Federal government to amend pot drink regulations
Canadians could soon be able to buy more cannabis drinks at their local pot shop after the federal government proposed new regulations that would loosen restrictions that limit the number of infused beverages a consumer can purchase.
The Canada Gazette published new regulations on Friday aimed at amending the Cannabis Act, which would allow consumers to buy as many as four dozen 355-millilitre infused drinks at a time, by changing the equivalency ratio of dried cannabis included in a liquid. This would be a sharp increase from the five-can maximum that consumers are to allowed purchase at a time. The Gazette will give 45 days for the public to weigh in on the proposed changes before amending the regulations.
"Amendments to Schedule 3 to the [Cannabis] Act would increase the public possession limit for cannabis beverages, which would correct an unintended consequence of the current equivalency, which restricts the possession and sale of beverages to a greater extent than other forms of cannabis," the Gazette said.
"The proposal would seek to increase the limit on cannabis beverages to be more in line with the limits that exist for other forms of cannabis."
Cannabis companies like Hexo Corp, which has a beverage joint venture with Molson Coors Beverage Co., and Canopy Growth Corp. have invested heavily in bottling facilities and cannabis-infused beverage research and have long demanded changes to regulations to allow the sale of more drinks.
The category is relatively novel for long-time cannabis users but is widely seen as a way to turn so-called "canna-curious" people into pot consumers.
"While the public possession limit applies to and therefore affects the purchase of all cannabis products, data on consumer spending habits and retail prices of cannabis beverages illustrates that cannabis beverages face greater restrictions," the Gazette said.
"For cannabis beverages, consumers can only purchase five 355 mL cans per transaction, which have an average market value of $30, a value that is well below typical consumer spending habits."
The beverage segment generates roughly $7 million to $8 million in monthly sales in Canada and represents roughly two per cent of all cannabis sales, according to data provider Hifyre. That lack of return on investment has raised questions among industry analysts as to why companies are spending millions of dollars entering a product category that has yet to gain a strong foothold amongst fickle consumers.
A spokesperson for Hexo said that the proposed regulatory changes would be "revolutionary" for consumers and for the beverage category as well.
"These changes enhance consumer experience by allowing beverages to be purchased in quantities more closely aligned with other product categories, based on equivalency," said Sarah Brown, a communications manager at Hexo, in an email.
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