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Despite Legalization, Canada Won’t Be Selling Edibles Anytime Soon

If you want pot brownies for legalization day, you’ll have to make them yourself

A cannabis production facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario
AFP/Getty Images

It’s cannabis legalization day in Canada, those looking to eat their weed, be warned: edibles in any form — brownies, ice cream, candy — are off the market until further notice.

The Canadian government has not yet allowed edible cannabis products to be sold for recreational use, apparently needing more time to create regulations around those products. The government’s backgrounder notes that edibles should be available for sale within one year of the October 17 legalization, but has not set a specific date, nor has it offered any more of a detailed timeline.

There is also the possibility that Quebec will never allow edibles to be sold — a few months ago, a representative for the provincial ministry of health and social services told Eater that edibles will not be automatically put onto the market in Quebec after the federal government gives a green light. The province will conduct an “extensive analysis” on the potential health impacts of edibles before allowing them to be sold, and it seems that the door is open for extra restrictions on edibles from the provincial government. If they are ultimately permitted, edibles will only be sold in Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) stores.

Possibly adding to that uncertainty is the fact that Quebec’s new government, headed up by François Legault, has promised to be stricter on marijuana than the previous Liberals. The party has already declared its intent to raise the consumption age to 21 and ban cannabis from public places. While Legault’s people haven’t set a position on edibles, the party’s general attitude towards cannabis would suggest that they might try to keep regulations as tight as possible, keeping edibles out of Quebecers’ mouths.

However, there are workarounds (beyond the obvious option of buying brownies and such via not-so-legal avenues). Non-smoking stoners can purchase legal weed (only at stores in this province), including oils, and bake their own goods at home with them.

Of course, home-made products can’t be resold — while it’s unlikely that police will hunt anyone down for selling a brownie to a friend, commercial-scale weed baking is definitively banned for now. (If edibles are legalized, would-be pot bakers and chefs will have to get permits and convince the SQDC to carry their wares.)

But there are plenty of grey areas — as the Gazette reports, chef-driven weed dinners have already surfaced in Vancouver, under the guise of being “private” events in private residences (a similar approach has also been used in places like Oregon, where recreational weed is legal, but it is barred from restaurants). No such events appear to be in the works for Montreal.