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Canada will soon legalize edibles—and the market is enormous

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The year-long wait to legalize edibles is much like edibles themselves: it takes a bit more time to kick in, the effects last a little longer and the experience is not quite the same as smoking flower. After all, when smokable buds and oils arrived for legal sale on Oct. 17, the pot-infused foods—like cookies, brownies and gummis—that took up a large chunk of the black market remained illegal. But they’re coming. And when this next phase of cannabis legalization takes effect in October 2019, it will usher in a plethora of new rules and regulations, while signalling yet another psychedelic shift in Canadian society.

“It’s going to be very complex,” says Jo Vos, managing director of Leafly Canada, a cannabis information company that keeps a close eye on Canadian legislation, acknowledging that “it was a smart approach” on the federal government’s part to hold back edibles.

Legalizing a new product for Canadians to consume, Vos notes, means that Canada will likely have to make amendments to several other pieces of legislation, including the Food and Drugs Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Cannabis Act itself. However, lifting the ban on edibles in 2019 doesn’t just mean having more marijuana-filled pastries. Vos expects the law’s passage to open up a vast new market filled with everything from cannabis creams and gels to transdermal patches and ingestible capsules.

READ MORE: With its patchwork of half-baked, absurd laws, Canada isn’t ready for legal weed

One of the biggest questions heading into next year will inevitably be the amount of THC—pot’s psychoactive ingredient—allowed in each product. When legal marijuana arrived in Colorado in 2014, there were few regulations; that year, hospitals responded to an alarming number of high, underage children. These days, packaged edibles within the state must come in servings of 10 milligrams (an amount that’s generally considered a low-level dose) or less. In a statement to Maclean’s, Health Canada wouldn’t touch on the government’s dosing plans, saying that edibles would have “stringent regulatory standards, and be produced under sanitary conditions in facilities that meet specific physical security requirements.” But Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada spokesperson, noted that there are plans to look at the “specific health and safety risks posed by these novel products,” like their appeal to children, issues of overconsumption and “contaminated or food-borne illnesses.”

Yannick Craigwell, owner and operator of Treats and Treats in Vancouver, a company that sells baked goods infused with cannabis online (something that runs afoul of the law but is tolerated in Vancouver), is watching the second stage of legalization closely. Many of his treats carry anywhere from 90 to 175 milligrams of THC (one could easily find a cookie in Vancouver with close to 300 milligrams, he says), and he hopes to open a bakery the day the law gets passed. Craigwell’s biggest concern is packaging, fearing that the rules could affect a company’s ability to personalize its branding. “This is what gives us our chance to stand out,” he says. “If small businesses are told to put things in carbon-copy boxes that don’t say anything about the vendor, then it lends to the bigger corporations.” He points to the example set by Colorado, where producers are prevented from making edibles that resemble animals, fruits or people in an effort to make them less enticing to children.

RELATED: What’s the difference between smoking and edibles?

Craigwell has been baking sweets since he was a kid—growing up, his mother refused to buy him cookies, so he was forced to concoct recipes himself. He began experimenting with cannabis a year after he launched his business in 2014. For all the debate about keeping edibles away from children, Craigwell believes those concerns shouldn’t dictate policy. “It’s up to the parent to be a good parent,” he says, and notes the dilemma is akin to kids eating Tide Pods on the internet: “That doesn’t mean we can’t do laundry.”

Vos concurs, adding that avoiding the cannabis industry and “working in silence” would be the biggest mistake the government could make going into 2019. As it stands now, only manufacturers with a licence from Health Canada would be allowed to make and bake edibles. To legally sell these products, retailers will need permission from their province.

Regardless of what happens, there is little doubt that the market for edibles will be enormous. A 2018 survey from Deloitte suggested that six out of 10 Canadian customers would choose pot edibles over smokables.

Craigwell has noticed a spike in sales since the first legalization day, and Vos has seen the number of edibles-related searches among Canadians soar since October. The country is curious, but people also “want to consume discreetly, in a way that is maybe elegant and a bit more refined than rolling and smoking a joint,” she says, and notes that women may be more drawn to edibles. What should first-timers expect when they take home a pot-laced brownie next October? Start with a nibble and proceed slowly, Vos advises. Then, when you’re ready, “continue your journey from there.”

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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