It’s the biggest change since the legalization of recreational marijuana a year ago.

As if today, cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals are now legal. But that doesn’t mean you can buy them.

“Health Canada needs to go into these facilities, approve the products, make sure they’re produced compliantly, make sure they’re safe and clean and they are legal and produced legally right,” said Gavin Rose, with FARM dispensary.

“This is just Health Canada just taking the baby steps to not freak people out with cannabis.”

Today is just the first hurdle for cannabis products like edibles to reach a legal Canadian market. And a lot of retail storefronts are still somewhat in the dark.

“They’ve been super hush-hush about it. I don’t entirely know what products will be rolling out but beverages are included as well so that’s really exciting,” said Rose.

Products like BioSteel, originally a sports drink, will be vying for the license, hoping to bring CBD into their mix if they meet health Canada regulations..

But the government has final say, so here is the breakdown:

You can expect plain packaging, and no gummies. Legal edibles are not allowed to come in shapes, colours, or flavours that appeal to kids.

There’s a limit to 10 milligrams of THC in edibles and extracts, balms and creams can contain up to 1000 milligrams.

Health Canada says all these regulations will lower the chance of THC poisoning, but doctors are still worried.

“When it comes to edibles there is a long delay and so a person can over-consume and not realized that they have over-consumed until in some cases hours later when the effects are fully becoming experienced and at that point, they no longer have control and have already over consumed,” said James MacKillop, with the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

Regardless, edibles could be on the market by mid-December. A future, the industry here in B.C.,  says they’re ready for, and then some.

“I do hope that as we get into 2020, that the province of B.C. will see that there’s good reason to create a licensed category for a cannabis consumption lounge,” said Alex Robb, owner of Trees Restaurant, an eatery hoping to be a cannabis consumption lounge and restaurant all-in-one.

“It’s a huge missed opportunity if we don’t have this coming out in 2020 because other provinces are going to do it. A place like Victoria that has so many tourists coming from other parts of the country, they want to experience this. They want to come to Victoria, they want to enjoy good food, they want to be able to consume cannabis socially with other people in the same way people consume alcohol.”

And retailers say consumers actually hold the power to possibly shape Canadian cannabis policy based on their demand and pressure.

Smoking and vaping lounges in B.C. however may be some time yet, with the province needing to coordinate indoor smoking regulations and WorkSafe regulations.

Kori Sidaway