New Brunswick

New Brunswick companies eager to bite into cannabis edibles market

Moncton-based marijuana cultivator Organigram plans to make 'the best infused chocolate that anybody's ever had.'

Grand Bay-Westfield bakery owner planning to start a second business selling baked goods with cannabis twist

These sugar-free, gluten-free, keto-friendly vanilla bean cupcakes are infused with CBD oil. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

The owner of Thunder Hill Bakery in Grand Bay-Westfield is planning a reinvention of her signature cupcakes and muffins — with a cannabis twist.  

Jenn Guimond plans to open a second business, one that will showcase recipes using marijuana extracts that she makes at home.

Her new line of baked goods will include both the non-psychoactive CBD oil as well as THC, which does cause the "high." 

Sometimes she takes her cooking classes on the road and teaches neighbours what they can legally do in their own kitchens with their own pot.  

She says most of the interest is coming from people over 65. 

"It's other people's grandmothers," said Guimond, icing a tray of sugar-free, gluten-free, keto-friendly vanilla bean cupcakes infused with CBD. 

"They're thrilled to sleep through the night again or be able to pick up knitting again."

Guimond is now searching for a secure building where she could make her cannabis products and she's doing research on how to control consistency in dosage.  

Jenn Guimond owns Thunder Hill Bakery, but has plans to open a cannabis edibles company. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

Health Canada appears determined to cap THC content at 10 mg per individually wrapped unit.

Guimond says some of the licensing requirements to get into production do seem daunting but she won't be discouraged.  

She says helping people improve their quality of life is a personal mission, after losing her eight-year-old daughter to cancer in 2006. 

Organigram to develop cannabis chocolate

On a much larger scale, Organigram says it also wants a piece of the edible market which Ottawa has promised to authorize no later than Oct. 17, 2019.

The Moncton-based marijuana cultivator plans to make "the best infused chocolate that anybody's ever had," said chief commercial officer Ray Gracewood.  

Jenn Guimond plans to open a business baking marijuana edibles. 0:57

Gracewood says he's just returned from Europe, where he attended a large confectionary conference and has been looking into equipment suppliers.

He's also enlisted Canada's Smartest Kitchen as a product development partner. 

"Most of the market doesn't like smoking," said Gracewood.

"So when you think about something like a truffle, like an amazing tasting chocolate...those are the kinds of things people could break out after a dinner party, say, as a shareable."

Organigram's chief commercial officer Ray Gracewood recently attended a confectionary conference in Europe and is now looking into equipment suppliers. (Brian Chisholm)

Edibles are expected to fuel even more demand for weed when supply is already an issue. 

Organigram's own expansion plans include boosting annual marijuana production from 36,000 kg to 113,000 kg as early as December.  

The local workforce is expected to double to 1,200 employees.

More growing rooms will contribute to a larger footprint in the city's industrial park, taking the facility from 175,000 square feet to 473,000.

Organigram plans to boost annual cannabis production from 36,000 kg to 113,000 kg as early as December to meet increased demand once edibles are authorized. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

Some consultants for the cannabis industry say size brings an advantage because bigger companies with deeper pockets are better positioned to jump through the regulatory hoops. 

Or, like Organigram, they already have the benefit of being licensed to work with weed. 

Does the small guy have a chance?

"The requirements are high but not impossible," said Shirley Toms, a consultant with Cannabis Compliance Incorporated.

Before Toms started advising private companies on how to apply for marijuana licences, she spent 25 years working for the Canada Food Inspection Agency and was a lead auditor within the Standards Council of Canada's Program for the Accreditation of Laboratories.

Among other things, she says applicants must show Health Canada that key personnel and investors have RCMP security clearances. 

She says Health Canada will also conduct surprise audits to "confirm that in fact, you said what you were going to do and you're doing what you said."

How products are sold and where they are sold, are determined by each province. 

Only for sale at Cannabis NB

In  New Brunswick, it's already determined that Cannabis NB will be the only legal point of sale for edibles when they're authorized.  

The stores are built to accommodate hundreds of products that have yet to be announced, says general manager Lara Wood.

Cannabis NB will be the only legal point of sale for edibles once they are available in New Brunswick. (Julia Wright / CBC)

"Our stores are equipped with places to put and plug in fridges and ... our tables are designed to accommodate display cases on top that we could put edibles in."

She says customers are asking questions about edibles and expressing an interest but there are still many unknowns and regulations yet to be finalized by Oct. 17. 

"My thinking is that I would want to manage expectations about how much is ready for that date, until we know more."

About the Author

Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.