Children End Up in Hospital After Exposure to Illegal Edible Marijuana

In a recent incident in Canada, a couple of children ended up in the hospital after exposure to illegal marijuana. They mistook the edible cannabis as candy, consequently putting themselves in very serious danger.

This incident has forced Health Canada to issue an immediate advisory and raised new questions surrounding the effectiveness of marijuana related regulations.

Regulations enforced by the advisory

Following the aftermath, Health Canada has pressed cannabis consumers to make their purchases from authorized sources only. Although there are restrictions already in place, purchasers are recommended to check for legal authorization before proceeding with their purchase. This safety precaution is equally applicable to both in-store and online cannabis retailers.

The legal limit of THC, the ‘psychoactive’ component of cannabis, has been specified at 10 milligrams per package. Health Canada has also recommended legal cannabis products to be sold in child-proof packaging. Under this regulation, the packaging is required to be tamper-evident and difficult to open. In addition, the restriction also implied to hold the contents in opaque or translucent containers.

According to the agency, “Obtaining cannabis from illegal sources can carry potential health risks as the products are not regulated and do not meet the strict safety and quality controls as set out in the Cannabis Act and its Regulations,” It was further added that “These controls address issues such as the maximum amount of THC, product ingredients, packaging, labeling, production, testing and sale, including an appeal to young persons.”

What to expect with more cannabis legalization on the horizon?

Canada legalized marijuana usage among adults in the year 2018. With this legalization, a huge chunk of revenue was diverted away from the illegal cannabis market towards the legal sector.

As per the remarks of Michelle Boudreau, director-general for Health Canada’s controlled substances department: “The illegal market has already lost 30% of its market share, and we have seen no corresponding increase in the overall size of the market,” “This represents nearly $2 billion in sales that did not go to criminal organizations.”

Although these figures seem encouraging, there are still some regulatory changes that are demanding government attention.

Why is the illegal market still prospering?

As per the statistical data released in 2019, the third quarter price of C$10.23 per gram of cannabis in the legal market was almost double of the illegal market average price of C$5.59 per gram.

“What the government has done is instituted a lot of red tapes, in particular at the retail level, which is making It extremely challenging for licensed producers to roll out product efficiently,” said Greg McLeish, an analyst at Mackie Research Capital.

Some experts are also associating these financial figures to a hypocritical approach of the government towards the drug.

Medical marijuana, for example, is the only medicine that is taxed by the Canadian government. In addition, online cannabis sales require disclosure of personal information like age. This is in contrast to policies relating to alcohol sales online, which make it free from any such requirements.

A restriction on advertising cannabis is also one of the factors that are inhibiting the growth of the legal marijuana market. As opposed to this, the advertising of alcohol is widespread throughout the country.

These attitudes of the government seem to reduce the comfort level of probable retailers and investors from entering the legal marijuana market.

For ensuring safe and regulated marijuana usage, the government needs to make some changes in policies surrounding the cannabis market. Furthermore, stricter and stringent policies need to be put in place for the illegal market. This is going to reduce the health hazards associated with cannabis use and ensure the safety of users.

Yumna Haq: A graduate in Bachelors of Business Administration, Yumna Haq is an ardent researcher and a dedicated writer. Having lived in three different counties, her cultural exposure is vast, allowing her to reflect more knowledge in her work. She's currently working for Cannabis Health Insider as a news writer.