Québec’s Coalition Québec Avenir (CAQ) Government announced new regulations on Wednesday that will ban the sale of all cannabis ingestible products such as candies, cookies, brownies, and other desserts when those products become legal throughout the rest of the country this fall.
In a statement live on Francophone media outlets, CAQ Minister for Health and Social Services Lionel Carmant said that he was proposing a draft regulation to ban dessert edibles in Québec so to “minimize the risk of harm to the public.”
In a follow up press release, government representatives went on to explain how “several stricter supervisory measures” are necessary—beyond the already strict regulations on edibles, extracts, and topicals that Health Canada announced in June.
The CAQ government believes allowing these products in the forms Health Canada has approved would be insufficient for “Québec to achieve its public health and safety objectives.”
“With this proposed regulation, our government is proposing to put in place additional measures to better protect the public from the dangers of cannabis-based food products,” said Carmant. “To reduce the risk of unintentional poisoning in children, we propose to prohibit the sale of attractive products for them such as chocolate or jujubes. It will also allow us to reduce the initiation and consumption of cannabis products in general. Québec is acting responsibly by trying to limit the appeal of this substance to young people.”
He went on to say that by restricting what can be sold in Québec, the Government would be keeping with the province’s public health and safety objectives to prevent the “normalizing” of cannabis products.
Legal experts on the subject said that this kind of ban on cannabis candies, baked goods, deserts and, for the time being, topical products like creams, could end up crumbling should the issue make it to the Supreme Court, as it has in previous cases.
Avi Levy, the founder of DUI criminal defense law firm Ticket 911, believes this restriction may very easily be struck down by the Supreme Court.
Levy recalled that following a previous federal government ruling stating that a Canadian with a medical license could grow two plants in their backyard for medicinal purposes, Québec imposed its own ban on medical home-cultivation. That ban was later overruled by the Supreme Court.
The same thing could likely happen with ingestibles, Levy said, because by banning sweets, the government is also keeping them out of the hands of patients who might rather consume their cannabis in this easy and quality-controlled format.
A patient could argue very simply that they don’t want to deal with the side effects of smoking cannabis or the potential harm from vaping, which may be enough to reverse the restrictions. As for child safety, the same argument could be made about red and blue coloured Tylenol looking like candy.
“There is a real disconnect here,” Levy said. “This is something that does not make sense.”
“It will likely be the same thing with edibles. Someone will get charged for possession and take the fight to the Supreme Court, and it will likely get the ban turned down because it is legal in the rest of Canada and, particularly patients; they should be allowed to consume it in the format of their choosing,” said Levy.