WeedWeek

POLITICS
   

Bill Blair, Health Canada: “There’s No National Supply Shortage”

Daniel Ramirez

Bill Blair stood by his previous statements about the cannabis supply shortage being over, claiming, “The data is clear: there remains sufficient supply and demand [sic] to meet and exceed existing demand.”

Don’t Expect Edibles and Vape Pens to Be Available October 17, said Blair

Lindsay Fox

Bill Blair admitted that while edibles, concentrates, and topicals will be “permitted for legal sale” no later than October 17, as the law requires, they may not actually be available for sale at that time.
Bloomberg

  • He noted the government waited 17 weeks to open legal REC flower-and-oil sales after passing the Cannabis Act in June, but would not say whether a gap between edibles being legalized and being available for sale could be weeks or months long.
  • The government can legalize edibles and other products earlier than October 17, but regardless of when they do, LPs will need to give 60 days written notice that they plan to begin production of new cannabis products.
  • David Brown tweeted, “This is an oft-overlooked point. It's not that sales will 'miss' a target date, but that the target date/coming into force will be the start date for producers to begin making these products. Don't expect edibles in stores on day one as they likely won't exist yet.”

Conflict of Interest Accusations Drive ex-Head of the Liberal Party of Canada out of Nesta

Ian McKay, former national director for the Liberal Party of Canada turned inaugural head of the foreign-investment-promotions agency Invest In Canada, resigned from the board of cannabis private-equity firm Nesta Holdings after Conflict of Interest Commissioner Mario Dion accused him of not fully informing Ottawa of his business activities in the 60 days following his being named CEO.
The Star

Health Canada: “MED in Pharmacies? That Could Happen.”

Health Canada is open to selling MED at pharmacies, but it would require individual provinces and pharmacy regulators to all sign on in support.

  • The Canadian Pharmacists Association supports pharmacists selling MED provided there are clear distinctions between MED and REC streams, including different products and prices.
  • Many other pharmacists’ groups are in favour of introducing MED to their practices as well, though some argue it needs to be subject to the same review process as other drugs.
    GrowthOp

Quick Hits

  1. Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana amped up its Don’t Tax Medicine campaign and called on MED users to share their stories.
    Twitter—CFAMM
  2. Though cannabis addiction is a real concern, a senior Centre for Addiction and Mental Health scientist said we won’t know for another year and a half whether there has been any actual increase in cannabis addiction since legalization.
    Toronto Sun
  3. Researchers are split on whether organizations like the Canadian Lung Association should take money for research from cannabis companies—whose products are often smoked.
    CMAJ News
  4. Helen Long, president of the Canadian Health Food Association, called for Health Canada to regulate CBD as a health supplement rather than a drug.
    Hill Times—Paywall
  5. In celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy president Kira London-Nadeau tweeted a series of facts about LGBTQ2 people and their various relationships with both REC and MED.
    Twitter—Kira London-Nadeau
  6. Legalization is changing the way parents talk to their kids about cannabis.
    GrowthOp
  7. Researchers are trying to figure out how to accurately measure cannabis impairment through other means than THC presence in body fluids.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  8. Light pollution from cannabis greenhouses is blocking out the stars and changing the colour of evening clouds.
    CBC Technology & Science
  9. Scholar/activist Jenna Valleriani criticised cannabis conferences for shutting out attendance by low-income groups.
    GrowthOp

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Editor Note

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Thank you to WeedWeek's Patreon Supporters! Sam Cornwall
Co-Founder/Photographer, Cannabis In Color Boutique Photo Service for the Industry, providing Custom and Stock Photos. 
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Pamela Hadfield
Co-Founder, HelloMD HelloMD: The largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers
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Spencer Vodnoy
CEO, Critical Mind Inc.  Adelanto, CA Affiliations: CA State Bar; Board Member, Adelanto Growers Association
Critical Mind, Inc. is a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Manufacturing Facility located in Adelanto, CA. Providing the highest quality Cannabis products. Compliance without Compromise!
criticalmindinc.com

BUSINESS
   

Ex-Hiku CEO turned Canopy CRO Surprises with Abrupt Departure

Hiku Brands’ CEO Alan Gertner became Canopy’s Chief Retail Officer when Canopy bought Tokyo Smoke parent company Hiku last July. Gertner surprised colleagues last week by announcing he was leaving his post after less than six months for a sabbatical and time with his family.

  • Though the company is still opening REC retailers cross country, a Canopy spokesperson said they have no plans to replace Gertner.
  • Midas Media’s Benjamin A. Smith noted “Canopy has an 18% market share across pot e-commerce websites in five provinces, the biggest among Canada’s pot producers,” and said despite Gertner’s positive words about the company, the question is “‘why now’ with Canopy about to explode.”
    Financial Post, Bloomberg, Twitter—Benjamin A. Smith


ACMPR Growers Slow to Transition to New System

Half the country’s ACMPR growers had not begun shifting to the new Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System by the end of 2018. While 409 have begun the transition, 430 have not, and run the risk of having their licenses put “on hold.”

Organigram Continues Rebuilding Strong

Organigram’s Q1 net revenue was up to $12.4M over last year’s Q1 $2.4M, representing a 419% increase—but these figures also reflect the haggard shape the company was in after they were forced to make a recall in 2016 and faced a class-action suit in 2017.
Financial Post, Motley Fool

Luxury REC LP Flowr Bets on Clones

Kelowna, BC luxury-REC LP Flowr expects there will be significant demand for clones, and the company is preparing with a grow room devoted to producing clones for home growers, craft growers, and LPs in need of genetics.
Bloomberg, Global News

Quick Hits

  1. The value of mergers and acquisitions in Canada increased 20% year-over-year in 2018, while the volume of transactions increased by 8%.
    La Presse—In French
  2. American cannabis companies on the CSE raised close to $2B in 2018 over 50 equity-related transactions.
    MJ Biz Daily
  3. US investment funds with US$100B in assets or more are increasingly interested in lending to Canadian LPs as a means of learning the REC market before it becomes legal in the United States.
    Bloomberg
  4. Polling company Nielsen Canada conducted online surveys between December and January and with the data predicted Canadians will spend $2B on legal REC in the first year of legalization, lower than others' estimates.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  5. Analysts continue to predict the next major wave of business activity in the cannabis sector will involve an inrush of multinational pharmaceutical companies.
    MJ Biz Daily
  6. Aurora beat out Apple as the favourite stock traded on Robinhood, a stock-exchange app popular with millennials.
    Markets Insider
  7. Aurora is advocating for MED reform in France.
    Grizzle
  8. Aphria made up for the losses it suffered following December’s short-seller attacks. Green Growth Brands, which tabled its takeover bid last week but offered less than Aphria’s shares were worth, said it would be open to improving its offer.
    Bloomberg
  9. Canaccord Genuity’s co-head of mergers and acquisitions said he spends “120% of his time” on cannabis deals, compared to virtually none three years ago. The bank led or partnered on 47 cannabis-sector deals last year.
    Financial Post
  10. Despite shortages, REC retailer Nova Cannabis offered significant discounts in Alberta to get rid of unpopular items.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  11. The Globe profiled Constellation Brands and its investment in Canopy.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall
  12. Canopy’s stock has soared since it entered into the US hemp market.
    Motley Fool
  13. CEO Bruce Linton said he did not believe the US would ever federally legalize REC.
    Yahoo Finance
  14. Edibles producers warned Health Canada regulations demanding maximum 10mg THC per container will produce even more wasteful packaging.
    Calgary Herald
  15. Other edibles producers protested the 10mg THC cap, which they said was too low a dose and would encourage consumers to buy stronger infused products on the illicit market.
    The Star
  16. The cannabis sector is “starved for workers,” 48 North VP operations Jeanine Lassaline-Berglund told a University of Guelph job fair.
    Sudbury.com
  17. The winner of the lottery to assign the POT stock ticker was Weekend Unlimited, which already has the reasonably bitchin’ YOLO stock ticker. Weekend United’s stock rocketed by 137% after it announced it had won the ticker.
    GrowthOp, CBC Business
  18. CBC commentator (and brother of comedian Norm) Neil McDonald called the legal cannabis industry “A clanking, wheezing, government-created Rube Goldberg machine.”
    CBC News

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PROVINCIAL
   

ALBERTA

Owners of some of Alberta’s existing REC stores are criticizing the province for its decision to issue 10 new REC retail licenses. They say they’re barely able to restock with orders down by as much as 50% in the last month.
Global News

Calgary will hold the country’s first cannabis wedding convention—the Canadian Cannabis Wedding Expo—this spring.
Global News

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Allegations of sexual impropriety by self-appointed “prince of pot” Marc Emery continued to emerge.
Vice News

Barinder Rasode

Last week I profiled Surrey, BC communicator, educator, and politician Barinder Rasode and her call for good-faith discussions with cannabis opponents. This week, news broke she would be CEO of the newly announced BC Small Cannabis Producer and Processor Co-op, a partnership between her cannabis accelerator Grow Tech Labs and Vancouver AI/blockchain company Victory Square Technologies. The co-op hopes to “help maintain the province’s historic position as a global cannabis leader.”
Surrey Now

A public meeting in BC’s North Okanagan region was overwhelmed by more than 100 locals angry over the plan to build a 100,000 square-foot cannabis production facility in a rural area.
Vernon Morning Star

The Vancouver Courier profiled Evergreen Cannabis, the city’s first legal REC retailer. Vancouver Courier

ONTARIO

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released a FAQ for aspiring REC store owners. It answered questions like “Do we need a separate age-verification room?” (no), and “Can I allow customers to order cannabis products online but require they pick it up in store?” (definitely not—online is the domain of the province alone).
CBC Toronto

The Ontario Cannabis Store announced a public tender for insurance and risk-management services.
MJ Biz Daily

An analyst and a research fellow from free-market thinktank the C. D. Howe Institute called for the Ontario government to either hold a second-round lottery or give additional retail go-aheads to those on the wait-list following the last lottery.
Globe and Mail—Paywall

SFernandez

Metrolinx, the GTA’s regional transportation agency responsible for GO Trains, banned all workers in “safety sensitive positions” from using REC even in off hours. The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union called the policy an overreach into workers’ private lives and said they were considering suing Metrolinx.
CTV News

Many mid-sized Ontario municipalities—including Kitchener, London, and Windsor—are likely to be shut out of REC retail following the provincial lottery. Brock Professor Michael Armstrong argued the province’s LPs should be able to open farm-gate retail sites in their production facilities throughout the region, since this would not place them in conflict with lottery winners.
London Free Press

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson called for more federal pot tax revenues to go directly to municipalities rather than federal and provincial governments.
Radio-Canada—In French

Tamara Hirsh, owner of a now-closed illicit dispensary chain in the Hamilton area and a MED chain in Jamaica, says Ontario REC retail lottery winners should band together to create a national brand, which would allow them to share expenses.
Hamilton Spectator

Having briefly reopened in a new location after its four locations were raided and 25 staff charged, Hamilton dispensary Georgia Peach announced its physical locations would remain closed, but its online and delivery services would continue operating.
CBC Hamilton, Global News

Wiarton held its first curling-and-cannabis bongspiel, with curlers ducking out to a tent across the street to enjoy their stashes. The event was a success, with no complaints from the community, and organizers are planning another one even as curling clubs throughout the region signal their interest in holding bongspiels of their own.
Leafly

QUEBEC

Quebec trade-union federation CSN failed in its attempt to unionize all SQDC workers not already engaged in union drives. Picking up where CSN left off, the Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed an application for national certification covering workers across multiple branches.
La Presse—In French

Quebec’s poison control centre said incidents of excessive-cannabis-intoxication have more than tripled since legalization, with 89 instances in October through December compared with 25 incidents in the same period the previous year.
Radio-Canada—In French

On February 9, Temiskaming First Nation (eight hours northwest of Montreal) will hold a referendum to decide whether to allow a band-run dispensary in their territory. Ahead of their decision, nearby non-Indigenous town Notre-Dame-du-Nord signalled its discomfort with the prospect of an on-Reserve dispensary and argued the proposed location was too close to its municipal limits. The regional municipality said it supported the town.
Radio-Canada—In French

A friend who lives in Montreal’s Parc Ex borough—a neighbourhood of immigrant communities—reported that since legalization, he’s begun seeing stickers reading “Smoking weed is haram [forbidden by the Koran]” around the neighbourhood and in local metro stations.
Leafly

MARITIMES

Newfoundland and Labrador cannabis authority NLC warned shortages will continue for another six months or more.
CBC Newfoundland

Newfoundland lost its first private REC retailer since legalization—only one of six private REC retailers in the territory, all supplied by seven of the country’s 147 LPs.
Canada.com

  • The store’s business manager blamed the supply shortage, and added LPs were only shipping cultivars with 11% to 15% THC, when most customers wanted products with greater than 20%.
    Financial Post

Despite having the country’s highest per-capita spending on cannabis, PEI has also increased its liquor sales since legalization.
CBC PEI

PRAIRIES

Saskatoon police debuted their Draeger DrugTest 5000, the controversial saliva-testing device that does not indicate impairment or work in weather colder than 4 degrees. (Temperatures in Saskatoon are expected to drop below -36 on Tuesday.)
Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Global News

THE NORTH

Over the 78 days cannabis was legally available in the last months of 2018, it was the third most popular legal intoxicant for sale in the Yukon, after beer and wine, beating out spirits.
Yukon News

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