Dec 16, 2019

Sales of cannabis edibles get off to a slow start

Amanda Lang: Mind the risks before you buy edibles


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If you want pot edibles in Canada, you’re going to have to go a long way east.

Monday marks the first day Canadians can legally buy a range of new cannabis formats including vapes, edibles and beverages. Newfoundland and Labrador, on Canada’s easternmost edge, was one of the only provinces that appeared to have some of those products available for sale.

CannabisNL, the province’s government-owned wholesaler, had chocolate squares and gummies from Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. brands Kolab and Foray available for sale on Monday morning. Many other choices were listed as “coming soon.”

Most other provinces were days if not weeks away from offering the new products, according to representatives:

• Alberta won’t have products on store shelves until mid-January. The province, which has the most retail outlets in Canada, currently has contracts with 42 cannabis producers and about half of them anticipate offering the new products.

• Quebec will begin selling the new products on New Year’s Day if it has the product. Even then, it will likely be a limited offering of some teas and perhaps one beverage.

• In Ontario, the new products will begin to appear in retail stores in early January.

• Nova Scotia expects to have a small offering of new products in stores on Dec. 23, while online ordering won’t be available until Jan. 6

• New Brunswick will start receiving limited shipments of new products over the next few days, with more details coming later in the week

• Representatives for British Columbia didn’t respond to a request for comment

Regulations governing the new products came into force on Oct. 17, one year after Canada legalized recreational pot and began selling flower and oils. At that point, companies had to give 60 days’ notice before they could start selling, meaning the roll-out will be staggered. Canopy Growth Corp., for example, has said most of its products won’t be available until January, while Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s products will be released over the first quarter of 2020.

The slow start means pot stocks are unlikely to get an immediate lift from cannabis 2.0 in Canada, extending a shakeout as the initial euphoria surrounding legalization wears off. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF slipped on Monday and has dropped 60 per cent since its high in March amid disappointing sales, regulatory breaches and production snafus.

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new — and controversial — Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.