Pot Edibles Legalization Fraught With Hurdles, Lack of Clarity, Companies Say

Article by Armina Ligaya, CTV News

Pot edibles legalization fraught with hurdles, lack of clarity, companies say In this Sept. 11, 2017, photo, a display of Creatos, Weed-Itz and Flavorblaster marijuana infused edibles in Washington, at a closed Ethiopian restaurant at a "gifted" marijuana event. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda) Armina Ligaya

From the classic pot brownie to cannabis-infused cotton candy, there is no shortage of options for edibles at an illicit dispensary in downtown Toronto.

Among the people lining up to browse and buy, one 34-year-old IT worker chooses gummy bears for what he says is his first-ever edibles purchase. The Toronto man, who did not want to be named, said he preferred edibles over smoking cannabis because he can avoid the pungent smell and partake indoors.

“These are more convenient,” he said, adding that among his friends who are cannabis users, half of them say edibles are their form of choice even though they aren’t legal in Canada yet.

Cannabis companies, as well as food and beverage makers, are looking to tap this expected demand as they gear up to roll out their own pot-infused edibles when the next wave of the green rush is legalized later this year.

Canadians can legally purchase cannabis-infused goods and vapes once the government rolls out the final edible pot regulations, which Ottawa has said must be brought into force no later than Oct. 17, 2019.

However, like the rush towards the initial wave of legalization on Oct. 17 of last year, the process is fraught with obstacles and the parameters are unclear.

From obtaining specialized research licenses to potentially building new and separate manufacturing facilities and developing new products to comply with yet-to-be-finalized rules — there are numerous hoops to jump through before edibles can grace store shelves.

“It’s a challenge,” said Jeffrey Zietlow, vice-president of innovation at licensed producer CannTrust Holdings Inc. “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.”

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