Skip to main content

Ottawa Public Health calls for graphic warnings, 'not for kids' label on cannabis packages

Cannabis retailers recycling packaging

Ottawa Public Health is calling for graphic warning labels to be placed on cannabis packages sold in Canada, and for a ban on the words "candy" and "candies" on the labels.

A report for Monday's Board of Health meeting outlines the health unit's recommendations to Health Canada as the agency conducts consultations on the cannabis regulations in Canada.

The Cannabis Act requires the Minister of Health to review the cannabis regulations three years after coming into force.  

The health unit is recommending the packaging for dried and fresh cannabis include "graphic health warnings," similar to cigarette packages.

"Research on cannabis shows that plain packaging and health warnings reduces brand appeal and increases health knowledge among youth and young adults," the health unit says.

"Plain packaging and health warnings are also effective at decreasing smoking rates, decreasing smoking initiation and increasing attempts to quit."

Canada requires graphic photo warnings on tobacco products' packaging. Canada will soon require health warnings to be printed directly on individual cigarettes.

Ottawa Public Health is calling on Health Canada to introduce new restrictions on cannabis products, "to reduce their appeal with young people, reduce accidental ingestion by children and risks of overconsumption." Staff recommend banning the words "candy" or "candies" on packaging, and prohibiting the use of shapes, sprinkles and colours that may appeal to children.

"Unintentional cannabis poisoning in Canadian children is on the rise, mostly after legalization of cannabis edibles," the report says.

The required list of health warnings on packaging should include "not for kids," according to OPH.

Ottawa Public Health notes while Ontario has allowed the sale of a "wide variety" of edibles, Quebec has prohibited the sale of edibles in the province.

There are currently 118 cannabis storefront locations in Ottawa, according to the health unit. The submission to Health Canada recommends the agency look into "maximum density for locations" of cannabis stores and "explore mechanisms to implement limits." Top Stories

Stay Connected