TORONTO — Some Canadians can buy their cannabis edibles stocking stuffers beginning today, but three of the country’s biggest provinces could be waiting at least another month.
Recreational edible cannabis products, including baked goods, beverages, cotton candy, dissolvable strips and gummy candies, are available in most provinces today pending delivery to retailers, but Ontario, Quebec or Alberta will likely have to wait until at least mid-January. Those provinces run their own distribution systems, which have stricter regulations.
“Unfortunately it’s just standard government bureaucracy,” said retail cannabis expert Lisa Campbell on CTV News Channel on Monday. “These are the same timelines as was always expected from the big provinces that have government distribution. Everything has to go through the government warehouse before it gets out to retail.”
In many provinces, licensed producers are able to ship directly to the retailers or sell product themselves. Before selling, companies had to give Health Canada a 60-day notice, which expired Tuesday.
Here’s a breakdown of major provinces.
B.C., SASKATCHEWAN, MANITOBA
In B.C., retailers told CTV News that they hoped to receive their orders by Christmas Eve. „Fingers crossed that there won’t be any delay in our holiday delivery,” said Sheila Rivers, owner of Coast Range Cannabis in Comox, Vancouver Island. That store is expecting orders of gummies, chocolates, and even infused tea and sparkling beverages.
In Saskatchewan, products were expected to be shipped to some stores as early as Tuesday. One store owner in Saskatoon told CTV News that he hoped the inventory would be stocked by the weekend.
„I tell you, it’s going to be like Christmas all over again for everybody,” The Pot Shack general manager Geoff Conn told CTV News Saskatoon.
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries told the Winnipeg Free Press that shipping times will vary, but retailers could begin receiving product this week.
Newfoundland and Labrador has what’s known as “farm-gate” retail, said Campbell, where producers can sell their products on site. That means edibles should be widely available in the province this week.
In Nova Scotia, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation told a Halifax radio show that a “small offering” was expected in stores by Dec. 23.
According to BNN, New Brunswick could start receiving “limited shipments” this week.
ALBERTA, ONTARIO, QUEBEC
The process is slower in provinces like Alberta, where the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis agency said edibles won’t hit shelves until mid-January.
„Once product is ordered, shipped to us, received and put into inventory, retailers will be able to place their orders,” said an AGLC spokesperson.
The Societe Quebecois du Cannabis (SQDC), which governs cannabis sales in Quebec, said that edibles sales could begin as early as Jan. 1, but will be a “limited product offering that will increase progressively over time throughout winter and spring.”
“Like we said on many occasions, this new wave of legalization is not a race,” SQDC spokesperson Fabrice Giguere told CTV News.
The Ontario Cannabis Store said edibles, extracts and topicals will “gradually be available” both online and in stores in “early 2020.”