British Columbia

Cannabis edibles, topicals and extracts available online in B.C. starting Thursday

Edibles, extracts and topical cannabis products have been legal since Oct. 17, but they haven’t been available for sale.

As of Dec. 19, British Columbians will be able to buy the new products through the government's website

Cannabis edibles have been technically legal in Canada as of Oct. 17, 2019 but won't be available in stores until late December. (Pong Pong/Shutterstock)

Even though cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals have been legal in Canada since Oct. 17, Thursday will be the first day British Columbians will be able to buy them.

The newly available products include edibles, such as baked goods and drinks; extracts, such as oils and vape liquid; and topicals, such as cannabis-infused creams or lotions, according to the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB).

Despite the sale of the new products being legalized two months ago, the items weren't available for sale due to Health Canada requiring a 60-day notice from licensed producers looking to sell them. 

The products, however, will only be available through the government's website for now, advises the BCLDB. Even though authorized retailers will also be able to order the new products on Dec. 19, the distribution branch warns stores won't get the products shipped to them in time for Christmas.

"It's kind of playing the waiting game to see what we'll be able to order and when," said Geoff Dear, owner of Muse Cannabis near downtown Vancouver. 

"We really don't have a great line of sight on what exact products they are going to be carrying and then the quantity of those," he said. 

Product availability

Out of the 260 new products that were expected to be ready for sale on Dec. 19, the BCLDB says only a fraction will be available for sale on Thursday. Many of the products have been delayed and won't be available until the new year, the branch said. 

"The reality is, [the products] will be coming in dribs and drabs," said Viviana Zanocco with the BCLDB. 

The exact number of products that will be available starting Thursday is unknown, but the branch says there will be cannabis-infused beverages such as tea, a limited amount of edibles, vaping cartridges, hash, and some topicals. 

"We're not holding our breath," said Andrea Dobbs, co-founder of Village Bloomery in Vancouver. "If we happen to get a couple of pieces, great, but we're not counting on it." 

Dobbs says her store is not expecting to roll out any of the new products until the end of January, possibly February. 

Another level of complexity 

Meanwhile, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) says it's still concerned about the introduction of edibles. 

"The CMA remains concerned about the lack of clinical research, guidance and regulatory oversight for cannabis as a potential medical intervention," read a statement from the association. 

Packaging rules for edibles include the use of plain wrapping and having no added alcohol or caffeine.

The maximum dosage per each edible package is 10-milligram of THC — the active, high-inducing chemical in cannabis — which the CMA warns is too high. Extracts and topical products will have a limit of 1,000-milligram per package.

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