Canada edition / May 25, 2019

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This week was the first since October that the Société Québécoise du Cannabis had secured enough supply to open all stores at their original hours, seven days a week. That isn't the provincial monopoly's only good news. Though it raised prices by 5% last month, the SQDC announced its best sales to date in April and is moving to open more stores.
CBC Montreal, Ici Radio Canada—In French, Journal de Montréal—In French

Quick Hits

  1. A Scotiabank analyst warned cannabis oversupply is coming to Canada, and "may be closer than some expect." Producers have overbuilt and have far greater capacity to produce than Canada and its export partners can consume.
    MJ Business Daily
  2. Globe and Mail political writer Campbell Clark noted that in spite of the drastic warnings about what legalization would do to the country, it hasn't changed very much at all. Bill Blair called legalization, "A little bit like this generation's Y2K."
  3. Simon Fraser University criminology professor and lawyer Neil Boyd argued, "Legalization has been a major accomplishment of the Trudeau government. They don't describe it this way, but removing the yoke of criminalization was a significant step forward for human rights."
  4. Conservative politicians MP Ben Lobb and MP-turned Ontario MLA Parm Gill joined the board of food/liquor/cannabis delivery service ParcelPal. The company said the active politicians' expertise in Ontario will help them expand into that province.
    CityNews, MJ Biz Daily
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A Cowen and Co. survey found Canadian cannabis use is at a record level, double that previously reported, aided by the popularity of still-illicit edibles. Meanwhile, Canadians are drinking less beer.

  • Two weeks ago, a Dalhousie University survey found 37% of respondents considered themselves "regular cannabis users," which was a great deal more than the 17% who told Statistics Canada's they had used cannabis in recent months.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  • Cowen and Co. found similar numbers to the Dalhousie researchers, with 40% of respondents in Alberta and Ontario reporting cannabis use in the last month.
  • Cowen and Co. found similar numbers, with 40% of respondents in Alberta and Ontario reporting cannabis use in the last month.
  • As consumers may legally choose between cannabis and alcohol, alcohol consumption tends to go down.
    MG Retailer
  • A US analyst said declining beer sales are "the canary in the coal mine" for the entire alcohol industry.
  • The alcohol industry's existing infrastructure could be used to more efficiently sell cannabis, said Ted Zittell, Canadian-born director of US cannabeverage manufacturer Tinley.
    Daily Hive

Quick Hits

  1. The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users hosts events at which Neil Magnuson and his Cannabis Substitution Project gives out free pre-rolls, edibles, and topicals to drug consumers hoping to swap cannabis for opioids.
    The Straight
  2. Supporters of Vancouver's 420 celebration claim the Parks Board, which voted to ban the celebration, is maliciously keeping Sunset Beach Park closed more than a month after the protest/celebration/performance in order to generate public hostility to the event. Parks Board commissioner John Coupar responded "I understand that the grass field required aeration, top dressing and seeding #nospin #factsmatter."
    Straight Cannabis


Rafal Konieczny

Good news for Aurora, whose Q3 earnings report revealed the company's sales grew 20% in the last quarter to reach $65M. REC sales generally grew 37% over the quarter, MED sales were up 8%. NewsWire, Barron's

  • Yet there was scant news in the report about potential partnerships, or the company's plan to enter the U.S. market. Yahoo
  • Aurora doubled its production with 15,590 kilograms in Q3, up from 7,822 in Q2. Though its international MED sales increased 40%, they were nonetheless hampered by supply shortages.
    MJBiz Daily
  • Aurora entered into a multi-year, multi-million-dollar global partnership with mixed-martial-arts organization UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) to research the relationship between hemp-derived CBD and athletic recovery and wellness.

Quick Hits

  1. Organigram began trading on the Nasdaq.
  2. Flowr received approval to begin listing on Nasdaq.
  3. Newstrike announced its shareholders approved Hexo's proposed acquisition of the company.
  4. The Alberta Cannabis Council, established by LPs and retailers, announced its launch this week, following on the path of the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association, which announced its foundation last month. Globe and Mail


Noam Galai / Getty Images

Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said his company partnered with Acreage Holdings because that company's board of directors "had a great deal of reputational risk if anything went funny. We knew for sure they're going to be extremely well-governed because in the period of time from now until we bring them over."

Quick Hits

  1. Competition to develop and produce synthetic cannabinoids is escalating. Financial Post


Wikimedia Commons

Globe and Mail lifestyle journalist Ian Brown published a long and self-effacing feature about his attempts to grow his own REC from an illegally procured California seed, using an automatic-growing machine in a grow-tent.

  • Expert response to the piece was derisive. BC Independent Cannabis Association director and grower Travis Lane picked through the story's errors. These included scientific flaws like long-debunked myths about indica and sativa cultivars and a claim that light cycles in growing have a greater effect than a plant's chemical makeup does on what kinds of cannabinoids it contains.
  • Lane's criticisms also focused on bad growing practices Brown was advised to undertake, such has purging the plant of its nutrients, drying for six days, or "drying it beforehand for ten seconds in the microwave." He noted by Brown's numbers, he didn't succeed in drying his cannabis properly.
  • Lane said he felt it important to critique the article because it risked discouraging new growers and "seriously exaggerated" the difficulty of cannabis cultivation. "Home growing is not so difficult. It doesn't require BS tech. […] If you like gardening, that is the only real requirement for success." Twitter—Travis Lane
  • Some home growers do it because it's far cheaper than buying from LPs, or even from illegal sellers. Others do it for the love of the dirt and the plant itself. Growersin legal home-cultivation provinces are excited about the season openingCBC Business

Quick Hits

  1. The introduction of low-cost outdoor growing may significantly change the industry, offering production at 20 cents per gram compared with more than $1 per gram indoors.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  2. Every LP wants to have a passionate and knowledgeable cultivator who understands the potential for developing aromatic, powerful cultivars.
  3. An indoor cannabis grow-site uses as much as 200 times as much electricity as the average office building of the same size.
    Financial Post



Lawyer Trina Fraser accused the federal government of passing the buck on sorting out pharmacy access to MED."

Quick Hits

  1. The vice-chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana, Chris Backer, said legalization failed MED users because LPs and politicians know little about cannabis and aren't sick—and have never had the experience of being forced to break the law in order to use effective medicine.
    Chronicle Herald
  2. McKesson Canada—parent company of major drug store brands Rexall and Uniprix, among others—entered the sector with a patient-education portal on its website that offers guidance on treatments, including cannabis.
  3. Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said despite their partnership with Tilray, the company does not consider cannabis to be "a focus."
  4. Insiders say there are many testing labs in Canada, but too few testing only cannabis. Startup labs, meanwhile, have to wait months for Health Canada to work through their applications backlog to get licensed.
    Ici Radio-Canada—In French



Patrick Whalen, who says he uses no illicit drugs and only uses REC occasionally, saw a job offer for a Halifax water-treatment plant pulled when he tested positive for cannabis.

  • Erin Gratton, founder of cannabis-HR organization High Values, said on Twitter, "No medical condition, no Code protection." She explained to WeedWeek, "Until there's a reliable test for cannabis impairment, safety-sensitive workers need to be aware of possible implications of consuming recreational cannabis outside work hours."
  • The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador's decision in a landmark case on MED at work,writes Torkin Manes Barristers & Solicitors partner Peter Straszynski, found the "possibility" of impairment up to 24 hours after cannabis consumption represented "undue hardship" to an employer, allowing them the right to terminate a MED user's employment.
    Torkin Manes

Quick Hits

  1. Police in Ontario's Waterloo Region warned of the discovery of counterfeit cannabis containing the extremely powerful opioid carfentanil, but no cannabis at all. Based on photos circulated, it appears to be a ground dry-leaf product laced with chemicals. This was likely not the culprit in last week's reports of teens overdosing after smoking what bystanders said smelled like cannabis.
    CTV News, Globe and Mail
  2. The owner of an evicted illicit CBD store in Windsor, ON, says his landlord told police "untrue" things about him in a letter to police accusing him of "selling cannabis related products." Police searched the store and left without pressing charges. His landlord accuses police of forcing him "to do their dirty work" by evicting the store when they did not charge the owner.
    CBC Windsor



The federal government, through the Canadian Institute of Health Research, earmarked $24.5M for cannabis research projects across Canada. CTV News

Quick Hits

  1. Researcher Nick Jikomes argued we're "entering a golden age of cannabis research." He shared a graph of the number of studies containing the word "cannabis" in their title or abstract, which have been increasing since the 1990s and have more than doubled in the past eight years.
  2. A Vernon, BC MED dispensary is being shut down after a series of $1,000 fines and the threat of jail.
    Global News
  3. Time is running out for the Liberal government to pass its cannabis-convictions records-suspension Bill C-93.
    Global News



With edibles legalization approaching, many entrepreneurs are hoping they'll hit it rich in the field. Organigram invested $15M in an infused-chocolates production line to be delivered in the fall. They're also working with Acadienne chocolatier Ginette Ahier of New Brunswick's Adorable Chocolate., NewsWire, Ici Radio-Canada—In French

  • When I visited Montreal's Chronique 420 café on 4/20, the owners said they hoped edibles legalization would allow them to sell infused items. Until then they're selling regular coffee and baked goods.
  • In Quebec City, the restaurant Sinsemilla opened last month, offering a variety of dishes that contain hemp in a cannabis-oriented environment—presumably, like Chronique 420, they hope to add THC after it's legal.
    Ici Radio-Canada—In French
  • Health Canada's Andrea Budgell told a convention discussion her agency is paying attention to feedback about determining whether edibles were appealing to kids.
  • She also noted 7,000 submissions on the draft edibles, extracts, and topicals regulations, chiefly pertaining to the proposed 10mg THC cap, the demand for dedicated manufacturing buildings for infused products, and packaging regs.
    Twitter—Trina Fraser
  • Like other cities, Calgary has seen an increase of ER visits related to illicit edibles. But physician Dr. Eddy Lang, a health researcher specializing in emergency medicine, said the numbers aren't large and in US states that legalized, cannabis-related ER visits declined as mainstream use stabilized.
    Calgary Herald
  • Brad "PancakeNap" Martin published a series of infographs exploring the varieties of cannabis available across North American legal markets (broken down by state and province).



In Creston BC, Julia Middlebrook, 20, received her license to begin selling REC on April 30. Creston is a small town of 5,300 near the US border.

  • Unlike some municipalities, which have resisted REC retail, Creston supported Middlebrook, and no one in the community protested her store opening.
  • Santé Cannabis co-founder Adam Greenblatt noted, "Meanwhile in Quebec it will soon be illegal for a 20 year old to buy cannabis."