Questions remain as edible cannabis legalization in Canada looms

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Questions remain as edible cannabis legalization looms
WATCH: Despite being expected to be legalized by October 17, 2019, Health Canada says regulations are still being drafted for edible cannabis products and extracts. Callum Smith explains – May 29, 2019

With a new phase of legalization for additional cannabis products looming, there’s still no word from Health Canada about finalized regulations.

Buying and selling edible cannabis, extracts and topical products is set to become legal “no later than October 17, 2019,” according to the federal institution.

No specific date about finalized regulations has been set, and when Global News asked when legislation could be finalized, we received the same response: “no later than October 17, 2019.”

Public consultation over proposed regulations closed in February. And while the marketing and communications senior vice-president of Organigram says the licensed medical cannabis producer liked what it saw, there are unanswered questions.

Ray Gracewood, the marketing and communications senior vice-president of Organigram, says they’re hoping to hear more about legislation in June. Callum Smith / Global News

“Until those regulations are finalized, there’s a very short timeline that’s generally given to us in order to adapt and be able to sort of be in market, be first to market and be competitive,” says Ray Gracewood.

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He says Organigram is hoping to hear more details about legislation next month.

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WATCH: (May 9, 2019) Canadians’ appetite waning for cannabis edibles?

Click to play video: 'Canadians’ appetite waning for cannabis edibles?'
Canadians’ appetite waning for cannabis edibles?

The company has been rapidly expanding its facilities in Moncton and has made a $15-million investment into an automated chocolate edibles line.

“Two of the products that we’ve focused most of our energy on to this point have been both vape pens as well as chocolate products,” says Gracewood. “We’ve found 40 per cent of the edible market in some regulated states to be within that chocolate space, whether that’s truffles or bars, etc.”

Gracewood says the proposed regulations are similar to what is in place in Colorado, limiting the amount of THC in products, packaging regulations and labelling.

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Gracewood says Organigram has been preparing for legalization of edibles since the legalization of recreational cannabis October 17, 2018. Callum Smith / Global News

He says there’s a 60-day waiting period for new product approvals, so they’re hoping to be in the edible market in December or January.

Global News also reached out to the RCMP National Headquarters to ask what is being done by the force to prepare officers for this phase of cannabis legalization and what, if any, additional training would be required.

They weren’t able to answer the questions, pointing us back to Health Canada, saying, “they have the lead for this particular file.”

In New Brunswick, legal recreational cannabis products will still only be sold in Cannabis NB stores.


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