CBD and Canada – What You Need to Know

By April 22, 2019 No Comments
CBD and Canada - What you Need to Know

Is CBD legal in Canada? That’s a great question. Yes, recreational cannabis became legal in October of 2018 in Canada, but that doesn’t mean everyone has access to it or even legal CBD. Canada is much like the U.S. – it has individual provinces like the U.S. has states. Each province is permitted to make its own rules and regulations and enact separate laws.

The regulations in Canada are nothing short of confusing, so we’ll untangle them for you here. We’ll answer the question, is CBD legal in Canada while explaining the reasons why the laws surrounding CBD are so confusing up north.

Cannabis Law in Canada

On October 17, 2018 recreational cannabis became legal in Canada. The country already had an existing medical cannabis program. Adults are permitted to have and share as much as 30 grams if it’s bought from a legal cannabis business. Adults can also grow 4 plants for personal use only.

CBD is not mentioned within the language of these regulations. The Canadian government, under The Cannabis Act, indicates that CBD and some types of cannabis products will be tackled later. For now, only some cannabis products, like flower, are permitted to be purchased from a legal entity. Legal entities refer to businesses that have licenses to sell cannabis to qualifying adults.

In The Cannabis Act it says, “Other products, such as edible products and concentrates, will be legal for sale approximately one year after the Cannabis Act has come into force and federal regulations for their production have been developed and brought into force.”

The Canadian Government also resembles the U.S. FDA in that it hasn’t distinguished a difference between products with THC and CBD. But – the law is still fuzzy.

So, is CBD legal in Canada?

Tina Frasier of Brazeau Seller Law in Ontario said, “CBD, in and of itself, falls within the definition of “cannabis” in the federal Cannabis Act.  As such, it is regulated just as all other cannabis products containing THC. Hemp farmers can grow hemp for the purpose of CBD extraction, but the plant must be sold to a federally licensed processor to conduct the CBD extraction, and then the CBD is subject to the same rules as all cannabis extracts.”

This still leaves many questions.

distressed Canadian Flag

Confusion within Canadian Law

A proposal to allow products to contain CBD was never finished. It stalled and hasn’t been picked back up yet. This leaves cannabis users and those already using CBD products (mostly obtained from U.S. sources) with a lot of questions and wondering if they’re breaking the law.

Fraser says, “There seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding as to the legal status of CBD.”

Canada’s Situation with CBD

One thing that Canada does that the U.S. doesn’t is strictly regulate CBD. Consumers buying it at local stores and vape shops are likely breaking the law. Why? Because, in Canada, only a licensed and registered retailer is permitted to sell CBD products.

Even though recreational cannabis is legal – that didn’t change regulations for CBD.

Let’s Look at What’s OK

Buying CBD from a licensed CBD retailer is okay. If you buy CBD from a licensed medical cannabis service is okay. Buying from approved online sources is okay.

Canada, like the U.S., does not care that CBD is not intoxicating. It does not matter that it can be obtained from hemp and cannabis. To governments, CBD is CBD regardless of its source. This is what makes things tricky.

Only those with licenses to produce CBD products in Canada are permitted to do so.

What Isn’t OK in Canada?

You can’t just buy CBD anywhere in Canada. Vape shops likely don’t have a special license. Retailers that aren’t within Health Canada’s cannabis system are selling CBD illegally.

This means CBD drinks or anything marketed as a natural health product that is sold by a company without proper license is illegal.

Provincial Rules

Just like the U.S., Canadian provinces all have the right to make their own rules and regulations regarding cannabis and CBD products. It is important to be aware of the rules of each province before purchasing or using CBD products in that province.

Seagulls around Canadian flag

How to Buy Legal CBD in Canada

To answer the question, is CBD legal in Canada, the answer is both yes and no. It is important to do your own research and check on licensing information for the retailer you wish to purchase CBD from.

Another way to make sure the CBD you’re buying is legal is to obtain a doctor’s recommendation. This allows you to place orders with licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. A benefit of having a medical cannabis license in Canada is that purchases can be claimed as a medical expense on taxes. Medical cannabis is also covered through health benefits. So, there are benefits to being a medical cannabis patient when it comes to buying CBD in Canada.

Check for testing results. As within the U.S., Canadian companies that test their CBD products are more reputable. The products must be tested in Canada, so if a retailer does not have testing results available, the product may not be legal.

Since edibles and some forms of cannabis are not legal in Canada, CBD forms of these products also are not legal. This means that teas, juices and other edible products are not legal to buy. If you require edible CBD products, you’ll have to make your own for the time being.

Edibles, concentrates and other forms of cannabis and CBD are supposed to be available or at least regulated by the end of 2019.

CBD is not a nutritional supplement in Canada; it is still a controlled substance.

Closing Thoughts

Is CBD legal in Canada? As we mentioned, it’s just as hazy as it is here in the U.S. – in some ways yes and in others, it’s not. It’s best to make purchases only from licensed manufacturers or retailers that have explicit permission from Health Canada to be selling cannabis and hemp products. Since CBD is gaining popularity, it’s said that some purchases and possession of CBD are often forgiven because it’s easy to misunderstand the Canadian law surrounding it.

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