July 24, 2018
In June, Canada’s two legislative chambers voted in favor of The Cannabis Act, a bill that makes it legal for anyone aged 18 or over to possess 30 grams of marijuana and to grow four plants at home.
With the decriminalization slated to go into effect on October 17th, 2018, officials in each of the country’s provinces have been hard at work hashing out their own local licensing, distribution, and regulation policies in the month since.
The new law, however, only covers smokable derivates of the cannabis sativa flower. Marijuana-based edibles are expected to be legalized sometime in 2019, giving cannabis industry entrepreneurs plenty of lead time to ramp up production of existing chocolates, gummies, and other psychoactive snacks, and create exciting new goodies to tempt the general public.
One such novel item? The world’s first cannabis beer.
Currently still in development by the Toronto-based Province Brands, the experimental beverage is brewed from hops, water, yeast, and the stocks, stems, and roots of the cannabis plant – parts that are normally discarded after harvesting the flower’s sticky bud.
According to The Guardian, any alcohol produced during the fermentation process is removed in order to allow the cannabinoids leached from the marijuana plant to shine. Rather than getting you drunk, this beer will get you high.
Test batches have yielded an average of about 6.5 mg of THC per serving; about one-third the amount in one pipe bowl-full, according to the experts at High Times.
“The flavor is dry, savory, less sweet than a typical beer flavor,” Dooma Wendschuh, co-founder and CEO of Province, told The Guardian. “The beer hits you very quickly, which is not common for a marijuana edible.”
And in a welcome move for anyone with celiac disease, because the recipe has swapped the traditional grain ingredients for sativa, the resulting brew is gluten-free.
Wendschuh, originally from Florida, stated that his company was founded with the dream of providing society with an alcohol alternative. And while he believes their future beverage line – several varieties and flavors are in the works – will be gentler on the body than a normal beer, he emphasizes that it will still be a recreational treat, not a health product.
Several varieties of the company's beers are sampled at an event. Photo credit Province Brands
Marijuana is not good for you and our beers are not good for you,” he continued. “You should not drink them five times a day, you should not drink them first thing when you wake up in the morning. We’re not saying that.”
A Province Brands spokesperson told IFLScience that their cannabis beer will be ready for widespread distribution as soon as edible legalization becomes official.
“Currently, the products are being produced in small batches for further refinement and testing,” she said.