People will have to wait about two months for edible cannabis products, such as candy and beverages, to be available in Red Deer.
Thursday marks the legalization of edibles in Canada, but products still need to go through Health Canada’s approval process.
Hillary Deas, regional manager of Choom Cannabis (formerly Clarity Cannabis), said customers are hoping edibles will be in the store for Christmas.
“A lot of people are saying they’re going to be the perfect stocking stuffer this year. People are super excited,” Deas said.
She said beverages are what people are asking about the most.
On Thursday, it will also be a year since the first recreational cannabis store opened in Red Deer.
Isaac Watson, vice-president of product development and retail experience at Fire & Flower Cannabis Co., said in the United States, edibles only make up about 10 to 15 per cent of sales.
“Edibles surprisingly make up a relatively small portion of their business, even four years later,” Watson said.
“We don’t know how those items will perform. It’s a bit of a wild card.”
He said vaping products, which also become legal Thursday, are creating more interest. The United States may be seeing illnesses related to vaping, but Canadian products are different, said Watson.
“They’re not using the same solvents up here. It’s not allowed in our regulated market.”
Both Choom and Fire & Flower say they focus on educating their customers about cannabis.
Watson said once edibles hit the market, people should start slow.
“Edibles, you feel it differently in your body, versus smoking a joint or using dry herbs,” Watson said.
Deas advised keeping products locked up to protect children.
“With edibles on the way, we do encourage people to maybe get their own little mini fridge and consider locking it. Just take preventative measures,” Deas said.
She said her store opened its doors in Red Deer in February and people continue to want to know more about cannabis.
“I find people are starting to get over the stigma of smoking cannabis, or consuming cannabis products,” Deas said.
Watson said the legalization of recreational cannabis has been slow to impact the illegal market. But prices have dropped in his stores to an average price under $10 per gram, from about $12 per gram last October.
“Along the way, as prices have dropped, quality has increased, and those are all the things that are the advantages the legal market is now seeing over the illegal market,” Watson said.
Fire & Flower opened in Red Deer in May and has plans to open a second location before the end of the year on 68th Street, north of Parkland Mall.