As Canada moves forward with legalization, the government has promised to review other jurisdictions for best practices on cannabis regulation. One of those markets, Colorado, has seen a recent initiative to limit the THC levels on products to 16 per cent. 

Although the plan failed before a vote could be put forward, officials in this country have promised to review all options including cannabis potency.

The Liberal government’s discussion paper on cannabis legalization states that THC levels today are 12–15 per cent, compared to 3 per cent in the 1980s, with even higher levels available in edible products and concentrates.

“Higher concentration products have added risks and unknown long term impacts, and those risks are exacerbated for young people, including children,” the paper reads. “Given the significant health risks, maximum THC limits could be set and high-potency products strictly prohibited.”

In a recent CBC interview BC Compassion Club Society founder Hilary Black said Canada has the opportunity to be leaders on the world stage legalizing cannabis correctly.

“Putting THC limits on cannabis really is the evolution of reefer madness,” said Black. “It’s time for us to stop demonizing THC we need policy that’s based on both evidence and expertise.”

Black said that limiting cannabis potency will result in a continuation of a black market as customers go elsewhere for their needs.

“If we don’t regulate cannabis in all of its forms and potencies, and we don’t meet consumer demand, we’re going to create an unregulated market contrary to the government’s objectives,” she said. “There will always be a market, regulated or unregulated, for the products that consumers want.”

Black said the limit will also see consumers using more, lower-potency, cannabis.

“People will just just consume more of the plant material to reach the desired effect that they’re looking for so, in fact, capping the THC levels doesn’t make any sense,” Black said. “In many ways, potent strains of cannabis may be more healthy to use.

“It’s really time for us to demonize THC, it’s kind of a hang-over from the reefer madness era.”

The government has created a cannabis task force, currently reviewing public feedback on legalization, with a report due to the House of Commons in November.