When recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018, the legalization of cannabis-infused products for commercial production and sale was delayed until a year later, October 17, 2019.Under the Regulations Amending the Cannabis Regulations, SOR/2019-206, the federal government has regulated edibles, topicals (e.g. lotions) and extracts. The regulation sets a limit of 10 mg of THC in a single serving of edible product and a package of edibles cannot exceed 10 mg of THC. Given the realities of government licensing delays and edible production timelines, it will be likely be several months before commercially produced edibles are readily available for purchase nationally. However, we do anticipate that they could very well be available for the Holiday season in December – beware of what you may be gifted (or served at a holiday party)!
Edibles in the Workplace
As with marijuana in its traditional form, employers may regulate the possession and consumption of all types of recreational marijuana in the workplace. From a workplace safety perspective, the legalization of edibles brings its own challenges:
- Identification: edibles can be found in a wide array of products, from cookies to gummy candies. Unlike marijuana in leaf form, employers may not be able to readily identify edible products found in the workplace. However their policy should require that any cannabis containing product be labeled as such.
- Impairment: The effects of consuming THC through an edible, as opposed to smoking or vaping, can last significantly longer. An employee who has habitually smoked marijuana 12 hours before attending in the workplace may find they are significantly impaired 12 hours after edible consumption as it is processed differently by the body.
- Over Consumption: The onset of symptoms from edible consumption are slower than when THC is consumed through smoking or vaping. It may take between 30 minutes to 4 hours for full effects to be felt. Employees may unintentionally overconsume edibles if they do not notice symptoms shortly after ingesting.
Employers, particularly those who operate in safety sensitive environments, should continue to consistently enforce their existing drug policies to ensure a safe workplace free of cannabis impairment.If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.