Cannabis-saturated DC: black and green markets collude?

Peace region cannabis markets working together?

With Black Friday here - both government and legal green, and illegal black cannabis markets are learning more and more from each other as both adapt in Mile Zero and the Peace.

Gone are the days of dank home grow ops in basements. Now the general public can be licensed to grow, and consume cannabis. Soon they will have to edibles to choose from – ideally to ring in 2020, says Eitan Gallant representative with cannabis producer High Park.

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“Beverages and vape pens we expect to be going well in Mile Zero and the Peace. Accessibility is a key,” he says.

He notes those worried about failing THC tests also have CBD options.

Prior to Christmas orders, with arrivals in Canada expected before new years eve, Gallant expects distillates, gel caps, tongue strips, and more.

Local cannabis store owner at Starbuds Matt Rivard agrees that vape pens are likely going to be a regional hit when customers are vocal for local when it comes to cannabis purchases.

“Vape pens will likely be popular, however customers are concerned about general edible price points,” Rivard notes.

At the same time, websites such as Pure Green Express have offered edibles delivered right to your home courtesy of the mail - for years now. Some of these products are matters the black market have been working on for years. They have had to diversify and market now that they compete with government cannabis dealers, note a pair of independent black marketers of cannabis in Mile Zero.

“We don’t have sniff jars or menu screens, but I’ve added two or three strains of cannabis,” noted Turk Broda*,” local Dawson Creek dealer.

Another says it still comes down to some common sense.

“We’re still ziplock baggies,” she says hold up a garbage bag filled with 100s of plastic white and black cannabis containers of all sizes, shapes.

“You’re still paying for all of this. I don’t think this is the government caring about the environment at all.”

A local licensed cannabis dealer agrees.

“It’s true. We do have a packaging problem.”

Regionally, Gallant expects the green market in the Peace – robust with many cannabis stores per capita.

Black (market) dealers have had to step up. Better tasting and higher quality product, with more variety in their two three key strains.

Right now on the streets King Kush, 856, and Hitcher have been hits.

The darker cannabis market purveyors say the market is 18 to 24 months ahead of the government roll outs, so to speak.

"Two years ago we were talking beverages and shatter. We’re into much more diverse amounts of uses from topicals, to lollipops. These aren’t marketed to kids, but the products are just now down to every day common edibles and foods.“

“Simple things like THC or CBD cotton candy have been staring us in the face for years, you know?”

Crystal Laarz, store manager with Clarity Cannabis in DC expects gummies and vapes to sell "high" in Mile Zero.

Rivard says the surety of labelling, and actual potentency will always be as advertised with all green licensed dealers.

“Customers know what they are getting and purchasing.”

 Cannabis edibles are expected to be legal within one year of legalization,”  Lisa Campbell, cannabis portfolio specialist for Lifford Wine & Spirits told Jonathan Hiltz with Food in Canada earlier this year. Hiltz is a journalist in the cannabis industry and the director of content for INDIVA, a licensed cannabis producer in Canada.

Legalization, under which provinces have responsibility for regulating sales and enforcing the new rules, has not changed opinion much in British Columbia. A Research Co. survey conducted last month found that 64% of British Columbians agree with marijuana being legal in Canada, while 29% disagree. These are virtually the same numbers that reported on six months ago by Mario Canseco is president of Research Co.

 These new numbers are based on an online study conducted October 7–10, 2019, among 800 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. Licensed producer High Park’s Chief Marketing Officer Adine Fabiani-Carter, notes with the next phase of legalization upon us, they’re excited to launch brands in Canada.

“While also introducing new formats like CBD-infused beverages through a new Labatt Breweries of Canada joint venture,” Carter said earlier this year.

 Strategic partnerships of all kinds

High Park notes they have formed a number of strategic partnerships positioning itself to lead the adult-use market in Canada by delivering products of the highest quality.

Local producers on both the green and black side of the market say sharing knowledge is key.

“Good fences make good neighbours,” quipped one cannabis customer this week in Mile Zero.

Laarz said it only makes sense for both government and legitimate cannabis sellers to expand, to compete with the longer-established black market.

Another licensed dealer said old fashioned hash - concentrated cannabis - may not be far off from being put on the legal list.

“It’s an exciting time with many changes happening for producers, customers, the government and sellers," said Rivard.

On both the green and black cannabis markets.


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