Article by CBC News
Your friendly, neighbourhood, Ontario-run cannabis store expects to soon be offering a new and expanded menu.
Pot brownies. Cannabis-infused tea and sparkling water. Grape juice. Cookies. Malt beverages. Lots more. Even wine and beer. The next wave of provincially approved pot products are on their way, but maybe not soon. There’s still lots to decide. Who gets to supply the products? How will they be made? How will the federal election affect the plans?
Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions spoke with the CBC’s Conrad Collaco about the new products and the questions that still need to be answered. Her company has been helping licensed producers navigate these new products and has been applying to the provincial control boards.
You can read an abridged and edited version of the interview or listen to the full audio interview by hitting the play button above.
Lisa Campbell, CEO for Lifford Cannabis Solutions
What will the new products look like?
They’ll look a lot like existing products for dried cannabis and oil. They’ll have the exact same packaging. The big yellow warning. The red THC stop sign. The products are going to be so diverse.
For each product SKU that OCS is accepting submissions for there are hundreds and hundreds products that are being submitted. Not all products will make it. It will be interesting to see what final products come to market.
Where will people be able to buy these products?
They’ll be able to buy online through the OCS.ca. You’ll also be able to purchase in the private retail locations. There are 25 now opening across Ontario. The majority have opened their doors including Hamilton.You’ve got Canna Cabana. Hello Cannabis. These stores are so popular right now. They’re actually selling out, in some cases, before they can get their next order from the OCS. In addition to all of the new products coming to market we’re also seeing a product call for cannabis — all different formats, all different price points — everything from organic outdoor to premium, high grade, higher price premium cannabis. It’s going to be really interesting to see all these new products come to market.
Even before all these new products, Ontario Cannabis Store suppliers haven’t been able to keep up with demand. What would adding these products mean?
OCS will definitely be very picky in terms of who they choose for these different categories. They’re going to be rewarding producers who actually stuck to their supply agreement and delivered. Whereas producers who have been shorting the OCS on every order — how can they trust them to actually have these products available.
We’re also seeing a lot of licensed producers also stockpiling product to prepare for the second wave of cannabis.
I would say twice as much cannabis that is on the shelves is in storage right now waiting to be processed into all of these product categories. I do think that licensed producers are ready. The only problem is that we haven’t gotten the final regulations from Health Canada.
We have the proposed regulations which are good guidelines but the final regulations will be dropping in the Gazette potentially two days before the product call is due. For licensed producers that are looking for more guidance it still remains to be seen whether it’s smarter to enter into the ring in the first round or wait until the next product call.
Do you think the availability of cannabis in new products like brownies or tea will make it more likely that the people who are still using their local illegal dealers shift over to using legal cannabis?
I think so, especially in Hamilton where you have a very mature existing market.
At one point there were over 100 illicit dispensaries in Hamilton. Consumers in the area are used to consuming all the products from extracts like shatter and wax and rosin to edibles like brownies, cookies and even powdered mixes where you can make your own mixes at home. That’s all going to be available on the legal market.
The only difference will be marketing. Marketing is still very restrictive for licensed producers. They’re only allowed to use one colour. Their logo has to be very small on the package. It’s hard for licensed producers to differentiate their products.
The quality of the products will speak for themselves. Consumers are hungry to try things like cannabis chocolate. Unfortunately the dosage will be much lower than what consumers in Hamilton are used to in the existing edibles market.Products will be limited to 10 mg of THC per package under the proposed regulations. There’s some push back from producers to have it at 10 mg per serving not per package.