New Brunswick

Organigram getting ready for edibles market with dissolvable drink mix

Cannabis producer Organigram has spent 18 months developing a dissolvable cannabis powder for users to mix into any drink, hot or cold.

Company has developed a dissolvable cannabis powder mix to add to any beverage

Organigram spokesperson Ray Gracewood says cannabis drinks and edibles will be available on the market by mid-December. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

It may not seem like much, but Moncton-based cannabis producer Organigram is proud to show off its latest offering: a dry, tasteless powder.

It's taken 18 months of hard work and exacting science to develop a dissolvable cannabis powder that users can mix into any drink, hot or cold.

Organigram has developed a tasteless cannabis powder to add to any hot or cold drink. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Ray Gracewood, Organigram's senior vice-president of marketing and communications, said the new dissolvable powder product will offer a lot to consumers.

"It's without flavour, it's completely dissolvable and can be put in any kind of beverage that a consumer might want," he said.

"So in terms of flexibility, convenience and discretion, we really think it delivers on all those things for tomorrow's consumer." 

Jeremie Doiron was one of the scientists who worked for 18 months to develop the dissolvable powder. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Jeremie Doiron, a scientist at Organigram, said cannabinoids like CBD and THC don't dissolve naturally in water.

So he and his team had to figure out a way to make the cannabis soluble in both liquid and powder form.

"It gives the consumer the freedom to add THC or CBD to whatever beverage or liquid they would like," said Doiron.

Gracewood said one of the unknown factors with edibles that's of concern to most consumers is the onset time, or time it takes for the cannabis's effects to be felt after consumption.

"With new technology, we've created an onset of between 10 and 15 minutes, which would really create a product that would be safer for consumers, but also far more consistent."

Both cannabis drinks and edibles will be legal on Oct. 17 and after a 60-day approval process, they could hit the market by mid-December.

Looking for a partner

Like some other cannabis producers, Organigram is also hoping to partner with another company to make a pre-mixed cannabis beverage that could be marketed across the country.

Ontario's Canopy Growth got a $5-billion investment from Constellation Brands, a massive alcohol beverage company last year.

Moosehead Breweries is also getting on board, partnering with Sproutly Canada to develop a line of cannabis beverages.

Gracewood says the company is seeking a beverage maker to partner with them to develop a pre-mixed cannabis drink. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Organigram doesn't want to miss out, but Gracewood admits it needs help from an experienced partner in the beverage industry. 

"That's not something that is part of our immediate skill set," he said. 

Another expansion

To keep up with all the new products being prepared for the cannabis market, the company is working to finish its latest expansion to its factory. 

Jeff Purcell, senior vice-president of operations at Organigram, says the company will be worth $250 million when the latest expansion is complete. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

"Five years ago, we were about 5,000 square feet, when we're done in another six months, we'll be about 550,000 square feet," said Jeff Purcell, senior vice-president of operations.

The new space will be used for packaging, extraction, manufacturing cannabis chocolate, and beverages.

When it's complete, Purcell said, the company will have invested about $250 million in the Moncton facility. Organigram employs 700 employees, with 650 added over the last two years.

Purcell said while the company only distributes its product in Canada, they are prepared to distribute it to an international market.

With files from Tori Weldon