Updated: Ontario, BC pause listing any new delta-8 THC products, await guidance from Health Canada

The Ontario Cannabis Store sent out a notice to licensed cannabis producers on December 15 to inform them that the provincial cannabis distributor and retailer will no longer be listing delta-8 THC products until it receives guidance from Health Canada.

Update: BC now confirms that they will also not be registering or replenishing any products that contain Delta-8-THC until they determine their next steps.

In their letter, the OCS says they have been monitoring “emerging concerns in the United States, where the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued public health warnings for unregulated products that contain the novel synthetic cannabinoid delta-8 THC. As a result, an increasing number of U.S. States have taken steps to regulate or ban products that contain this cannabinoid.”

The OCS began carrying several products that contained novel cannabinoids, including Delta-8 products. These have been in the form of cannabis vapes, edibles, beverages, and topicals. The OCS will still continue to purchase and list dried cannabis products, including pre-rolls, that contain low levels of naturally occurring Delta-8 THC.

While the provincial agency says it is not aware of any adverse reactions to these products in the legal cannabis market in Canada to date, products that contain delta-8 THC fall “outside the definition of THC under the federal Cannabis Act”.

The OCS says it has contacted Health Canada, asking for direction on the subject of delta-8 products specifically. 

Until Health Canada provides this requested guidance to the industry, “out of an abundance of caution” the OCS will: no longer accept any product that contains delta-8 THC as part of the product call process; will not issue notices to purchase new products containing delta-8 THC that have previously been submitted through the product call process; will not issue purchase orders for any products containing delta-8 THC (any purchase orders that have been issued but not fulfilled to OCS will be cancelled); and will not issue replenishment orders for any currently listed delta-8 THC products.

The OCS will still sell the existing inventory through its online store and whole distribution channels. OCS.ca currently lists nine products that feature delta-8 THC.

Other provinces

UPDATE: In response to a request for comment from StratCann, the BC LDB says that it has become aware of some products containing delta-8 THC “which falls outside the definition THC under the Federal Cannabis Act”. 

“Information about Delta-8-THC and the potential biological effects and health risks to consumers is new and emerging, and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is working with its government counterparts to determine the appropriate next steps,” wrote a representative for the LDB. 

“Until we determine next steps, the LDB will not be registering or replenishing any products that contain Delta-8-THC.”

A representative from the SQDC in Quebec noted that the SQDC does not currently sell products with minor cannabinoids such as delta-8 on the labeling. “As such we do not have a position on the matter at this moment” noted the media representative.

StratCann has reached out for comment from other provinces as well as Health Canada and will be updating as that information is provided.

The NSLC in Nova Scotia does not carry any delta-8 products, nor does Cannabis NL, serving Newfoundland and Labrador. Cannabis NB in New Brunswick lists at least 1 delta-8 product on their website. At least one store in Yukon carries a delta-8 product.

A representative for Cannabis NB (CNB) tells StratCann: “We have just become aware of OCS’ policy approach and we are still assessing the situation. In general, for CNB, we follow the act and the guidelines as mandated by Health Canada when it comes to selling products and adhere to direction that they provide.”