Dec. 16, 2019 was the first day edibles, concentrates, and topicals could legally be sold in Canada.
Referred to as “Legalization 2.0” or “Cannabis 2.0” products, they span a range of formats, from different types of concentrate-filled vapes to edibles such as gummies and chocolates, to beverages such as sparkling water and tea, as well as a variety of topical products.
The Canadian government has truly opened up a Pandora’s box (of cannabis), but in total Canadian fashion, there are limits—lots of them.
Edibles and beverages cannot contain more than 10 mg of THC per serving and strict regulations continue to ensure bland packaging.
Still, it’s a historical occasion, however slow the rollout.
On Oct. 17, producers were given 60 days to get their products ready for market, but the logistical challenges of kickstarting a new industry meant that many were not ready by the first day of legal sales on Dec. 16.
On top of that, each province determines how recreational cannabis products are sold within their borders. And on top of that, there’s also a separate federal medical cannabis program, whereby licensed producers courier cannabis products directly to their registered patients.
With all these layers of regulation, it’s little wonder that it can be difficult to determine what’s available, and where.
If you’re in the market for Legalization 2.0 products ahead of the holidays, here’s what you can find in each province:
BCer’s, are you ready? The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) told CBC it will have some tea, vaping cartridges, hash, and topicals ready by Dec. 19. That’s also the day private retailers in the province will be able to buy from the provincial distributor.
The BCLDB told CBC that out of an expected 260 new products, only a small portion will actually be ready and available to consumers on the 19th.
An official with the BCLDB revealed that the delay could be due to issues some producers are facing in making edible products shelf-stable without refrigeration.
If you live in Alberta, you’ll have to wait until after Christmas to get your (concentrate) vape on. Despite having the most cannabis stores per capita in the entire country, the province acts as a middleman as the province’s sole cannabis distributor.
A spokesperson for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission told Vice News that it will be mid-January before the new cannabis products hit the shelves. They also said that half of the 42 producers they have agreements with have indicated they’ll be making new products.
Consumers in Saskatchewan will likely have access to new products sooner than other provinces, and almost certainly before Christmas.
That’s because the province doesn’t act as a wholesaler. Instead, producers sell directly to stores. There are also private wholesalers.
Brent Michaud, assistant manager of Tweed in Meadow Lake, told local reporters that they are “shooting for before Christmas.”
The general manager of another store told CTV that they’re expecting their first shipment on the Dec. 17, estimating products will be on shelves by the following weekend.
John Arbuthnot, CEO for Manitoba-based retailer Delta 9 Cannabis told CBC that its shipments for edibles and vaporizers were sent from Auxly in PEI and Aurora in Ontario on the 16th, saying shelves would be stocked “within the next few days.”
In the beginning, the chain will only carry vape oils, pens, cartridges, gummies, chocolates, and mints, he also told CBC.
The next day, he told CTV News that some products would be stocked as early as the 18th. Two other providers of cannabis, Garden Variety and Tokyo Smoke, also told the outlet they will have products on their shelves within a week.
Looking for Legalization 2.0 products in Ontario before Christmas? Unfortunately, you’re out of luck.
A representative for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) told Daily Hive this week that Legalization 2.0 products will arrive at retail stores in early January. They also stated that the products will be available on the OCS’s online platform sometime in mid-January. That could mean brick and mortar stores in the province might start selling the products before the government-run website does.
Quebec, similar to Ontario and Alberta, is not expected to have Legalization 2.0 products for sale before mid to late January..
The province has already banned a number of Legalization 2.0 products, including vapes, candies, desserts, and chocolate, so even when new products do come to market in the province, don’t expect to find those.
Just in time for Christmas: Dec. 23. That’s the date that Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation spokesperson Beverley Ware gave News 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show.
She also said that a “small offering” of products will be available, and that it won’t include “baked goods” or “topicals.”
Come January, more inventory will “trickle in” but they told the radio station they don’t expect the full spectrum of edibles, extracts, and topicals for several months.
Prince Edward Island
If you’re on the island, you will have to wait a bit longer. The province told CBC that they will have beverages, topicals, and extracts available in the “coming weeks.”
So while we don’t know just what brands will be available, that hasn’t stopped the province from putting out educational pieces to warn people about the effects of cannabis edibles, including a video with Islander comedian Dennis Trainor.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador was home to the first ever Legalization 2.0 product sales in the country, when the clock struck 12:01 a.m. local time on Dec. 16, 2019.
The catch: cannabis is only available on the provincial retailer’s website, so customers have to wait for their products to ship. The province lists a variety of chocolates for sale, many from Canopy Growth. The website also lists beverages and mixes as coming soon, including THC powder by cultivator TGOD.
A representative who answered the phone at Cannabis NL’s corporate office in St. John’s indicated that the products would only be available on the company’s website, and was unable to provide a timeline on when they might be available in Newfoundland and Labrador’s brick and mortar stores.
Cannabis NB Moncton’s 91.9 The Bend it is expecting Legalization 2.0 products to be available for Christmastime, but you may have to act fast, as initial shipments to retailers will be limited.
On Dec. 17, spokesperson Marie-Andrée Bolduc also told the radio station she would have more details about new products in the following few days.
If you live in the Northern territories, things are taking their time, and information is hard to come by.
As of Dec. 17, Yukon’s online cannabis portal does not list Legalization 2.0 products, and none of the websites for the territory’s three authorized retailers mention the new offerings.
In Nunavut, consumers can only purchase online from Tweed or Agmedica. On its website, Tweed says that vapes, cartridges, chocolates, and beverages are “coming soon,” while Agmedica’s site has yet to mention them.
Similarly, the Northwest Territories’ online cannabis store currently has no information about Legalization 2.0 products.
Some medical cannabis patients can now find Legalization 2.0 products online and order them directly to their houses. Aurora now offers mints, gummies, and vaporizer pens for its registered medical patients.
The company’s 510 Vape Cartridge contains 0.5 grams of THC-dominant cannabis oil, containing just over 65% THC and selling to Ontario patients for $47.
Medreleaf, a subsidiary of Aurora, announced on its website that Medreleaf-branded oil vaporizers will be available soon.
Another medical supplier that appears ready to go is Cannmart, which doesn’t cultivate cannabis, but holds a license for sales and processing.
The company is offering patients across the country three strains to start: Super Lemon Haze, Pink Kush, and Pineapple Express. Each come in either cartridge-only, complete kit, or disposable vape form. Similar to Aurora’s pricing, the cartridges cost $50.
At least one producer is waiting on selling vape pens, meaning their registered medical patients will be out of luck before Christmas. Hexo recently said it is conducting research on the safety of oil vaporizers before they sell such products.
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