As of October 17, 2019, almost a year after the official legalization of cannabis in Canada, edibles were cleared for distribution at brick and mortar shops across the country. Initially, Health Canada issued a 60 day wait period in order to offer processors and distributors the opportunity to adjust to new regulations and infrastructure. However, as of early January, all three of Fernie’s cannabis shops have been officially outfitted with fresh batches of cannabis brownies, gummies, mints, and even vegan cookies.
“Demand has been high, in particular the gummies have been quite popular,” remarked Sarah Jane Nelson, co-founder of Stick and Stone.
Edibles, an ingestible method of absorbing THC offer an alternative method of consumption, wherein THC is absorbed through the stomach rather than the lungs.
“For people who don’t want to smoke, it’s a great option,” mused Nelson.
New users are cautioned to start low and go slow when experimenting with edibles, as it can take up to an hour to feel their full effect. Due to this delay of high, Health Canada has imposed a 10 milligram restriction on dosages per package. The restrictions have resulted in controversy, as users worry that low dosages will result in those with high tolerances turning to the black market.
When asked about her stance on the matter, Nelson said she understood that the restriction is inconvenient.
“Historically, in the medical access systems, patients have worked up to 100 milligram doses. So to eat 10 chocolate bars…that’s a lot of sugar to consume. However, Canada is just being really cautious. They’re keeping in mind the new people that are trying cannabis for the first time… I understand both sides.”
Nelson mentioned that there are ingestible alternatives available to those that require higher doses, such as oils, gel caps, and sublingual sprays.
Other regulations introduced by Health Canada include limiting ingredients that encourage consumers to eat more than necessary, implementing child-restraint packaging, and prohibiting health claims on labels. There are also several controls set in place during production in order to eliminate the potential for food borne illness.
Despite the onset of excitement, there continues to be lingering stigma swirling around the valley with regard to the legalization of marijuana. In particular, Nelson mentioned apprehension from mine workers,
“I do think there’s still some stigma because of the mine, and the limitations that workers have for safety. You know, safety is absolutely a priority in the workplace setting, but… I believe that with education and more conversation, the stigma is coming down”.
Regardless of the divide, the advent of edible marijuana products ascertains an exciting time for the cannabis industry.
Cannabis retailers believe that the addition of edibles in shops will encourage new clientele to not only try cannabis, but to partake in an increased positive and safe experience.