edible cannabis

Edibles are Available for Sale in Ontario

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

In Ontario, new cannabis products became available for legal sale this week in physical retail stores.  The Ontario Cannabis Store released 59 new products  including edibles, beverages, lotions and concentrates.  These products will become available for sale online on January 16, 2020.

Legal edibles, such as chocolates or soft chews, are available for sale at a cost of $7 to $14, beverages are available at a cost of $4 to $10, topicals will be sold between $15 and $55, concentrates are to be sold between $30 and $70 and vape products will be sold between $25 to $125.

EARLY SUPPLY OF EDIBLES WILL BE LIMITED

Ontario’s cannabis distributor has warned that supplies will be limited at first and may sell out within the week.  The Ontario Cannabis Store’s vice-president of corporate affairs, David Lobo, warns consumers:

[W]e expect the supply that will come to the initial stores to potentially sell out within the first week.  As quickly as it comes to us we are going to move supply through the system.

Manufacturers must provide 60 days notice of their intention to sell products and most undergo regulatory screening.  More products will become available as they receive regulatory approval.

On behalf of Ontario’s cannabis distributor, Lobo advised:

We suspect that over the first half of 2020 there will be a lot more new products that come to market but for the products that we got today, we expect that in February and March that supply will rapidly improve.  We will make sure that every store has equal access to product through our allocations but just like any other product that has come to market over the past year as soon as supply improves we will completely open that up and stores can make their own choice around how much product they want to purchase.

Kevin Lam, senior director of merchandising at the agency, believes that the new products will allow the legal Ontario shops to compete with the black market.  He states:

We’ve compared our offerings to similar products in the illegal market to ensure that our initial retail will be competitive.

However, some experts warn that given the current legislation which limits edible items to only contain a maximum of 10 milligrams of THC, regular consumers may purchase from the black market where these restrictions do not apply.

WHAT ARE EDIBLES?

Cannabis edibles are food or beverage products made with cannabis or cannabis oils.  Edibles may be in the form of baked goods, teas, soft drinks or cannabis infused butter.  These products contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes the high feeling and can be used as an alternative to smoking or vaping cannabis.

It is recommended that if you are trying edibles for the first time to start low and go slow.  Cannabis edibles may be more potent than other types of cannabis and the effects may last longer.  When you consume edibles, the high is often delayed. 

The following are some of the short-term effects of consuming edibles:

  • Anxiety, fear or panic;
  • Confusion;
  • Dizziness or fainting;
  • Lower ability to concentrate or remember things;
  • Higher heart rate;
  • Paranoia and delusional thoughts;
  • Lower ability to react quickly; and
  • Drowsiness.

Consuming edibles may result in the following long-term effects:

  • Risk of addiction;
  • Risk of reducing the ability to concentrate or the ability to make decisions; and
  • Higher risk of developing or exacerbating mental health issues such as psychosis or schizophrenia.

WHAT IS CANNABIS POISONING?

Symptoms related to the overconsumption of cannabis is often referred to as cannabis poisoning.  Given the nature of edibles, it is easier to be poisoned compared to smoking or vaping cannabis.  Although cannabis poisoning is not generally fatal, it can be dangerous and may require emergency medical attention. 

Symptoms of cannabis poisoning includes chest pain, rapid heartbeat, nausea/vomiting, psychotic episode, respiratory depression and/or severe anxiety or panic attacks. 

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK

If you plan on purchasing and consuming edibles, it is suggested that you adhere to the following recommendations to reduce your risk.

  • Purchase edibles from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized cannabis retailer to ensure that the products are safe to consume;
  • Start with a low level of THC, such as 2.5 milligrams or less;
  • Always read the label before consuming edibles, as some products may have expiry dates or ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction;
  • Be aware that it may take 30 minutes to 2 hours to start feeling the effects of the edible product and you may not feel the full effects for up to 4 hours;
  • The effects of consuming edibles can last for up to 12 hours;
  • Always follow the laws regarding purchasing cannabis and never drive following the consumption of cannabis products in any form;
  • Always keep cannabis edibles locked up and out of the reach of children and pets as some of these products may look the same as other foods.

If you are facing a drug-related charge or have any questions concerning your legal rights, please contact Affleck & Barrison LLP online or at 905-404-1947.  We maintain a 24-hour call service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times.