Canadians Hungry for Edibles Will Have to Wait until 2020


At a recent festival we asked people if they knew that edibles or other marijuana extracts will not be legal this October but sometime in 2020. A shocking 69 per cent of respondents were not aware, which leads me to believe that as it relates to cannabis legalization, what people know and think they know is vastly different.

People have expressed a keen interest in edibles and extracts, especially for the folks (myself included) who are interested in trying some product. In my opinion, this is a huge market to be tapped into. Edibles are going to represent a large share of the dollar value in cannabis purchased once legalized. I’m sure we could even tap a maple tree to create an edible. So, why the delay in legalizing these?

Extracts and edible products are rising in popularity. They are derived from cannabis buds which contain higher concentrations of active cannabinoids than the unprocessed flower, and come in a wide variety of forms, such as oils to edible cannabis products.

These are undoubtedly novel. We see hundreds and thousands of products on the market. There for sure is a complexity in regulating them, and Canada does have a complex food regulatory system, and I get these things take time.

Once available, things could get complicated in Canada’s food industry. Understanding how food-based cannabis products will exist in the cannabis act, but also under the food and drugs act will absolutely take time. The scope of the policy questions that have to be answered is no doubt significant.

There are definite concerns around edibles, too, as there could be a higher risk of overuse for young or novice users who may dive headfirst with their consumption, which may lead to a bad experience.

The high from eating or drinking cannabis-infused products acts slower than smoking. Over indulgence is also something that will have to educated and communicated to the public, as many products will be quite delicious and easy to over consume.

The food realm requires all kinds of new regulations around safe production and health concerns. Public safety and health are always of utmost importance. I imagine there will also be concern over edibles and proper dosage, and understanding how the body metabolizes edibles when one eats it as opposed to inhaling it (myself included, again. I have no desire to smoke, but have a strong desire to indulge with an edible).

With legalization approaching faster than the Flash, the Canadian cannabis market is on the rise, and there’s an increasingly health-conscious consumer base (millennials) and trend away from smoking.

Much like Homer Simpson asking where his burrito is, people want edibles. Edibles will get a person more of a body high because it hits cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. They are highly concentrated.

Granted, there’s nothing stopping someone from going to buy some legal cannabis on Oct. 17, taking it home, and putting on their chef’s hat and seeing what they come up with. It’s empowering, and fun to experiment.

With the proper safety measures, edibles present a lucrative opportunity for the Canadian food industry. There’s an explosion of interest in what could be made, everything from hard candies, beverages, ice cream, baked goods, and countless recipes that could be cannabis-infused.

For now, edibles will idle on the sidelines, and people have to wait until 2020.

Written by Sheldon Smith, Content Specialist at Cannabiz Social.