Coffee conference: Left to right Josh Lyon, VP marketing &partnerships, KIKU, Chad Finkelstein, partner, Dale & Lessmann LLP and Claudio Gemmiti, chief innovation officer, Coffee ClubCoffee conference: Left to right Josh Lyon, VP marketing &partnerships, HIKU, Chad Finkelstein, partner, Dale & Lessmann LLP and Claudio Gemmiti, chief innovation officer, Coffee Club

Canada can be the testing ground for the rest of the world on legalizing cannabis, according to Josh Lyon, vice president, marketing & sponsorships, HIKU.

Lyon was a round-table participant at the recent Craft of Coffee Conference of the Coffee Association of Canada. He joined Claudio Gemmiti, chief innovation officer, Coffee Club, and Chad Finkelstein, partner, Lessmann LLP.

Katherine Lofberg, chair of Lofbergs, with Stephane Glorieux, president of Keurig CanadaKatherine Lofberg, chair of Lofbergs, with Stephane Glorieux, president of Keurig Canada

They reported that no government guidance has yet come on when edibles and beverages will be legalized. There is no guarantee they will, but it seems inevitable and big bets are being made on it by some of the world’s largest CPG companies.

Coffee is the ideal platform for cannabis infusion, and edibles are now 38 per cent of the market for cannabis in Colorado.

David Bullara, CMO, Hill Street Beverage CompanyDavid Bullara, CMO, Hill Street Beverage Company

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the controversial component of cannabis. Current thinking is that THC will not be allowed with caffeine (or alcohol or nicotine). Cannabidiol (CBD) may be the big winner in the market vs THC, with huge interest in its benefits, says Gemmiti.

Grocery could be a great fit for edibles because the core consumer for cannabis infused edibles is all ages and walks of life. There is a tremendous opportunity for cannabis infused CPG products to be sold legal through retail, says Finkelstein.

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