The cannabis sector employs 10,000 Canadians, paying an average of $29.58 per hour, which is $2.55 higher than the national average.
US Customs and Border Protection reported that in November, they seized 20.5 pounds of cannabis in 197 interactions along the Canadian border. The previous November, they seized 7.6 pounds in 123 incidents.
Mixed martial arts fighter Elias Theodorou is protesting anti-doping rules that prevent him from using MED he has been prescribed for bilateral neuropathic pain.
British medical journal The Lancet praised Canada’s science-based legalization strategy.
A Canadian Automobile Association survey found Canadians worried there would be a holiday surge in impaired driving.
The industry reacted warmly to last week’s draft regulations on cannabis edibles, beverages, concentrates, and topicals.
London Free Press
Bonify’s recall continued spreading on Christmas Eve, with the announcement the company was recalling 14 additional lots of products, many of them for reversed cannabinoid values on their labels. It was unclear whether the recalled product was part of the illicit stock the company allegedly purchased from out of province and passed off as its own product.
Health Canada, Winnipeg Free Press, Global News
Many believe growing hemp for CBD is a quick path to getting rich, but harvesting CBD on a broad-acre scale is a new practice and no one’s really certain how to do it most effectively.
The Western Producer
Attempting to position itself as “the world’s largest cannabis oil producer,” Burlington, ON’s Instadose Pharma (a subsidiary of Montreal’s Excellence Health Group) claimed it was ready to sell 2M litres of CBD oil it had harvested in the Democratic Republic of Congo with 200,000 farmers on 100,000 hectares of land.
Financial Post (Business Wire Press Release)
Winnipeg REC retailers reported strong sales over the leadup to Christmas, with buyers noting that legalization has pushed cannabis use out into the open.
1. Seeking Alpha identified four companies—AlCanna, National Access Cannabis, Choom Holdings, and Inner Spirit—as “the miserable group” of REC retailers, having lost between 35% and 70% of their equity value in the past six months.
2. Tilray’s deal with pharma giant Sandoz/Novartis last week was overshadowed by its deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV—but because the MED sector has so much room in which to grow, the pharma deal will likely be the one to generate impressive profits.
3. It's common for MED producers to own MED clinics in which doctors prescribe their products: TerrAscend owns Solace Health Networks. Invictus owns Leaf Wise Clinics. While some see the arrangement as a conflict of interest for doctors, whom they believe should be independent from companies that produce medical products, the practice is legal and widespread.
5. Head-shop owners are struggling against competition from REC retailers—who sell the same cannabis accessories as they do, but are allowed to do so alongside actual cannabis. In Calgary, some are calling for a ban on REC stores selling accessories in favour of cannabis and cannabis-based products alone.
Globe and Mail—Paywall
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Former Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High child-actor Rebecca Haines-Saah (who played mean-girl Kathleen Mead) has become a leading researcher on youth cannabis use out of the University of Calgary.
Vancouver’s Evergreen Cannabis, a “mom and pop shop” run by a husband-and-wife team, learned on Christmas Eve it would be the first REC retailer in Vancouver to receive its licenses. The store plans to open Saturday, December 29.
The Straight, Vancouver Sun, Global News
Though some worried BC would keep track of illicit dispensaries that remained open after October 17 and block their applications for icenses, BC Independent Cannabis Association president Courtland Sandover-Sly reported the province is licensing both those that continued operating after REC legalization, and those that closed in advance of it.
A BC Hydro worker fired for allegedly stealing electricity to power a licensed grow-op should get his job back, said the BC Labour Relations Board.
The RCMP raided a “large-scale” cultivation and butane-extraction site in a Squamish Valley barn, arresting one.
Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney defended her government’s scaling back the number of REC retail licenses across the province from unlimited to 25, saying “We don’t want retailers in Ontario to take the step of opening a store and finding that they’re going to have to cut hours and take other mitigating steps to deal with this [supply shortage].”
Globe and Mail—Paywall
The province will announce the details of its lottery for 25 REC retail permits on January 2. KPMG has been enlisted to oversee the lottery.
Twitter—Trina Fraser, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
The City of Hamilton is asking for community input on REC retail before January 9.
High school students in the Témiscamingue region, eight hours northeast of Montreal, may live in rural isolation, but they’re informed about cannabis—and they’re sick of adults trying to scare them away from cannabis with exaggerated threats and no acknowledgment of cannabis’s positive side.
Neighbours of a Société Québécoise du Cannabis store in suburban Quebec City complain the store’s customers monopolize parking spaces and leave packaging waste in their wake.
TVA Nouvelles—In French
A Newfoundland Supreme Court judge spared a man caught with three kilograms of dried cannabis from prison time, quoting Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin’” as he gave the man a suspended sentence.
Manitoba Conservative premier Brian Pallister is considering expanding his government’s ban on public cannabis consumption to include oral sprays, oils, and capsules. Pallister was unaware until recently cannabis oil—and oil-based products including oral sprays and capsules—became legal this year, and are not part of edibles legalization due next October.
As a large Tweed store opened in Regina on December 21, 18 local retailers are discussing forming a co-op to give themselves the buying power they need to compete with a store backed by one of the country’s biggest LPs.
Saskatoon raided a MED dispensary, ticketing five.
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act contains a provision allowing First Nations Reserves to request the Ontario Cannabis Store not deliver REC products to their communities.
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