MONTREAL, July 25, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Quebec's surprise introduction of its draft regulations on cannabis edibles has not only caught the burgeoning legal cannabis industry in the province off guard, it is a shot across the bow for all Quebec businesses and a warning to those interested in investing in the province that the regulatory climate is unpredictable and subject to change without consultation.
Today's draft regulations, released in the Gazette Officielle du Quebec, were created without industry consultation or economic impact analysis and would see Quebec ban most edible forms of cannabis, as well as all topical cannabis products such as arthritis creams containing CBD or THC, products that will become available in the rest of Canada in December 2019.
"The government's motives are surprising in this approach. As such, all medical drugs could be banned in Quebec. Users must be made aware on the importance of proper product disposal, as they should already be doing so for pharmaceutical products. The industry wishes to collaborate in creating packaging that will prevent and make access even more difficult", says Michel Timperio, president of the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association. "We should not bury our heads in the sand: these products will be legally accessible elsewhere in Canada or on the black market. The organized crime will have a free access to this market, and this, without the surveillance from authorities responsible for the safety and conformity of the products for the users' health. Our association condemns the situation in which Quebec's citizens are still put in a position in which they will turn to the black market."
Important economic benefits disregarded
In its most recent report on the cannabis industry, Nurturing new growth: Canada gets ready for Cannabis 2.0, Deloitte estimates that the edibles market alone will be worth $1.6 billion.
"Despite generating sales revenues of $71 million and tax revenues of $21.7 million for the government in only five-and-a-half months between October 17, 2018 to March 31, 2019, the Legault government prefers to ignore not only the massive investment made by Licensed Producers and start-up companies in the legal cannabis industry in Quebec, but the vast economic driver cannabis revenues can provide to the government. Saying these new regulations were drafted to safeguard youth, ignores reality. The sale of unregulated edibles, extracts and topicals will continue with revenues going right into the pockets of illegal producers," added Mr. Timperio.
Released in the middle of summer and at the start of Quebec's two-week construction holiday period, the government was relying on the absence of many in the industry to release its draft regulations. Industry members, upon their return, will be surprised to learn they have only two weeks to prepare their submissions to meet the government's 45-day window for comment on the regulations.
"Today's message from the Quebec government is that they would prefer the cannabis industry take its business elsewhere. We are not sure that the thousands of Quebecers currently employed in businesses related to the cannabis industry would agree with this message," concluded Mr. Timperio.
The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association (QCIA) represents Quebec cannabis companies that are regulated under the Cannabis Act and those preparing to be regulated under the Act. QCIA provides a forum for its members to reflect on issues affecting the Quebec industry and acts as a constructive interlocutor with the government and other stakeholders. The association's mission is to support the development of a regulatory framework adapted to Quebec, and to support public health and safety objectives underpinning the legalization of cannabis, namely to reduce the harm associated with consumption through the supply of quality products subject to rigorous quality control and to redirect the proceeds of cannabis to the legal market. For more information, visit www.aqic.ca.
SOURCE Quebec Cannabis Industry Association