Article by Nick Eagland, Vancouver Sun
Hundreds of recreational cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals will hit B.C. shelves soon but it’s unclear whether that will be in time to bring Christmas cheer.
Regulations to make those products legal came into effect on Oct. 17, 2019, one year after the federal legalization of dried cannabis, oil and seeds. But producers weren’t immediately able to ship them to the B.C. Cannabis Stores and website, and private stores.
“Because licensed cannabis producers were required to provide 60-days’ notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products, LDB Wholesale Cannabis is not able to begin placing orders until later this month,” the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, which is the province’s sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis, said in an emailed statement.
Producers will then need to ship those orders in the middle of the busy Christmas season to a government warehouse, before private stores can order them from the government’s wholesale website to be shipped their way.
Mike Babins, co-owner of Evergreen Cannabis in Vancouver, said producers are eager to get those products onto trucks but it’s unclear how long, exactly, it will take them to land in stores.
“They’re (producers are) talking about express flying them in the moment they are ordered,” he said.
Babins said he wonders whether the Christmas holidays could impact the whole process. While products could arrive by Dec. 18, he wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t come until early January.
“They could, very well, in theory, come right away, if everyone is willing to co-operate,” Babins said. “Really, there’s a billion possibilities.”At a Retail Council of Canada conference in October, Eleanor Lynch, senior VP at Vancouver-based Kiaro, said she expected the rollout of edibles during “Legalization 2.0” to be slow and steady.“It’s not going to be a lot of products on the market in December,” she said. “I think people will see more in probably February and March.”
The LDB says customers can initially expect 145 vaporizing products; 54 types of edibles such as chocolates, cookies, gummies and mints; 53 beverages; 12 topical products; and 11 extracts for inhaling.
Stores are prohibited from selling more than 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent in a single transaction. For example, a single gram of dried cannabis is equivalent to 15 grams of a solid edible product, 70 grams of a beverage or 0.25 grams of an extract.
Packaging will list THC and CBD content but also the product’s equivalency to grams of dried cannabis.
Selection at stores and online will depend on availability and delivery schedules, and the LDB says it will refine its stock based on retailer demand.
Meantime, licensed producers have been busy rolling out new products.
Canopy Growth Corp. said it will start with beverages, edibles and vapes and plans to roll out 32 specific items by end of December, and add 20 more over the following 12 months.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. said in a news release that its initial offerings will include vapes, concentrates and edibles such as gummies, chocolates, baked goods and mints.
Health Canada urges novice consumers to start with low-THC doses of edibles, warning that it can take some time for the intoxicating and impairing effects to kick in.