Legal cannabis can’t beat street dealers without concentrates, senate hears

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The Cannabis Act’s ban of certain cannabis products will leave a consumer void and allow the black market to thrive, the CEO of a Canadian cannabis company told a Canadian Senate hearing during testimony last week.

Josh Campbell is the head of dosist, a company that has released a disposable, dose-controlled cannabis pen that is selling like hotcakes in California. But in Canada, concentrates and edibles won’t be available for at least a year, and it’s not known not when a product like Campbell’s will be allowed. Leafly spoke to Campbell after his testimony in front of the Senate’s Standing Committee von Social Affairs, Science, and Technology.

“We were in the Senate advocating that if the government’s mandate is to stamp out the black market, they need to allow for vaporization and concentrates as soon as possible. Our push would be to do that on day one, and allow Health Canada to set up the regulatory framework.”

Right now, only dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, and cannabis oil will be legally permitted for sale to Canadians once the legislation takes effect.

The bill states that concentrates and edible products will become available within a year after the bill initially comes into force—though due to the bill’s language such products could theoretically be pushed out sooner.

“I think the longer it takes the legislation to actually take effect, the longer the black market will proliferate,” says Campbell. “You can walk down any street in Toronto and get vape pens, concentrates, edibles, and all kinds of interesting things that are not proposed to be allowed until next summer.”

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Campbell says that because developing his products are not allowed in Canada, research and development does not take place in the country.

“We’re not operating in Canada technically yet. When we go to sell our product in Canada we will be working with licensed producers. We haven’t announced who those are yet, and then we’re in discussion with UBC, McMaster, and McGill on funding work. Our pen and formulations would be used, and we’ve had discussion with the possibility of full-blown medical studies to psychological studies. “

Still, research will be hampered by “the challenge with all the work in Canada under the current medical framework, is that you’re being given cannabis sub-optimally, and there’s this issue around dosage.”

Eventually, he’d like to see the product in both of Canada’s medical and non-medical systems, however they end up working.

“We’ve looked at the entire system a little differently than most people. We get asked quite often if we are a medical or recreational product. We say we are consumer-focused product, first and foremost. Our plan is to sell into both channels.”

The members of the standing committee can now propose amendments to the legislation, and a senator who sits on the committee has said that will almost certainly happen. And who knows, maybe Campbell’s impassioned plea will spur up the senators to implement cannabis concentrate sales earlier than planned.

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