Licensed cannabis producers are optimistic that the introduction of legal edibles will help displace the black market, but analysts say it will take time to displace illegal sales.
Edmonton-based cannabis producer Aurora is launching a line of edibles that include chocolates, gummies and vaping products.
The company has submitted its products to Health Canada for approval and could begin selling them as of mid-December.
Canadians are purchasing edibles from the black market because they’re interested in alternative ways of getting high, said Aurora chief corporate officer Cam Battley.
He thinks many of those consumers will migrate to the legal market in search of safer products that are properly dosed.
“This will give the legal industry the real opportunity to make significant strides in replacing black market sales with attractive and safe adult consumer products,” Battley said.
“There is a willingness to pay for products that are deemed to be properly regulated.”
Cannabis industry analyst Andrew Udell, CEO of the popular blog The Cannalysts, cautions that it will take time to make that shift.
Unregulated cannabis remains appealing because of its lower cost, he said.
While legal cannabis production is inexpensive, regulations and taxes drive up prices for consumers and governments need to strike the right balance, Udell said.
“Try and find the right price at the right size for how much goods or products should cost, versus societal goals of, say, public health and reducing social costs of consumption.”
Just 29 per cent of cannabis users say they get all of their product from legal sources, according to Statistics Canada.
But the fact that Alberta has more than 300 cannabis stores may give the province an advantage in fighting illegal sales, Udell said.
“Convenience, price and selection within a regulated framework, all three of those things will ensure the adoption, expansion, growth and sustainability of legal cannabis consumption.”