With legalization of edibles getting closer, nobody seems to be ready -- except for the police
Edible cannabis becomes legal this October, but the regulations haven't been finalized.
Provincial governments are putting plans in place as best they can, but in the meantime, police forces continue to seize and give warnings about the illegal edibles people are buying and selling.
Halifax police want people to know edible or consumable cannabis products are illegal.
Cannabis chocolate, honey, gummies -- even bath salts -- police have seized it all in recent investigations.
“People are misunderstanding, because of the packaging, they are confusing those for being legitimate, legal products,” said Sgt. Katherine Willett of the Halifax Regional Police integrated drug unit. “They are not.”
With illegal edibles widely available, especially on the internet, drug investigators are kept busy.
Police say there's no way of knowing exactly where or how these products were made.
The hope is that making and regulating the sale of cannabis edibles in Canada this fall will address that.
But exactly what the law will be isn't finalized.
Here are some of the proposed regulations for edibles so far:
- no added alcohol
- child-resistant, plain packaging
- must not appeal to kids
- no health or dietary claims
“We're hopeful that we'll soon here back from Health Canada, and then we'll start moving very quickly once we hear that,” said Nova Scotia Finance Minister Karen Casey.
In Nova Scotia, the provincial government says it has asked the NSLC for a business plan for the potential sale of cannabis edibles.
“It's quite likely that they will be the retailer, but we do need to look at their business plan before we make a decision on that,” Casey said.
In an email, Cannabis NB is preparing consumers for possible supply shortages, saying by email:
“Our stores were designed and built to accommodate for the eventual arrival of edibles … Given the ongoing national supply challenge, we would encourage customers to manage their expectations in terms of availability and quantities of edibles in October 2019.”
The P.E.I. government says it has a working group in place as it, too, waits.
One medical marijuana user predicts the legal sale of government regulated edibles will be bumpy.
“It's gonna be terrible,” says medical marijuana advocate Chris Backer. “They're gonna be sugar free, they're gonna be not good at all, it's gonna be like eating Buckley's, that's what I expect.”
For now, any cannabis edible out there remains unregulated and illegal to sell or distribute no matter where consumers find it.
Then there's the question: once edibles are legal for sale, will anyone be buying?
A recent study from Dalhousie University found only 30 per cent of respondents would purchase legal cannabis edibles - down from 46 per cent before recreational cannabis became legal in Canada.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.