While edible marijuana products won’t be legal in Canada until later next year, one enterprising Calgarian is already infusing a popular dessert with the country’s newest retail product.
Jack Autry, owner of Green Market YYC, was first inspired to go down the ice cream path after seeing a former coworker build a successful ice cream company, but Autry wanted to put a twist into the product.
“I started making [marijuana] edibles kind of like everybody else does for the last four or five years, and I started noticing that cannabis ice cream is something more popular on the menu,” says Autry.
In addition to ice cream, Green Market YYC sells macaroons and gummy candies, all containing marijuana.
Since October, Canadians have been able to legally buy fresh and dried weed, oil, live plants and seeds. They can also make their own marijuana infused food snacks at home.
However, retail and online weed stores can’t legally sell edible products until July 2019 at the earliest, or until the federal government works out regulations on labeling, packaging and the potency of the products, among other issues.
Autry understands the prohibition around edibles, and while being in trouble with the law is something that sits in the back of Autry’s mind he does not dwell on it.
“I knock on wood but at the end of the day there’s serious things that are happening globally and nobody[(including police] has time for us hippies making edibles,” says Autry.
“I started researching it more and [said] okay I want to make cannabis ice cream. So I talked to my grandmother and she gave me an old recipe out of some ice cream maker that she had.”
“I went and bought my own ice cream machine and it came with the ingredients and the how-to manual and yeah, I started doing that,” he says.
Though not everyone in his life supported him, including his family.
“A lot of people were always hating on me [saying] ‘ We’re so happy that weed is going to [be] legalized cause then [Autry]) is going to have no money.’ People were always doubting me and just being like ‘Man you’re stupid...you’re never going to make it when it becomes legal.”
It wasn’t until he saw an interview done by the CBC with another Calgary cannabis ice cream company Remedy Ice Cream Co. that sells medical marijuana including edibles that Autry says he knew he was on the right track, especially since legal authorities were leaving Remedy alone.
“There’s serious things that are happening globally and nobody [including police] has time for us hippies making edibles,” — Jack Autry
Ashley Newman, who is the founder and CEO of the Queen of Bud dispensary, is hoping to sell edibles as soon as it’s legal.
Newman says that she has been cautious in making sure she is following all the rules and regulations set out to continue running her dispensary, but she feels that edibles, because of their longer shelf life, will be a good additional product to sell.
“Edibles are going to become legal quite soon depending on what happens with kind of the political end of it...I think that edibles are great I hope that we can you know sell everything like how Colorado sells everything in their stores ,” says Newman.
Friends and family still caution Autry about his business and tell him to be smart about his decisions, but he says that he is willing to take the risk.
A previous version of this story said Remedy Ice Cream Co. is legally selling cannabis ice cream to medical patients. In fact, no company is legally allowed to sell edible products yet.
- By Mahroh Afzal