Canada edition / November 30, 2019
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1 2.0 PREVIEW

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CANOPY GROWTH CORPORATION

With 2.0 legalization just over two weeks away, companies have begun their PR rollouts and Canadians are getting their first clear look at the new products coming to market December 16.
Policy Options, Vice, Toronto Sun

Canopy Growth received a license for its beverage facility and began producing 11 different drinks, which it launched (along with three infused chocolates and vape products) in a preview of its line of 2.0 products.
Twitter—Benjamin A. Smith, Journal de Montréal—In French

  • Most agree that in order for cannabeverages to succeed they'll need to be in physical stores, though at last weekend's Ottawa Cannabis and Hemp Expo, Indiva VP Jamie Riff went further in arguing he didn't expect beverages could take off before consumption-sites are legalized.
    Twitter—GoBlueCDN

Health Canada has received 50 applications from LPs wishing to sell a total of 747 cartridge-based vape systems, a sign that VAPI concerns haven't dampened industry hopes that vape pens will capture as much of the Canadian market as they have in US.
Bloomberg

Ahead of 2.0, REC retailers tried their luck at launching "Black Friday" promotions with discounted rates, but they're not allowed to advertise such sales so consumers may not know they're happening.

2 ONTARIO AND QUEBEC TESTING SAME-DAY DELIVERY

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As Ontario's Conservative government tries to streamline the province's tiny REC retail sector by introducing click-and-connect deliveries, the Ford government also launched a pilot project for same-day/next-day REC delivery in Toronto.
Globe and Mail

  • The service will offer live tracking and guaranteed delivery windows.
  • Only Torontonian consumers whose postal codes begin with "M" may participate for now.
  • Meanwhile, lawyer Trina Fraser noted the legislation to bring in "click and collect" delivery will require the same person who made the order to pick up the REC products they reserved in store.
    Twitter—Trina Fraser

The Société Québécoise du Cannabis announced a call for tenders for same-day delivery service. As part of a six to nine-month pilot project, residents of the island of Montreal will soon be able to order REC products for home delivery within 24 hours.
TVA Nouvelles—In French, CTV News

  • The call for tender seeks services that can deliver all packages by no later than 10:00pm on the day they are ordered, but also seeks suppliers who can deliver within one hour of the order.
    La Presse—In French

Quick Hits

  1. The Toronto Stock Exchange gave CannTrust a March 25, 2020 deadline to file a series of financial disclosures, otherwise the troubled LP will be delisted from the TSX.
    MJ Biz Daily
  2. Ontario LP WeedMD will acquire Starseed Holdings, a union-owned LP that provides MED insurance to union members, for an undiscolosed amount. Majority Starseed owner The Labourers' Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada accordingly subscribed to invest $25M via private placement into WeedMD.
    Globe and Mail, Twitter—Mark Rendell
This week on the podcast
WeedWeek’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

3 THIS WEEK IN RETAIL AND PRODUCTION

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Aurora announced it was opening Canada's largest REC store inside the gargantuan West Edmonton Mall.

Quebec convenience giant Couche Tard is sizing up the opportunity to enter the REC space on a province-wide basis by purchasing Cannabis NB.
Journal de Québec—In French

Outdoor grower 48North followed outdoor LP Aleafia in reporting an outdoor harvest yield a fraction as large as planned; they delivered 12,000 kg rather than 40,000. (Aleafia planned for 60,000 kg and harvested 10,300.)
Grizzle

  • 48North reported it had actually "cultivated enough cannabis […] to meet its initial 2019 projections," but didn't have access to enough licensed drying space.
    NewsWire
  • Surprising some, the company plans to sell the harvest as flower rather than for extraction. They will sell it as outdoor brand Trail Mix at a budget price.

Canopy reported it is working with five winners of Ontario's second REC retail lottery and is on track to open five more Tokyo Smoke stores in the province.
New Cannabis Ventures

Big four accounting firm Deloitte acquired Cannabis Compliance for an undisclosed amount. The newly launched CCI Deloitte will offer end-to-end services for licensing and other industry needs.
MJ Biz Daily

Michael Elkin, formerly of Cannabis Compliance and now of REC consumer-packaged goods firm High 12, noted LPs are now worth roughly a third of what they used to be, and "Deals that were struck are being restructured at 1/3 of what they were."
Twitter—Michael Elkin

Health Canada data showed 95% of LP products tested negative for pesticides. It did not name the LPs that failed.
Global News

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4 MED AT THE CROSSROADS

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Last week's raid of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club and the protests and petitions that followed, as well as the threat to Halifax's Green Cross Medical Dispensary added to an ongoing discussion about the future of MED in Canada.
Twitter—Neil Boyd, CTV News

Quick Hits

  1. Analysts warned as long as access to capital markets remains closed to cannabis, some LP bankruptcies will follow.
    Bloomberg

5 QUEBEC: NO EDIBLES BEFORE JAN 1, BUT MONEY FOR MED

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Edible cannabis products become legal in Quebec on December 5, but the provincial REC retail monopoly, the SQDC, will not sell them before the New Year. At first it will only sell cannabis beverages rather than food items (which are strictly controlled under provincial law).
Montreal Gazette, La Presse

  • Those looking to the privatization of New Brunswick's foundering REC monopoly, Cannabis NB, shouldn't imagine the same future for the SQDC. A spokesperson for finance minister Éric Girard said, "We have no intention of modifying the model of the SQDC. That is one we have always favoured."
    TVA Nouvelles—In French (My Translation)

Though Quebec's CAQ government is the country's most hostile to cannabis, they will nonetheless invest in MED. News broke this week that economy and innovation minister Pierre Fitzgibbon had the provincial cabinet adopt a "frame of reference" for giving loans, grants, and equity to companies in the province's MED industry. Fitzgibbon said, "One of our objectives is to revive or revitalize life sciences in Quebec."
Ici Radio-Canada—In French

Quick Hits

  1. A professor at Université du Québec, Trois-Rivières received a research award for her work growing THC and CBD inside microscopic algae.
    London Free Press
  2. It isn't illegal to consume cannabis edibles in front of children. It just feels that way.
    GrowthOp

6 BC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: SUPPORT CRAFT

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BC's Chamber of Commerce presented a series of suggestions to foster craft and micro growing in the province. They called on BC to:

  • Leave grey-market businesses alone to transition into the legal market,
  • Prioritize provincial-wholesale purchasing from BC LPs,
  • Allow farm-gate sales,
  • Aid micro-class licensees in getting "enhanced" access to the REC market, and
  • Establish private wholesale so private REC retailers can buy direct from craft producers.
    MJ Biz Daily

Quick Hits

  1. Over the next five years, electricity consumption by Ontario LPs is expected to grow tenfold.
    The Star
  2. McGill University signed an agreement to collaborate on MED research with Maltese foreign-investment agency Malta Enterprise. Some criticized industry enthusiasm for working with the Maltese government, which is embroiled in controversy over the murder of a journalist.
    Twitter—Chris Cardona, Courtland Sandover-Sly; BBC News

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7 BLACK CANADIANS KEPT OUT OF CANNABIS ECONOMY

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Toronto lawyer Anthony N. Morgan argued legalization has failed to make amends for the racist policing that disproportionally arrested Black Canadians for cannabis.
Policy Options

Quick Hits

· Morgan assailed the Liberal government for their unwillingness to do the work of expunging cannabis convictions, which the government suggested would be too expensive and time-consuming.

  1. A Toronto Law student has produced a cannabis legislation tracker, which scans the internet twice daily for changes to cannabis law.
    Canadian Lawyer
  2. Scholars called for an end to restrictions on cannabis research, such as the ban on industry-researcher partnerships similar to bans on partnerships between researchers and alcohol or tobacco companies. Such bans do not exist for oil and gas companies or pharmaceuticals.
    Policy Options

8 US-STYLE RELATIONSHIPS MIGHT HELP FIRST NATIONS REC LAW

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PUBLIC DOMAIN

Rolanda Elijah, director for the lands and environment for Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, argued provinces must approach the regulation of cannabis in First Nations carefully, engaging meaningfully and not presuming provincial law applies on-reserve. Elijah argued First Nations–provincial relationships can exist, and suggested First Nations look to the US and model their cannabis relations on "compact agreements" between states and tribal groups.
Policy Options

  • She argued the compacts do not challenge legitimacy of tribal rights to regulate within their borders, and that this acknowledgement of tribal sovereignty is the shortest route to province-First Nations agreements on cannabis, tobacco, and other issues. Such agreements would sidestep the complex dance of federal and provincial laws in First Nations.
    Twitter—Delbert Riley Jr.
  • The Anishinabek Police Service, supported by Batchewana Police Service (from the Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways), raided an on-reserve dispensary in Garden River First Nation, arresting two for future charges.
    CTV News, Twitter—Jordan Brant
  • No Ontario police force was involved in the raid—which makes it a great deal less legally complicated, since there is no question the APS and BPS had jurisdiction on reserve. That won't make the raid any less controversial—especially since they were enforcing Ontario law.
    Twitter—Jordan Brant

Quick Hits

  1. US Customs and Border Protection said drug seizures have increased 190% at Canadian border crossings, and they blame legalization. The majority of the seizures have involved cannabis.
    GrowthOp

9 MANITOBANS MIGHT GROW AT HOME (IN A FEW YEARS)

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A Winnipeg lawyer said it was only a matter of time before the Quebec court decision quashing that province's home-grow ban would bleed over into Manitoba.
Daily Stock Dish

  • The Quebec decision found the provincial law infringed on the jurisdiction of the federal government, so presumably the Manitoba ban on home cultivation would do the same.
  • Lawyer Jamie Jurczak said it could take months or years, however, since it would first require someone to be charged with home growing who was willing to fight the charges and pay the legal fees.

Quick Hits

  1. Niverville, MB, population 3,450, voted to allow REC retail after a fiercely fought referendum that "divided the town."
    CBC Manitoba
  2. Three Saint John, NB dispensaries closed after police threatened landlords with property seizure.
    CBC New Brunswick

10 US PATENT OFFICE REBUFFS DRAKE

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Rapper Drake failed to trademark Health Canada's THC stop-sign warning logo in the US—for reasons not related to Health Canada's claim on the image.
MarketWatch

  • Rather, the acronym THC is already trademarked, by US cannabis-tech company Pineapple Express (no relation to Canadian delivery service of the same name).
  • The rejection was posted publicly, so we can read that even if THC hadn't already been trademarked, the application would be rejected because cannabis is federally illegal, while the image may be confused with others and fails to distinguish the product.

Quick Hits

  1. When Miss Universe Canada Alyssa Boston represents the nation during the December 8 Miss Universe pageant in Atlanta, she will use her time to celebrate legal cannabis and argue for global legalization.
    Windsor Star
  2. A BC man has opened The Bongdromat, a service for cleaning cannabis-smoking equipment.
    Vancouver is Awesome