Industry Proposes Pathway for Hemp-Derived CBD Products in Canada

Monday, September 30, 2019 General News
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Health Canada's proposal maintains the status quo – Industry proposes regulation which better protects consumers, improves the health of Canadians and creates jobs and economic growth across Canada.

OTTAWA, Sept. 30, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Health Food Association

(CHFA) released its submission to Health Canada's consultation on Potential Market for Cannabis Health Products (CHPs) that Would not Require Practitioner Oversight. Current cannabis regulations in Canada prohibit the sale of CBD outside of provincially regulated recreational cannabis retailers, or without a physician's note.

"While CHFA is pleased to see Health Canada initiate the conversation on addressing this major gap in the cannabis regulatory regime, we are disappointed in, and disagree with, a significant proportion of the key parameters outlined within Health Canada's consultation document," said Helen Long, President of CHFA.

"Health Canada has proposed a pathway that would maintain the status quo, keeping the production and sale of all "cannabis health products" under the Cannabis Act and its Regulations. As a naturally occurring substance, CBD should be regulated as a natural health product. We doubt that the proposed framework will allow businesses to fulfill the large consumer demand for CBD health products, nor will it displace the growing illicit market for CBD health products."

CHFA suggests a different path forward.  This pathway would require targeted amendments to the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR), the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR) and the Prescription Drug List (PDL) to permit ingredients from industrial hemp to be extracted, produced and sold outside of the scope of the Cannabis Regulations. These ingredients would then be permitted for use in natural health products (NHPs) under the NHPR. "Rather than duplicate Canada's existing, world class NHP regulatory system, it would be better for Canadian consumers and Canadian industry to permit hemp-derived CBD in NHPs," explained Long.

"Canadians are already using CBD for a variety of health-related purposes: whether it's pain relief, helping them to sleep, or calming their stress," added Long. "The problem is access to legal CBD health products is limited. It doesn't make sense for Canadians to access CBD for their health through recreational channels, and they should be able to go to their local natural health product retailer to purchase an NHP that contains CBD."

The proposed alternative by CHFA will also support rapid innovation and growth within Canada's natural health product and agricultural hemp industries by removing barriers to production, processing and marketing of CBD derived from hemp. "The hemp sector is projecting significant growth by 2023 – that is upwards of $1 billion in economic benefits," added Long. "However, a proportion of this economic growth is contingent upon an improved pathway to bring CBD health products to market – something that CHFA's solution accounts for."

In addition to the Health Canada consultation submission, CHFA recently launched a national campaign called "CBD is Natural" that calls upon industry participants and Canadian consumers to engage with their local candidates on this important issue.

"We launched CBD is Natural to mobilize Canadians to speak-up during the election and call on all parties to update Canada's regulations to permit the sale of CBD in NHPs – and clearly, our message was heard," said Long. "We applaud Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada for becoming the first party to formally recognize the importance of this issue and commit to solving the problem in their official platform by permitting hemp-derived CBD in NHPs. We now look to the other parties to do the same." 

"This is not a problem that will go away on its own. Canada's NHP industry wants to seize the innovation opportunity to become a global leader in providing CBD NHPs – but we're prevented from doing that. This situation needs to be rectified, and we are encouraging all Canadians to continue engage with their candidates, and to take action at"

CHFA's full submission to Health Canada can be found here.  

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is Canada's largest trade association dedicated to natural health and organic products. Representing over 1,000 businesses across Canada, members include manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers, who are dedicated to helping Canadians live healthier and happier lives, naturally.

SOURCE Canadian Health Food Association

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