Cannabis products that are “particularly appealing to children,” such as gummy bears and lollipops, should be banned as part of the wider regulation of edibles this fall, Toronto’s medical officer of health says.

In a report that will be considered on Feb. 25, Dr. Eileen de Villa says that the Board of Health should urge the federal government to prohibit all edible cannabis products that are appealing to children due to their colour or shape.

“Lessons learned from the United States underscore the importance of preventing accidental consumption of edibles by children. Following cannabis legalization in Colorado, there was an increase in the hospitalization of children due to accidental consumption of edible cannabis prior to the introduction of more health protective regulations,” she writes. “In addition to the proposed safety requirements for packaging and labelling, it is recommended edible cannabis products that are particularly appealing to children due to their colour or shape (e.g. gummy bear, lollipop), should be prohibited.”

Draft regulations previously released by Health Canada do include a ban on Cannabis edibles that appear or are packaged like candy or other familiar children's foods and also place prohibit the use of ingredients that would make the products more appealing to children, such as sweeteners or colourants.

In her report, de Villa also recommends that the federal government take a number of additional steps to keep youth away from cannabis in all of its various forms. She says that all youth-friendly flavours of cannabis vaping products – including deserts, candy and soft drinks – should be prohibited along with the “the marketing, promotion, and display of vaping devices that may be used to consume cannabis in places where youth have access, regardless of whether or not the product or advertising medium represents an association with cannabis.” She also says that the federal government should prohibit the marketing and promotion of cannabis use in media accessible to youth.

“In addition to product advertisement, the impact of marketing practices and social norms related to the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs in media such as television, music and movies is associated with increased youth initiation of use. It is therefore recommended that the restrictions for marketing and promotion of cannabis in general be strengthened by including restrictions on advertising in movies, video games and other media, including on-line marketing and advertising, accessible to youth,” she writes.

The draft regulations released by Health Canada would permit no more than 10 milligrams of THC in any package of edibles. In her report, de Villa supports a limit on TCH in any package of edibles but also says that all products in “a single package/container should reflect traditional consumption portions of similar products without cannabis.”