The second crop of legalized cannabis products including edibles like gummies and beverages should finally appear on Edmonton store shelves in mid-January, according to the provincial cannabis regulator.
“It’s legalization all over again — just in a different way,” said Norm Hollingsworth, owner of Mind-Full, The Cannabis Store in Edmonton.
He said he anticipates some customers will line up to try new products and some — especially cannabis-infused beverages — should attract a whole new demographic.
“It’ll bring new people in,” he said.
While the products became legal in Canada Oct. 17, Health Canada did not permit provinces to legally order edibles, extracts and topicals from federally licensed producers until Dec. 16, 2019.
“Factor in order processing and shipping time to retailers, that brings us to mid-January before consumers will be able to find product on store shelves,” said spokeswoman for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) Heather Holmen in an email.
And while Alberta’s 384 retail stores wait to receive order forms that include new and approved products, the province has postponed the regulated sales of a huge component of the next phase of legalization, cannabis vapes, citing potential health concerns.
AGLC is still in discussions with licensed producers to determine the types of products that will be available. “I’m unable to speculate as to how many products will be available in the New Year,” said Holmen.
The rollout could boost profits, but no one knows for sure which products might appeal to consumers. “It’s a brand new industry. We’re all walking into it semi-blind,” said Hollingsworth.
AGLC currently has contracts with 42 licensed producers and about half of them are anticipating offering edibles, extracts and topicals products – some of which will be available immediately, Holmen said. But, there are no firm timelines.
Not knowing exactly when and what products they will be able to order might present a budgeting challenge for some retailers, said Jessica Petryshyn, co-owner at Spiritleaf Argyll Plaza.
There’s a lot of anticipation, and it could be a game-changer, but retailers will need to be flexible because it could take years to work out all the regulatory kinks, she said.
“At the end of the day we knew what we were getting into and we need to roll with those punches, as challenging as they may be.”