One of the biggest hurdles facing the Canadian cannabis edibles industry is whether or not the products will actually taste good when they hit the shelves of licensed retailers next fall. Canada will legalize edibles by October 17, 2019, but day one could be a bit rocky since companies hoping to make cannabis-infused foods are dealing with a number of difficult problems. Chief among them is actually making sure their products taste good.
While the Canadian government has given cannabis producers the go-ahead to start making pot brownies and other edibles, getting permission to let potential customers taste-test those products isn't so easy. Producers have to get a special research license from the federal government before they can bring in consumers to sample some edibles. Applications to receive one of the licenses can take upwards of four months, according to one industry expert. And most companies are still waiting to hear back.
"People are certainly interested in doing [taste testing], but the research licenses to do so haven't been issued yet," Brenna Boonstra - Director of Quality and Regulatory at Cannabis Compliance Inc. - told CTV News.
Now, that doesn't mean you should expect everything that hits the market come October to taste awful. At least some companies will actually get a chance to have their edibles taste-tested before they launch in October. Organigram - a licensed cannabis producer based in Moncton, New Brunswick - expects to get their research license by next month since they were among the first applicants for the right to taste-test their edibles. But even if that doesn't pan out, the Organigram team is working with partners in Colorado to get consumer feedback on edibles that can be legally sold in the US state right now.
Having addressed that challenge, Organigram CEO Greg Engel believes that the biggest issue to tackle on the road to legalizing edibles is producing enough cannabis-infused snacks to meet consumer demand.
"We don't want to launch a product and then not have it available a week later," said Engel.
And he has good reason to be concerned. Some estimates suggest the Canadian cannabis industry won't be able to produce enough supply to meet demand for at least five years. So it'd be wise to begin stockpiling cannabis edibles as soon as possible.