Quebec Doesn’t Want Cannabis-Infused Beverages to Taste Too Good

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After the CAQ Government presented a bill in July seeking to restrict ingestible cannabis products from the provincial market, Quebec’s public health directors have just put forward recommendations to impose further restrictions to protect minors and prevent new users.

Ingestible cannabis will become legal in the rest of Canada come October, with products likely hitting store shelves by December.

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In a public paper released on Aug. 26, the province’s 18 public health directors presented their own recommendations to the CAQ government regarding the ban on ingestible cannabis to eliminate “grey areas” that could allow certain types of sweetened beverages and juices to be sold in Quebec.

In the document, it is specified that their recommendations are about curbing “the risk that the number of users of cannabis increases and that current users (do not begin to) consume more,” as a result these new products.

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Citing statistical information from American states where cannabis was legalized, the directors highlighted that sweetened beverages that mask the taste of cannabis could easily lead to users consuming too much of the product because of the “delayed and difficult to anticipate effect,” of ingestible cannabis.

They also fear that the beverages would lead to accidental consumption by youth, resulting in dangerous consequences and hospitalizations.
Instead, they suggested that any cannabis beverage be recognizable by the “taste of cannabis,” so that they are distinguishable from “mainstream foods.”

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The 18 directors also want to see fewer products available at the SQDC outlets as they believe that having so many varieties of products is too attractive to consumers and will only result in greater consumption and entice new users.

Instead they are asking that an independent government committee be formed to regulate and help diminish the amount of products sold in Quebec before they even make it to the SQDC.

Quebec however has yet to respond to the paper stating that government requires an additional 40 days to study the document.

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According to Jennifer Larry, founder and president of CBD Strategy Group, “It is incredibly frustrating from a commercial standpoint to think that businesses would need to pivot or omit a region,” after having jumped so many hurdles to adapt to Canadian government standards.

Larry, whose organization helps cannabis brands to create commercial marketing, brand strategy, and business development within the context of Canada’s Cannabis Act, sees both sides of the coin.

Though legalization was meant to regulate cannabis, making it an accepted, quality assured, taxable good with strong safety restrictions, particularly where minors are concerned, Larry sees Quebec as taking this literally, “in every sense of the way.”

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Part of this, she explains, was due to a language barrier.

Larry, who is an Anglophone from Quebec, said there’s a tremendous amount of information that did not make its way into the French language, and, as a result, Quebeckers were denied the opportunity to “be less afraid” of cannabis, see it destigmatized, or learn about its scientific potential.

She does not however see Quebec’s regulations as something to be upset over, because it will fundamentally ensure quality control and product confidence at a time where the industry is really in its infancy.

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As a personal consumer she said that she would always want to make sure that she would have access to incredible cannabis and cannabinoid based products that are upheld to quality assurance and testing because it is the only way she would be able to “consume and feel great.”