Canadian regulations requiring marijuana edibles to be shelf-stable – meaning they can’t need refrigeration or freezing – might have seemed like a deathblow to any cannabis producer’s dreams of creating a frozen cannabis confection.
But a new product from Heritage Cannabis shows how those regulations still allow for novel interpretations that lead to innovative products.
Heritage’s RADsicle cannabis edible takes the form of a “freezie,” also known as a “freeze pop” or an “otter pop” – a plastic tube full of freezable liquid.
The edibles are being touted by the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), a major purchaser, distributor and retailer, as “Canada’s first frozen edible.”
David Schwede, Heritage’s president of recreational cannabis, said the key to RADsicles’ regulatory compliance lies in the fact that they are technically considered a cannabis beverage.
“If people want to freeze it and eat it as a frozen edible, they can go ahead and do that,” he said.
“They could do that with the (cannabis) drinks they buy as well.”
Schwede said he got the idea for the product when he saw pallets of unfrozen freezies for sale at a store.
“It was like one of those crime shows, where all of a sudden a light bulb turns on,” he said.
Each RADsicle contains 88 milliliters of liquid.
The freezies are being produced in two forms:
- A single freezie containing 10 milligrams of THC, the maximum allowable per package under Canadian regulations.
- A variety pack with four differently flavored freezies, each containing 2.5 milligrams of THC.
Schwede, who was founder and CEO of cannabis concentrates producer Premium 5 before it was acquired by Heritage, said RADsicles are made using an “in-house, proprietary method for making emulsified liquids” in order to blend cannabis distillate with water.
“We’re providing a different format, different flavors and innovation in a category that’s dominated by 300 circular gummies in different flavors,” he said.
“The only edibles out there that are performing are gummies, and every company has one,” Schwede continued.
“How do you compete? It’s like whispering at a concert. You can go and try to throw one out there and call it something crazy and hope that it catches, or you can not be a ‘me too’ company, and innovate.”
Schwede added that Heritage has other new edibles in the works.
“We’re staying away from producing stuff that people are already making, because there’s some producers doing a really good job at it,” he said.
Edibles comprised 4.2% of regulated Canadian recreational marijuana sales in 2020, lagging behind other cannabis derivative products such as extracts and concentrates.
Schwede observed that Canada’s regulations governing cannabis edibles were designed to put public safety first.
“I think we’ve seen the results of that, and the fact that there (have) been no negative, crazy stories about anything involving ‘THC accidents,’ we’ll call them – it’s been pretty great,” he said. “They did a good job.
“But now, I think it’s a time where there’s no differentiation in the market.
“The customer is absolutely up in arms about the 10-milligram (THC) limit.
“And we’re now starting to see such a competitive race to the bottom that they’ve got to open up the ability for us to differentiate – we’ve got to be able to market a little bit, we have to be able to have slightly different packaging to start to build brand loyalty.”
Solomon Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.