Cannabis companies looking to roll out edibles later this year may have products barred from Quebec now that the province has banned some cannabis treats.
On Wednesday (July 24), Quebec announced that it will ban edible cannabis products that could appeal to minors, such as candies, desserts and cannabis-infused chocolate. The ban could prevent some companies from selling their edibles in the province.
The move comes after Health Canada announced last month that a “limited selection” of edible cannabis products will be slated to hit physical and online shelves by mid-December of this year.
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The federal agency has said that packaging for edible cannabis products must be child-resistant and plain to lessen its appeal to youth.
Some of the province’s cannabis advocates aren’t happy with the announcement. The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association condemned the new regulations in a press release on Thursday (July 25).
Its statement reads that the new regulations were created “without industry consultation or economic impact analysis” and have caught the legal cannabis industry “off guard.”
“It is a shot across the bow for all Quebec businesses and a warning to those interested in investing in the province that the regulatory climate is unpredictable and subject to change without consultation,” the statement continues.
Cannabis companies have been eyeing the edibles market ahead of the legalization of cannabis-infused foods. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED) recently announced that it will be dedicating a section of its famed renovated Hershey (NYSE:HSY) chocolate factory to produce cannabis-infused chocolates — up to an estimated 850,000 chocolates monthly.
On Tuesday (July 23), Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) announced the acquisition of Smith & Sinclair, a UK-based maker of boozy treats, including gummies and lollipops. Tilray plans on working with the company to create a line of CBD-infused edibles and distribute them in Canada and the US.
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The edibles industry in Canada is shaping up to be lucrative. A report from Deloitte released in June states that this upcoming stage of cannabis legalization is expected to create a consumer market for edibles and alternative cannabis products worth more than C$2.7 billion a year.
“The edibles market alone is estimated to be worth at least C$1.6 billion a year in Canada, with cannabis-infused beverages adding a further C$529 million,” said Deloitte Canada executive Jennifer Lee.
The report also found that the global market for alternative cannabis products is expected to grow to US$194 billion and that nearly half of likely edibles users are planning to consume gummy bears, cookies or chocolates every few months.
The amended regulations of the Cannabis Act will come into force on October 17, 2019, but there will be a waiting period before edibles enthusiasts can purchase them.
Under federal legislation in Canada, cannabis-infused food and drink will only be able to contain up to 10 milligrams of THC per package.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.