Delaying Legal Edible Cannabis Products Won’t Keep Them Off Street, MPs Told

Article by Brennan MacDonald, CBC News

Delaying legal edible cannabis products won't keep them off street, MPs told Commons health committee closes out a marathon week of testimony on Bill C-45. Jodie Emery, long-time marijuana activist and co-owner of Cannabis Culture, holds up a joint while testifying before the Commons health committee studying the government's pot legalization bill Friday. (CBC)

A B.C. pot activist and dispensary owner told MPs studying the government’s cannabis legalization bill Friday that excluding edible cannabis products from next year’s planned rollout will mean the black market will continue to supply them.

“If the government is not going to allow edibles and extracts, we’re going to continue to sell them through dispensaries, through the black market. They will be unregulated, but we do our best to make sure these products are safe and labelled,” Dana Larsen told MPs on the House of Commons health committee.

In its current form, Bill C-45 does not include the legalization of edible cannabis products, and the government has said it would deal with those products at a later date. The plan is that on July 1, 2018, adults will be allowed to purchase fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds and plants for cultivation at home.

Edible cannabis products often contain THC, the psychoactive substance that makes consumers feel “high”. Edibles can come in many forms, including baked goods, candy, honey and dried fruit.

Larsen told the committee that dispensaries do their best given the constraints of legality.

“A lot of the fear-mongering around edibles and extracts simply hasn’t materialized in Vancouver, or Toronto, or other cities that have dozens of dispensaries. We are not really seeing a lot of problems coming out of this, and that’s an unregulated, self-regulated market. If we have some proper rules in place, problems will be minimal,” said Larsen.

Colorado’s experience with edibles

Daniel Vigil, who manages the Marijuana Health Monitoring and Research Program in Colorado’s Health Department, said that since legalization in 2012, the state has seen an increase in poison centre calls related to marijuana.

“For adults, it is about equal numbers edible and smokeable products, which is actually disproportionate because more product is smoked in Colorado,” said Vigil.

Ultimately, Vigil said, he thinks edible cannabis products should be included in legalization, “but it is very important to get it right. And if that takes some time and some learning from the smoked market, then I would be in agreement with that.”

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