Pubdate: Mon, 19 Jun 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jacquie Miller
Pages: 4-5


Cannabis gummy bears and cookies: Edible products pose new

An illegal pot shop on Bank Street recently had a sale on peanut
butter cookies. The cannabis-laced sweets were $5, a third of the
regular price of $15.

"For this price, you can't go wrong," said a customer snapping up 10
of them. "Might as well stock up."

The store had traditional dried weed for sale in glass jars, but half
the display cases were filled with cookies, gummy candies shaped like
teddy bears, tea, cannabis concentrates and vape pens loaded with
cannabis oil.

It's a reflection of a broad shift among marijuana users away from

In cannabis cutting-edge Colorado, dried weed makes up a steadily
shrinking proportion of sales. And edible products like chocolate
bars, candy and lemonade are taking a growing bite out of the market.
Edibles are already widely available at Canada's illegal pot shops and
online. But don't expect to buy any

cannabis As marijuana legalization inches closer, Canada will be forced 
to deal with the growing popularity of marijuana infused edibles. Inset 
top: Twisted Extracts Jelly Bombs at Weeds Glass & Gifts pot dispensary 
on Montreal Road. Marijuana gummies have proven to be very popular in 
areas were marijuana has already been legalized. Inset Bottom: Green 
Penguin Delights cookies are another edible product. candy legally the 
day Canada ushers in recreational marijuana. Only dried weed and 
cannabis oil will be on sale when pot is legalized - the target date is 
July 2018. The federal government has promised to regulate edibles 
later, but has given no indication of when or details about what 
products will be allowed. It could be a while before Canadians can 
legally buy a cannabis gummy candy - the most popular edible in Colorado 
- - if that kind of treat is even approved for sale. The federal 
government is taking a cautious approach.

"Designing an appropriate regulatory system for cannabis edibles is a
complex undertaking and there are unique potential health risks and
harms that need to be carefully understood before the development and
coming into place of these regulations," according to a government

But some are warning that illegal sellers will be the winners if
regulations lag too far behind consumer preferences.

"Every product category that is not allowed under the legal regime,
the black market will supply," says Chuck Rifici, chief executive of
Nesta Holding Co., which invests in cannabis businesses.

Ottawa's public health unit says the federal government should
regulate edibles from the beginning, citing concerns that children
will accidentally ingest the cookies, candies and other treats.

Cannabis businesses here are watching trends in the U.S. and getting
ready to sell the products that consumers want.

Eventually half the marijuana sales in Canada will be of ingestible
products, from baked good to oils, predicts Cam Battley, a
vice-president at Aurora, a large cannabis grower in Alberta. "Smoking
will be a minority of the market."

But Battley and others working to make the cannabis industry
mainstream also realize the importance of government

"I'm going to say something people in the industry probably aren't
going to be happy about, but I think edibles are probably the riskiest
area of the cannabis industry," says Michael Gorenstein, president of
Cronos Group, which owns two medical cannabis growers.

"We have to be very measured and careful."

It's obvious to him how appealing some of the products are to

"When I was a kid, I got cookies when my parents didn't want me to. I
knew where the cookie jar was. I knew to take the kitchen chair, get
up on the counter ... and that's a risk.

"There's a balance between what is popular and protecting general

Consumers like edibles because they are discreet, don't smell or
require ingesting harmful smoke into the lungs. But edible products
can take as long as two or three hours to kick in, and the
psychoactive effects can last for hours. People used to the instant
hint of smoking a joint, or who are trying edibles for the first time,
can be caught by surprise.

Eating too much can cause severe anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and
psychotic episodes.

Canada has the advantage of learning from Colorado, the first
jurisdiction in North America to legalize recreational pot. Within
months of marijuana shops opening in 2014, a 19-year-old man jumped
off a hotel balcony to his death after eating a marijuana cookie. A
coroner ruled that marijuana intoxication contributed to his death.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about her frightening
experience sampling a cannabis candy bar in those early Colorado days.
She took a nibble, felt nothing, so ate some more.

"I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a
hallucinatory state for the next eight hours," wrote Dowd. She was
panting, unable to move, and strained to remember where she was. "As
my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one
was telling me."

Dowd later learned the bar was supposed to be divided into 16
portions, advice that wasn't on the label.

Colorado has since tightened up regulations, including better
labelling and portion sizes marked with a THC symbol.

The Canadian government has promised strict controls on edibles, with
standard serving sizes and potency, child-resistant packaging and
health warnings.

More detail will be unveiled in the regulations, which many in the
industry expect to be restrictive.

"I don't think we'll see gummy bears in Canada," says Trina Fraser, an
Ottawa lawyer who specializes in cannabis businesses. "Ever."

Jonathan Page, a scientist at the University of British Columbia who
runs a lab that tests cannabis, speculates that cannabis-infused
drinks may be allowed first. People are used to making the distinction
between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, he says.

The task force that advised the government on legalization was
understandably "very concerned about kids and candies," he says. The
task force recommended that candies, sweets, and other products
"appealing to children" be prohibited.

"But you also don't want to push people into smoking, because that's a
concern for health as well," says Page. "So you have to kind of
balance the harms to toddlers, which is clearly a very big worry for
parents and everyone, versus the larger, societal harms by saying,
'Everyone should smoke cannabis, not eat it.' "

In Colorado, both government and marijuana businesses conduct
education campaigns to warn customers about the proper use and risks
of edibles. The phrase "start low and go slow" is a mantra.

Edibles affect everyone differently, warns Dixie Elixirs, a popular
Colorado manufacturer of cannabis drinks and other edibles, in its
Marijuana 101 guide for customers. The company's products have an
"activation time" guide to warn consumers how long it will take to
feel psychoactive effects.

The dangers posed to children have been exaggerated by marijuana
opponents, says Bob Eschino, president of the company that owns
incredibles, the largest producer of cannabis edibles in Colorado.
Eschino supports regulations designed to keep his company's chocolate
bars and gummy candies away from kids. But he points out that more
children are harmed by eating makeup than marijuana. "And that doesn't
come in childproof containers."

"It's up to parents," says Eschino. "You don't keep your Vicodin out
on the counter. You don't leave loaded guns around. You don't leave
alcohol on the counter. You don't leave things that are dangerous to
your children out. So we have to educate (parents) to make sure these
products stay safe and secure."

- ----------------------------------------------------

19 Jun 2017 Ottawa Sun - Jacquie Miller

All about the cannabis marshmallow treat

This marshmallow treat is widely available at Ottawa's illegal
dispensaries, which also sell cookies, candies, and pop. It sells for
around $15.

Mary's Medibles, one of several companies in B.C. that distribute
products to dispensaries across Canada. The identity of Mary is
somewhat of a mystery, which is not surprising given that Mary runs an
illegal business. The company website does not include a phone number.
A query sent to the email address was not answered. A google map on
the page indicates that Mary's HQ is in downtown Vancouver.

The label claims the treat is made in a "licensed and inspected"
facility as well as being "lab tested" and "patient approved." The
website provides no further details, but offers this

"Due to the high levels of processing and control we adhere to in our
licensed food safe facilities you can be sure that you are getting the
very best from Mary's products."

Health Canada says it does not regulate the products sold at illegal
dispensaries, which it warns could be unsafe.

It's not hard to operate a clandestine edibles bakery, says a man who
has worked at several in B.C. but doesn't want his name used. The
operations range from kitchens in residential houses to
commercial-level facilities in industrial buildings, he said. Most
have packaging rooms, so the products look professional, with company
names and labels.

There is a list of ingredients, but customers must take the company's
word for its accuracy. There is even nutritional information that
follows a format similar to what's provided for legal products. Good
news! This treat apparently contains a gram of fibre, and four per
cent of your daily requirement for Vitamin A.

The label says it should be refrigerated, advice that was not followed
at the Bank Street pot shop where it was sold.

There are 140 milligrams of THC in this "triple strength" treat,
according to the label. That's enough to get you really high, said the
helpful clerk at the shop.

A "single serving" of an edible product sold at legal marijuana shops
in Colorado contains 10 mg of THC. So, if the label is correct, this
treat would contain 14 servings. The label advises consumers to start
with one-quarter of the treat, which would be 35 mg. But the label
also identifies a "serving size" as the entire container.

In any case, customers have no assurance of how much THC the treat
actually contains. One of the biggest challenges for legal edible
manufacturers is obtaining a consistent dose in products. At illegal
kitchens, batches are usually made with cannabis-infused oil or butter.
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