No le­gal cannabis ed­i­bles on the mar­ket

NLC cannabis en­force­ment build­ing its pres­ence

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK

“We’re es­tab­lish­ing mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing agree­ments, but in the in­terim we’re work­ing very dili­gently to­gether to en­sure that we can dis­rupt this (black mar­ket) busi­ness as much as we pos­si­bly can.” Sean Ryan New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion vice-pres­i­dent of reg­u­la­tory services

Ed­i­ble cannabis prod­ucts — any­thing from gum­mies to cannabis-in­fused honey — are not yet le­gal in New­found­land and Labrador, but il­licit prod­ucts are al­ways pop­ping up. Some are be­ing picked up by the New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion (NLC) in cannabis-re­lated en­force­ment ef­forts, as well as in joint law en­force­ment ef­forts.

Reg­u­la­tions for ed­i­bles come into ef­fect this fall, with the le­gal prod­ucts ex­pected to be­gin rolling out about mid-De­cem­ber. But even when those prod­ucts are avail­able, the cannabis gum­mies and “med­i­cated krisps” seized and dis­played in the drugs-on-the-ta­ble press con­fer­ence in St. John’s on Thurs­day will still be il­le­gal.

The only le­gal ed­i­bles will be prod­ucts cer­ti­fied by fed­eral and pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties, and sold through Cannabis NL or a li­censed re­tailer.

Sean Ryan, New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion vice-pres­i­dent of reg­u­la­tory services, drove home the fact le­gal cannabis ed­i­bles will, first of all, have a dif­fer­ent look than much of what has been seized by NLC of­fi­cers over the last few months.

“In terms of the style of pack­ag­ing, you’ll see some of the pack­ag­ing (in­ter­na­tion­ally and in the il­licit mar­ket) is very, very or­nate, very colour­ful, these types of things, whereas in Canada it would be very be­nign, strict reg­u­la­tions and pack­ag­ing pur­suant to fed­eral reg­u­la­tions,” he said.

NLC en­force­ment of­fi­cers will con­tinue to tar­get il­licit ed­i­ble prod­ucts, the same as with il­le­gal marijuana.

Less than a year since the NLC was given an en­force­ment role with cannabis and le­gal marijuana came on the scene, Ryan said en­force­ment has reached full steam, with four search war­rants since June and about $1.2 mil­lion in prod­ucts seized be­tween June and present.

Ryan men­tioned four search war­rants but “a lot more than just four” cannabis-re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tions also in­volv­ing the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice, Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary and Canada Post.

“We’re es­tab­lish­ing mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing agree­ments, but in the in­terim we’re work­ing very dili­gently to­gether to en­sure that we can dis­rupt this (black mar­ket) busi­ness as much as we pos­si­bly can,” he said.

SALTWIRE NET­WORK

New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion vice-pres­i­dent of reg­u­la­tory services Sean Ryan says four search war­rants since June have been part of the cor­po­ra­tion’s broader en­force­ment ef­forts on cannabis.

Bags of marijuana la­belled by va­ri­ety — “pur­ple kush,” “pink bubba,” etc. — were stacked on two, long ta­bles at a press con­fer­ence at the New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion of­fice on O’Leary Av­enue in St. John’s on Thurs­day. The ta­bles also held cannabis ed­i­bles and con­cen­trates. A third ta­ble held mainly elec­tron­ics and cash, also seized in en­force­ment ef­forts.

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