that has been infused with THC, and it turns out, they'll be the most strictly regulated.

The rules

Edibles may include any kind of cannabis edible products like THC liquid, food items, or beverages. So far, the regulations surrounding marijuana edibles are based on measurements as well as marketing making it challenging for new and innovative companies to enter the Canadian cannabis market with new types of products.

  1. Packing must be entirely white with no playful coloring or logos.
  2. Packaging must be equipped with stickers to show that there is cannabis inside, how much is inside, a surgeon general's warning, as well as a tax, paid stamp.
  3. Containers must be smell proof, leak proof, and child resistant.
  4. No edible shall contain any more than the maximum allowed amount of 10 mg of THC.
  5. Marijuana edibles may not be marketed by a company that already makes an alcohol product.
  6. THC infused drinks may not be marketed as similar in any way to alcohol.
  7. Marijuana edibles may not be associated with an alcohol makers logo or brand.
  8. Marijuana edibles may not in any way be combined with alcohol products.
  9. Cannabis products may not be made with the same food preparation machinery as non marijuana-infused items.

The dilemma

The products that we currently associate with alcohol such as wine and beer are made and marketed in the way they are to advertise to drinkers, but often those same drinks can generally be created in a completelyalcohol-free version. Take non-alcoholic free beer for example, which tastes like and is made similarly to regular beer only without the addition of alcohol. There are a few companies that would like to take these traditionally alcohol-based beverages and make them into a THC infused version using one of two methods. The first is to simply infusethe drinks that they already make in an alcohol-free version using a THC liquid. The second is thanks to an incredible discovery that successfully used cannabis genetics to make a wheat plant that would produce active cannabinoids like CBD and THC instead of alcohol. Now, these are entirely different products than traditional alcohol-based choices, but what do you call a drink that people know and love by a different name? Since marijuana edibles cannot be marketedin association with any type of alcohol or maker of alcohol, the question now is what does that mean exactly? Is calling a THC beer which is preciselywhat they want to make by its name enough to be labelled as associated advertising? It appears to be more of a matter of opinion rather than firm guidelines for companies to go by.

The solution

Right now, three major competitors have already challenged the regulation in a court of law to try to find out exactly where they stand in all of this. Unfortunately, that process can take months or even years, and with the official date of marijuana,edibles become legal drawing nearer the majority who want to be competitive must get creative with their name choices. So, while you won’t see anything called THC beer (at least not on October 17, 2019) keep an eye out for these tincture drinks at your local dispensary by other names, like cannabis tinctures, THC and barley, or different variations of combining words that might imply your favorite beverage of choice without the nasty hangover.

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