Canada's Smartest Kitchen partners with first cannabis client
Staff in the Charlottetown kitchen will first help out with market research for new products
New Brunswick's largest licensed grower of marijuana has enlisted Canada's Smartest Kitchen in Charlottetown to develop a line of cannabis-infused chocolate for the edible market — due to be legalized in the fall.
The grower, Organigram, currently produces 36,000 kilograms of marijuana per year and plans to triple production by December.
"Most of the market doesn't like the thought of smoking," said Organigram's chief commercial officer Ray Gracewood.
Interest in the edible market
Customers have demonstrated a lot of interest in the edible market and are looking for something that's discreet, Gracewood said.
"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," he said.
Canada's Smartest Kitchen is the research and development arm of the The Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College in Charlottetown. Organigram is the kitchen's first and only cannabis client, said director Tim McRoberts.
Research and development
To begin developing new products the kitchen's staff will first help out with market research, he said.
"Right now, a lot of it has to do with market analysis, trend analysis, flavour analysis, those kinds of things," McRoberts said.
On a recent day, staff in the kitchen were working on chocolate recipes that were not for Organigram.
Even if they wanted to, they could not experiment on site with cannabis — not without a licence from Health Canada.
But that could be a possibility down the road, McRoberts said.
"There's a lot of focus at Holland College to be working on the licensing submission with Health Canada so we're very aware of what we can be doing and what we can't be doing," he said.
Prepared to take on new product
PEI Cannabis says it's waiting for Health Canada to finalize the regulatory framework but is anticipating that its four stores and online service will be the province's legally authorized outlet for edibles.
The Island's stores are prepared to take on new product, said director of operations Zach Currie.
Currently, Health Canada is proposing to cap THC content at 10 milligrams per individually wrapped unit.
The public consultation on the proposed regulations closed Feb. 20.
Health Canada says it's carefully reviewing the comments from Canadians and considering where adjustments to the proposed regulations may be warranted.