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Here's Why You Can't Buy Edibles on Day One of Legalization in Canada

Cannabis officially becomes legal for adult use on October 17, but don't expect to see any pot brownies on the shelves of licensed cannabis retailers next Wednesday. 

While dried flower and other cannabis products will be available, edibles like THC-infused gummies and cookies won't hit the market for up to another year. And if that's got you down, you're not the only one. Anne McLellan - the former Chair of Canada's cannabis task force - is also dissatisfied with the delay for edibles.

"I think the task force was disappointed," McLellan told Civilized earlier this year. "But having said that, we understand why."

Turns out, legalizing edibles is much easier said than done. A lot of complicated federal rules and regulations involving food and drugs have to be modified in order to allow for edibles. And taking the time to jump through all of those hoops would have seriously delayed the start date for cannabis legalization.

"This is a big change in the way we approach cannabis in this country," McLellan explained. "And many existing laws and regulatory systems have to be either modified or changed to accommodate the legalization and regulation of cannabis in whatever form. And I think the government and departments felt they just could not make all the required changes to our complex system of food and drug laws in time for a start date in or around July 2018. So the standing committee on health proposed an amendment, which was adopted by the House, that edibles would be available with the appropriate regulatory provisions within 12 months of legalization."

But while she's disappointed with that decision, she feels things will be alright so long as the federal government gets around to approving the sale of edibles sooner than later. 

"Would it have been better if edibles were available and the rules around edibles were set right out of the box? Sure. But I think that's fine as long as we see edibles regulated and available in the near future. Otherwise, what you will leave a longer period of time for the illegal marketplace to fill that space."

So far, the feds haven't suggested when we can expect edibles to hit the shelves, so we may still be holding our breath for legal pot brownies by this time next year.


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