Cannabis Council of Canada, licensed producers call for reworked beverage limits

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“The reality is they got the formula wrong."

When cannabis beverages finally hit the shelves in Canada as part of the ‘Cannabis 2.0’ rollout, almost immediately the limits on how many drinks consumers can legally purchase were called into question.

With good reason. The math doesn’t add up.

Canadians are legally permitted to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis in a transaction. When it comes to beverages, Health Canada opted to translate that 30 gram limit to a liquid equivalent of 2.1 litres, despite the fact that beverages are capped at 10mg of THC, with some containing as little as 2.5mg of THC or even none at all.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Cannabis Council of Canada (CCC) president and chief executive George Smitherman said the government “got the formula wrong.”

“This is the most egregious and quirky aspect of that formula. It’s just off,” he said, with the CCC noting that the same restrictions allow shoppers to purchase 17 cannabis vape cartridges with a combined 5,950 mg of THC or 100 bottles of cannabis oil spray with 50,000 mg of THC in a single transaction.

Canopy Growth is calling for the beverage limit to be upped to 48 units and a Health Canada spokesperson told the Canadian Press that the government is now “actively considering the input received” from recent public consultations.

The CCC is encouraging consumers to write to their MPs about the beverage restrictions.

“The federal government should amend Schedule 3 of the Cannabis Act to reference units of cannabis beverages instead of weight which would allow consumers to purchase a more reasonable number of low-concentration THC and CBD beverages. This is an easy fix that would go a long way; please make this change,” reads a template letter posted on the CCC website.

“Timing is of the essence,” Smitherman told the Canadian Press. “There’s a tremendous amount of loss opportunity associated with this.”

According to the 2020 – 2021 annual report from the Ontario Cannabis Store, beverages accounted for just two per cent of total sales.

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