Cannabis sweets are desired

Brightly colored, cannabis-infused chew candies in the form of animals are among the top sellers on the black market, but Canadians should not expect to find them on retail shelves soon .
The edible cannabis regulations will come into effect on October 17, exactly one year after the federal government legalized cannabis. The new measures are designed to protect children from new products by saying that they should not be perceived as “attractive to young people,” but Health Canada has not yet revealed what would be clearly reprehensible in this regard.

Companies are wondering about the marketing of these sweets inspired by a candy for children. How to present them to the target audience, adults, without the presentations being too fun for young people?

THC-infused gelatin cubs will not be among the new products that will become legal, but companies continue to attempt to meet consumer demand without the use of colorless, tasteless products.

New products may be legally available for sale from mid-December, given the 60-day notice required by Health Canada.

Easy to consume

According to a recent poll by Deloitte, the most popular cannabis edible products for potential consumers are sweets (26%), cookies (23%), brownies (22%) and chocolate (16%).

Chewing candies attract drinks for a variety of reasons. They are more easily transportable and can be hidden in public, says Rishi Malkanis, a cannabis market specialist at Deloitte.

“They are tiny. We can easily eat them. It can be done quite discreetly. It’s easier to bring to an event than brownies or other foods, or even drinks. ”

According to Deloitte, the products that will soon be legal represent a market whose estimated value is $ 2.7 billion per year, including $ 1.6 billion for edible cannabis.

The situation is similar in the United States. Thus, in the first four months of 2019, 17 of the top 20 cannabis products sold in California, Colorado, and Oregon are candy.

The risks to children have been described in a recent Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) study which found that “a significant number of young children” needed medical attention after ingesting cannabis after legalization.

From September to December 2017, 16 cases of serious cannabis events for recreational purposes were reported to CPC.

Stricter rules

In July, the Quebec government decided to adopt stricter rules for edible cannabis by banning the sale of “sweets, confectionery, desserts, including chocolate, and other products that appeal to minors”. The rules were submitted for public consultation for 45 days before their entry into force.

According to Deloitte, the stricter rules could provoke an annual drop of $ 300 million in the cannabis market in Quebec, and a $ 40 million loss for gummy candies alone.

“It will be a significant impact,” says Malkani, who estimates the market share for chewing candies to be eight to nine percent.

“They are tiny. We can easily eat them. We can do it quite discreetly ”
– Rishi Malkanis, cannabis market specialist at Deloitte

Health Canada has not specified colors, flavors or forms that will be permitted.

The appeal of a given product for children will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Several elements can be considered as form, color, flavor, name, packaging and the way it is presented, officials said at a press briefing in June.

“If a gelatin bear attracts a young person, would that be allowed? The answer is no, “said a Health Canada official.

The federal agency has announced that it will issue guidelines outlining factors to consider, but additional details have not yet been released.

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