What happened: The B.C. government is now selling and distributing new categories of legal non-medical cannabis products thanks to its British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) receiving its first shipment of these goods on December 18.
Why this matters: These sales begin the second phase of legalized cannabis products being available to the public.
A BCLDB spokesperson told Business in Vancouver that the first sales on the government's B.C. Cannabis Stores website launched at about 10:45 a.m. on December 19.
A new drop-down menu for edibles lists options such as baked goods and snacks, chocolate and chews and candy.
Online orders may not arrive by Christmas, however, given that Canada Post has advised that some deliveries may face a 48-hour processing delay, and that this may affect the delivery date of the order. Canada Post had set a deadline for orders intended to arrive before Christmas (without a processing delay) as being December 19.
Evergreen Cannabis owner Mike Babins told BIV in an email that he expects to get edibles and vape pens in stock by December 24, which would be the one-year anniversary of his store at 2868 West Fourth Avenue being the first legal cannabis store in Vancouver to get a licence. His store then became the second officially open legal cannabis store in the city on January 5 – hours after City Cannabis Co. opened its location near East 57th and Fraser Street – officially unit 7291 at 7289 Fraser Street – late in the evening on January 4.
While sales for dried cannabis buds, oils, pre-rolled joints and other products became legal in October 2018, edibles, extracts and topicals only became legal on October 17, and companies producing those products had to go through a 60-day approval process with Health Canada.
The BCLDB has made the new products available to private and public retailers throughout the province via its wholesale customer portal, the B.C. government announced December 19.
Consumers should be able to see these products on legal retail store shelves in late December, in accordance with the BCLDB’s shipping schedules.
The BCLDB, which is the sole wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in the province, has registered more than 260 individual products that are within the new categories of edibles, extracts and topicals, as part of an initial wholesale product assortment.
Only a small number of the products are expected to be available for retail sale within the first few months of 2020, as availability is dependent upon a number of factors, including the ability of manufacturers to meet demand from other markets across Canada, the government said.
“The addition of edibles, extracts and topicals represents the provincial government’s commitment to providing safe, regulated non-medical cannabis products to B.C. consumers,” the BCLDB’s general manager and CEO Blain Lawson, said in a release.
“A lot of work has gone into procuring these products, and we look forward to working with our suppliers as they continue to introduce new products to market.”
New products registered within the initial release include:
•beverages, such as carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, tea bags, oils and powders;
•products intended to be eaten, such as chocolate, cookies, soft chews and mints;
•vaporizers and cartridges;
•other extracts, such as shatter and hashish; and
•topicals, defined as cannabis-infused products intended to be applied to the hair, skin or nails.
Oils and capsules, which were included in products legalized on Oct. 17, 2018, are now reclassified as extracts.