Sales of pot edibles off to a slow start in Canada

If you want pot edibles in Canada, you’re going to have to go a long way east.

Monday marks the first day Canadians can legally buy a range of new cannabis formats including vapes, edibles and beverages. Newfoundland and Labrador, on Canada’s easternmost edge, was one of the only provinces that appeared to have some of those products available for sale.

CannabisNL, the province’s government-owned wholesaler, had chocolate squares and gummies from Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. brands Kolab and Foray available for sale on Monday. Many other choices were listed as “coming soon.”

Most other provinces were days if not weeks away from offering the new products, according to representatives:

Alberta won’t have products on store shelves until mid-January. The province, which has the most retail outlets in Canada, currently has contracts with 42 cannabis producers and about half of them anticipate offering the new products

Quebec will begin selling the new products on New Year’s Day if they’re available. Even then, it will likely be a limited offering of some teas and perhaps one beverage

In Ontario, the new products will begin to appear in retail stores in early January

British Columbia expects the first products to hit shelves in late December

Nova Scotia expects to have a small offering of new products in stores on Dec. 23, while online ordering won’t be available until Jan. 6

New Brunswick will start receiving limited shipments of new products over the next few days, with more details coming later in the week

Regulations governing the new products came into force on Oct. 17, one year after Canada legalized recreational pot and began selling flower and oils. Companies had to give 60 days’ notice before they could start selling to the provinces, meaning the roll-out will be staggered. Canopy Growth Corp., for example, has said most of its products won’t be available until January, while Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s products will be released over the first quarter of 2020.

The slow start means pot stocks are unlikely to get an immediate lift from cannabis 2.0 in Canada, extending a shakeout as the initial euphoria surrounding legalization wears off. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF slipped on Monday and has dropped about 60% since its high in March amid disappointing sales, regulatory breaches and production snafus.

Kristine Owram