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This article was published 10/12/2019 (358 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you asked Santa to stuff your stocking with legal cannabis candy, you might be in luck.

Some next-generation weed products, including edibles, should start shipping to Manitoba cannabis stores Dec. 16, according to provincial wholesaler Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.

An cannabis beverage from Canopy Growth Corp., soon to be available in stores. (Supplied)</p>

An cannabis beverage from Canopy Growth Corp., soon to be available in stores. (Supplied)

Besides cannabis-infused foods, the new products will include topical skin creams, as well as vape pens that heat processed cannabis oil into an inhalable mist.

Even though the product types are consumed in different ways, they're all made using concentrated cannabis extracts and are governed by a new set of Health Canada regulations that came into force Oct. 17, one year after legalization launched in 2018.

On paper, Dec. 16 is the earliest date the so-called "cannabis 2.0" products could be sold to consumers, since producers had to give Health Canada at least 60-days' notice about their new products after the new regulations took effect. In practice, it looks to be the earliest possible date the products could arrive at Manitoba cannabis stores.

"Edibles and other recently legalized cannabis products are expected to begin to flow to retailers Dec. 16," an MLL spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.

"Shipping times and product availability will vary by supplier. We cannot predict exactly when these products will be in stock at Manitoba retailers."

Winnipeg cannabis producer and retailer Delta 9 has already reviewed new product lists from MLL and chosen the items it plans to carry in its four Manitoba stores, said chief executive officer John Arbuthnot.

Some suppliers appear to be champing at the bit to reach store shelves as soon as possible.

A cannabis-infused chocolate bar from Canopy Growth Corp., which the company says will arrive in retail stores in January 2020. (Supplied)</p>

A cannabis-infused chocolate bar from Canopy Growth Corp., which the company says will arrive in retail stores in January 2020. (Supplied)

"In terms of the producers that we're working with directly, there are a few that are very eager to be air-shipping those products in," he said. "So pending logistics, transport, any of those issues, we would anticipate that in and around (Dec.) 16th we will start to receive those first runs of products."

Arbuthnot said the first set of new cannabis products coming to Manitoba skews mostly towards vape pens, although some gummies, chocolates and mints should also be available at the outset.

He said Manitobans should expect to see a wide variety of such pens from different producers, with a range of options in terms of size, potency and price. "I think that, if I had to point to one, is going to be the category with the most number of product SKUs available in store, and probably the best supply at least out of the gate here."

Cannabis beverages appear to be mostly off the menu in Manitoba, however, at least until the new year.

"We have, I think, one or two options of a (cannabis) liquid that could be placed into a beverage, but not necessarily a standalone beverage, so it looks like some of the drinkables platforms will be out into early 2020," Arbuthnot said.

An upcoming cannabis vape pen from Winnipeg-based cannabis producer Delta 9. (Supplied)</p>

An upcoming cannabis vape pen from Winnipeg-based cannabis producer Delta 9. (Supplied)

Cannabis producer Tilray told the Free Press its next-generation products, including gummies, chocolates and vape pens, would start shipping Dec. 17 and arrive in Manitoba by year's end.

At least one major cannabis grower is waiting until after the holiday season to make its move.

Manitoba supplier Canopy Growth Corp., the world's largest legal cannabis firm by market capitalization, announced last week its first cannabis-infused chocolates and beverages will make it to stores in early January. The company's vape pens should launch in late January, Canopy said, warning availability of the the new products "will vary by province based on their individual ordering and distribution activities."

In Manitoba, Delta 9's production arm plans to put nine new cannabis products on the market in early January, with a focus on vape pens.

"We're taking a wait-and-see approach on the edibles side," said Arbuthnot. "Obviously, we'll be carrying the full scope of those products in store, and start to get a good sense of what's really working."

Whenever the new products arrive in the Prairies, Manitobans won't be allowed to use them in public.

Legislation introduced by the Pallister government in November will extend the existing ban on smoking or vaping cannabis in public to cannabis consumption using any method, with an exemption for registered users of cannabis for medical purposes. Public consumption of non-intoxicating cannabis products, such as those that only contain CBD, will also be exempted from the ban by regulation.

solomon.israel@freepress.mb.ca  

Twitter: @sol_israel