WeedWeek

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POLITICS
   

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Jesse Staniforth
Edibles at WeedWeek's Las Vegas Party

Edibles Regs: Very Strict and
Just In Time For Christmas

Health Canada released draft regulations covering the sale of cannabis edibles and extracts. (Here, the new regs are laid out in a chart.) A 60-day period of public comment opened on Thursday.
Health Canada, CTV News, Twitter—Mike Hager

Bonify Busted

Following a recall I noted last week, Winnipeg LP Bonify has been accused of buying 200 kilograms of cannabis on the illicit market and selling it as legally produced.

  • The product recalled last week was allegedly from the illicit supply. Selling illegal cannabis is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, and if the allegations are true, Bonify will likely lose its licenses to grow and sell .
    The Leaf
  • Bonify’s board of directors said the process of testing the recalled product “revealed irregularities.”
  • On Thursday, Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Authority suspended the sale of Bonify products.
    CBC Winnipeg
  • Manitoba seized all of Bonify’s cannabis products. Conservative premier Brian Pallister called the event “a black day” for legal cannabis. He blamed the federal Liberal government for communicating poorly with his government, and added, “This is the kind of thing that happens when initiatives like this are rushed.”
    CTV News
  • On Friday, the Leaf quoted a Health Canada representative confirming Bonify sold "unapproved cannabis products" in Saskatchewan.
  • During unnanounced inspections between December 11 and 14, Health Canada seized eight lots of cannabis.
  • Health Canada also said Bonify's board of directors "removed company executives," and brought in RavenQuest BioMed as a third-party oversight consultant. The Leaf

We Told You So

Business editors and reporters voted REC legalization the Canadian Press business news story of the year.
Financial Post

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Presidencia de la República Mexicana

Trudeau: Sunny Weed,
My Friends (By Next Year)

Justin Trudeau said he expected supply shortages would be sorted out within a year.
Chronicle-Herald

  • Trudeau noted the provinces most hostile to legalization were suffering the greatest shortages, and blamed “the local political classes, you know, the chattering classes,” who were later “caught flat footed without enough of a supply.”
    National Post
  • The process producers must follow to get licensed remains months-long—including rigorous background checks for everyone involved, and two full harvests cycles inspected by Health Canada—which may extend the shortage.
    Chronicle Herald

Lawyers: “Now The Fun Begins”

Now that cannabis is legal, the fine details of legalization will have to be hammered out in legal cases across all areas of law in which cannabis could be a factor. These won’t just be individual cases such as impaired driving, fights over landlords’ rights to ban cannabis, or labour disputes in which a person claims to have been stigmatized as a cannabis user. The whole range of Canadian law will be affected.
National Post

  • Among the most complicated will be Indigenous issues, which were left entirely out of the Cannabis Act Bill C-45, and therefore remain unresolved. The battle over First Nations’ rights to sovereignty in dealing with cannabis within their territories will be significant.
  • Bill C-45 only passed at the 11th hour thanks to last-minute promises to the Senate Aboriginal Peoples’ committfrom Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor ee that they would resolve uncertainties related to excise taxes and other Indigenous community concerns soon after the bill was passed. Expect First Nations leaders to begin asking the government to make good on those promises soon. The discussion that follows will be very long, and very complicated.
    The Star

Paying Duty on Medicine

Canadians have long associated duties with luxury items like liquor, cigarettes, and fine perfumes. For that reason, MED users receiving their products with “Duty Paid” stickers and their supporters are irate the government chose not to exempt them from paying excise duties.
Twitter, CBC Saskatchewan

Quick hits

1. Many Canadians are concerned that using their credit cards to buy cannabis may get them banned from the United States and other countries. The federal privacy commissioner issued guidelines for cannabis transactions this week suggesting worried buyers should use cash, which is only possible in physical stores—ruling out all Ontario buyers and most of British Columbians.
Global News

2. The Canadian Automobile Association released a PSA against driving high that was instantly mocked for its cartoonish depiction of people under the influence of cannabis.

3The Toronto Star editorial board assailed all three levels of government for making cannabis “harder to get than ever […] either through bureaucratic incompetence or actual design.”

4. Female-executives’ association the Boss Ladies of Cannabis are running a #MeToo survey for women in the cannabis sector to report their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.
Boss Ladies of Cannabis

5. Canadian Blood Services said cannabis users are welcome to donate blood, provided they are sober at the time.
CBC PEI

6. A peer-reviewed paper concluded unbranded cannabis packaging with health-warning labels were the most likely to “reduce brand appeal and increase health knowledge among young adults.” The study subjects were all University of Calgary students.
BMC Public Health, The Leaf

7. According to a Lift & Co. survey, 10% of Canadians plan to give the gift of cannabis this Christmas—fewer in Quebec (8%), and more in Alberta and Manitoba (12%).

8. Illicit producers are now packaging their wares according to Health Canada regs, in order to appear legitimate.
Twitter

9. Vice compared the USA’s legal edibles scene with Canada’s underground edibles.

10. Aggressive anti-cannabis internet servers are blocking users trying to access WeedsCanada.ca, a website categorizing farm weeds operated by a 93-year-old retired Agriculture Canada employee and weeds-enthusiast.
Ottawa Citizen

New Podcast Episode

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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 Partners with
Labatt/AB InBev

Tilray announced a joint venture with Labatt Breweries of Canada (a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer) to produce non-alcoholic cannabis beverages. Each partner will contribute C$67.5M.
Financial Post, Wall Street Journal—Paywall

Tilray also announced a global supply and distribution agreement with Novartis subsidiary Sandoz, in the first internatikonalmajor deal between and LP and a pharmaceutical producer.
MarketWatch

Alefia Acquires Emblem

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Giovanni Aprea
Julian Fantino, 2012

Aleafia acquired Emblem, its products, and customer service/ecommerce platform in an $173.2M all-share transaction that will create the largest network of MED clinics in Canada out of two of Canada's most controversial MED companies. Emblem was founded by the former president of Purdue Pharma Canada, who presided over the company during the years it was, according to the US Justice Department, “fraudulently misbrand[ing] Oxycontin.” Aleafia has as its chairman longtime cannabis opponent and former Toronto Police Services chief Julian Fantino. I wrote about each company’s history for WeedWeek.
Press Release, Globe and Mail, CBC Toronto, WeedWeek Canada

Ascent Appeals License Loss

Vancouver LP Ascent Industries appealed a Health Canada decision to strip its subsidiary Agrima Botanicals of its production and sales licenses for engaging in “unauthorized activities with cannabis.”

Quick Hits

1. US-based Cannabis Benchmarks launched a Canadian wholesale cannabis benchmark price.
Bloomberg

  • The Canada Cannabis Spot Index was $7.79 per gram.

2. RBC Capital Markets—which was hesitant to deal with cannabis due to its US business—announced it will be advising on stock sales and arranging takeovers in the sector.
Bloomberg

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3. US-based companies represent 60% of all funds raised by cannabis companies on the CSE from January through October, while American investors are the second-largest source of funding (behind Ontario-based investors).
The Star

4. A third law firm launched a class-action against Aphria—though unlike the firms behind the previous two class action suits, this one’s located in Canada.
Financial Post

6. Canopy will enter the US CBD market following the Farm Bill that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
CNBC

7. Hexo applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
Globe Newswire

8. Boston-based cross-border cannabis infrastructure company TILT holdings—whose president I interviewed last week as the company listed the CSE—announced US$6.28M financing from Weston Capital.
Financial Post

9. CannTrust CEO Peter Aceto (formerly CEO of Tangerine Bank) said his company hired 300 workers this year, and encouraged job-seekers from other sectors with transferable skills to seek a place for themselves in the industry.
Globe and Mail

10. Cannabis At Work partnered with Global Governance Advisors to run a third annual cannabis industry compensation survey for 2019. The two organizations are collecting informationincludes base-salary data, benefits, incentives, and executive compensation for roles from ranging from executive to production and processing.
NewsWire

11. La Presse had erotic THC massage oil from HighOnLove laboratory tested and concluded it contained ten times less than the THC it was labelled to contain. They also had three women test the oil, and all three concluded the product delivered no results for them.

  • A sexologist interviewed for the article said, “Physiologically, this does not hold water. Of course, if you rub the clitoris with any oil, it will cause an effect.”
    La Presse—In French

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PROVINCIAL
   

ALBERTA

Belgian-turned-Calgarian chocolatier Bernard Callebaut hopes the coming edibles market will help him rebuild his brand after losing his Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut business to creditors, and later declaring bankruptcy.
Calgary Herald

Alberta REC retailers are hiring a lot of middle-age budtenders.
The Star

An Edmonton REC retailer is fighting the provincial government to keep a “smoke-cloak” security system that fills the premises with smoke in order to thwart theft.
CTV News

BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC failed to grasp the extent of the demand for cannabis, Premier John Horgan, and the province will change its sales and distribution system in the new year.
Times-Colonist

The province released a factsheet on where British Columbians may use cannabis.

WorkSafe BC made health and safety in cannabis production the cover story on the November/December issue of its magazine.

Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart believes last week’s BC Supreme Court decision outlawing unlicensed dispensaries means the stores need either to join the legal regime or bow out.

  • However he added the city had no desire to shut the stores down with police, and hoped they’d realize “the jig is up.”
    CBC Vancouver
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Public Domain

Vancouver may approve its first REC retailers within a week, though they won’t be able to open for a few more months due to the time required to secure a municipal business license.
Global News

Chilliwack Search and Rescue reiterated that mixing cannabis and hiking is dangerous, and called an Ontario PR firm “irresponsible” for encouraging users to use certain strains while hiking specific mountains.
Abbotsford News

ONTARIO

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Wayne Wilkinson
Empty Store Front

The Ford government’s about-face on REC retail, from promising unlimited licenses for stores across the province to allowing only 25, has aspiring retailers smarting. In Ottawa, an entrepreneur is stuck with two leases on stores, while other larger players may be stuck with many more leases. (Choom Holdings has 20.) Lawyer Trina Fraser noted the high stakes created by the small number of retailers will mean “If you don't have those very deep pockets of a large, corporate retail venture, you could be in a tough spot right now.”

Coffee shop chain Coffee Time intends to spend $1.3M to convert 10 Ontario locations into REC retailers.
CTV News

Toronto mayor John Tory complained the province of Ontario has contributed virtually none of the funding the city needs to cover the costs of legalization.
The Star

Toronto cannabis activist Tracy Curley noted Ontario’s Ford government announced its 25-store REC retail limit the same day they announced their plan to allow corner stores to sell beer and wine.
Twitter

Despite their landlord being charged following a November 29 raid, London dispensary London Relief Centre reopened the week of December 3. Police raided again on December 13.
London Free Press

QUEBEC

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The Mohawk territories of Kahnawake and Kanehsatake are both located just outside Montreal, but despite sharing a culture and language, the two territories take different approaches to cannabis. I broke down some of the differences earlier this week.
WeedWeek Canada

Only 10 of the 110 products for sale on the Société Québécoise du Cannabis website are actually in stock.
Le Quotidien—In French

Some doctors in Quebec—especially in conservative areas like Quebec City—are not comfortable prescribing cannabis, and so have sent patients to the Société Québécoise du Cannabis, whose workers are neither trained nor allowed to discuss the use of their REC products for medical purposes.

  • The Quebec College of Physicians reminded readers doctors can refuse to offer cannabis, but must refer patients to a specialist who will.
    TVA Nouvelles—In French

Quebec addictions specialists decried the political and media fixation on cannabis, which they said dismissed or diminished discussion of the harms of alcohol, which are acute for young people.
Radio-Canada—In French

The new director of the Montreal police said tracking those who consume cannabis in public will not be a priority for his department, particularly because if the CAQ succeeds in banning public consumption, the Montreal police will not have enough officers to enforce the law.
Le Devoir—In French

MARITIMES

Newfoundland and Labrador (population 528,817) spent $6M on cannabis in the first six weeks of legalization. CBC Newfoundland

PRAIRIES

Conservative Manitoba premier Brian Pallister plans to demand his government enforce provincial “social responsibility” fees on First Nations REC retailers.

Manitoba is holding focus groups about edibles.
CBC Manitoba

Opaskwayak Cree Nation delivered $9M in debt financing to National Access Cannabis/Meta Cannabis Supply.
Regina Leader-Post

Regina police admitted legal REC isn’t as much of a problem as they expected it would be.
CBC Saskatchewan

THE NORTH

Not much happened in Northern cannabis news this week. Here’s a story about the two spruce trees in Iqaluit, a city where most vegetation gets killed by the cold. (Even the hardiest ruderalis strains would never survive there.)
Globe and Mail