Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

The federal government says the Canadian public broadly supports the tight regulations it has proposed for marijuana packaging, which will include a bright red stop sign emblazoned with a pot leaf and the letters THC.

Health Canada unveiled the results Monday of a 60-day consultation around its proposed regulations, in which it emphasized a focus on reducing the appeal of marijuana to youth and preventing accidental consumption.

The proposed regulations would require logos to be a single colour, with no metallic or fluorescent finishes. Packages would have to be opaque and child-resistant, with a bright yellow health warning similar to those used on tobacco products.

“We are taking a public health approach to legalizing and regulating cannabis, and we are committed to keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement.

“Measures such as the packaging and labelling requirements announced today will help to achieve this goal.”

READ MORE: Legal marijuana won’t hit shelves before August

Packaging would also have to describe how much active ingredient is contained in the product, including THC and cannabidiol.

Cannabis legislation is currently before Parliament and none of the regulations are final until approved by legislators. Once approved, the restrictions will apply immediately to recreational marijuana, while a Health Canada official says medical marijuana packaging will be granted a six-month window to comply.

The consultation received more than 3,200 online submissions and 450 written responses, as well as input from health and law enforcement experts, governments, patient advocates and industry representatives.

Health Canada also proposed two new categories of small-scale producers — micro-cultivators and micro-processors — where lower-level security requirements would apply to businesses that grow or process smaller amounts of marijuana.

Micro-cultivators would be allowed to grow marijuana with a plant canopy of 200 square metres, which Health Canada described as equivalent to half the space between the blue lines on a standard Canadian hockey rink.

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana is currently before the Senate, with the federal government hoping to see it passed and given royal assent by early July.

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

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