Nfld. & Labrador

Tweed says weed will be growing in N.L. by spring, edibles will help independent retailers

After a year of legalized cannabis in Canada, complaints of poor quality, high prices and shortages of products have plagued the industry almost the entire way.

Edibles poised to help make shop owners better money

Jordan Sinclair is Canopy Growth's vice-president of communications. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

After a year of legalized cannabis in Canada, complaints of poor quality, high prices and shortages of products have been at the forefront of the discussion and criticism surrounding the industry almost the entire way.

Jordan Sinclair, Canopy Growth's vice-president of communications, says those should now be non-issues.

"Supply and demand has completely inverted. At this point we have an immense amount of supply, and now what we're facing across the country is a shortage in points of sale," Sinclair told CBC Radio's On The Go.

However, Sinclair added, those figures may not be so true for Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The Canopy Growth growing facility in St. John's is slated to be up and running by spring. 

Sinclair said construction is essentially completed, estimating the facility will be finished before Christmas.

"Then it's over to Health Canada as we run through the licensing process. That could take a couple of weeks, couple of months, but the target at this point is to make sure that we've got living plants in there by the spring," he said.

Quality and pricing

According to Sinclair, the price for current products will remain about the same, though some prices will fluctuate as cannabis brands begin to establish themselves and release a wider range of product. Sinclair likened the pricing to bottles of wine — some are very cheap while others are very expensive. 

As for the quality of legal cannabis, a major concern over the last year has been about how dry and stale the cannabis flower sometimes can be.

Canopy Growth expects to have its grow operation in St. John's running by the spring. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Sinclair said it's something that can be improved upon, but he added that there is an even split between those who enjoy the quality of current legal cannabis and those who would like to see it improved.

"This is just another area where quality is going to start to be the focus in consumer's minds. We've gotten the lowest-hanging fruit — people that just want to buy cannabis because it's legal and the only thing that was stopping them was because it was illegal. They're now very happy," he said.

"Now we've got work to do across the board from locations, on product formats, that are just about to be rolled out, and on quality to make sure that we can keep the momentum going."    

Edibles will make money

A large complaint from the business end of the legal cannabis industry is coming from independent cannabis shop owners who are finding it difficult to turn a profit.

Products currently on the market such as marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints and liquid gels are the lowest margin products that Canopy Growth offers, through its retail subsidiary Tweed, according to Sinclair.

Sinclair says edibles will help businesses make better money. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

He said that the real money will start rolling into shops as edibles begin to hit shelves sometime in December.

Things such as drinks, vape pens and cannabis chocolate were submitted by Canopy Growth to Health Canada this week. Sinclair calls it "legalization 2.0."

"They're going to have a higher margin. People are willing to pay more for those products because it's not just the cannabis itself. It's been converted in some innovative way," he said.

"I think that's going to bring an incredible amount of relief to retailers big and small."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go