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Why Haven’t Canada Made the Sale of Edibles Legal Yet?

Why haven't Canada made edibles legal yet blog CannMart


When cannabis was legalized across Canada on October 17th, 2018 each province had the jurisdiction to decide certain aspects of the law change. Things such as whether you can smoke cannabis in public places or in your own homes, or what the legal limit for the maximum amount of cannabis you can store at home or have on your person at any-time might be.

One thing that the provinces were unable to decide on however was whether the sale of edibles would legal. The federal law stated that edibles would not be sold in shops that sell marijuana-based products, but you can still make them at home if they are for personal consumption.

At the point of legalization, only dried and fresh cannabis flower, oils, plants and seeds were allowed following the change in legislation.

What are Cannabis Edibles?

If you don’t know already, a cannabis edible is a product where the cannabinoids have been extracted out of the cannabis flower and put into a foodstuff for a person to eat or drink, that will mimic the effects of smoking cannabis without the need for actually smoking it.

These products range from the infamous ‘space cakes’ and cannabis brownies made popular in Amsterdam to new products on the block such as cannabis-based smoothies and gummy sweets.

The effects that edibles may cause are slightly different to smoking or vaporizing cannabis due to how the body digests them. When smoked they almost instantly enter your bloodstream and will cause an immediate effect, whereas how long an edible takes to cause an effect depends largely on how long it takes for you to digest it.

This process depends upon what you have eaten previously that day, how much you have eaten, how well hydrated you are amongst a range of other factors.

In places such as Amsterdam, where cannabis has become ingrained in culture for several decades, there has been a vast range of edibles of varying strengths and with differing strains that different ‘coffee shops’ make that they are rated and compared on and they can even make or break new ‘coffee shops’ entering the market.

So Why Haven’t Canada Made Edibles Legal?

So, edibles aren’t legal in Canada. Yet. But that isn’t to say that they won’t ever be.

There is expected to be a second wave of the legalization of cannabis which may or may not include cannabis-infused edibles (depending upon what your province decides) occurring as part of a two-year plan of legalization.

It is believed that the federal government will allow cannabis concentrates and edibles to be legal within one year of the full-scale legalization of the cannabis flower, so before October 17th, 2019.

The reasons why these products haven’t been legalized yet has been theorized to be due to multiple different reasons: -

  • Brand building – It is believed that federal government, as well as licensed dispensaries, have been allowed time to build brands to enter the legal edible market that must also meet certain regulations.

  • Unknown strength – When rolling and smoking a cannabis flower or take a measured dose from an oil extraction you have complete control over how much you can smoke and because the effects are almost instantaneous, you can stop if it any psychoactive effects get too much. With edibles, it could be possible to eat way too much but you wouldn’t realise this until way after the effects have begun. It may be that the federal government want to test what safe amounts should be in the edibles that are sold and that guidelines are provided that take into account your size and how much you have already eaten.

  • The range of products – As long as the cannabinoids are extracted from the cannabis, they can be put into almost any food or drink. This means such things as cannabis alcohol falls into the edible market. It doesn’t require a genius to understand that if the government legalizes these products, that they should at least so do in a safe way.

It Should Be Worth the Wait

So as business owners are getting itchy feet about this aspect of their cannabis enterprise, it feels like a safety measure to hold back on for now. Canada has a long history of implementing cannabis from medical legalization in 2001 and constant amendments were made when necessary to improve the system that we have today.

The approach taken by the recreational market should be the same after all the key pointers from the federal government are to keep Canada safe during the legalization effort.

A little patience is required, but it should be worth the wait to get it right.