Arrival of cannabis edibles feeds new opportunities for Calgary businesses
Monday saw the first deliveries of cannabis cookies, gummies and chocolate to some dispensaries
It's been more than a year since cannabis was legalized in Canada, and now new options for its use are hitting the market in Calgary.
Marijuana edibles became available in some stores across the city on Monday. More businesses will follow suit in the coming days as deliveries will fill the shelves with gummies, chocolates, cookies and mints.
Queen of Bud in Sunalta was one of a handful of stores to get edibles in stock first thing Monday. The phone was ringing off the hook and customers who stopped by for other products were soon wooed into purchasing candy.
The most popular item? Pineapple gummy bears.
"[People] feel a lot more confident in your purchase. You don't have to be as wary," said Adam Shammoury, an employee, alluding to the stereotype of overstuffed pot brownies.
"You feel a lot safer buying something from Health Canada regulation than if you were buying off the black market."
Edibles bring a new business opportunity for an oversaturated cannabis market in Calgary. Ottawa cleared edibles in December but it took several weeks for shipments to arrive in Alberta stores since the province controls sales and distribution through Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.
The sweets open up a different customer base, for example people wary of smoking. Customers at Queen of Bud said they were happy with the convenience, fun and accessibility of edibles.
The dose of THC or CBD varies for each edible, with some chocolate bars containing 10 mg and gummies only 2.5 mg. All the provincial laws for smoking cannabis still apply for eating it.
Minors, under the age of 18, are prohibited from consuming or smoking marijuana. You can only possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public.
The province has by far the highest concentration of cannabis stores in the country, with 373 stores. In comparison, Ontario only has 23.
In the year since pot was legalized, Health Canada reported sales of the dried product more than doubled.
In the city's northeast, edibles have gourmet chocolate manufacturer Brad Churchill seeing green — and it's not the cannabis leaves.
His company Choklat is one of the first to be granted permission from the federal government to begin infusing their chocolate with cannabis. With that Federal Cannabis Processing License approval, he projects they will surpass the total revenue from last year in just a month.
"It's taking us into a whole different stratosphere," he said.
However, the rewards come with hurdles. The federal government is strict about separating cannabis production from other foods, meaning Churchill needs two separate warehouses to avoid accidental cross-contamination.
On top of that, license holders have to give Health Canada 60 days notice of their intent to create cannabis products.
He's planning all sorts of flavours and tastes but with roadblocks still to clear it could be the spring before Choklat's cannabis bars are available for purchase.
- The original version of this story stated that the allowable dose of THC or CBD is 10 grams for chocolate bars and 2.5 grams for gummies. That should be milligrams.Jan 14, 2020 10:43 AM MT