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Canada will soon legalize edibles—and the market is enormous
Created on 1/4/2019 2:11:35 PM

Edible marijuana products are coming in October 2019, along with a flood of new regulations, legal questions and opportunities for CPG manufacturers.

When the sale of cannabis was legalized in late 2018, pot infused foods such as cookies, brownies or gummies were not. But they’re coming. And when this next phase of cannabis legalization takes effect in October 2019, it will usher in a plethora of new rules and regulations, while signalling yet another dramatic shift in Canadian society.

A 2018 Cannabis Report found that there is a strong appetite for edibles in Canada. That appetite, in practical terms suggests, “six out of 10 likely cannabis customers are expected to choose edible cannabis products.” That translates into money making opportunities for CPG companies eager to get in on the action.

Already, big companies such as Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona beer, has invested $5 billion in licensed producer Canopy, while Molson Coors Canada has partnered with Quebec’s The Hydropothecary Corporation to develop non-alcoholic cannabis-infused drinks. In the U.S., cannabis edibles spending reached $1.4 billion in 2018 and sales are on track to bring in more than $4.1 billion by 2022.

Before sales begin in October however, government and a dizzying array of stakeholders will need to untangle a host of legal and ethical concerns that impact the sector. Legalizing new consumable products will require amendments to several pieces of legislation, including the Food and Drugs Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Cannabis Act itself. Lifting the ban on edibles in 2019 doesn’t just mean more cookies and cakes. The law’s passage will open up a vast new market filled with everything from cannabis creams and gels to transdermal patches and ingestible capsules.

In response, Health Canada recently released draft regulations for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals as it prepares for legal sales next fall. The draft regulations include recommendations to strictly limit dosage, ingredients, labelling and marketing. Health Canada is also conducting a two-month online public consultation aimed at addressing the public health and safety risks.

But for CPG companies, the challenge continues to be how best to position themselves within this new environment. How do companies know what they don’t know? In a quickly developing marketplace, how do companies achieve competitive edge? What does it take to build a brand while adapting products to legal and ethical requirements that are still being written? And where do companies turn for answers?

Dialogue is the key and remains the single best way to stay abreast of the industry activities and solutions currently underway. FCPC’s Cannabis & CPG event on Jan. 31, 2019 at the Mississauga Convention Centre offers a unique opportunity to look closely at the key issues that will impact the edible cannabis industry in the year ahead. FCPC industry leading events are universally recognized for their content, speaker quality and networking opportunities. Can your company afford not to be there?

 Speakers include:

  • Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Professor, Food Distribution and Policy, Dalhousie University
  • Deepak Anand, VP, Business Development and Government Relations, Cannabis Compliance Inc.
  • Sarah Wilner, Professor of Marketing and Chair, Brand Communications , Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics
  • Joe Hodas, Chief Operating Officer, General Cannabis Corp.
  • Terence Donnelly, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Hill Street Beverages
  • Peter Neal, Co-Founder, Neal Brothers Foods
  • Mark Rendell, Reporter, Cannabis Industry, The Globe & Mail

For more information about the event and to register, click here.

For more information about the budding cannabis industry in Canada, read PwC's cannabis series.