Newfoundland & Labrador's Liberal government joined Quebec in refusing to allow sales of REC vape products when they become legal nationwide on elsewhere in the country in just over a week on December 16.
- Explaining the decision, the government pointed to the VAPI crisis and said, "An analysis by experts […] has not been able to pinpoint the specific cause of this lung disease, however the majority of cases involve vaping cannabis. The intent of the decision is to protect the health of the people in this province until there is more evidence about the connection between cannabis vaping products and severe lung disease." Globe and Mail
- The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has cited additive vitamin E acetate as "a chemical of concern" in causing VAPI. The compound is not legal for use in Canadian vape products.
Nova Scotia, also citing VAPI, moved to ban sales of "cannabis vaping products that have a scent or flavour other than cannabis noticeable before or during use."
- Though BC has not banned vape products, it has introduced a 20% sales tax on both oil and dry-flower vapes.
Industry stressed the US vaping illnesses were caused by unregulated counterfeit products, which many believe bans encourage.
MJ Biz Daily
Manitoba's RCMP succinctly summed up the appeal of illicit cannabis when it published a list of "Common signs to help identify an illegal online cannabis retailer," alongside helpful clip-art icons. They included:
- "Requests payment by e-transfer or cryptocurrency,"
- "Packaging/products appeal to young persons";
- "Referral bonuses, sign up bonuses or other promotions";
- "Ships anywhere in Canada."
Vice's Manisha Krishnan pointed out this list "[sounds] pretty great" compared with the comparatively small number of legal REC stores offering lower-quality product and multi-day shipping only in-province by Canada Post.
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Sol Israel noted there's good reason for the RCMP campaign, as many Canadians have bought from illicit online sellers believing they were buying legally.
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Two weeks ago, BC LP Pasha laid off a dozen of its 50 employees, mainly in communications and client services, calling six of them back on a commission basis, as it shifted focus to producing pre-rolls.
The Deep Dive, MarketWatch
- Pasha positioned itself as an umbrella organization to help BC craft producers enter a market dominated by corporate players.
- Subsequently, most of Pasha's board of directors resigned—including important sector players like extraction entrepreneur Rosy Mondin and Auxly CEO Hugo Alves.
The Deep Dive
Cannabis lifestyle magazine/website Civilized was bought by American firm New Frontier Data, which laid off all staff "temporarily."
CBC New Brunswick
Ernst Young cannabis manager Ashley Chiu warned—of the sector in general—that "30-40% of these companies won’t be around in a year. It will come down to execution and whether these companies have a differentiated strategy and a road to profitability."
BC premier John Horgan acknowledged the quality of cannabis from that province's legacy market, saying "We have in B.C. a legendary quality product, and that’s not making its way to the legal market."
- Speaking of the BC NDP government's $676,000 project to help illicit growers in the Central Kootenay region into the legal system, social development minister Shane Simpson said if the project works it could work in other craft-heavy areas of BC such as Okanagan or the Sunshine coast.
Simpson added, "Everybody talks about BC Bud and the reputation it has, so if we can build a craft industry that’s legal, that’s regulated appropriately, then that’s a good thing."