WeedWeek

POLITICS
   

An Edibles Induced Heart Attack?

DDGuy/Wikimedia Commons

Doctors writing in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology noted the case of a New Brunswick 70-year-old with a history of heart problems who suffered a heart attack after consuming three quarters of a 90-milligram THC lollipop (between 18 and 36 times the recommended edibles start-dose of 2.5 to 5 milligrams) to help with osteoathritis.
Vancouver Sun

Correlation Between Early Cannabis Use and Depression/Suicide

A McGill university meta-analysis of studies found roughly 7% of teens and younger adults who use cannabis experience increased risk of depression and suicidal behaviour.
Montreal Gazette, GrowthOp

  • Psychiatrist Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, lead author of the paper, said, “A significant percentage of suicidal attempts are attributable to cannabis. If you have some risk of suicidal ideation, cannabis increases your risk by 50 per cent.”
  • The study found an association rather than a causal relationship between cannabis and depression/suicidal behaviour, though Gobbi said she suspected a causal relationship because the analysis only included studies in which participants reported no previous health issues and developed depression after they began using cannabis.
    Globe and Mail

Cannabis and Sex Go Together
for Most Canadian Users

Robert E. Maurer/Wikimedia Commons

An Ipsos survey of adult cannabis users found 82% used cannabis as part of sex (72% before, 66% after, 44% as foreplay, 57% before masturbating).
CTV News

Nearly 20% Know Someone
Struggling with Opioids

An Angus Reid poll found 17% of Canadians have a close friend or family member who’s struggled with opioid dependence, and 7% have lost someone close to them to an opioid overdose.
Angus Reid

  • Sixty-six percent of Canadians support supervised-injection sites (either strongly or moderately), while 48% are either strongly or moderately in favour of decriminalizing all drugs.
  • Support for compulsory treatment programs was at 85%, despite researchers finding compulsory treatment does not improve outcomes (and may increase the risk of harm).Global News

Quick Hits

  1. Scotiabank analysts estimated 71% of Canadian cannabis sales in 2019 will take place on the illicit market. They said growth would be slowed by supply issues, government inspections, packaging problems, and quality control demands. Financial Post
  1. A 70-year-old London, Ontario pensioner was denied entry to the United States because he was convicted of cannabis possession in British Columbia in 1976. CBC London
  2. Health Canada issued its Cannabis Volunteer Recall Guide for LPs. Lawyer Trina Fraser described it as “like a pre-nup. Hopefully you never need it, but you're happy it's there in case you do.” Health Canada, Twitter
  3. Canadians with MED prescriptions can write off their weed. GrowthOp
  4. Can cannabis users give blood? They can, but they need to be sober. Regina Leader-Post
  5. Those who plan on legally growing their own should plan to get their seeds started indoors in March or April before bringing the plants outside in late May. Here’s a Reddit list of legal REC cultivars available across Canada, who breeds them, and where you can buy the seeds. Toronto Sun
  6. Vice profiled beloved, unrepentant cannabis trafficker (and later CBC reporter) Robert “Rosie” Rowbotham. Before he was sentenced for importing a tonne of hash in 1977, Rowbotham gave an hour-long speech to the court attacking the injustice of prohibition. Vice

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CEO, Critical Mind Inc. Adelanto, CA Affiliations: CA State Bar; Board Member, Adelanto Growers Association
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BUSINESS
   

Aphria Review Finds Conflicting Interests but No Overpayment

Aphria announced it had concluded an internal special-committee review of its LATAM holdings, which found the company purchased those assets at a rate “within an acceptable range as compared to similar acquisitions by competitors,” though on the higher end. Meanwhile, “certain of the non-independent directors of the Company had conflicting interests in the Acquisition that were not fully disclosed to the Board.” As a result, the committee made five recommendations to bolster board independence, which the board agreed to adopt.
Press Release, Financial Post, Bloomberg

  • Meanwhile, “certain of the non-independent directors of the Company had conflicting interests in the acquisition that were not fully disclosed to the Board.” As a result, the committee made five recommendations to bolster board independence, which the board agreed to adopt.
    Press Release, Financial Post, Bloomberg

Canopy Captures
30% Market Share in Q3

Canopy Growth's Q3 revenue rose 282% year-over-year and captured 30% of legal market share.

High Revenues and
20% Market Share for Aurora

Aurora reported higher than expected Q2 revenues, based on sales representing 20% of all legal cannabis sold in Canada since October 17.
Reuters, Bloomberg

US Analysts: MED Won't Succeed
and LPs Overvalued

Analysts at US investment bank Raymond James released a report calling Canadian LPs overvalued by as much as 90%.

  • The bank’s analysts don’t think MED will make as big an impact on the pharmaceutical sector as expected, as it is only supported by evidence in treating a few illnesses.The bank predicts the MED market in Canada will shrink from $204M last year to $152M in 2021. Globe and Mail—Paywall
  • In a CNBC interview, bank representative Dave Novak said, “This is a bubble… LPs right now are trying to justify their egregious valuation by making bold claims of medical efficacy and major medical indications.” CNBC

Quick Hits

  1. Intellectual property lawyers say Leafs by Snoop should worry less whether their brand is similar to that of the Toronto Maple Leafs and more about whether the brand violates Canadian law for marketing cannabis.
  2. Hexo and Molson plan to launch their line of cannabis beverages this fall. Ottawa Business Journal
  3. Lift & Co’s Nick Pateras noted the amount of land used for growing hemp in the US jumped from 25,000 acres in 2017 to 78,000 last year, and some 70% of that was for CBD extraction. China, meanwhile, produces a third of the world’s hemp. “It’s going to be a highly, highly competitive market” for Canadian farmers, Pateras said. Twitter—Nick Pateras
  4. Because it classifies CBD as a nutritional supplement, the US leads Canada (which treats it as a controlled substance) on CBD exports to Brazil. MJ Biz Daily
  5. Many consumers complain legal flower is too dry. LPs are trying to change that. The Leaf

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PROVINCIAL
   

ALBERTA

After questions last week about whether in-store sales promotions and product discounts by Alberta REC stores breached the Cannabis Act, REC retail company High Tide is developing an age-gated system of user accounts that would show cannabis ads only to registered customers.
Globe and Mail—Paywall

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Seniors across BC are interested in trying both MED and REC, driving the popularity of cannabis information sessions for seniors.
Vancouver Sun

SherpaSEO/Wikimedia Commons

After the Star reported on still-illegal THC- and CBD-infused lotions, massage oils, lube, and other intimate products for sale at Vancouver’s Taboo Naughty but Nice Sex Show, show organizers ejected booths selling the items.
The Star

Now that cannabis is legal in Vancouver, the parks board has called for 4/20 celebrations to relocate out of the Vancouver parks to somewhere where smoking is illegal. They passed a motion to ban sale of cannabis during the celebrations, while also asking city council to relocate the event outside of the city’s parks system.
CBC Vancouver

ONTARIO

REC retailers have only a few weeks remaining before the April 1 deadline to open their stores, and insiders expect few will actually be operating by then. Compliance experts say the most likely source of delay is the lottery rules prohibiting franchising or changes to the corporate structure of the company.
The Star

  • Only eight of the 25 lottery winners have made it past the first round of application. The vast majority have partnered with retailers backed by LPs.
    Financial Post

Ontario finance minister Vic Fedeli said there are no plans in sight for more stores beyond the 25 licensed via the REC lottery. Compliance expert Deepak Anand said the province was using the supply shortage as an excuse to slow the retail rollout as they figure out how to organize it.
CityNews

Akwesasne's Indian Way Longhouse is not the ruling political body in the territory, but it claims it has the right under traditional law to license dispensaries in the territory. The ruling Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs does not agree: its police raided the dispensary IWL licensed.
Sudbury Star

The Lombard Glen Golf and Country Club in Eastern Ontario will rebrand itself Rolling Greens as it becomes the country’s first cannabis-friendly golf course. Leafly

LP-greenhouse light pollution is so high in some Ontario towns that it nearly replaces streetlights.
Lift & Co.

The odours from an LP production facility outside London has provoked more than a hundred complaints.
Global News

Ottawa residents near the proposed first legal REC store worry the traffic will change their neighbourhood.
Ottawa Citizen

Windsor won’t likely have a REC store until 2020, and its illicit market is thriving.
Windsor Star

QUEBEC

Bernard Gagnon

The CAQ government began its consultations on Bill 2, the Act that will raise the age for cannabis and ban cannabis smoking in public, but few experts were present in the hearings. Several major expert groups—including the Association of Emergency Medical Specialists, the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, and the Quebec Provincial Police Association (APPQ)—have pulled out.

  • The CAQ blamed the Liberal party for discouraging expert groups, though the APPQ said it could not attend because the hearing was announced at the last minute and would require more research than could be done in the time allotted.
    Le Devoir—In French
  • Government documents show the only groups invited were those that already agree with the law.
    Journal de Montréal—In French
  • Liberal party health critic André Fortin called the commission “a phoney exercise, a sideshow… this consultation is fake.” Fortin claimed Minister Lionel Carmant has said he wants the bill adopted as early as March, which “leaves very little room for discussion of possible amendments.” The Liberals have, nonetheless, invited groups opposed to the law to speak to the commission.
    Montreal Gazette
  • Two public health organizations plan to ask the commission to compromise on age-limits by offering gradual cannabis access between the ages of 18 and 21.
    CTV News
  • Quebec’s National Institute of Public Health warned raising the age would result in “the judicialization of young adults […] consumption of cannabis from clandestine sources, without quality control [… and] exposure of young people to resellers who could offer potentially riskier substances.”
    La Presse—In French
  • During the third day of the commission, Carmant (a pediatric neurosurgeon) said he doubted any substances were as dangerous as cannabis for the brains of young people.
    Twitter—Annabelle Blais—In French
  • Carmant said that regardless of testimony by witnesses to the commission, he will still raise the age of use to 21.
    Journal de Québec—In French

The US$2B San Francisco company JUUL Labs (maker of Juul nicotine-vaporizers) has registered itself as a lobbyist in Quebec on Bill 2. The company was originally a subsidiary of cannabis-vaporizer company PAX, but was spun off into its own entity in 2017. It's unclear why JUUL, whose products contain nicotine, would be interested in Bill 2, which only limits cannabis smoking and vaping. To date the company has made no contact with the Ministry of Health.
La Presse—In French

MARITIMES

Coastal Elite/Wikimedia Commons

Nova Scotia is looking into increasing its number of REC retail stores since so few people are buying online. Finance minister Karen Casey said the government hoped to open stores in underserved areas of the province.
Chronicle-Herald, Cape Breton Post

PRAIRIES

While 51 Saskatchewan stores received the go-ahead to apply for REC retail permits last summer, only 20 have actually opened.
980 CJME

A Saskatchewan man is going to a judge-only trial for selling illicit cannabis he said was MED for patients who had difficulty accessing it through the federal MED system. His clientele, he said, was mostly homeless and low-income customers who could not afford the minimum-order amounts, did not have fixed addresses, or could not wait for delivery. He was charged in 2016.
CBC Saskatoon

Two Saskatchewan hunters were fined and banned from hunting for two years after they drove into a foot-access-only wildlife habitat with loaded rifles in a vehicle that smelled strongly of recently enjoyed cannabis. Cannabis was found in the vehicle.
CTV News

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