Canada amends Cannabis Act — More Cannabis Beverages and Testing


Canada’s Cannabis Act Amendment Forever Changes the Beverage Industry

Canadian flag waving with Parliament Buildings hill and Library in the background

Canada, the progressive cannabis country, ushered in amendments to their Cannabis Act that promote more testing and finally give cannabis beverages a chance to compete in the beverage space. As of December 2, 2022, Canadian adults who previously were only allowed to possess a maximum of 6 355ml cans will see that number rise to 48 cans, a massive increase that takes cannabis beverages from a fringe option to mainstream potential. 

The Intention of the Cannabis Act Explained

The Cannabis Act was created to protect public health and public safety. As a leader in medical and recreational cannabis usage, Canada holds a unique position and responsibility globally. The Cannabis Act, among other things, clearly designates access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis and provides a regulated production of cannabis to reduce the effects of an illegal market. 

The amendments facilitate non-therapeutic research with cannabis, more reliable cannabis testing, and of interest to consumers, an increase in public possession of cannabis beverages.  

With the evolving nature of the cannabis industry, adaptation in regulation comes as no surprise. Amendments will continue towards the safety of Canadians and the betterment of the cannabis industry. Make no mistake, the decision was heavily weighed. The amendments to the Cannabis Act came from feedback received from universities and researchers, cannabis license holders, cannabis industry associations, public health stakeholders, health care associations, provinces and territories, and individual Canadians. Overall, the majority of the submissions were supportive of the amendments.

Ice Cold and Refreshing … Cannabis?

Are Canadians going to shift their preference from alcohol to cannabis beverages? To what degree remains to be seen. 

Canadians are expanding their tastes for alcoholic beverages like never before. Go to any alcohol retailer and see the rows of new beers and wines, international imports, and craft beers infused with every flavour imaginable. With the craft beer market skyrocketing over the past two decades, this is an opportune time for cannabis beverages to find their place in bars and retail providers across the country. 

Positives and Negatives 

Consumer tastes are expanding. The awareness and education phase from cannabis company to retailer to bartender to customer will help increase trial for many consumers. Cannabis beverages also boast a healthier alternative to their alcoholic counterpart. Clear and convincing studies are yet to be popularized, but if the healthier alternative angle becomes accepted knowledge, cannabis beverages have the potential to truly become part of the norm in the beverage game. 

It all starts with the first sip. Will Canadians like the taste, the feeling, all that remains to be seen. Many Canadians have never tried a cannabis beverage, don’t know what to expect, and some are unaware they even exist. Possibly the most challenging hurdle cannabis beverage companies face is the limited amount of marketing, given the heavily restricted advertisement laws in place.

Another challenge is price. The average price of one cannabis beverage is higher than the equivalent amount of what a mass-produced beer would cost. Currently, the average price of a cannabis beverage is closer to that of a high-priced craft beer. 

For context, a can of Molson Canadian is approximately $2.50, whereas cannabis-infused beverages are higher, sometimes double or more. 

Much of this is due to the fact that Molson Canadian is mass-produced. Cannabis beverages, like craft beer, are created in smaller batches applying an artisanal approach. 

Purchase Limits and What Provinces and Territories Can Do

There is no federal limit on the number of cannabis beverages purchased or sold at a retail location. However, to reduce the potential risk of consumers exceeding the federal public possession limit, some provinces and territories have set purchase limits in their jurisdictions. 

Provinces and territories that reference the federal public possession limits to set purchase limits will see an automatic change for cannabis beverages. Provinces and territories that do not reference the federal public possession limits must amend their framework to align purchase limits to the new federal public possession limit.

The Aim of the Cannabis Act: Increase Testing and Eliminate Bad Actors

The amendments to the Cannabis Act extend to allow for analytical testing license holders and federal and provincial government laboratories to produce, distribute and sell reference standards and test kits, thus increasing access to cannabis testing materials, motivating more testing, pushing for accuracy and authenticity, and thereby supporting access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis. Reference standards allow for better lab-to-lab comparisons and help eliminate “lab shopping” by increasing transparency around results from different labs.

This will help prevent owners of cannabis companies who corroborate with labs and falsify potency test results so that they can tell customers their cannabis product has a very high amount of THC. These bad actors are few and far between, but their act of greed threatens the cannabis industry’s fragile authenticity and should be eradicated for a multitude of reasons. 

Ekidna stands with Health Canada and the Canadian Government to maintain consumer trust and respect scientific testing and accuracy results. 

Ekidna’s Potency Testing for Cannabis Beverages

Ekidna will help you test throughout cannabis beverage production. Rapidly test and gain accurate results from the initial biomass stages to intermediate extractions and concentrations, all the way to the final product stages. Eliminate production bottlenecks that traditional labs may cause and gain more data points for optimization. For more information on how you can access Ekidna’s cannabis potency testing kits, click here. Learn more about the Cannabis Act and its amendments here.

By Nic Boileau,
PhD Candidate, CEO and Co-founder

Nic was part of the team that initially developed the technology behind Ekidna’s lab-on-a-chip during his PhD candidacy.