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Edibles legal in Canada today, but don't expect to see them on shelves yet

Last Updated Oct 17, 2019 at 11:15 am PDT

File Photo: Edible marijuana products are displayed for sale at a Weeds Glass & Gifts medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Vancouver on Friday, May 1, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Edibles are legal in Canada today, but they won't be on store shelves until about mid-December

Chefs who cook with cannabis advise taking it slow if you're using for the first time

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Chocolate, gummies, sparkling drinks, and even hand creams are just some of the products you’ll soon be seeing on cannabis store shelves in B.C.

Edibles are legal starting today, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find some until mid-December.

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Kate Bilney with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch says you need to wait because of Health Canada regulations.

“Health Canada does require licensed producers to provide at least 60 days notice before making a new cannabis product available for sale,” she says.

So far, she says over 40 producers have already applied to make food and drinks with cannabis.

“The manufacturers are required to develop and manufacture those products in a way that does not appeal to children,” she says.

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Bilney acknowledges the rollout of the legalization of non-medical cannabis in B.C. a year ago lagged behind other provinces.

“That’s enabled us to ensure that we do have consistent supply available to our wholesale customers,” she says.

Now, Bilney expects sales to pick up as more illegal pot dispensaries close and more legal shops open up.

There are more than 70 private and public pot shops up and running across the province, with licenses approved for over 60 more.

Use caution with edibles

If you’re thinking about trying cannabis edibles, start low and go slow, according to chefs in the know.

Adam Barski is a Red Seal chef in Vancouver who says if you don’t feel the effects right away, don’t keep eating.

“Personally, what I tell people, is to wait until the absolute next day, because it could take two hours, four hours, it could take six – it all depends on what you’ve eaten, the makeup of your personal endocannabinoid system,” he says.

Cody Lindsay, a former military member who has been cooking with marijuana for veterans for years, has similar advice.

His cookbook “The Wellness Soldier” includes advice for safe consumption.

“When you take it orally, it has to get processed through your liver. It has to get digested through your intestines, and then make it to your liver, and then your liver pushes it out through your bloodstream, so the process takes a lot longer, but it also lasts a lot longer.”

He recommends starting with 10 milligrams or less, as recommended by Health Canada.

Some regular users say they’ll have to use three to 10 times more than that to feel any effects.