WeedWeek
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POLITICS
   

Pressure Mounts on Feds
to End MED Tax

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CFAMM

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana escalated their Don’t Tax Medicine campaign calling on the Federal government to end the MED excise tax.

Toronto Med Officer of Health:
No Candy Edibles

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Thomas Rosenau/Wikimedia Commons

Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa called for Ottawa to ban candies, gummies, and candy-flavoured cannabis vape products that could appeal to children. She reflected on the number of cases of accidental cannabis consumption in the US, in urging a ban on cannabis products “appealing to children due to their colour or shape.” De Villa called for the federal government to ban ads for vape products from areas where youth could access them, and to ban “marketing materials showing cannabis use in movies and video games.”
CBC Toronto, CTV News

Cannabis is Complicated Business for Native Communities

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Jesse Staniforth

The second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference took place in Ottawa this week, and I attended on Wednesday, where I had some great conversations and heard complex discussions about the state of cannabis among Indigenous communities.

  • First Nations—and Inuit and Métis—communities understand themselves as politically sovereign nations, and do not wish to answer to the Canadian or provincial governments on matters such as deciding what can or can’t be sold on their land.
  • The mood was tenser and more political than non-Indigenous cannabis conventions. Many attendees were openly suspicious of both LPs and more economically successful First Nations who were discussing the available opportunities available.
  • Questions at Q&A sessions returned to the underlining realities of poverty that make most First Nations ineligible for any stake in the cannabis bonanza. However, it remained clear some communities are set up to profit handily from legalization.

Quick Hits

  1. Though they promised in October to table a bill to fast-track pardons for cannabis convictions, the federal Liberals have not done so. Even if they had, such a bill would not expunge convictions, meaning they would still be available to many parties, including US Customs and Border Patrol.
    The Leaf
  2. Most Canadian cannabis websites are tracking their users’ data, though in some cases the companies responsible are not even aware which trackers their web designers have allowed.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  3. Researchers are trying to determine what effect combining cannabis with alcohol will have on driving.
    The Star
  4. Cannabis educators are selling out crowds at seniors’ centres.
    CTV News
  5. Cannabis is now controlled by federal and provincial governments, which makes those governments liable for lawsuits over poor or mislabelled cannabis products. LPs, too, are open to cannabis product-liability class action suits, which insiders expect to increase in coming years.
    Huffington Post, Mondaq
  6. In provinces where home growing is legal, you can give your friend cannabis you grew yourself so long as you don’t accept any money for it. However, if you give your friend a plant, be aware that it can’t be legally transported once it’s budding or flowering.
    The Leaf

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52. Buck Angel: From Porn Star to “Tranpa”

This week Alex and Donnell sit down with LGBTQ activist and cannabis entrepreneur Buck Angel to talk about the queer community's role in cannabis legalization, Buck's experience being the first trans man in LA to have hormone replacement therapy, and how he made his way from porn star to public figure. Plus, CBD is on the rise.

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BUSINESS
   

Tilray Acquires World's Biggest
Hemp Foods Producer

Tilray moved to acquire Hemp Hearts–producer Manitoba Harvest for $419M in cash and stock,


Namaste, Dollinger Mend Fences

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Sean Dollinger/Wikimedia Commons
Sean Dollinger and friends

After alleging two weeks ago that founding CEO Sean Dollinger breached his fiduciary duty and personally enriched himself, Namaste Technologies reached a settlement with Dollinger in return for Dollinger withdrawing his application for an injunction against Namaste. Financial Post

Quick Hits

  1. Cannabis spot prices hit an all-time low, thanks to declining demand.
    Bloomberg
  2. Legalization focused on THC products, with CBD largely not discussed. Now large numbers of Canadians want CBD and can’t get it reliably or legally.
    Financial Post
  3. There are millions to be made in hemp-derived CBD, which is why the industry is lobbying Ottawa to remove its controlled status.
    National Post
  4. Canopy hopes to have hemp-derived CBD on the US market by the final quarter of 2019 or Q1 2020.
    CTV News
  5. Canopy also plans to launch a wide array of products following the legalization of edibles, concentrates and topicals anticipated in October. Its products will include edibles, beverages, oil-vaping pens, and “hard pills” which are different from the softgel pills now available.
    Bloomberg
  6. AltaCorp Capital predicts that demand for MED will decline and LPs will shift their focus to higher-margin products like edibles.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  7. Together Canopy and Aurora represent 50% of the Canadian supply of Canadian cannabis, while the pair plus Tilray and Aphria sell 70% of the country’s cannabis.
    MJ Biz Daily
  8. Trichome Financial, a debt-financing company run by a former Goldman Sachs employee, has $100M to invest in Canadian cannabis firms.
    Financial Post
  9. Groceries-and-lifestyle retailer Loblaw may decide to focus more on cannabis.
    Bloomberg
  10. The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) has $153B net assets and is buying into Aurora, Canopy, Cronos, and Aphria.
    MJ Biz Daily
  11. Equipment for drying and curing cannabis has increased in popularity. A new report by Grand View Research predicts demand for such equipment will increase by 10.4% by 2025, for a market size of USD$157.1M. Growth Op
  12. Physical stores are critical to REC retail success, says Brock University business prof Michael J. Armstrong. The fact that there are none yet in Ontario, Armstrong argued in a separate article, explains why the illicit market remains so strong in that province.
    The Conversation, NOW Toronto
  13. Cannabis websites registered with GoDaddy.com have increased by 700%.
    The Province
  14. Provided they’re given fair access to the marketplace, craft cannabis companies may well succeed for the same reasons as craft beer: consumers like products that are “unique, locally-produced and, often, higher in quality,” said Ryan Stoa, author of Craft Cannabis: Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry.
    MarketWatch

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PROVINCIAL
   

ALBERTA

An Edmonton councillor described legalization as a “non-event,” with more tickets handed out for tobacco infractions than cannabis.
Edmonton Journal

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GoToVan/Wikimedia Commons

Aurora will open a retail store in the West Edmonton Mall, provoking outrage from US anti-cannabis group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which said such the store shouldn’t be allowed since “There are kids that are congregating at the mall.” (The mall already contains three tobacconists, a vape store, a liquor store, and a casino.)
CTV News

BRITISH COLUMBIA

The BC Centre on Substance Use called for opioid compassion clubs styled on cannabis compassion clubs to sell regulated heroin to opioid users. The BCCSU believes a regulated supply would stem the overdose crisis by helping users avoid fentanyl sold as less potent or desirable drugs.
Vancouver Sun, Youtube

ONTARIO

Ontario’s mandatory four-hour course for REC retailers teaches things like identifying stoned customers through their dry mouths and tendency tofumbling with items. The goal of the course is to help retail employees identified impaired customers within 15 to 20 seconds.
CBC Toronto, Financial Post, Yahoo Finance

The mayors of several Ontario municipalities argue they aren’t receiving their fair share of provincial funding for cannabis. They say they need funds for increased policing and “social issues” related to legalization.
London Free Press

Though LPs weren’t allowed to enter the REC retail lottery, one of the lottery winners in London, ON, has applied to open a Tweed-branded store. Tweed has 11 stores in Newfoundland and Manitoba, and has the right to open five more in Saskatchewan.

Nova Cannabis stressed its REC licensing deal with Toronto lottery winner Heather Conlon was not a franchise, but rather an arrangement in which the company will “help her out with some of the construction, training... but it's her store.”
CTV News

Alberta REC retailer Fire & Flower partnered with a REC lottery winner in Ottawa in a deal worth at least $1M.
Global News, Ottawa Citizen

QUEBEC

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André Querry/Wikimedia Commons
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante

Quebec’s National Assembly began its second week of consultations on Bill 2, the CAQ government’s proposed law to increase of the age of cannabis consumption to 21 from 18 and ban cannabis smoking in public places.

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Jesse Staniforth
Example of Image Now Illegal in Quebec

When Quebec criminalized the sale of items bearing cannabis leaves or any words or images connected with cannabis last fall, many wondered whether the change was accidental (as it had not appeared in earlier drafts of Quebec’s Cannabis Act). The Quebec government has proven serious about enforcing the new law, however, and the Ministry of Health and Social Services has now given out four fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 to stores, including one whose infraction was selling beauty items with the word “cannabis” on them.

  • Montreal head-shop chain Prohibition is among those challenging the law legally. Co-owner Christopher Mennillo reported the government asked him to delay his legal challenge. “They don’t even understand their own law!” Mennillo said.
    CTV News, Vice Quebec—In French

Representatives of the Quebec National First Aid Institute (INSQ) want to educate ski-patrollers about the effects of cannabis, which they believe may change the kinds of emergencies patrollers encounter on the ski slope.
Radio Canada—In French

MARITIMES

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation reportedQ3 sales were up 9.2%. Sales from October 1 to December 30 added up to $163.5M, with cannabis representing $17.4M in sales.
Vancouver Sun

A study by PEI-based LP FIGR found Atlantic Canadians have increased their enthusiasm for REC since legalization, with 67% saying it is more socially acceptable since October 17.

  • As well, 53% believe cannabis has had a positive economic effect on the region, and 57% believe the industry will provide opportunities for Maritime farmers.
    NewsWire

The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre partnered with Nova Scotia LP Biome Grow to provide specialized training for Indigenous Nova Scotians hoping to work in cannabis.
CBC Nova Scotia

The Coast profiled illicit Halifax cannabis dealers, who say their business has increased since legalization.
The Coast

A PEI appeals court found lower courts failed to take into account the family and Indigenous history of a 20-year-old PEI man convicted of cannabis trafficking when they sentenced him to 90 days in prison for possession of 15 grams of cannabis at a Charlottetown high school.
CBC PEI

  • Courts have responsibilities to Indigenous defendants set out in the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Gladue decision, which stressed courts must consider issues specific to Indigenous community life and experiences in sentencing Indigenous offenders, who are disproportionately represented in Canadian prison populations.The appeal court concluded the Gladue report “sufficiently illustrated the link between [the convicted man’s] Aboriginal heritage and the reason for a reduction of his moral blameworthiness in relation to the offence.”


PRAIRIES

Manitoba RCMP have given 75 cannabis-related tickets since legalization, but they say they know much more cannabis is being used in vehicles, and many more are driving impaired.
Global News

For the moment, drunk- and distracted-driving tickets are more common than cannabis-related offenses.
CBC Manitoba

Winnipeg got its first physician-led cannabis clinic.
Global News

A Saskatchewan REC store has brought in a bin to recycle cannabis packaging from all LPs.
CTV News

THE NORTH

The Yukon is shifting to a private REC retail model and is now taking applications for retail licenses. The applications are long and challenging.
CBC North