Pancakes, Hip Hop and
Municipal Infighting at the First Post-Legalization 420


Today being 420 (and a happy 420 to you, too!), cannabis sales are expected to double on the “St. Paddy’s Day of the cannabis world.” That’s provided stores don’t sell out under the weight of increased demand.
David Peel, Hickey, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail—Paywall


Canopy Reserves Option to Buy Acreage

Getty Images

Canopy announced its plan to buy US firm Acreage Holdings for USD$3.4B—but the transaction won’t go through until the US ends federal prohibition.
MJ Biz Daily

Everyone Hates Website Age Gates

Global News’ reporter Patrick Cain argued age gates on cannabis-related websites do nothing to keep teenagers from accessing the sites, while Trina Fraser wondered what harm would come from teens seeing pictures of cannabis and its prices.
Global News

Everyone Also Prefers Higher-quality Illegal Weed to Dry Legal Mids

US Drug Enforcement Agency

Cannabis consumers still report buying dry, hay-smelling REC from legal stores. The sense that legal cannabis is lower quality is yet another reason why buyers continue to support the illicit market. Shortages, lack of popular cultivars, and significantly higher prices for dried flower continue to deter illegal-market buyers from becoming legal-REC regulars.
The Guardian, MJ Biz Daily, Global News

Indigenous LP and Retail
Developing Slowly

First Nations are finding their way into the legal REC industry in a variety of ways.

  • Lewis Mitchell, president of Indigenous-owned LP Seven Leaf, is the former police chief of Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, where cannabis retail is a flashpoint for deeper-rooted political debates. It will be a while before Mitchell can sell his government-licensed product in the community, where the Band Council will issue sales licenses, but he’s happy with the delay because it allowed community Elders to warm up to a cannabis production facility in their territory.
  • Zaffia Laplante, CEO and sole employee of Hempergy, is still an undergraduate, but the Métis entrepreneur believes hemp fibre employed as insulation will be a crucial tool in creating liveable housing and fighting black mould in indigenous communities.
    The Leaf
  • In Saskatchewan, some First Nations are investing heavily in REC retail.
    CBC Saskatoon

Quick Hits

  1. Across Canada, municipalities are complaining that provinces aren’t passing down their share of excise tax revenue.
    CBC Politics
  2. Canada’s Asian communities, many of whose members fought hard against legalization, are among the slowest to embrace legal cannabis. National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE Canada), led by founder Barinder Rasode, , but has been stymied by greater resistance than expected. NICHE has changed its focus to meet one-on-one with community figures they believe can help change public opinions.
    Richmond News
  3. Though the Drager DrugTest 5000 is Health Canada approved for use by police in roadside testing, a representative of the company said the device cannot test for impairment, but only the presence of THC.
  4. In the six months since legalization, impaired driving has not increased in Ontario or Manitoba.
    GrowthOp, Global News
  5. Toronto novelist and Esquire columnist Stephen Marche argued in the New Yorker that legalization has made cannabis boring. This experience may not be true for members of visible minority communities, however.
    New Yorker, Vice
  6. Legalization has made cannabis popular again with Baby Boomers. This time, they have a lot more disposable income.
    Global News
  7. The number of injured veterans using MED has spiked—and the number of prescriptions for fentanyl has dropped by 85%, and for oxycodone by 75%. Last year, 10,000 vets used MED, compared with 1,700 in 2015, and 4,474 in 2016-17. This despite Veterans Affairs’ decision to slash its MED reimbursement policy, which caps MED use at three grams per person.
    CTV News
  8. Health Canada posted diagrams to explain the cannabis supply chain.
    Twitter—Government of Canada Health
  9. Planting season is upon us. The Leaf will tell you how to legally grow you own. And if you have a license to grow your own, you can still buy additional MED from LPs.
    The Leaf
  10. Proactive Investors has a list of eight cannabis puns to remove from your vocabulary. It’s a good start, if meagre in number.
    Proactive Investors

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Aphria’s Q3 Falls Short,
Regulators Impose $50M Impairment

Christopher J Amelung

Aphria’s posted net loss of $108.2M loss for Q3, with quarterly revenue of $73.6M, which fell short of the $83.5M analysts predicted. Last Q3, the company reported net revenues of $10.3M and net profits of $12.9M.
MJ Biz Daily, Bloomberg, CBC Business

Organigram’s High Yields
Double Sales, Beat Expectations

Public Domain

Organigram more than doubled its sales to post net revenues of $26.9M (up from $12.9M last quarter, and beating the expected $23.77M) and gross revenues of $33.4M for Q2, noting its crops were yielding bigger harvests, and its all-in cultivation cost had declined to $0.85 per gram.
New Cannabis Ventures, MJ Biz Daily

Supplies are Short,
Whether or Not the Shortage is Over

Health Canada reported there is 19 times as much smokable cannabis as there is demand, but Brock University professor Michael J Armstrong says that number is misleading. “It certainly doesn’t mean what they claim it means, that there’s lots of supply. There is very little finished dry cannabis actually available for customers.”
The Star

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Quick Hits -- Business
  1. Health Canada has given out 173 production licenses so far. On the retail front, The Leaf’s Sol Israel tallied the number of REC stores that have received licenses issued across the country: he counted 248, though some are not yet open. Twitter—Government of Canada Health, Solomon IsraelGlobal cannabis investors are losing interest in the Canadian industry. CTV News
  1. Health Canada has given out 173 production licenses so far. On the retail front, The Leaf’s Sol Israel tallied the number of REC stores that have received licenses issued across the country: he counted 248, though some are not yet open. Twitter—Government of Canada Health, Solomon Israel
  2. Global cannabis investors are losing interest in the Canadian industry. CTV News
  3. Investopedia cautioned readers against buying cannabis stocks, saying the market is still too patchy and immature. Investopedia
  4. Globe and Mail reporter Mark Rendell attended the GMP Securities 2019 Cannabis Conference and came away with the stark advice “Bet on management – almost everything else in the cannabis space is smoke and mirrors.” Igor Gimelshtein, former CFO of MedReleaf, said, “The biggest risk factor is that people are lying and there’s not actual intellectual integrity in stuff that comes out from companies and management teams.” Globe and Mail—Paywall
  5. Sunniva and subsidiary Natural Health Services are the target of a class action lawsuit over their role in a breach in the records of 34,000 patients. CTV News
  6. Seeking Alpha broke down LPs’ Q4 2018 earnings, and reported their winners (Canopy, Aurora, Organigram, Aphria, HEXO) and losers (Cronos, Tilray, Canntrust) since legalization. Seeking Alpha
  7. Only six months in and data from a new Altus Group report finds legalization is raising housing prices in smaller markets like Smith’s Falls and Leamington Ontario—home to Canopy and Aphria, respectively. HuffPost
  8. Aurora is lobbying the Irish government to supply that country’s 50,000 MED patients once the government widens the MED market later this year. Irish Times
  9. In honour of 420, Aurora launched a competition to find “Canada’s Top Budmaster.”
  10. In January, WeedMD partnered with wrap-franchise Pita Pit to launch Pioneer Cannabis, a platform for independent owners to develop their REC stores. The first Pioneer-related store will open in Burlington, Ontario, after owner Guruveer Sangha was forced to pay a $12,500 penalty for not being open on April 1. London Free Press
  11. CannaFarms announced the launch of Canna Kief, the first legal cannabis concentrate. Since it’s made entirely of kief, it can still be classified as “dried cannabis.” Press Release
  12. Troubled LP Ascent said it was cooperating with a police investigation by BC’s anti-gang unit , but the unit denied it was making such an investigation. “All that’s happened at this point is we’ve gathered some information,” a representative said. Health Canada revoked the licenses of Ascent and its subsidiary Agrima Botanicals over the winter due to “unauthorized activities.” MJ Biz Daily



Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis announced it would issue 26 new REC retail licenses, bringing the number of Alberta REC stores to more than 100.
Globe and Mail—Paywall


BC public safety minister Mike Farnworth confirmed a 44-member enforcement team has begun to identify and close unlicensed cannabis stores.

British Columbians are generally happy with legalization so far.
North Shore News


Following the story that the Ontario Cannabis Store expects to lose $25M in its first full year, adding to last year’s $6.8M loss, MJ Biz Daily’s Matt Lamers noted the crown corporation’s $150M loan agreement with the Ontario Financing Authority is still in place. That money was originally intended to set up the Ontario Cannabis Store as a total monopoly in Ontario, and was to pay for opening 40 stores before the end of 2018. The Ontario Cannabis Store was downgraded to handling wholesale and distribution of cannabis for the province.
MJ Biz Daily, Twitter—Matt Lamers

Public Domain

A report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on the first six months of REC legalization made 18 recommendations, principal among them allowing REC retailers to buy directly from LPs rather than from the province.

Ontario followed BC and Alberta in opening its share of federal-provincial agricultural grants to cannabis growers.
MJ Biz Daily

After months of watching Hamilton police shut down dispensaries and charge proprietors, Hamiltonians finally get their chance to go legal REC shopping with the first legal cannabis store opening today, just in time for 4-20.
CBC Hamilton


While most provinces bought less cannabis in February, total daily sales rose by a fraction over the month—thanks to Quebec, where average daily sales increased by $45,000. Quebec cannabis is lower-priced than some provinces, and we’ve also had REC stores open since October 17.
Global News

Quebec LPs Great White North Growers, HEXO, MTL Cannabis, Neptune Wellness Solutions, Origine Nature, ROSE LifeScience, Terranueva, and Verdélite Sciences joined together to form the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association (AQIC), which will focus on advocating for LPs on provincial issues, while working with the Cannabis Council of Canada on federal issues.


Deceptitom / Wikimedia Commons

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador warned consumers not to expect their doctors to prescribe CBD products—which are so popular across Newfoundland (and the rest of the country) few REC retailers can keep them on the shelf. College registrar Dr. Linda Inkpen said patients will have to wait until the 60-some clinical trials on CBD taking place around the world begin to publish their results.
CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

The Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority shut down a plan for Halifax’s first cannabis pub crawl, in which organizers planned to give drinkers a pre-rolled joint before each of the tour’s first stops.
Chronicle Herald


A Saskatoon door-to-door service already selling alcohol by delivery protested the provincial ban on selling cannabis by delivery.
CBC Saskatoon

A branch of the Saskatoon Public Library held a daylong cannabis event that included a joint-rolling workshop using tea leaves instead of actual flower.
CBC Saskatoon

Some Saskatchewan REC operators are happy with the government’s minimalist approach to supply-chain intervention. Unlike Ontario and many other provinces, Saskatchewan allows REC retailers to buy wholesale directly from LPs rather than through a government-monopoly distributor. Other REC operators, however, complained wholesale prices are still too high, and called on governments to lower taxes and LPs to lower wholesale prices.
CBC Saskatoon


Al Smith

Campers in Yukon’s territorial parks will be allowed to smoke cannabis, which many of them were already doing anyway.
CBC North

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