Recreational Cannabis Legal In Canada As Edible Market Anxiously Waits

It’s happening! We’ve just started a new chapter in Canadian history, and October 17th, 2018 is certainly one for the books. The use of recreational cannabis is finally legal.

There will most probably be a massive adjustment period across the country. Critics have long been saying we’re not ready for legalization; that there are too many kinks to be worked out.

They say more training is needed for law enforcement, more money is needed for education, and that the rules from province-to-province and municipality-to-municipality differ too much. Will pardons be granted to those who have past possession convictions? How will pot-smoking Canadians be treated at the US border?

We will likely need a long period of destigmatization before some people will come to accept marijuana’s new status.  

Edible Market Anxiously Awaits

Not everything will happen at once where the legalization of recreational cannabis is concerned. For example, while smoking it and even growing small amounts is ok, the federal government is still working on the legal framework where edibles are concerned.

That means that while making edibles for your own consumption is fine, you won’t be able to buy a pot brownie or eat cannabis-infused cuisines for at least another year.

You can bet that once the edible market opens up, it’s going to be huge.

A 2017 Dalhousie University study found that 46% of Canadians would try cannabis-infused food products if they became available on the market. With regards to ordering it on a restaurant menu, 39% said they’d be on board. Only 20% said they know enough about cooking with cannabis to do it at home — proof that the edible market is going to be hot.

Cashing In Early

Edibles aren’t legal yet, but some food companies are finding a way to capitalize on the opportunities cannabis legalization presents.

The way they’re going? By marketing marijuana-free foods as being perfect to satisfy a case of the munchies – the increased hunger some feel after smoking marijuana.

Hershey Canada, for example, has introduced a special edition chocolate bar called Oh Henry! 4:25. It’s being promoted as “specially formulated for the intense hunger that hits 5 minutes after 4:20.”

This candy bar differs from the original with more salt and more grams of protein.

For those looking for a lighter alternative to cure the munchies, 4:20 Grasshopper’s Gourmet has created a healthier trail mix called Sticks and Stoners.  

High Dining

An interesting story was featured on CBC News this week about secret supper clubs testing the appetite for cannabis-infused meals.

A former contestant on Masterchef Canada is working in the Vancouver-based restaurant. Travis Petersen first asks guests to rate their tolerance to cannabis before serving them dinner.

Diners are then treated to plates like geoduck, octopus and chorizo tacos, and butternut squash tortellini drizzled with cannabis oil.

The report says Petersen is one of several chefs experimenting with cannabis in the kitchens of secret dining locations across the country. Once recreational edibles are legalized, the hope is to see catering services and permanent cannabis-infused menu items come to life.  

And while that all sounds very interesting, the government told CBC that the legal framework it’s drafting now will only allow for the sale of edible cannabis products and won’t apply to marijuana-laced restaurant meals.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

So Much To Debate

The legalization of cannabis is also weighing on the minds of many Canadian farmers. There’s an ongoing debate about whether agricultural land should be used for growing marijuana or strictly for food.

In another CBC News story, Khalil Akhtar writes about how some farmers are in favor of making the shift from food production to cannabis cultivation.

A group called Citizens Protecting Agricultural Land argues that farmland is for food. But others say cannabis is an agricultural business. It’s grown just like other crops, and therefore, it should be done on agricultural land.

Fellow Canadians, these are interesting times.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.