Canada edition / May 18, 2019

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In an extensive feature, the Globe and Mail's Mark Rendell profiled BC craft and micro growers in rural areas like the Kootenays and Vancouver Island—who put BC Bud on the map—as their fight for survival turns desperate.
Globe and Mail—Paywall

  • The article followed calls from a coalition of BC craft-cannabis growers for "nothing short of a total policy reset" on the changes to licensing rules announced last week. The coalition said the new rules were implemented without consultation and will have a devastating effect on craft growers hoping to enter the legal market. Growers from the Kootenay region joined the chorus of complaints, arguing the new process is designed to benefit major corporations at the expense of smaller farmers.
    Nelson Star, Summerland Review
  • Growers and supporters stress BC's craft-growing underground and grey market have produced some of the best cannabis in the world—and that legalization could destroy the entire culture.
  • As in California's Emerald Triangle, numerous small communities across BC are built on craft cannabis and need that industry for economic stability.
  • A scholar researching the effect of legalization on such communities said, "The outcomes of [grey-market and illicit growers] not transitioning [into the legal market]” would be “unemployment, homes and businesses for sale, empty storefronts."
  • Growers say Health Canada's micro-cultivation system was far too complicated to begin with—a process exacerbated by the challenges of local zoning bylaws—but after last week's announcement that sites must be fully built before they can apply for licensing, many may just give up.
    CTV News
  • Lawyer Kirk Tousaw live-tweeted a Health Canada informational session for license seekers (micro-seekers in particular).
  • Since October 17, when the micro licensing system opened to applications, Health Canada has only received 150 applicants. Of those it has licensed one, rejected five, and confirmed between 15 and 20 are ready.
    MJ Biz Daily, Twitter—Kirk Tousaw
  • Across the industry—not just among micros—insiders argue Health Canada's demanding regs are excessive. PR firm Hill+Knowlton executive Ivan Ross Vrána said, "Why is the plant being treated as if it was plutonium? It’s very interesting how high that regulatory burden is when you compare it to other industries."

Quick Hit

  1. The sector continues reeling from last week's regulatory overhaul, with some arguing the changes will exacerbate the supply shortage.
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Following Mike Zmuda's predictions of how a Conservative government would affect the cannabis industry, the Globe's Jameson Berkow assembled a series of quotes about cannabis from Conservative MP and health critic Marilyn Gladu, widely presumed to be presumptive health minister of a future Conservative government.
Night Court—Cannabis Edition, Globe and Mail—Paywall

  • Gladu would push Health Canada to enforce its regulations more aggressively—except its packaging regs, which she wants them to relax to compete with the illicit market. Gladu supports the market's biggest players at the expense of craft growers, opposes home growing, and wants the Canadian government to update international drug-control treaties to reflect legalization.
  • Zmuda warned Conservatives would likely abandon the pardons process for those convicted of possession. That won't sit well with University of Toronto sociology professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah. He argued if the proposed (and, many believe, inadequate) records-suspension Bill C-93 is allowed to die over summer break, Canadians of colour will suffer most as a result.
    The Conversation

Quick Hits

  1. US politicians have reintroduced the MAPLE (Maintaining Appropriate Protections for Legal Entry) Act, exempting those who admit cannabis use or participation in the Canadian or American legal cannabis industries. The Act is designed to remove the individual discretion of U.S. Customs and Border Protection guards, who at present may or may not refuse entry or ban a person from the U.S. over cannabis.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  2. The industry side-eyed the Economist's Toronto Cannabis Summit 2019 convention over its entry price--$1,295 for a daylong trade show, with speakers including Kevin Sabet of anti-cannabis group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which has been routinely taken to task for making exaggerated or plainly false statements to support its aims.
    GrowthOp, Vox, Alternet, Huffpost, Washington Post
  3. Online polling found younger Canadians are far more enthusiastic about legalization than those over 45.
    The Star
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Aurora reported $75M Q3 revenue, representing a 365% increase year over year. The company reported a net loss of $158.3M, compared with $19.2M year over year. REC sales grew 37% over the last quarter and MED sales grew 12%.
MJ Biz Daily, NewsWire

Quick Hits

  1. Organigram expects to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.
    MJ Biz Daily
  2. LP Supreme released its Q3 results, showing net revenue of $10M, an increase of 382% year-over-year, as well as a 29% increase from the previous quarter. It also announced it had moved to acquire Blissco Cannabis, a BC LP primarily focused on producing oils, in a $48M all-stock deal.
    NewsWire, Financial Post
  3. Tantalus Labs founder Dan Sutton reported Aphria is attempting to trademark the phrase "sungrown cannabis." Tantalus has for some time used the phrase in their own branding and plans to challenge the filing to "ensure #Sungrown [is] free and clear for all to use forever."
  4. Aphria said president Jakob Ripshtein will resign, but did not specify what led to his resignation.
    Financial Post



Tilray reported 2019 Q1 earnings with revenue nearly tripling year over year to USD$23M. Losses were also high, ballooning from USD$5.2M last year to USD$30.3M.
Alpha Street, Investor Place, MarketWatch


Public Domain

After concluding it would be unenforceable, Quebec's CAQ government is dropping plans to ban cannabis in all public places.

Quick Hits

  1. The eight directors of Quebec's provincial REC retailer the Société Québécoise Du Cannabis will be paid a total of $1.4M this year.
    TVA Nouvelles—In French
  2. The SQDC has determined supply is adequate to open all 14 stores across the province all week at their original hours.
    CBC Montreal
  3. Public health officials in Sherbrooke, Quebec, pushed back against concerns that an SQDC store opening in the community would contribute to mental health problems.
    Ici Radio-Canada—In French
  4. The Quebec public is very excited about MED. Waiting lists to see a Santé Cannabis doctor are six months long.
    Journal de Montréal
  5. Brad "PancakeNap420" Martin brought his sweeping data analysis—last used to examine BC Cannabis Stores—to pick through data from the SQDC. He found it charges an $8.18 average price per gram, and sells product with an average THC content of 17.4%. As usual, there's a lot more information in here laid out in easy-to-digest infographics. He also released a smaller historical price-per-gram analysis of dried-flower sales by, and a similar dried-cannabis report for the Ontario Cannabis Store.



The Montreal Children's Hospital trauma centre issued an alert about proper storage of edible cannabis products after a spike in reports of children accidentally consuming edibles.
Montreal Gazette

  • The alert's authors—Dr. Dominic Chalut and trauma director Debbie Friedman—say since legalization, there have been 26 cannabis-poisoning-related visits to the Children's.
  • Santé Cannabis president Erin Prosk noted "Increase post-legalization could be due to increase in reportings or growth curve following illicit market commercialization in last couple years."
  • Some media reports of the alert handled the subject poorly. Global News' report, which noted "media reports about overdoses seem to be making Canadians nervous," failed to mention that edibles are not yet legal, or that cannabis overconsumption cannot result in death.
  • Infused cannabis edibles and ingestibles will likely not become available until 2020, since the 60 days' notice LPs are required to give Health Canada before bringing a new product to market should be considered a bare minimum. Regulators are not familiar with cannabis edibles, and will be very careful assessing them.
    MJ Biz Daily

Quick Hits

  1. Public health scholars singled out Manitoba and Quebec for producing anti-cannabis PSAs for youths that would be less likely to help kids make informed cannabis choices, and more likely to "overstate the evidence on certain cannabis-related harms, and appear to omit the experiences of young people” who have tried cannabis without apparent negative effects.
    The Leaf
  2. A disabled Nova Scotia MED user I discussed in late April lost his court appeal for the right to smoke MED in his no-smoking apartment, and was evicted. He spent the first night sleeping in his motorized wheelchair in the woods with a garbage bag over his head to keep the rain off.
    CTV News
  3. Health Canada hasn't decided whether CBD products are safe for pets, but pet owners would like them to hurry up and make CBD products available for issues like pet arthritis and anxiety.
    CBC Montreal


Jesse Staniforth

Two teens in Milton, Ontario suffered apparent opioid overdoses while smoking what they believed was dry flower cannabis, purchased from a third party.



This week the first Health Canada license for outdoor cultivation went to BC family-run Good Buds Co, which has 750,000 square feet of licensed cultivation space, for a projected yield of between 5,000 and 10,000 kilograms through the summer. Roughly 200 growers have applied for licences to grow outdoors, a cheaper alternative to indoor growing, though limited by weather to only one annual crop.
GrowthOp, Globe and Mail—Paywall

  • It’s unclear how many LPs will receive licenses in time to plant .
    CTV News
  • 48North, likely Canada's highest-profile aspiring outdoor grower, had not received their license earlier this week when they signed a supply agreement with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis. It received its license on Friday.
    Yahoo Finance, Twitter—Simon Kinsman, New Cannabis Ventures
  • Prior to late Friday's news of 48North's license, Cannabis brand strategist Rachel Colic said of the 48North agreement: "Never before in my professional career have I see so many companies make promises about their products without a proof of concept. We are feeding a [vicious] cycle. Make a promise. Get paid. Plant. Hope like hell it works...."

Quick Hits

  1. The Alberta Cannabis Council—a body representing the province's cannabis industry—launched with a mandate to "engage, advocate, educate, protect the public, and give back."
    NewsWire, The Star
  2. Yellowknife needs to sort out its zoning bylaws before the first private REC retailer can open there. Councillors are arguing over whether it's necessary to place no-cannabis buffer zones around schools and hospitals.
    CBC North
  3. Despite posting a $11.7M loss in its first year and the New Brunswick government considering privatizing the REC retail systemCannabis NB was nominated for two Excellence in Retailing Awards from the Retail Council of Canada. One nomination is for "In-Store Experience and Design," and the other is for "Talent Development."
    Civilized, CTV News
  4. Quebec's Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST), which oversees workplace health and safety, is investigating after two employees at Hexo's indoor production facility fell ill and were hospitalized. At present, the source of their illness has not been identified: CNESST inspectors are considering air circulation problems, as well as the possibility they workers developed heatstroke.
    Ici Radio-Canada—In French


Joya Halls

MED activists Joya Halls and Ashleigh Brown highlighted unhelpful THC ranges on products listed on CannabisNL's website. For example, Aphria/Soleil's "Gather" Sativa, is listed as between 7% and 21% THC, while Aphria/Riff's "Subway Scientist" indica pre-roll ranged from 9% to 27%.

Quick Hits

  1. Saskatchewan's provincial parks are banning alcohol—and cannabis—for Victoria Day weekend, often known ominously as May Two-Four, due to previous incidents of drunken chaos and vandalism.
    CBC Saskatchewan, Urban Dictionary
  2. Summer festivals across Canada have to decide how they will handle REC. The Edmonton Folk Fest will have a designated cannabis-smoking area, but that won't necessarily be the rule—some festivals will continue to ban smoking of any kind. Some Calgary-area festivals will allow REC, but most won't.
    The Star
  3. A Newfoundland judge found a designated driver not guilty of having cannabis available in her vehicle after she was arrested for transporting a person she was not aware was carrying cannabis in a mason jar. "With respect, I do not believe that the intent of the legislation is to require that designated drivers must search their passengers before driving them home," the judge wrote.
    CBN Compass
  4. Rugby team the Toronto Wolfpack—which is based in Toronto but plays in the UK—launched a line of CBD topicals for athletes for sale in Canada.
    Financial Times



Ontario premier Doug Ford's friend Ron Taverner, a former Toronto Police Service superintendent, was offered a position created for him in the Ontario Cannabis Store. He turned the job down and applied for the commissionership of the Ontario Provincial Police, which he got, before being forced to step down due to accusations of nepotism. The job created for him at Ontario Cannabis Store was never filled.

  • Doug Ford's chief of staff Dean French pushed police departments across Ontario to raid illicit dispensaries in the days and weeks after legalization, demanding daily reports on the number of stores shut down and the number of owners charged. French also expressed "concerns" about how justices-of-the-peace were ruling on cannabis-related issues.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall

Quick Hits

  1. A head-shop owner in Welland, Ontario who was raided by police, claims he was selling no products containing cannabinoids, and therefore was committing no crime.
  2. A 65-year-old Niagara man arrested in 2016 for growing 1,200 plants that he said were MED solely intended to meet his and his sister's chronic-pain needs will spend 90 days in jail.
    Niagara This Week
  3. Industry experts say consumers moving to the legal system from the illicit market have been forced to take a cut in the amount of information available about cannabis. Dispensaries often provide extensive information about potential effects and the medical applications of different cultivars, but REC retailers are not allowed to do the same, even as consumers shop for cannabis based on desired effects.
    The Star
  4. In provinces that allow home growing, the four-plant limit applies to any plants of the genus Cannabiseven hempThe Leaf