FAQs Non-Medical Cannabis Edibles
What are cannabis “edibles”?
Cannabis edibles are any food or drinks that contain cannabis. This may include baked goods, teas, chocolate, gummies and liquor.
How can I tell the difference between edibles and regular food?
It is hard to tell the difference between edible cannabis products and other foods. Keep your clearly labelled cannabis products at home in a secure place, out of sight and reach of children and pets. Don’t consume the drug in front of children and youth.
Children can be poisoned by cannabis
Children can be poisoned if they accidentally consume cannabis. Although cannabis poisoning is not known to be fatal, it can be dangerous in children, sometimes requiring medical attention and hospital admission. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea or vomiting, lethargy, extremely slow breathing, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, psychotic episode, severe anxiety or panic attack. If a child has accidentally consumed cannabis and is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention or call BC’s 24 hour poison control centre at 1-800-567-8911.
Are cannabis edibles legal?
Individuals are able to create an edible cannabis product for personal use.
Commercial and retailed cannabis are not legal, and are subject to the Public Health Act and the Food Premises Regulation.
What actions is Island Health taking with regard to the sale of cannabis edibles?
It is Island Health’s responsibility to enforce the Public Health Act and the Food Premises Regulation. We take action against any food from an unapproved source, which currently includes cannabis edibles. When taking action, we will work with local bylaw enforcement and the Community Safety Unit.
Concerns of dispensaries reported to be selling cannabis edibles will be referred to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch if they currently have a license or the Community Safety Unit if they do not currently have a license.
How does Island Health address the online sales of non-medical cannabis edibles?
Because the distribution of cannabis edibles to the public is not currently legal, Island Health will refer the matter to Health Canada and/or to the local Community Safety Unit when aware of any particular business associated with the online sales of cannabis edibles.
How will Island Health address cannabis edibles at temporary markets and special events?
Market managers are responsible to ensure that foods meet regulatory guidelines. Because cannabis edibles are not legal, they cannot be sold at markets.
Food vendors at special events are required to obtain a special event permit from Island Health’s Health Protection prior to the event and to comply with the Food Premises Regulation.
Any vendor proposing cannabis edibles will be required to remove them from the proposed menu before consideration will be given to issuing a special event permit.
Health Protection will respond to complaints of cannabis edibles being available for sale or distribution at special events and temporary markets and will work with local bylaw enforcement and the Community Safety Unit to ensure compliance with the Food Premises Regulation.
How will Island Health address the sales of cannabis edibles from private residences?
Allegations of home preparation for sale or distribution of cannabis edibles will be investigated in the same manner as any food operation preparing and selling food without an approval or Permit. Island Health will work with local bylaw enforcement and the Community Safety Unit to ensure compliance with the Food Premises Regulation.
Is Island Health preventing access to cannabis edibles prescribed by doctors?
Island Health has no role in decisions between individuals and their physicians. We administer the Food Premises Regulation, which requires that foods be from an approved source.
Foods from unapproved sources, including cannabis edibles, are not permitted for sale or distribution to the public.
Individuals may prepare cannabis for personal consumption in any manner they choose.
Are cannabis edibles safe?
Cannabis use in any form is a personal choice, but comes with health risks. This includes cognitive, respiratory and reproductive problems. It is safest not to use cannabis. Young people and those with a personal or family history of psychosis or substance use problems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. Pregnant women should not use cannabis at all.
If you do consume edibles, go slowly and be patient. The effects of cannabis edibles are felt slowly and people may mistakenly consume large doses and experience more severe impairment.
Learn more about the health risks of cannabis use.
Are cannabis edibles addictive?
Cannabis in any form can be addictive. The younger people start using cannabis, and the more frequently it’s used, the greater the risk to develop a cannabis dependency.
Where can I get help for a cannabis use disorder?
If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use disorder with cannabis or other drugs, help is available.
24/7 Crisis line: 1-888-494-3888 vicrisis.ca
8-1-1 for non-emergency advice 24/7
Where can I find more information regarding the sale of cannabis in Canada and what is and is not permitted?
Get Cannabis Clarity: Get the Facts – Province of BC