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article imageCompanies claim Canada's cannabis edibles legislation problematic

By Ken Hanly     Mar 18, 2019 in Business
Although cannabis infused edibles are not yet legal in Canada, they are still available illicitly. The black market for edibles could continue to flourish as businesses complain of complicated government regulation slowing the rollout of legal edibles.
Edibles are a big market, offering cannabis customers a method of use often preferable to smoking. With an estimated $1 billion in the US and Canada being spent on edibles in 2017, the market is expected to grow to $4.1 billion by 2022 according to BDS Analytics.
Regulations governing edibles and vaping to be in force by October 17, 2019
Food and beverage makers as well as cannabis companies are hoping to tap into the expected demand and are preparing to roll out legal pot-infused edibles once the new regulations go into place in later this year. However, the process faces problems and the parameters for legal production are not clear.
Cannabinoid-infused products that will be legalized under the new regulations include inhalable extracts as well as solids, beverages and topicals, like lotions.
Jeff Zietlow, of licenced producer CannTrust Holdings Inc. said: "It's a challenge. Everyone is running for the October deadline, and we're trying to develop multiple products at the same time. The more certainty you have, the easier it is to innovate products."
Health Canada published proposed edible pot regulations last December and has finished public consultations on February 20. It is now in the process of reviewing responses before it published final regulations.
Companies preparing for new legal cannabis products
Greenhouse Juice Co. based in Toronto is planning to produce beverages infused with cannabidiol. It will be helped by a $9 million investment from Canopy Growth Corp's venture capital division. Also, the licensed producer Organigram has partnered with Canada's Smartest Kitchen to develop edibles. Initially it will focus on the chocolate confectionery market. And Hexo Corp., based in Quebec, has joined with Molson Coors for a joint venture called Truss which will make and sell cannabis-infused drinks but they will be non-alcoholic.
Reactions to proposed rules vary
Jessika Villano, owner of Buddha Barn dispensary in Vancouver, says she hopes the government genuinely wants her opinion although she was sceptical: "I don't feel like anybody's been listening. I feel a little bit deflated, actually," Villano notes that a single serving would be limited to 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and each serving must be individually wrapped. However Villano claims that some cancer patients use up to 650 milligrams per dose. The regulations would outlaw higher does products. She claims that substitute products would be much too expensive for users.
Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., said the rules aren't perfect, but they're very good. Canopy Growth is developing a calorie-free cannabis beverage. Linton did not have an issue with the 10 milligram limit per serving for drinks. He said that the one area where the limit might be too strict is with respect to vape pens which usually have a higher does so they may be used on several occasions.
However, Linton was generally pleased with the regulations saying that the government was moving forward in a well-regulated, incremental way. He said that if necessary the dosage could be increased later. He concluded:"In the context of how governments normally work, this is astounding."
More about cannabis edibles, Canadian legalization of cannabis, Health canada
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