Ontario issues call for edible, alternative marijuana products

Ontario’s cannabis wholesaler has issued a call for new product categories – including marijuana edibles, beverages, topicals and extracts – to be introduced in Canada’s largest consumer market later this year.

The Ontario Cannabis Store is inviting federally licensed producers to identify their ability to supply the new products.

And, amid product shortages in the province, the wholesaler is asking for more dried flower, pre-rolls, capsules, oils, seeds and accessories.

Suppliers are asked to respond through the provincial portal, doingbusinesswithocs.ca, until June 28.

Deloitte recently estimated the value for the upcoming edibles and alternative cannabis products market at 2.7 billion Canadian dollars ($2 billion).

Regulations permitting cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals are legislated to come into force no later than Oct. 17, 2019, although experts do not expect a large rollout until 2020.

The final regulations outlining the rules for the new market are expected to be published by June 26.

Ontario’s legal cannabis industry has struggled to gain its footing as provincial regulators bungled the rollout of physical stores and failed to secure a consistent supply of products in the first half-year of legalization.

While Ontario is stuck at fewer than 25 physical storefronts selling adult-use cannabis products, Alberta’s market has thrived comparatively, with 104 store openings since Oct. 17, 2018. Alberta has a plan to bring the number of stores in the province to 219 by the end of the year – pending supply availability.

Receipts at the Ontario Cannabis Store – the monopoly online retailer – were just CA$7.6 million in March, up slightly from CA$7.5 million in February.

Those sales do not account for the province’s first sales at brick-and-mortar stores, which opened nearly six months after Canada legalized recreational marijuana.