Next year, on the first of July (Canada Day), weed will officially become both medically and recreationally legal in Canada. As the law stands, citizens ages 18 and older will be able to grow four plants of any size in their homes. Pending legalization, however, a burgeoning underground program, known as the Green Market, is beginning to emerge rather rapidly across the nation.
The program? A weed-driven farmer’s market, where marijuana enthusiasts can explore a secret location brimming with more than 25 local craft cannabis vendors each peddling their own artisinal products which include chocolate, infused drinks, biscotti, fudge, protein balls, classic brownies and whatever else you could possibly think of. At these events, visitors are encouraged to socialize with vendors and familiarize themselves with each product and the plants’ growing processes. Some even let you test product on-site. The Green Market also features musical acts and various raffle prizes–the proceeds of which are funneled back to the community. “It’s all a part of creating the social vibe and showcasing the spirit of the cannabis community, creating a safe space to consume your edibles,” Sarah Gillies, co-founder of Green Market tells Playboy.
But the farmer’s market aspires to do more than offer a service; they hope to influence national law. “Our movement for access has truly made edibles mainstream in Canada, which is the ultimate goal of Green Market,” Lisa Campbell, co-founder of Green Market says. “Last week, when the federal government approved legalizing edibles, a poll came out saying almost half of Canadians will try edibles. As well, many Canadians want to try edibles in a supervised setting like a restaurant.”
In fact, Green Market recently tested this theory by offering a Midsummer Night’s Dream Dinner in the city taht included a five-course seasonal, infused menu prepared by a renowned chef in the city. “The menu broke each course down by dosage and at any point during the meal people could switch to ‘virgin’ if they reached their limit,” she explains.“It was a really fun experience bringing a farm to table experience to people, showing how cannabis can fit into dining culture in the future.”
While Green Market’s practices are “technically” illegal, the Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional to prohibit access to extracts (which includes edibles), so Green Market uses the injunction as its mantra. To reduce risk of exposure to authorities, the location of Green Market events are kept top secret until the last possible minute, though they admit every event is risky.
Unfortunately, while edibles will be legal for Canadians to make themselves, they will not be on store shelves until 2019. Due to this delay, Green Market continues to inspire DIY, craft and mom-and-pop producers to fill the gap in the meantime. “We are bringing awareness to craft cannabis brands and showing members of the public what else is out there, and what they are missing out on in the current form of legalization,” Gillies says. “From the outset, Green Market’s goal has been to provide access and for extracts and edibles to be included in legalization, and I guess we will see how that shapes up in 2019.”
In an ideal world, the bright entrpreneurs hope to see craft products at their markets sold in stores nationwide. If these aspirations prove too great, Green Market hopes their influence will, at the very least, spark positive conversation about what a responsible edibles market could look like.
Green Market has held various events across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Windsor, Victoria, Kitchener, but the founder agree now is not the time to bring these events to the United States, largely due to the Trump administration. “I feel like we’d be lucky to even get into the country if we were open about our plans,” Gillies admits. “What would be cool though would be to partner with existing cannabis communities in the states to show how they can start their own green markets.” According to Gillies, a lot of our brands have considered it as the state laws are much more accepting of edibles than Canada.
While the future of commercial edibles in Canada is unknown, Green Market is doing important work normalising cannabis use by providing a fun, safe and community-driven space open to anyone savvy enough to know they exist. Normalization is key, you see. Until citizens start viewing marijuana as they do alcohol and even coffee, there will always be bias.
“[Normalization] really helps people understand that it is possible to enjoy cannabis responsibly,” Campbell says. “It can really help make people feel comfortable and alleviate concerns about the upcoming legalization.”