Cannabis drinks group calls for changes to proposed rulesBy Nicola Carruthers
A newly-formed cannabis drinks association in Canada is calling for changes to the country’s proposed regulations for cannabis-infused beverages.
The Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance (CBPA), made up of 10 companies in the alcohol and cannabis sector, is seeking the ability to produce cannabis-based beverages in facilities that also produce alcoholic beverages.
Health Canada, the country’s government department responsible for public health, published draft regulations that state cannabis edibles must be made in a separate building or site to other edibles.
The CBPA also wants cannabis-infused drinks to have similar guidelines to alcohol when it comes to branding and marketing.
Under the draft regulations, plain packaging and labelling is compulsory for all cannabis products, including strict limits on the use of logos, colours and branding.
Following a public consultation, which closed in February 2019, Health Canada is currently reviewing 7,000 submissions on the regulation of edible products. A final set of rules is expected in late summer 2019.
CBPA member companies include Hill Street Beverage Company, Lifford Cannabis Solutions, Province Brands of Canada, Truss Beverages, Cannabis Compliance, CanBev (WeedMD and Phivida Holdings JV), Collective Arts Brewing, VinFirst Innovative Packaging and Lakeside Process Controls.
The group includes manufacturers, industry professionals and advisors who advocate for the safe, reliable and replicable production of legal cannabis beverages. It also aims to lobby for wide legal access, consumers and public safety.
A number of drinks firms have moved into the cannabis market in the past year.
US group Constellation Brands acquired a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation in 2017 and recently acquired an additional stake worth US$4 billion.
Southern Glazer’s, the largest wine and spirits distribution group in North America, created a subsidiary exclusively for the representation of cannabis products by Aphria in Canada.
Meanwhile, fellow distributor Breakthru Beverage Group formed an exclusive partnership with cannabis producer CannTrust and developed its own cannabis sales platform.
Other leading spirits firms, including Diageo, have been linked to reported cannabis deals, though they have not yet moved into the sector.