Edible marijuana companies find creative ways to push product at Edmonton Cannabis Expo
Some push to online sales, others sell DIY materials while waiting for potential edible legalization in 2019
For many vendors, Edmonton's Cannabis and Hemp Expo was a chance to showcase their products ahead of legalization in summer 2018.
But companies that want to sell edible cannabis for recreational use are playing the long game.
Edibles for sale by companies weren't included in the initial legalization plan set for 2018, but were included in an amendment that would schedule their legalization for the following year.
That means selling edibles is illegal until 2019 at the earliest, though Canadians will be able to make their own at home once marijuana is legalized.
Several edible companies set up shop at the Edmonton Expo Centre this weekend. Unable to sell their products to attendees, each of them presented themselves in a unique way.
Adam Osborne, owner of Earth's Edibles, displayed THC-infused meals like butter chicken and vegan soups. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the high.
He wasn't selling the products, but displayed a 15 per cent off coupon for people who buy from his company online. He said the delay for the edibles amendment hinders the selling of his products.
"It is a little bit weird. People do ask us, 'Well, you're illegal,' [but] everyone's illegal at this point," Osborne said Saturday. "We feel like we're just in the same bubble as everybody else at this point."
Other companies, like reTreat Edibles, have taken a more conservative approach to the pending legalization.
Co-founder Steve Tucker was selling baking mix for edibles at the expo, but the mixes are without THC and CBD, another cannabinoid that's being studied for its therapeutic uses.
"We just wanted to be 100 per cent legal and not take any chances," Tucker said. "If you do break the law, that will then stop you from getting a licence in the future."
The Calgary-based company worked with a red-seal chef who created baking mixes that Tucker said will masque the taste and smell of cannabis. The company's bags of brownie and cake mix feature recipes for people to try at home.
"You can control your own experience," Tucker said. "We have lots of customers who are taking cannabis for medicinal reason and they like this for a way to take their medicine."
Osborne said the government's decision to let people make their own edibles while banning companies from doing it is strange.
"That's the crazy part," he said. "With edibles, you can lose a customer just as fast as you can get one."
'Stay low and go slow'
Some companies went ahead and sold CBD-infused products at the event.
Adena Lindstrom, who owns Adena's Edibles and Extras, was selling CBD-infused water Saturday. Because the CBD concentration is low, it's considered a hemp beverage, so she was allowed to sell it at the venue.
Lindstrom said using CBD is part of her daily routine.
"It's like having your coffee in the morning," she said Saturday.
She said the government's restrictions on edibles after legalization passes is frustrating because she wants Canadians to have access to the products to improve their health.
"I'm not here to make money, I'm here to spread the word about edibles," she said.
But Tucker's business motto when consuming edibles is "stay low and go slow." The government is moving slow on edible legalization, which is why his company is laying low.
"I think Canada is doing the right thing and not going too quickly into it," he said. "In the States, the genie is out of the bottle and they can't really put it back in.
"We're happy to wait."
The Edmonton Cannabis and Hemp Expo wraps up on Sunday.