Cape Bretoners sweet on pot: cannabis edibles selling out fast
Cape Bretoners are sweet on cannabis.
Beverley Ware, spokeswoman with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp., said their 12 stores that sell cannabis products — including the Sydney River location — continue to sell out of certain edibles such as chocolates, soft chews and mints. The stores have also begun to offer some teas and vape products.
“It turns out with the edibles, it’s the chocolates and soft chews that are most popular with customers,” Ware said.
Carmel Henry of Sydney was leaving the Sydney River store with cannabis products Tuesday. She said she has never tried edibles but would like to.
"I inquired last week but they never had any in," she said. "One of the employees told me it sells out fast but they will be getting more."
Henry, who said she enjoys marijuana to help her relax, said she has a friend who has tried it a few times but doesn't like to inhale smoke.
"I think she would enjoy the chocolates more. I plan to get some for her when they get more in."
The new level of products arrived at the NSLC warehouses the weekend before Christmas and as of Dec. 23 the cannabis stores had the new stock.
“In terms of edibles, we have had a very limited selection of these chocolates, soft chews and mints," Ware said. "By the time we closed Christmas Eve we had sold out of those.”
A second delivery of chocolates and soft chews arrived late last week.
‘It was pretty much the same situation where we sold out of the chocolates and soft chews within a couple of days,” Ware said. “It’s proving it’s the same products that are popular in all our stores across the province."
The products vary with producers but there are milk chocolate, dark chocolate and salted caramel chocolates.
Ware said under Health Canada regulations there is a maximum of 10 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — permitted per package.
“That’s the same in every jurisdiction across Canada,” she explained.
Part of the reason is due to the difference with cannabis when inhaled and when ingested.
Ware said many people buying edibles don’t want to smoke it so it’s their first-time trying cannabis.
With lower THC levels, it’s safer for people new to cannabis because they start out with a lower dosage.
“If they find they’d like more than they can take another piece.”
The THC limits vary within the types of cannabis products and include 1,000 mg of THC allowance in each package of vape products, which are also now offered.
The new products have also been offered online as of Jan. 6. The two-week wait was due to the limited supply.
The NSLC website shows all products that will be available when everything is up and running, as well as the products they currently have in stock.
History was made with the legalization of Cannabis in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. It was a challenge for the first year as the licensed producers tried to keep up with the demand evident at the NSLC stores thath began selling dried flowers, oil and capsules. Ware said now there is a good selection of products now across the board with low and high THC, as well as cannabinoids (CBD).
“The supply has certainly improved in recent months.”
Neither Gerard Black nor his wife Sherri-Ann Black, of Port Hawkesbury, who were both found purchasing a number of cannabis products last week, plan to try the edibles but do like the vape products.
"I believe it's healthier for your lungs than smoking it," Sherri said. "You can also vape discreetly, such as if you were at a family gathering and didn't want it to be so obvious of what you were doing."
In hearing about the next level of products the NSLC plans on stocking, Gerard said he would try the cold beverages once they are available.
Russ Skinner, 21, Sydney, said he wouldn't turn an edible away but that's not how he likes pot.
"I only smoke it," he said. "I don't think I'd ever go out to buy the chocolates but I'd never refuse one."
Skinner said the additonal products might get more people interested in trying cannabis.
On Oct. 17, 2019, amendments under the Cannabis Act legalized the sale and production of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals in Canada.
However, although their stores were ready for the new products, NSLC could not order any until Dec. 16 because of the 60-day new product notification period imposed by Health Canada on licensed producers.
Ware said they are not selling all the types of the new cannabis products yet and they will gradually introduce these items to the market.
At this point what they’ve been able to get from licensed producers along with the soft chews, chocolates and mints include lavender, ginger and vanilla cannabis tea and a good mix of vape products.
“The next ones will be the ready-to-drink — the cold beverages — and we have refrigeration units in our stores to accommodate that.”
Baked products will also be offered by NSLC.
“We are talking months as opposed to weeks when they’ll be available for store order,” Ware added.
Ware said producers have had a tremendous undertaking to get this current phase of products ready in a very short period of time. When producers learned what the regulations were for the products, they then had to finalize their product formulations.
“There are certain rules they have to adhere to,” she said. “They are not allowed to add vitamins or minerals, or nicotine or alcohol to these products. They had to finalize their formulations and at the same time ensure their products meet very strict packaging and labelling guidelines by Health Canada. As a value-added product it’s been a lot more intensive compared to the dried flower the first time around.”
The legal age is 19 to use, buy, grow or possess cannabis in Nova Scotia.