January 13th marked an important date for the books as Albertans have finally been given access to buy legal cannabis edibles for the first time across the province.
A very much anticipated and overdue announcement; the AGLC has granted retail dispensaries across Alberta a policy that opens the doors to the legal distribution of THC edibles.
According to albertacannabis.org
‘Edibles’ refers to any foods or drinks that contain cannabis in a form that can be ingested, rather than smoked or vaporized. Digestion has to take place for the edible cannabis to have any effect. This slower process means there is a risk of consuming too much at one time. Offset time – or how long the edibles effects will last – can also be unpredictable.https://albertacannabis.org/en/edibles-extracts-topicals
Regulations & Guidelines for Edibles in Alberta
According to the Government of Canada: edible producers must abide by the following set of regulations and guidelines for their production
- Max 10mg of THC per package
- No added vitamins or minerals
- No nicotine or added alcohol
- Limits on the amount of caffeine
What This Means For Consumers
Consumers looking to buy marijuana edibles in Alberta can now go out and pick from a relatively wide selection of chocolates, gummies, mints, teas, and other products launched by their favorite brands. However, with the strict set of regulations imposed by the Alberta government, some customers may feel that the dosage and price points are a bit disappointing.
There will also be no gummy bears or gummy worms. Health Canada’s regulations state that these products cannot be appealing to young people. So don’t get your hopes up if you were thinking about picking up your favorite candy at your nearest dispensary.
In my opinion, I believe chocolate is just as appealing to youth as gummies are… I find it odd that only a select few gummy candies were banned from being produced as well. The rules for edibles are all over the place and presents some unique challenges for suppliers and dispensaries alike.
Calgary’s own, Bernard Callebaut, is a chocolatier who has spent the last two years crafting a plan for his business to be able to sell THC-infused chocolates. His biggest problem is having to build or find a different facility to infuse his chocolate with THC – which I believe is severely hurting small businesses that could be pushing these products forward with new innovative ideas and concepts.
Still – this leaves room for discussion and we all know that these regulations are not set-in-stone. Once Health Canada better understands marijuana and THC, I believe we will alter this set of regulations to be more based on facts rather than fear. Our government requires more knowledge and factual based evidence to support marijuana edibles and their uses, and we need to come up with a way to show them this.
Failure To Compete With The Black Market
Currently, dispensaries are going to have a hard time dealing with the prices and dosages available on the black market. Mail order marijuana (or MOM) sites have a much wider variety of products to choose from, and their dosages are higher as well. With the current 10 mg per edible regulations, dispensaries will have a harder time competing with brands that have ten times that in one package. In order to properly compete with these websites, Health Canada is going to have to reevaluate the current set of rules and come up with a compromise if they want to truly make an impact.
With the release of legal edibles in Alberta, there is definitely some cause for excitement. But with so many questions left unanswered. Strict and uneducated regulations set by Health Canada have hampered the industry and left dispensaries with their hands tied. I feel that the options available are overpriced, and fail to compete with the black market. One of the highlights of Trudeau’s government getting rid of marijuana prohibition was to stand up to the black market and offer competitively priced products for us to choose from – they have failed astronomically at doing this. It is my hope that one day, the Canadian Government will understand marijuana and get rid of its insane regulations and guidelines.
Until then, keep it smokey everyone!