Infused food is a cannabis ingestion method popular with seniors who prefer not to smoke. Anna James/VICTORIA NEWS

Market for cannabis edibles remains strong, despite ban

Canna-baking family, shut down in Victoria, say products provide relief for many

Although marijuana edibles are banned by Island Health, canna-bakers continue to provide a service they say is very much needed.

In March 2017, Island Health (VIHA) initiated a crackdown on the sale of edibles in dispensaries across Victoria, citing that the Food and Drugs Act does not recognize cannabis as a food ingredient. As a result, edibles remain one of the most highly policed products in the cannabis grey market.

In 2009, Owen Smith, head baker at Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (VCBC) petitioned the Supreme Court to allow medical cannabis patients to access edibles.

And in 2012, he won.

Despite this, Island Health continues to issue on-the-spot fines to dispensaries selling edibles, arguing that they appeal to children and their contents are hard to control.

“The whole reason for the edible ban is that VIHA is pursuing this matter from a Foodsafe perspective,” said Julia Veintrop, manager at the VCBC. “No one has gotten sick from edibles, there have been no complaints, and we continue to sell edibles and always will.” As far as VCBC is concerned, “there is no edible ban.”

Edibles are an alternative cannabis ingestion method to smoking and are favoured by seniors and ill people seeking pain relief. “As pain receptors are located in our digestion tract, edibles enable cannabis to be absorbed through the blood stream and go to where it’s needed most,” Veintrop explains.

Over in Esquimalt, canna-baker Cheri Velasco doesn’t plan to hang up her green and purple apron anytime soon.

“Seniors don’t want to smoke pot,” she said as she slowly tempered a bowl of warm chocolate in her kitchen. “That’s why we make edibles, to service this group and really, anyone who is experiencing pain.”

Velasco, sister Lenore LeMay and Velasco’s daughter Amanda are the family behind Euphoria Potions and Edibles. They ran a successful store in The Great Canadian Canna Mall on Quadra Street until December, when the City of Victoria denied its rezoning application and the location was forced to close.

Euphoria creates a variety of products: infused pepperoni pizzas, cream cheese swirl brownies and vegan chocolate chip cookies. They even make organic dog biscuits for suffering pets.

On this day, Cheri and Amanda are infusing chocolate bars with cannabis oil while LeMay works a few metres away on her laptop, brushing up on the latest news in the slow climb to legalization.

“I have a passion for helping people,” says Cheri, a former social worker and commercial baker. “This is an extension of my life’s work to take care of people, particularly using food.”

Euphoria officially launched in April 2016, six years after the family began making their own infused products as a solution to ailments the family was dealing with personally.

Le May has cerebral palsy which causes chronic pain and restricted movement; she uses edibles to manage her symptoms. Their 81-year-old mother consumes their homemade caramels to combat her arthritis, as does Amanda, to manage anxiety.

“All of our products have been developed as the result of a problem,” says Cheri. “Cannabis is a medicinal plant so I feel like a healer.” She believes the ban is denying people access to a medicine the Supreme Court has ruled is safe – and for no sound reason.

The latest proposed amendments by Health Canada to the Cannabis Act indicate the regulation of edibles is more than a year away.

“I’m confident things will change. We have the right to edibles. We’ve already won,” said Veintrop.

anna.james@vicnews.com

 

In March 2017, Island Health tightened rules around the sale of cannabis edible products in dispensaries. Anna James/VICTORIA NEWS

Just Posted

UPDATE: Recycling truck destroyed by fire in Victoria

Emterra truck sitting on McLure Street in residential neighbourhood, driver safe

Victoria Shamrocks acquire NLL and MSL all-star

Rob Hellyer brings offensive power to the Shamrocks

VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Six officers, including three school liaisons, to be reassigned to frontline duties

Vancouver Island is home to some of the ‘rattiest’ cities in B.C.

Three municipalities in Greater Victoria, and three more around the Island have gnawed their way into the top 20

Greater Victoria’s living wage now costs $20.50 an hour

Cost of living increase drives region’s living wage up 49 cents, leaving you able to afford only one latte per year

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

Sights of Saanich bring smiles to Japanese delegation

A small leap highlighted the short but potentially historic visit of a… Continue reading

Arrests made after truck crashes into unmarked police cars in Nanaimo

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene on the mid-island

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Municipal election loophole will be fixed, premier says

Union, corporate donations still allowed for slate party ‘operational’ needs

Most Read