Colorado’s pot edibles business gives food for thought
The study of Colorado’s marijuana industry in a popular university course is often focused on business government issues. Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2014. The pace and amount of regulatory changes make it a perfect business case study for legalization in time for Canada Day, 2018.
At first glance, the University of Denver students could have been touring a run-of-the-mill bakery with a massive walk-in oven for baking cookies and cupcakes.
Except that after emerging from the oven, these sweet treats were laser etched with the telltale letters THC and an accompanying exclamation mark in compliance with Colorado regulations governing cannabis-infused edibles.
“Other than the ingredients it looks like any other bakery, right?” says Paul Seaborn, the transplanted Canadian assistant professor of management who had the bright idea to launch a course in the business of marijuana. He notes that the operation he toured with the students, the fast-growing Sweet Grass Kitchen, is a butter-focused bakery, meaning all baked goods, from the snickerdoodle to the single serving pecan pie, are made with triple-strained, full-flower cannabutter. “We were shown a big tub of this marijuana butter which would be worth tens of thousands of dollars.”
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2014.
These are the case studies for Canada can take away & learn from Colorado. To implement the best plan moving forward for all Canadians on July 1st, 2018.
With cannabis, he sees three areas of study that make the industry unique. “The first would be its history,” laden with decades-long stigma and “the misunderstanding about the products, the risks or its benefits.”
The second is the regulatory environment, “and just how complicated and unique it is, both within our state and comparing us to anyone else.”
(Colorado initially allowed only those companies that were already active medical marijuana licence holders to enter the recreational side of the business. “In Washington, the decision was to not allow anyone who was in the medical marijuana industry to have any role in the new recreational industry.”)
Buying is one thing. Consuming is another. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public in Colorado. “You might come to our state and go to a dispensary and purchase product, which you can do, but you’re not supposed to consume that product while you’re walking down the street, you can’t take it to a restaurant, most of the hotels don’t want you to consume it in your room. It’s an ongoing issue.” Purchase limits were set at 28 grams, which, just last fall, was translated into an “equivalency guideline” of 800 mg of edibles.
“In Colorado initially it was wide open. You could buy whatever you wanted. I almost picture this industry like a specialty grocery industry. If you walk into one of the dispensaries in Colorado you see whole departments organized around drinks, around the plant itself, around edible products and all sorts of concentrates. Each of those has its own production process and go-to-market strategy.” The final piece is the variety of product that’s come out of the Colorado model.
Edible companies are now pumping out gummies and fruit tarts and gum in colourful brand packaging that could look like something from Cadbury or Hershey. State regulations dictate that no single serving may contain more than 10 mg of THC and that no package of consumables contain more than 100 mg. So 10 gummies in a package, with each gummy containing 10 mg. The package itself must bear that THC warning, which on packaged goods is red within a red diamond shape and accompanied by an exclamation mark. Packaging must be child resistant, opaque and resealable. Start with a single serving. Wait two hours to gauge the effect.
Do not mix with alcohol. Keep out of the reach of children.
SOURCE: The Toronto Star