As many as 17 new product types will be added to the Ontario Cannabis Store sales catalogue when Canada expands cannabis legalization later this year, according to BNN Bloomberg. A wide range of cannabis-infused product innovations will be hitting store shelves by the end of 2019. These include cannabis edibles, beverages, concentrates and more.
Two industry sources confirmed to BNN Bloomberg yesterday that several other Canadian provinces are looking to follow Ontario's lead in listing the new cannabis products once the nation expands its scope of the legal cannabis retail market.
According to BNN Bloomberg, newly-developed cannabis products will be sold under the following categories:
Concentrates: Cartridges, rosin (a solventless concentrate made with heat and pressure), resin, hash, wax, kief (a dry powder) and shatter (a butane hash oil);
Beverages: Hot, cold and dealcoholized drinks (each in single servings);
Edibles: Chocolate, soft candy, hard candy and baked goods;
Topicals: Lotions, creams and bath products
In Canada, it's legal to make cannabis-infused foods at home. However, it remains illegal for anyone to buy and or sell them to the public.
Many of the product launches involve items with which consumers are already familiar, such as chocolates and dealcoholized beverages. They will be rolled out on October 17th, 2019, exactly one year after cannabis in its traditional forms (dried and fresh cannabis flower, pre-rolls, oils, and capsules) became legal in Canada.
The Canadian government also hopes that expanding the legal product lines available to consumers will drive business away from the illegal drug market. One of the industry sources explained to BNN Bloomberg, "The legal market will finally be able to fairly compete with full product selection, although it remains to be seen when these products will exactly hit store shelves."
Although the Ontario Cannabis Store refused to confirm which specific products would be listed by October 17th, the Crown corporation stated that it would collaborate with licensed cannabis producers to guarantee sufficient inventory will be available for products being sold online.
According to an OCS spokesperson, "Closer to the regulations being finalized, OCS will issue a product call for the forms of cannabis scheduled to become legal, such as edibles and concentrates."
Rebecca Brown, the CEO of a cannabis marketing consultancy called Crowns Agency, a cannabis marketing consultancy, explained that Canada's second wave of legalization will completely reinvigorate the legal recreational cannabis market after its slow-moving start last year.
She told BNN Bloomerg, "In a world where the players on the board haven't really achieved a good amount of interaction with consumers that they may have hoped, this would really shake things up. This is probably ‘game on’ from a brand perspective."
She also commented that the new products will infuse some fun into the Canadian cannabis market - an aspect that Brown commented the industry has been missing since legalization. "Cannabis has been much less fun than we imagined but soon it’ll feel like more of a feast of choice and be more delightful," she explained.
Although Health Canada has not yet released its list of finalized regulations to govern how the new cannabis products will be sold and used, the agency did unveil an initial draft of its regulations back in December, which described the ranging quantities of THC - the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis - the products are expected to contain.
Under the proposed federal regulations, 10 milligrams of THC is the maximum amount a single serving of edible cannabis can contain. The rules also mandate that each serving must be individually wrapped.
This THC dosage limit is much more rigid than the restrictions in several U.S. states, like Colorado, Washington, or California, where numerous servings are permitted per package. For example, a chocolate bar can contain 10 breakable squares, each containing 10 milligrams of THC, for a total of 100 milligrams of THC per package.
Industry experts predict that edibles and infused beverages will likely attract a new segment of consumers who prefer eating and drinking cannabis products, as opposed to smoking them.