The Canadian government messed up big time with cannabis beverages

Published Nov 26, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / rgbspace

Canadians rejoiced when they learned that they’d finally have access to consumable cannabis products like edibles and beverages. It seemed like the next logical step in what has been an incredibly slow process of rolling out the legal industry, and most looked towards legal US states for ideas on what it might look like. The black market also set a high bar by offering high dosed cannabis beverages and edibles that could contain up to 500mg of THC each, and this is what consumers were hoping for.

A strict THC limit

Sadly, one of the very first announcements which took place just over six months prior to the introduction of edibles to the legal market included caps for cannabis beverages, edibles, and topicals, paired with a disclosure that said this decision was made to protect vulnerable Canadians. Despite public uproar and advocates everywhere speaking out against the decision, the federal government maintained that this was the best path to take for everyone.

Though calls from the experts were cited as recommending much higher maximums of more than double the current one in place, the 10mg THC limit has stuck, and it seems to be here to stay. Companies raced to adjust their marketing and labels accordingly, and consumers tempered their hope for what was to come. Sadly, the THC limit wasn’t the only thing that the government was interested in placing a cap on, as they chose to take it one step further and impose more restrictions on cannabis users.

Regulations on consumers

Most enthusiasts were more than excited to line up for the very first cannabis beverages to hit the market. After all, it was a long time coming, and many were just happy that the day was finally here, that is until they found out that they might not be able to buy enough of them to get high. In the end, the federal government chose to cap the purchase of cannabis beverages according to ml, rather than the amount of THC that comes inside of each one.

The math just doesn’t add up


According to the current rules, if cannabis consumers chose to opt for a low dosed high ml product, like 355ml with a meagre 2mg of THC per can, then they will be limited to only five in each transaction. On the other hand, those who chose to opt for a stronger THC limit at 10mg in a smaller package that contains 150ml of liquid, they can buy up to 14 of them in one single transaction. The five low-dose options would contain a total of 10mg of THC, whereas the smaller, more powerful drinks, all together, would add up to 140mg.

Suppose the concern was indeed for the good of Canadians, and the cause was the amount of harm that too intense of a buzz might be able to inflict on someone. In that case, this math doesn’t make sense because a smaller container doesn’t magically make what’s inside less effective. That’s just not how cannabis beverages work. There is no way that one random customer could be any safer with a larger dose, so why place limits like these at all?

What would be fairer?

Sadly, no one knows for sure why the government chose to intervene in such a strange non-sensical way. Still, if they’re going to implement restrictions like this, then they should be fair across the board, no matter what size of cannabis beverages you prefer, they should be based on strength, not the amount of flavour-filled liquid that sits inside of a container.

Canada treats alcohol like its safer than pot and that must change


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