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Crushable and Menthol-Infused Pre-Rolls

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Originally Posted on LinkedIn here:

Let’s talk about two novel products and how they withstand the rigours of the Cannabis Regulations (CRs).

We’re talking menthol-infused pre-rolls (PRs) and “crushable” PRs with a little bead in the filter you crush to add flavour to your smoking experience – like Camel Crush!

I want to start off by bringing to your attention s. 31 of the Act prohibiting selling cannabis with an “appearance, shape or other sensory attribute or function that there are reasonable grounds to believe could be appealing to young persons.”

This applies regardless.

Now, let’s step back and talk about how the paper cone containing dried cannabis for inhalation — ie a pre-roll — is regulated under the CRs.

The Act includes rolling papers in its definition of cannabis accessory, and although it could be argued the paper is merely a delivery mechanism (like pill capsules), I’m told by a lawyer smarter than me that Health Canada actually still classifies the paper in this case as an accessory.

In dried cannabis, menthol would be considered an additive, which is not permitted.

Now, cannabis extracts are permitted to have carrier substances, flavouring agents, and substances that are necessary to maintain its quality or stability.

Menthol is a flavouring agent, and the CRs don’t prohibit its use, though it’s generally prohibited to be used in tobacco through its inclusion as an item in Schedule 1 of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA).

The CRs do say that you can’t use certain substances listed in Schedule 2 of the TVPA, but that Schedule doesn’t list menthol.

Thus, it’s generally a permitted flavouring agent in extracts — for now.

What about the “crushable” dried cannabis PRs?

That depends on whether the pre-roll paper is considered to be an accessory for the dried cannabis inside it, and if HC enforces that interpretation.

Interestingly, accessories containing extracts must have the THC symbol affixed to it — but I haven’t seen Health Canada enforce this on infused pre-rolls.

Among other restrictions, s. 103.1 of the CRs say that a cannabis accessory that is packaged with a cannabis product may not impart a “characterizing flavour” to the cannabis. That could mean the crushable products are non-compliant — though it might be argued the flavour it’s imparting is not “characterizing.”

Now what if HC got their way with their amendments seeing to amend the CRs to restrict flavours?

They plan to restrict cannabis extracts from imparting a smell, taste or chemesthetic sensation other than what is “typical” of cannabis.

The amendments would apply to cannabis extracts and not dried cannabis.

Some cannabis strains naturally have menthol, albeit usually not in large amounts. Does that makes it a substance “that is identical to a substance that is found in, apart of the cannabis plant” and thus a permitted flavouring agent?

Under the amendments HC would likely see menthol PRs as non-compliant. If an LP challenges it, it could be a protracted battle with HC!

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