Last June, Health Canada launched a consultation to seek feedback from Canadians, as well as the cannabis and health products industries, regarding the kinds of products they would be interested in purchasing, manufacturing, or selling, should a legal pathway to market for cannabis health products (“CHPs”) be established.
The establishment of this consultation was a welcomed development by many in the cannabis and health product industries given that all medical cannabis products in Canada currently need to be purchased with the oversight of a medical practitioner.
The consultation closed on September 3, 2019, and many, myself included, were optimistic that the government would release draft regulations pertaining to CHPs by the end of 2019 with products hitting the shelves in 2020. On September 16, 2020, Health Canada released the results of its consultation. While we will almost certainly not be seeing CHP products on store shelves in 2020, the results of the consultation are highly encouraging and Health Canada has indicated that it intends to create a scientific advisory committee before the end of the year to seek external scientific advice that will support consideration of appropriate safety, efficacy and quality standards for health products containing cannabis that would be safe for use without practitioner oversight. The work of this committee will, according to Health Canada, “help inform a potential path forward.” Notably, Health Canada has indicated that it “intends to gather external scientific advice on the appropriate evidence standards required to demonstrate safety, efficacy and quality.”
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