Health Canada's cannabis regulations offer no opportunity for products to showcase their brands

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      Cannabis producers will be required to have “plain packaging” and conform to strict requirements around logos, colours, and branding, according to new Health Canada regulations released today.

      These products will also require mandatory health warnings, a standardized cannabis symbol, and specific information when cannabis becomes legal in Canada on October 17. And the packages must be child-proofed.

      The federal government’s new cannabis regulations also reveal that there must not be any “brand element” or image on the interior or exterior surface of any container that is packaging a cannabis product.

      The interior of the container can, however, be a different colour than the exterior.

      But each must be in a uniform colour that contrasts with the yellow colour of the health warning and the red colour of the standardized cannabis symbol.

      No fluorescent properties in the ink will be permitted. Nor will exterior packages be allowed to have any metallic properties, though that will be allowed on the interior surface.

      The standardized symbol must occupy the 25 percent portion of the upper left side and cover an area of at least 1.27 centimetres by 1.27 centimetres.

      The word “warning” must be in upper-case letters in bold-face type, and the warning itself must be in a minimum seven-point font.

      The Cannabis Act and its regulations take effect on October 17.

      This is Health Canada's standardized cannabis symbol.
      Health Canada

      The regulations also stipulate that licences will be required for anyone who wants to cultivate and process the plant, sell it for medical purposes, or conduct any analytic testing or research in this area.

      According to the regulations, “licence holders will be subject to strict physical and personnel security requirements.”

      For those involved in cultivation, processing, or the sale of cannabis, this includes visual monitoring of recording devices of the perimeter of the site. There’s also a requirement to maintain an intrusion detection system, which must monitored at all time.

      Security clearance will be mandatory for directors, officers, and anyone who is in a position to exercise direct control over a cannabis company.

      The minister of health can consider a number of factors, including “the circumstances of any events or convictions that are relevant to the determination, the seriousness of those events or convictions, their number and frequency, the date of the most recent event or conviction and any sentence or other disposition”.

      The minister can also take into account whether it is known or there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person has been a member of a criminal organization as defined under the Criminal Code of Canada.

      Security clearances can also be refused for a person with an outstanding criminal charge, provided notice of this is given in writing.

      In addition, licence holders must include their name (as set out in the licence) in all means by which they are identified in connection with cannabis, including advertising, purchase orders, shipping documents, and invoices.

      New Industrial Hemp Regulations, which are pursuant to the Cannabis Act, will permit the sale of flowers, leaves, and branches to licensed cannabis processors if this is for the purpose of providing low THC and his CBD products.

      Micro-cultivation licence holders will be authorized "to obtain dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds by cultivating, propagating and harvesting cannabis for the purpose of testing, ot obtain cannabis by altering its chemical or physical properties by any means; and to sell cannabis".

      These licence holders can use organic solvents but they must retain the services of one individual who is deemed to be a "master grower". This person "is responsible for the cultivation, propagation, and haresting of cannabis" and must be aware of the act and its regulations.