Cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals became legal today, adding to the wealth of new ways Canadians can toke, sip and munch on weed.
As spoilt as the consumer will be once the new products hit store shelves by mid-December, a new national study found only half of Canadians feel they know how to use cannabis.
The study, released by Maru/Blue research firm and commissioned by Toronto-based cannabis licensed producer FIGR Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE:PYX), was testing consumer preparedness for legalization 2.0 and found a surprising gap in consumer knowledge.
“Consumer education is imperative to the success of the cannabis industry,” said FIGR president Harvey Carroll in a statement. “These findings signal an opportunity for the cannabis industry, including cannabis license holders, to become a source of education for Canadians.”
According to the study, one in three Canadians wish they had more information about cannabis products, and said they turn to their friends, family and the good ol’ internet with their questions about the drug. Despite having trusted sources to turn to, only 43 per cent of respondents said they learned something new about recreational cannabis over the past year.
Weed cookies and vapes are now legal, but available products today are still black market
The updated Cannabis Act introduces the production and sales of edible cannabis such as cookies, chocolates, and gummies; cannabis extracts, such as vape pens, and THC and CBD-infused beverages; and topicals, like CBD-infused creams. While now legal, consumers will not be able to buy these products until mid-December, as Health Canada has required all companies to go through a 60-day vetting process before they can sell their new merchandise.
Many companies are keeping tight lipped about their new product lineups, saying they don’t want to reveal too much before products can actually hit the shelves, though Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB) (NYSE:ACB) and Tilray Inc.(NASDAQ:TLRY) released new partnership lineups and teaser photos and videos today.
Any edibles or vapes currently available are still illegally sourced, and it’s worth noting the ongoing vaping-related illness outbreak is still thought to be linked to black market vaping products.
Despite the U.S. vaping-related illness outbreak, trust in cannabis is up in Canada
But 38 per cent of study respondents said legalization has actually made the drug safer, with the highest trust levels coming from Atlantic Canada, with 51 per cent from Newfoundland and Labrador and 46 per cent from Nova Scotia.
The study also asked how prepared Canadians were for the introduction of new cannabis products. Around 45 per cent said they felt prepared for edibles to hit the market, while only 35 per cent said they were ready for vape and cannabis-infused drinks to hit the market.
“Our survey shows the role consumer education could play in increasing knowledge of and positive sentiment towards recreational cannabis, cannabis use and the cannabis industry,” said Carroll.
The survey ran from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 2019 and surveyed 1,405 randomly selected Canadians ages 19 and up. Around 100 respondents were surveyed in each province and the study has an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cent, or 19 times out of 20.
The marijuana derivative products are expected to attract three million new cannabis consumers in Canada, and the new market segment is expected to be worth $2.7 billion, according to cannabis researchers at Deloitte.