Edibles Legalized In Canada One Year After Cannabis Legalization
Cannabis edibles were made legal in Canada on October 17, 2019, exactly one year after cannabis legalization in the country. However, edibles wouldn’t be found on store shelves until at least mid-December. From October 17th, licensed producers were permitted to start the process of sending their applications to Health Canada. The approval and procurement process would take about two to three months.
Licensed cannabis producers are hopeful that the introduction of legal edibles will help to eliminate black market operations;however, analysts say black market sales would not be so easily displaced.
According to the Huffington Post, Edmonton-based cannabis producer Aurora is launching a line of edibles that include chocolates, gummies and vaping products. The company has submitted its products to Health Canada for approval and could begin selling them as of mid-December.
Aurora chief corporate officer Cam Battley, quoted in Huffington Post, said Canadians are still purchasing edibles from the black market because they're fascinated with alternative ways of getting high, he thinks a great number of those consumers who patronize the black market, will move over to the legal market in search of safer products, once these products hit the shelves in December.
"This will give the legal industry the real opportunity to make significant strides in replacing black market sales with attractive and safe adult consumer products," Battley said.
"There is a willingness to pay for products that are deemed to be properly regulated."
However, there is evidence to suggest that Battley’s optimistic predictions may be wrong. After all, it has been one year since the legalization of cannabis and a thriving black market perseveres.
Cannabis industry analyst Andrew Udell, CEO of the popular blog The Cannalysts, thinks that it would take some time before the shift in the black market happens. Especially since black market products cost less than the legal ones.
"Try and find the right price at the right size for how much goods or products should cost, versus societal goals of, say, public health and reducing social costs of consumption," Udell wrote.
A statistics Canada survey once found that only about 29% of cannabis users admitted to getting their product from legal sources.
Udell thinks that "convenience, price and selection within a regulated framework, all three of those things will ensure the adoption, expansion, growth and sustainability of legal cannabis consumption."
Illegal online stores have also been a huge problem since the legalization, says Edmonton police Const., Dexx Williams.
"There's more of them now because the demand has been so great and the legal supply, especially at the beginning, was really struggling to keep up."
Police are worried that some of these black market products may be unsafe and potentially dangerous.
"By purchasing products that haven't met Health Canada standards, people are opening themselves up to utilizing products that might have contamination," said Williams.
He is however optimistic that over time once the legal market takes deeper root, consumer behaviour will change.
"We're talking generational change, societal attitude, and also supply, price and convenience," Williams said.
"A whole bunch of things will come together and then you'll see a natural evolution of transitioning to the legal market from the black market until the black market is obsolete."