Legal cannabis edibles could be here within months, but government will have to fight black market
KITCHENER – The anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada is being called Pot 2.0 as new products are preparing to come to market.
Edibles are among the products that were previously not allowed. Soon, they'll be legally available to buy online and in stores.
Even a year after legalization, the government is still trying to compete with the black market, particularly with kids who are trying to consume cannabis.
"Whenever you, by default, exclude a segment of the cannabis-using population on the basis of age then by necessity they have to obtain it by other means of supply," explains Andy Hathaway from the University of Guelph.
"And those illicit networks of supply are quite well established."
Stats Canada says that 40 per cent of pot users still buy cannabis illegally, with most saying that price is the main issue.
The illegal market is a big problem as the government gets ready to legalize edibles, like chocolates, gummies and cannabis-infused beverages.
Deloitte says edibles are a $1.6 billion industry that, as of now, isn't paying taxes.
While legal today, Health Canada requires 60 days to do a review of the proposed edible product coming to market.
That's largely because Health Canada says it will only approve products that aren't appealing to kids. It hasn't said which colours, shapes or even flavours will be allowed.
The big difference between smoking and eating is the way the THC is absorbed in the body.
When you smoke, it gets processed through the lungs. The effects can be felt within 15 minutes. When you ingest, THC goes through the liver and results in a delayed and stronger effect.
"Ingested cannabis first has to be ingested by our system and then it has to pass by the liver where it is converted to its active metabolite," explains Dr. Maria Campos.
Health Canada has set a 10 mg limit of THC for edible products. Most black market gummies are 34 mg.
It's unclear how the government will resolve that or when a Kitchener cannabis store will open.