By Amanda Weston
Edibles are the future of the weed industry, says the CEO of the Canada-based cannabis company INDIVA.
Niel Marotta told Cheddar Tuesday that even though this form of cannabis will remain illegal in Canada until 2019, his company is anticipating a major appetite for edibles.
Marotta said research into "mature" cannabis markets in California, Washington, and Colorado showed more than half the overall market is in derivative products, such as edibles, vape pens, concentrates, oral sprays, and other products. "So we're preparing for where we think inevitably the Canadian market goes," he said.
In Canada, companies can offer dry flowers or oils with a maximum 3 percent THC concentration in a bottle or gel cap and a few oil sprays. Marotta said the growth of the latter products "has massively outpaced the dry flower," indicating not everyone likes to smoke their cannabis.
"There's millions of Canadians that have admitted to using cannabis but in very tiny amounts," Marotta said. "And we think that's because there's millions of people that are interested in using cannabis, either in THC or CBD form or both, but they don't want to smoke it. And so we see the growth happening now in, let's say, the non-smokable products, and we expect that growth to continue."
Marotta said the choice to focus on edibles was also informed by trends in the illegal marketplace.
"We know also from looking at some information from the illicit market that there's massive interest here, and that the Canadian government knows in order to defeat the illicit market and promote the legal sources, that they're going to have to allow a broader array of products," Marotta said. "That's why we've focused and done these licensing deals in the edible space."
Marotta added that education is hugely important in the edible market. Users unfamiliar with edibles may consume one too many when they don't immediately feel the effects. Marotta also said it's critical to understand the distinction between THC and CBD.
"Asking grandma to pack a pipe is a really big ask, but asking her to try some CBD sugar in her tea is a really small ask," Marotta said. "No intoxicant, you don't have to smoke or vape anything. It actually tastes delicious."
On INDIVA's website, products listed as "coming soon" include infused sugar, salt, and fruit-based chews, chocolate, and gum.
For full interview click here.