Welcome to the new WeedWeek!
When I started writing WeedWeek in 2015, sales were about to begin in Oregon, the third REC state, and it was possible to pack all of the week's developments into a single email. This redesign and expansion reflects that as the cannabis industry grows in wealth, reach and influence, a single email is no longer sufficient.
Not that we want to overwhelm you. Whether you're a cannabis executive or a curious on-looker, WeedWeek aims to be the essential publication for following the green rush. And we want to keep you up to date without wasting your time.
In addition to Jesse Staniforth's WeedWeek Canada, today we're launching WeedWeek California, by Donnell Alexander. Throughout the week, Donnell, Jesse and I will be posting original reporting and analysis on a gorgeous new WeedWeek site, which we'll unveil within days.
WeedWeek advertisers will never have any influence on WeedWeek's editorial content, but we're proud to offer them some of the most attractive native advertising and other promotional opportunities in cannabis media. Plus, there will be swag, events, and lots more. To learn more write to email@example.com
The green rush is a captivating story, touching on the great themes of the human experience. We'll be watching with arched eyebrows, goofy grins and sometimes both at once.
- Alex Halperin
PS If you'll be at MJBiz Con in Las Vegas this week, we hope you’ll help us celebrate our expansion with a party produced by Arcane Revelry. Sign up for the guest list here.
Following Radio-Canada's Enquète report that unnamed major LPs have ties to organized crime, Health Canada said it had no evidence of any LP with criminal connections, and the country's top seven LPs and all denied any ties to organized crime. (MarketWatch)
Postmedia, which owns 140 newspapers across Canada, including the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Sun and numerous other dailies—as well as cannabis-news platform the GrowthOp—ended its Newspapers in Education program which sent free papers to schools because the papers carry cannabis ads, which cannot appear in venues open to minors. (CityNews)
Ontario saw "problematic" cannabis use decline between 2010 and 2016 even as daily cannabis use increased, according to a study by the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (CMAJ)
65. A Very Canadian Pot Scandal with Jesse Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth, Editor of WeedWeek Canada, updates Alex and Donnell on breaking Canadian stories. There is no lack of scandal: Cannabis giant Canopy Growth fired founder and CEO Bruce Linton and CannTrust, a major licensed producer, is estimated to lose C$350 Million for ignoring the law. New regulations limiting THC in edibles exacerbate the over-packaging crisis. The country continues to battle the illicit market which is now also available online and is known by the cool name "MOMS" (mail order marijuana sites). Plus, Alex and Donnell discuss Jay-Z's partnership with Caliva.
Shortages of legal cannabis may continue into 2020, in part due to the difficulty for LPs in meeting Health Canada standards.
Sixty nine percent of all takeovers in the cannabis sector this year were all-stock deals. Only 1% of deals were made with all cash, which is in shorter supply in the industry due to banks and traditional investors hesitating to buy in. (Bloomberg)
The next challenge for LPs will be securing intellectual property patents on cannabis genetics. (Financial Post)
Four major LPs will report their earnings next week, and will be measured primarily by their production costs, selling prices, and expenses. (Bloomberg)
The illicit market has moved online. Mail-Order-Marijuana (MOM) sites offer cannabis cheaper than provincial sources—and they offer order illegal products like edibles and concentrates. (Waterloo Region Record)
Another US underwriter—Falvey Cargo Underwriting—has entered the Canadian insurance market, offering coverage for cannabis moving through the supply chain. (Canadian Underwriter)
Aphria announced an agreement with Rapid Dose Therapeutics to create oral cannabis strips. The deal follows Aurora, which partnered with CTT Pharmaceuticals in April, in developing this style of delivery. Aphria will begin producing oral strips in 2019. (Press Release, Midas Letter, CTV News)
The Second Cup, in partnership with National Access Cannabis, plans to begin developing two of its cafés in Alberta into REC dispensaries, and “has started a strategic review” of its other cafés, including some in Ontario, to consider whether they may be ideal for conversion as well.
Training differs widely from province to province for cannabis retail workers.
An online survey of Albertans found no Calgarians older than 55 ordered cannabis online from the provincial Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis board. No records are available of sales per age group by Alberta’s private REC retailers. (Globe NewsWire)
Alberta will not include cannabis in its tourism campaigns. (Calgary Herald)
Vancouver's incoming mayor said the city won't immediately crack down on unlicensed dispensaries and small grow-ops. (Vancouver Sun)
The New York Times profiled disgraced Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, who was temporarily stripped of his gold medal in 1998 after testing positive for cannabis. Today, he runs Legacy, which sells cannabis paraphernalia, and Ross's Gold, which sells bongs and dab rigs.
Cannabis remains a banned substance in sports, though no one believes it enhances performance. (CBC Sports)
Cannabis consultant Travis Lane ordered 16 strains from the BC Cannabis Store and found them small, flattened, odourless, and lacking trichomes. (Twitter)
A hacker breached Canada Post's delivery tracking tool and accessed data on 4,500 Ontario Cannabis Store customers. The OCS said the information gleaned from the breach was limited, but critics said it is a bad start for provincial online REC sales. (National Post, Motherboard, Globe and Mail, CBC Toronto, The Star)
Ontario opens applications for REC retail stores on December 17, reports Deepak Anand.
The Guardian reported on consumer complaints the federal government, through its provincial-wholesaler-model, "forced a monopoly on both the supply and delivery on cannabis products, then failed to deliver."
Ontario retailers are scrambling for commercial real estate in a repeat of Alberta's April-May rush, which saw as-yet-unlicensed companies signing ten-year leases at dramatically increased rents. (Globe and Mail—Paywall, CBC Calgary)
One of two Toronto police officers who ate an edible during a raid, became intoxicated, and called for backup pled guilty to attempting to obstruct justice, and resigned from the force. The judge called him a "complete idiot."
Ottawa Police raided two dispensaries. An Ottawa Police representative on Twitter stressed to me dispensaries were warned to close before October 17 under threat this would take place.
Quebec’s Lobbyists' Commissioner is monitoring lobbying by the cannabis industry. At present, only 23% of cannabis lobbyists in Quebec are formally registered. (Le Devoir—In French)
The Montreal Gazette profiled the companies supplying the Société Québécoise du Cannabis.
Addictions advocates and other activists assailed the conservative CAQ government for reversing plans to open a Société Québécoise du Cannabis outlet near Montreal's Berri-UQAM metro station (a hotspot for drug traffic), saying the decision was made "for ideological and political reasons." (Le Devoir—In French)
The new Montreal municipal budget includes $5M to create a Montreal police force squad to crack down on illicit cannabis. (City of Montreal—In French)
Businesses adjacent to SQDC outlets in Montreal complained about the SQDC's lines and the smell of cannabis smoke. (Global News)
Representatives of the 12 SQDC locations have somehow submitted 14 applications to unionize, and various unions are fighting over who will represent the SQDC workers. (Le Droit—In French)
Some buyers are illegally reselling SQDC cannabis on classified-ads site Kijiji, or charging a premium to wait in line and buy cannabis for others. (La Presse—In French)
Kahnawake Mohawk Territories traditionalists decried the community's embrace of legal REC, saying the substance is not a part of traditional Mohawk culture and should be used only as medicine. (Montreal Gazette)
A patron at a Normandin Family Restaurant in Levis, Quebec, threatened to murder a server who refused to let him smoke cannabis at his table. (TVA Nouvelles—In French)
Provincial opposition parties accused a Newfoundland cannabis lobbyist connected with the provincial Liberal party of getting sweetheart deals for his clients Canopy and Biome. (CBC Newfoundland)
The maximum fine in Newfoundland for an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is $500, while the maximum for open cannabis in a vehicle is $10,000. (Twitter)
Those who want to keep kids from using cannabis should spend less time and money dissuading them and focus on creating ways to keep kids occupied, a Denver psychologist speaking in New Brunswick said. (CBC New Brunswick)
To date, only five of the 51 retailers who won cannabis permits in Saskatchewan's retail lottery have actually opened stores. (CBC Saskatchewan)
A Meta Cannabis store in the Opaskwayak Cree Nation is likely the first licensed on-reserve REC retailer in Canada. 11 of 12 employees are members of the Opaskwayak Nation. (CBC Manitoba, Winnipeg Free Press)
Nothing cannabis-related seems to have happened in the North this week.
In sad news, Iqaluit's Northmart grocery store suffered an enormous fire that destroyed most of its goods. It’s one of three food markets in that community, where food must be flown in from the south and standard items are priced between two and five times what they would sell for in southern cities like Montreal or Ottawa. (CBC North, Business Insider)