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Cannabis companies call on feds to increase edible THC limits to curb Canada’s illicit market

Indiva wants to increase edibles limit to 100 mg for public safety deterring illegal markets
Sample of legal edibles packaging. (Photo provided by Indiva to Black Press Media)

A leading cannabis company is urging the Canadian government to increase limits on edibles as a way to minimize the illicit market and ensure safety.

Two-thirds of edibles customers in Canada are going to the illicit market for unsafe and improperly dosed products, according to cannabis company Indiva. The group wants to see limits per package increase from 10 mg to 100 mg to curb those going to illegal suppliers where limits aren’t an issue.

CEO Niel Marotta called the potency limit a $500-million market failure.

If the legal industry cannot match what the illicit market offers, Marotta says there will be no competition, jeopardizing the market and public safety.

“It holds back the whole market when you give someone a reason to go back to an illicit website or store.”

Other restrictions under the Cannabis Act include how much you can buy in store at once – a limit of 30 grams.

“We don’t have arbitrary limits like this on alcohol,” Marotta said. He emphasized some discrepancies inside the Cannabis Act are confusing.

“Why can we sell 100 mg of lozenges that are considered an extract or a capsule, but we can only sell 10 mg of edibles.”

Legal products don’t have issues with uneven potency as they are all tested to range within 15 per cent of regulated potency amounts, meaning products don’t have any hot spots and are dosed evenly.

Meanwhile, illicit products are packaged to look like candies sealed within flimsy packaging that’s easily accessible, making it a threat to children who may mistake it for children’s candy, Marotta said.

“Parents or big brother or sister go and buy this product for the higher potency and for the better value proposition, they bring it home and then kids eat it.”

A recent study found that visits due to cannabis exposures increased in Canada, despite a decrease in total poisoning-related pediatric emergency department visits during the same time period.

Looking across the border

Benchmark states in the U.S. like Colorado, California and Washington all allow 100mg per package. In those markets, they divide servings into 10mg, but you are allowed to purchase ten servings at a time.

“I think that makes good sense,” Marotta said, “We can say look it’s working there.”

Approval of the 100-mg limit would benefit the entire cannabis community, improve public safety and save the market, Marotta said.

“It’ll show that the government recognizes one of two things, one Canadians by vast majority support cannabis legalization in this country and two that the government is willing to work with industries and say you know what you’re right some of these initial laws that we put in place might have been well intended but there are some consequences to it.”