One cannabis producer said they were recently notified that their product would no longer be sold in Alberta because it contained too much CBN.
The notification—sent via email by their category manager at AGLC (Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, which oversees cannabis sales in the province)—came unannounced, said Jen Meyers, CEO of Zelca Ltd, a Calgary-based microprocessor, Alberta.
Zelca sells cannabis-containing sugar under the brand name Manna. The delisted product, Maple Sugar, comes in 4 x 2g packs containing 2.5 mg THC, 5 mg CBD and 10 mg CBN each.
Although Zelca was caught off guard, AGLC notified StratCann via email that this change is not new and is part of a notice sent out by provincial regulators in February this year referring to “little drunken cannabinoids”.
“These changes take effect from February 2023 and AGLC is depleting the supply of affected products,” AGLC media representatives noted in an email to StratCann. “AGLC is working closely with licensed manufacturers and retailers to ensure they have enough time to understand and adapt to the changes. Earlier this year, the Ontario Cannabis Store also implemented the same requirements based on recommendations from Health Canada. We were notified by Health Canada that they are sending notices to all prisons on the same topic.”
The February document in question contains no specific reference to CBN, a cannabinoid that is not considered universally intoxicating. Some similar products that contain more than 10mg THC per packet while including that amount of CBN are still OCS-registered. OCS has not responded to media requests for comment.
Health Canada notified StratCann that they are developing a response to the matter.
In an email to StratCann, an AGLC representative said:
“To minimize the risk of over-consumption and side effects from cannabis products containing intoxicating cannabinoids, Health Canada recommends that all provinces and territories consider adopting policies that limit the possible combinations of intoxicating cannabinoids found in a product must not be [sic] exceeds the THC limit set for edible products and extracts in the Marijuana Regulations.
“With this in mind, the AGLC notified licensed manufacturers of additional controls to be applied to all intoxicating cannabinoids, specifically, 1) THC Limit: The total amount of all intoxicating cannabinoids (delta-9-THC and other intoxicating cannabinoids) does not exceed regulatory limits set for total delta-9-THC. 2) Labeling: Accurate information regarding the name and amount or concentration of all intoxicating cannabinoids is provided on the product label.
“AGLC has temporarily stopped accepting product shipments for products that contain an intoxicating cannabinoid combination that exceeds this THC limit. Please note, CBG is considered a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and sales of CBG products will not be affected.”
The reach of the AGLC so far appears to be inconsistent. At least one other manufacturer that also sells edible products to the Alberta market with CBN—Indiva’s Pearls—told StratCann they had not received any specific notification of their product being removed from the listing similar to Zelca’s.
In March of this year, Health Canada reached out to the cannabis industry seeking feedback on potential amendments to the Cannabis Regulation, including whether “restrictions on the maximum amount of delta-9-THC contained in cannabis products (based on container and digestible units) apply to the total amount all the intoxicating cannabinoids found in the product.” It doesn’t refer to CBN specifically.
Sources close to the matter say the federal health agency has also sent stakeholders a draft document with guidelines for licensed manufacturers on the subject of these minor “cannabinoids” such as Delta-8 THC, THC-V, and CBN, among others. However, none of the licensed manufacturers StratCann spoke to for this article received official guidance from Health Canada on this matter with regards to including CBN within existing THC limits for products such as edibles.
StratCann reached out to other provincial regulators to see if they were enacting similar rules around “minor intoxicating cannabinoids” that would cover CBN and had not immediately received a response at press time.
Edit: As of August 17, Cannabis NB has now notified StratCann that Health Canada “has not provided guidance to Cannabis NB with respect to minor cannabinoids. Cannabis NB will continue to sell products that meet Health Canada guidelines and regulations.” This article will be updated as other provinces respond to requests.
In the past—such as the decision to ban the production and sale of so-called “edible extracts” containing more than 10mg THC per packet—Health Canada provided advanced notice before ending sales of any product.
Meyers, with Zelca, says the most confusing part of this move is that it comes unannounced. The small micro producer, which operates with just three employees, has filled numerous orders for this product since February 15 including one in early August.
Taking product back would be a significant financial burden for a small company.
“They need to give us time to plan and submit a new NNCP (New Product Alert Notice) and develop new products. You can’t just pull the rug out from under us in this,” an exasperated Meyers told StratCann.
He also doesn’t understand how CBN can be considered intoxicating, and says these kinds of decisions are part of what continues to drive consumers into the black market.
“Being able to provide our customers with unique formulations and highlight different aspects of the plant in our products is one of the few competitive advantages we have on the black market,” he added. “If you want people to cross over, it’s through these kinds of innovative products.”
StratCann also spoke with Niel Marotta, president and CEO of Indiva, a cannabis manufacturer that sells cannabis food with CBN to the Alberta market. Marotta said Indiva had not received such guidance from AGLC.
StratCann is reaching out to other manufacturers with similar products for sale in Alberta and has not received confirmation on record as of press time. A representative for a manufacturer that also sells similar CBN-infused foods said AGLC had sent them a request for more information about their product this week, but they had not received any stop orders.
Marotta echoed Meyer’s comments about the need to compete more with the black market. While Indiva hasn’t heard from AGLC about any rule changes regarding this new cannabinoid, it recently faced a similar challenge with its own discontinuable extract product that was issued earlier this year.
He said he was also aware that Health Canada had considered changing regulations to include products like delta-8 THC within the 10mg THC limit, but this was the first time he had heard of possibly including CBN in them. He counters the argument that CBN products can be considered as “intoxicating” as delta-9 or even delta-8.
He compared the limit to rules that only allow alcohol companies to sell their products in miniature bottles. “If this category is forced to continue to operate on par with bottle mini-bars, you are simply handing over the prize to the black market. I would go so far as to say that would be irresponsible. They ignore the real problem, which is that copycat foods provide the value consumers want but none of the safety that our products provide. So they are effectively driving the black market.”
#AGLC #removed #cannabis #products #CBN