Canada edition / June 01, 2019
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1 ALBERTA LIFTS RETAIL MORATORIUM

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Alberta joined Quebec, which last week indicated its supplies were strong, in confirming it has enough cannabis to lift the REC retail license moratorium that has been in place since November.

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2 AMENDED PARDONS BILL MOVING FORWARD

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Bill C-93, which offers free record suspension but not expungement of cannabis possession convictions, passed through the House of Commons public safety committee, whose MPs attached 11 amendments. Canadian Lawyer, iPolitics

  • Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin introduced an amendment allowing even those who have not yet paid off fines from their cannabis convictions to apply for record suspensions.
  • Amendments advanced by NDP and Green Party members will guarantee cannabis pardons are not revoked if the person in question is later convicted of another possession offence under the Cannabis Act.
  • A Conservative amendment that held will guarantee those seeking pardons may receive them even if their records have been lost.
  • It remains uncertain whether the Liberal government will be able to pass C-93 before they retire for the summer—and the campaign for the October general election, after which polls suggest the Conservative party may win power. But the Bill might reach the Senate floor next week, and if so might be passed before the summer recess.
    iPolitics

Quick Hit

  1. More than 150 professional athletes signed a petition calling on the World Anti-Doping Agency to end their prohibition on cannabis and THC in competitive sport, saying the substance does not meet the criteria of either enhancing performance, harming the health of athletes, or violating "the spirit of sport." A number of Canadian NHL players are among the 150, notably retired Penguins enforcer Eric "The Hand of God" Godard, and former Habs enforcer George Laraque.
    Canadian Running Magazine

3 STILL NO OPIOID CONTAMINATED REC

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Last week, two stories hit the news suggesting illicit cannabis tainted with dangerous opioids might be sold on the illicit market. In response, the Ontario Harm Reduction Network reminded the media that there has not been a single case of cannabis contaminated with opioids.
CBC Thunder Bay

  • Thunder Bay Drug Strategy coordinator Cynthia Olsen elaborated on last week's story about a green powder which contained carfentanil but not cannabis. She said the substance "had no resemblance to cannabis […by…] weight[,] scent[,] or by its texture. There was no indication that that substance was being marketed or sold as cannabis." The substance was crystalline, not leafy. Its only similarity to cannabis was that it was green.
    CBC Windsor, Ontario Harm Reduction Network
  • Olsen added the profit margins on opioids are significantly higher than on cannabis, so it is unlikely that a seller would deliberately lace a cheap drug with a more expensive one.

Quick Hits

  1. Canopy announced an expanded partnership with Parent Action on Drugs as well as harm-reduction organization Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Together, they will develop online tools like the “Weed Like to Know” chatbot and the “What’s With Weed” SMS tool. Both will deliver evidence-based facts about cannabis, along with means to encourage consumers to reflect upon their use, and support for those who’d like to consume less.
    NewsWire

4 FINALLY, IMPROVED SALES

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Jesse Staniforth

Cannabis sales were up in March, after two declines in January and February. For the first month since legalization, REC sales barely cracked $60M, beating December's previous high of $57.3M.
Motley Fool

Quick Hits

  1. A majority of the venture and private equity investment in cannabis since 2013 has been in US companies, with Canadian companies involved in fewer than 25% of deals. And because Canada's market is both smaller and far more regulated than the US, the trend of funds shifting from Canada to the U.S. is likely to accelerate, some analysts say.
    Bloomberg, MJ Biz Daily
  2. Health Canada reported the number of companies in the queue for federal license applications has been cut in half since the beginning of 2019.
    MJ Biz Daily
  3. Vindica Cannabis Corporation reported via Twitter that Health Canada may accept security-clearance approvals before license-application submissions, which is one of the issues insiders raised after Health Canada changed its application process several weeks ago. Security clearances are arduous and time-consuming, and, Vindica reported, "Many have reached out not wanting to spend time and money on [an application] with personnel who may not pass security clearance."
  4. Grow Tech Labs' CEO Barinder Rasode noted, "The most questions or concerns I hear from those who are considering using cannabis is dosing." She was responding to an article about the demand for precision-dosed REC.
    Twitter
 

5 BRINGING WEED BACK TO VANCOUVER’S DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE

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Vancouver city councillor Rebecca Bligh called for the city to reconsider a pre-legalization zoning decision banning REC stores from the city's Downtown East Side, an area of intense and concentrated poverty and opioid use.
Straight Cannabis

 

6 HAVE LPS FORGOTTEN MED PATIENTS?

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MED advocates say patients are being forgotten in LPs' rush to profit from REC. "It seems like a rec-washing, where everything the government is doing seems intent on never recognizing this as a medicine, and getting people to accept that it’s just a recreational substance," activist Jamie Shaw said.
Botaniq

Quick Hits

  1. There's no sign of legalization leading to any health effects (positive or negative), possibly because Canadians used cannabis so widely before legalization that it hasn't changed much.
    The Star
  2. Workplace accidents have not increased since legalization—and in some places have actually declined— but that doesn't stop some employers in dangerous industries from worrying impaired workers will hurt or kill someone.
    CBC Business, Leafly
  3. Brad "PancakeNap" Martin published data-visualizations of dry-flower REC available in PEI, mapping data like average price per gram and listing-count-by-LP. He also considered Aurora, MedReleaf, and Tweed softgels.
    PancakeNap
 

7 CANNABIS: JUST ANOTHER CROP

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Fiery debate continues over growing cannabis in the area of BC known as the Agricultural Land Reserve. The provincial Agricultural Land Commission is now leaving it up to municipalities to decide whether they'll allow cannabis greenhouses on the reserved land. Some farmers cried foul, while cannabis growers celebrated.
Vancouver Sun, Nelson Star, Twitter—Dan Sutton

Quick Hits

  1. Vancouver-based AAXLL Holdings, whose brands include illicit mail-order marijuana website Budderweeds and illicit edibles brand Discreetly Baked (available only through Budderweeds), filed an application to trademark the widely used term "BC Bud" in the United States.
    Trademarkia

8 SHOULD WE CALL IT A “BLACK MARKET”?

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Discussion continues about the term “black market.” Though it was never intended as a racially loaded term, the expression nonetheless unsettles many Black members of the Cannabis community—ranging from activists and entrepreneurs like Vancouver’s Miz D to members of government like Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard.
Miz D and Senator Bernard acknowledge the extremely disproportionate persecution that Black, Indigenous, and other members of minority communities suffered under prohibition, and encourage the public to use more precise language to describe underground economies. At WeedWeek, we prefer the terms “illicit,” “unlicensed,” “unauthorized,” and “illegal” over “black.”
GrowthOp, Twitter

Miz D and Senator Bernard acknowledge the disproportionate persecution Black, Indigenous, and other minorities communities suffered under prohibition, and encourage the public to use more precise language to describe underground economies. At WeedWeek, we prefer the terms “illicit,” “unlicensed,” “unauthorized,” and “illegal” over “black.”
GrowthOp, Twitter

Quick Hits

  1. In spite of Health Canada’s strict regulations about cannabis marketing, the sector is nonetheless seeing an influx of creative professionals, particularly to ad agencies.
    AdWeek—Paywall
  2. A Toronto Rastafarian believes his faith protects his right to give out cannabis, which he considers sacrament, in return for donations. Not all lawyers agree. CBC Toronto
  3. It isn't easy for employers to test employees for cannabis use. Globe and Mail--Paywall
 

9 NOVA SCOTIA’S ILLICIT MARKET SHRINKING

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Unlicensed cannabis production is beginning to decline in Nova Scotia, according to Statistics Canada. The federal agency estimates Nova Scotia’s most fruitful year for underground growing was 2016, in which Nova Scotians grew and sold more than $100M in product. By 2018, that number was down to $89M, while licensed Nova Scotia growers generated $49M.
Chronicle Herald

Quick Hits

  1. Harvard University is leading a large international research project exploring MED, and chose Edmonton LP Atlas Biotechnologies (also known as Atlas Growers) to supply the MED for the project—amounting to 1 kilogram dry flower. First they’ll have to sort a DEA import-exemption, though.
    MJ Biz Daily, Globe and Mail—Paywall
  2. Upstart publication The Logic interviewed unnamed former employees of Lift & Co who say the company is foundering under poor management and lack of direction, and losing many of its most important employees. The Logic requires readers buy a $300 year's subscription to the Logic in order to read any of its articles, but you can read the first third for free. Lift declined to comment. It’s major Toronto conference begins on June 6.
    The Logic—Paywall
  3. LPs are responding to consumer complaints of overpackaging with products packaged in envelopes instead of plastic bottles.
    CBC New Brunswick