WeedWeek
POLITICS
   

Bill Blair Officially Leads Cannabis

Parliament’s Privy Council formally made Bill Blair the minister responsible for the Cannabis Act. He takes the file over from health minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor.
The Leaf

  • This move provides Blair executive powers over cannabis producers and retailers, including the ability to order recalls to protect public safety.
  • Blair is also now accountable to parliament for the progress of legalization.
Public Domain

Halifax's Sewers Will Get You Higher

Statistics Canada’s wastewater testing measured the amount of THC in municipal sewers as a means of determining cannabis consumption.

  • Per wastewater analysis data, Vancouver consumed less cannabis per capita than Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto.
    CBC British Columbia
  • Halifax’s wastewater contains Canada’s greatest per-capita amount of cannabis, roughly 4.5 times as much as Vancouver’s.
    National Post
  • Critics say the data is unreliable, since there is no accounting for variations in cannabis potency, as well as the effects of the water, sewage, and bacteria on samples. Meanwhile, people metabolize THC differently, and methods of delivery also make a difference.
    Globe and Mail

Catholic Bishops: Cannabis Immoral

BC and Yukon’s Catholic Bishops support the use of MED, but regarding REC, they warned, “The mere fact that an activity is made legal by the government does not automatically mean that it is morally acceptable.”
National Post

  • “When there is no genuine medical need for using a drug and it is used merely to cause inebriation, it is sinful behaviour,” they added, noting Catholics who use cannabis recreationally “should discuss this with a priest in Confession.”
  • In June, I noted a statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stressing even if cannabis is legal, using it remains a sin, because it violates “the virtue of temperance.”
    La Croix
Public Domain

Mislabeling Lawsuit Plaintiff is Anti-Cannabis Activist

On Tuesday, I reported Kimberly Webster, the fourth-year Kamloops, BC psychology student suing both the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and Hexo for allegedly mislabelling high-THC oral spray as high-CBD/low-THC, was revealed to be an anti-cannabis activist who co-authored an error-filled article last summer with Thompson Rivers University professor Chris Montoya opposing cannabis on campus. Montoya sits on the advisory council for Drug Free Kids Canada.
WeedWeek Canada, Kamloops This Week, Twitter, The Conversation

Cannabis-Curling "Bongspiel"
Sells Out in 24h

Wiarton, Ontario will host the first legal cannabis-themed curling "bongspiel."
WeedWeek Canada

Quick Hits

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says many of its member cities have seen none of the excise tax revenues the provinces split 75/25 with the federal government.
iPolitics

The remaining dates in which the government can publish its edibles draft regulations are December 8, 15, and 22.
Twitter

Illegal dealers haven’t lost many customers since legalization.
Calgary Herald

A member of the board of directors of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana argued if LPs don’t prioritize MED and make it affordable, they will lose customers to illegal suppliers.
Growth Op

A University of Guelph sociology professor argued the Canadian government reasoning behind REC legalization was faulty because organized crime was not involved in illicit production and young people will always be able to access illegal cannabis.
The Conversation

Health Canada policy advisor David Brown noted as of September 2018, there are 25,447 active personal and designated MED production licenses, and 342,102 total client registrations.
Twitter

BUSINESS
   

Aphria Battles Short-Sellers

Much of the week's business news concerned the Quintessential Capital Management/Hindenburg Research reports on Aphria that included serious accusations of mismanagement and insider dealing. I wrote about the events as they were unfolding on Tuesday.
WeedWeek Canada

Public Domain

The Canadian Securities Administrators, a federal body comprising 13 provincial and territorial securities regulators, is investigating “abusive” short-selling in Canada, at a time of increasing activist short-selling.
Financial Post

  • The CSA is also examining “problematic” promotions in the cannabis, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and mining industries. The promotions in question involve companies changing their names to imply connection with those industries without evidently changing their business plans.
    MJ Biz Daily

Marlboro Owner Altria Buys into Cronos

Marlboro cigarettes’ parent company Altria Group invested $2.4B in Cronos and agreed to make Cronos an exclusive partner for international cannabis opportunities.
MJ Biz Daily

  • Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein told MJ Biz Daily, ““This is showing that the entire industry is viable and a huge growth opportunity. This is big for everyone.”
  • Last week, Altria moved toward a minority stake in vapable-tobacco powerhouse Juul. CNBC
  • Cronos shares spiked, but some analysts are uncertain how it will play out due to the negative public view of tobacco producers. Ottawa Citizen

Shoppers Will Sell MED by Mail

Shoppers Drug Mart got a license to sell MED plants, dried flower, and oil—but only via mail order.
Twitter—Deepak Anand

Outdoor Production Coming

Ontario LP 48North, which acquired Good & Green on Monday, plans to develop Canada’s first industrial scale outdoor production facility. NewsWire, MJ Biz Daily

Legalize It, but Don't Describe It

Fire & Flower REC stores in Alberta were forced to remove product descriptions promoting alleged health benefits of their strains.
CityNews

  • Last week Quebec’s Société Québécoise du Cannabis was forced to remove a video visible from outside their stores touting cannabis as “relaxing” and “euphoric.”
    Montreal Gazette

Canopy Buys Volcano Vape Parent

Canopy acquired Volcano-vaporizer-maker Storz & Bickel for €145 million (roughly C$220M).
Canopy Press ReleaseThe Canadian Cannabis LP Index followed its 25% decline in October with a 14.8% decline in November.

  • Canopy originally did not want to reveal the price they paid for the acquisition, but following the short-selling firestorm around Aphria, they felt transparency was necessary.
    MJ Biz Daily
  • Canopy is hiring for nearly 1,200 positions, while Aurora is hiring for 139.
    Bloomberg

Two Export Permissions for Aurora

Aurora was selected by the government of Luxembourg to export MED to the small European country.
Journal de Montréal—In French

RedeCan Mould Recall Expands,
and More Bugs

RedeCan’s mould-related recall has extended from Ontario to products sold in BC. The products in question remain the 3.5-gram containers of B.E.C. strain with lot number 4B2L3.
Global News

Quick Hits

The Canadian Cannabis LP Index followed its 25% decline in October with a 14.8% decline in November.
New Cannabis Ventures

Demand for craft cannabis is growing, and potential distributors are noticing.
CBC British Columbia

Tilray announced it would partner with the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics to study effects of cannabis on driving and cognition.
Financial Post

National Access Cannabis has made $4M since legalization, but could have made more if not for the supply shortage.
Calgary Herald

Province Brands announced it would partner with Brantford, Ontario’s Bell City Brewing to develop cannabis craft beer.
FoodBev

Supreme inked a deal to bring rapper Wiz Khalifa’s cannabis brandKhalifa Kush—to Canada, though the company will have to step carefully to avoid running afoul of Health Canada’s stringent rules against associating cannabis with any celebrity.
Bloomberg

Vice profiled Akwesasne Mohawk Territory’s Seven Leaf, Canada’s first Indigenous owned and operated LP.

La Presse found CBD oil from Quebec company Hemprove contained ten times less CBD by volume than labelled.

Edmonton LP Atlas Growers received its Health Canada license to obtain, sell, and distribute cannabis, and plans to avoid the REC market and cater to MED patients.
The Star

Chicago producer/retailer Cresco Labs, with operations in six US states, began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
MJ Biz Daily

Delta 9 announced a 312% year-over-year Q3 revenue increase.
NewsWire

The Wayland Group, formerly Maricann, will buy more than 50% of aspiring (pre-license) Australian company Tropicann, entering the Asia Pacific market.
ABC, Daily Marijuana Observer

The oil and gas sector continues to lose personnel to cannabis.
CityNews

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PROVINCIAL
   

Alberta

Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis’s supply shortages may continue for as long as 18 months.
Calgary Herald

After Calgary police said last week that , “the sky hasn’t fallen,” the police commission in neighbouring Edmonton asked the municipality for a 25% (or $87M) funding increase, a significant portion of which will cover the cost of policing legalization.
The Star, CBC Edmonton

Calgary’s planning committee will implement 300-metre buffers between all cannabis retailers along downtown’s 8th Avenue.
Calgary Herald

British Columbia

BC Bud has partly lost its legendary status following legalization and the array of LP varieties on offer, but BC’s craft growers are making money selling illegally in Europe, where Canadian craft cannabis can fetch the equivalent of $38 per gram.
The Star

Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario published its standards for REC retail. Among them:

  • Retailers may not associate their names or signage with medicine, health, or pharmaceuticals.
  • Smell jars will be allowed.
  • Retailers will be responsible for destroying stock on-site that cannot be sold or returned no less than once per month. This must be done in a way that does not expose any person to smoke or vapour, and must be recorded on the store surveillance system.

Eighty percent of the 12,000 Ottawa residents who sounded off in the city’s online survey (out of 23,000 responses total) voted for REC retail, saying they preferred buying in a store to ordering online. In a report tabled on Wednesday, city staff recommended city council opt in. Later in the week, Ottawa Police supported REC retail.
CBC Ottawa, Twitter

  • A telephone poll found only 48% of residents in favour of REC retail, versus 43% opposed.
  • The city has until January 22 to decide whether it will allow REC retail.
    Ottawa Citizen
  • Retailers have been busy securing storefront space in Ottawa, both in the downtown area and the distant suburbs.
    Ottawa Citizen
  • In Wednesday’s report, the estimated revenue for the city from REC retail is approximately C$1M.

Cannabis Compliance’s Deepak Anand called on the Alcohol & Gaming Commission Ontario to address rumours that REC retail applications will not open as planned on December 17. To date, there has been no response.
Twitter

  • Such delay would be in keeping with comments I heard from a number of Americans in Toronto for MJ Biz Con Int’l in August, when Doug Ford announced private REC retail replace the Ontario Cannabis Store and would begin April 1.
  • The consensus among US retailers as well as US producers was the lead time for retailers to organize everything they needed to open stores would take far longer than seven and a half months. A year to 18 months, most said, would have been more reasonable.

A Windsor MED lounge announced it was being forced to close for good due to Ontario smoking laws.
CBC Windsor

Police in London, Ontario raided two dispensaries, but one reopened the next day, and locals think the raids are a waste of money. London Free Press

Quebec

Public Domain
Quebec Premier François Legault

Quebec's new CAQ government, led by Premier François Legault, quickly tabled legislation to raise the age for cannabis to 21 and ban cannabis use in all public places. I wrote about it on Wednesday.
WeedWeek Canada

  • Since then, Montreal’s Mayor Valérie Plante, whose administration okayed public smoking called the bill an attack on municipal autonomy and would infringe the rights of the 60% of Montrealers who rent their homes. She added she did not want to take police resources away from fighting real crime to patrolling parks for cannabis smokers. Officials in Gatineau called the law “a return to prohibition.”
    Montreal Gazette, Le Droit—In French
  • In a radio interview, Lionel Carmant suggested that in order to harmonize cannabis and alcohol laws, he would be open to raising the age of consumption for drinking and smoking to 21. Within two hours, Premier François Legault—whose party has long pushed to privatize the sale of wine and spirits—told reporters, "We have no intention to change the age for alcohol." Shortly afterward, Carmant added, “Let's deal with cannabis first.”
    CBC Radio, I Heart Radio—In French, CBC Montreal
  • Justin Trudeau said he would respect the right of Quebec to set its own laws, but added, “There will be questions in need of responses about why they’ve made the choice they’ve made when the experts perhaps recommended something else.”
    Journal Métro—In French

Small LPs are eager to ink supply agreements with the SQDC, and last week Supreme and Up Cannabis both joined the Registry of Lobbyists to pitch their products to the SQDC. The SQDC’s website says it has entered a second phase of procurement and wishes to diversify its supply. Huffpost Quebec—In French

The Quebec government has invested $7.2M in the SQDC so far.
La Tribune—In French

Maritimes

Sales figures from PEI and Nova Scotia showed smaller LPs did better than larger ones in the first month of legalization.
Bloomberg

Prairies

More retailers opened in Saskatchwan, and demand remains intense.
Global News

Manitoba has only issued two cautions to REC sellers since legalization and says the province’s retailers are following the rules.
Bay Today

The North

A Nunavut News editorial argued cannabis legalization and the opening of Iqaluit’s beer and wine store were harm reductive and a strong alternative to the illegal bootlegging and cannabis sales previously widespread in the territory.

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