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MedMen

The New Normal

Welcome to the New Normal. It begins with a 120-second journey through America's complex history with cannabis legalization. But the New Normal isn't just a piece of film. Nor is it only the first-ever recreational cannabis commercial to air on TV by MedMen. It's a new era in which cannabis gets its own line on the grocery list, a point in time where the threat of "madness" is replaced with a promise of wellness. You can watch it now at medmen.com/newnormal.

Video directed by Spike Jonze.

POLITICS
   

Liberals Table
Possession Pardon Bill

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By Makaristos - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5324195

The Liberal government tabled Bill C-93, a bill to provide “no-cost expedited pardons for simple possession of cannabis.”
CBC Politics, Straight Cannabis, iPolitics

  • Bill C-93 does not contain mechanisms to pardon those convicted of production or trafficking, which Bill Blair said were more complex and frequently involved “a criminal element.” It also does not apply to possession of synthetic cannabinoids, nor does it apply to post-legalization possession convictions under the Cannabis Act.
    Twitter—Trina Fraser
  • Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith called the bill “Not good enough, and not introduced early enough. Disappointed that other jurisdictions have moved both more quickly and with a better understanding of the historical injustice of cannabis prohibition.”
    Twitter—Nate Erskine-Smith
  • NDP critics said the bill did not go far enough because it did not expunge convictions. Pardons do not destroy criminal records, which remain accessible to many parties, including US Customs and Border Protection. Public security minister Ralph Goodale argued expungements may only be used when a law is found unconstitutional.
  • Cannabis Amnesty director Annamaria Enenajor said, “Canadians deserve freedom, not forgiveness.” She said the bill did not go far enough, and called for expungements.
    Twitter--Annamaria Enenajor


StatsCan: Canadians Spend $5.9B on Cannabis

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/beraldoleal/4855493656/

Statistics Canada included legal and illicit cannabis spending in national economic accounts for the first time. It found annualized Q4 spending on illegal cannabis was $4.7B, and $1.2B on while spending on legal cannabis was $1.2B.

  • The Globe’s Jameson Berkow argued these numbers didn’t show legalization failing, but rather “after just a few short months, legal cannabis has already taken over 20% of a market that took criminals nearly a century to build. Imagine where we'll be in a year.”
    Twitter

MADD President Claims Cannabis Kills (Far More than it Probably Does)

MADD Canada president Andrew Murie claimed in a TV interview that “cannabis presence is the leading cause of fatalties on our roadways.”
Twitter

  • The comment brought swift rebuke from Hexo’s Terry Lake, and Auxly’s Chuck Rifici, who characterised the statement as completely false.
    Twitter
  • MADD’s data connecting cannabis with car accidents has long been criticized as misrepresenting the role of cannabis in vehicle fatalities. The numbers in question only confirm drivers had cannabis in their systems (meaning they could have consumed it within the preceding month.
    Global News
  • The GrowthOp’s Emma Spears noted even by MADD’s numbers alone, which found cannabis “present” in 45% of fatal crashes, Murie’s statement could not be supported.
  • Spears said MADD’s website says “MADD Canada recognizes that the simple presence of cannabis does not mean a driver is impaired.”
    GrowthOp

Poll: Canadians Would Take MED if Prescribed, Insured

A survey sponsored by Tetra Bio-Pharma found 65% of Canadians would take a drug containing cannabis if their doctor prescribed it and it was covered by insurance.

  • If the drug in question was not covered by insurance, 38% would still be willing to take it.
  • A striking 82% of respondents trusted cannabis to reduce pain and other symptoms, and 68% were willing to take cannabis for chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
  • However, 54% believe taking MED without a doctor was risky.
    NewsWire

Quick Hits

  1. Insurers wonder whether edibles will be considered “a drug” now that they are legal—and whether that will prevent those involved in accidents from acknowledging their exposure to cannabis.
    Canadian Underwriter
  2. The 15.4% Canadians who’ve used cannabis in the past three months amount to roughly 5,698,000 people. Civilized
  3. The GrowthOp surveyed the prices of legal REC by province.
  4. Canadians are allowed to give cannabis as a service gratuity, but it must be less than 30 grams of legal product, and they must first ascertain the recipient is of legal age.
    The Leaf
  5. Vice reporter Manisha Krishnan—a non-driver—got high and was tested on a driving simulator and by a drug recognition expert. The DRE found her not to be impaired, but because earlier in the test she showed enough symptoms of of intoxication she to make her liable for an arrest, she would also have risked having her license being suspended.

New Podcast Episode

WeedWeek Podcast
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.

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud

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Editor Note

Connect with WeedWeek on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!

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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Find us at cannabisincolor.com and Instagram

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HelloMD: The largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers
HelloMD on Instagram, Facebook

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

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BUSINESS
   

Martha Stewart Joins Canopy

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Getty Images

Martha Stewart joined Canopy Growth in an advisory position, saying she will decide which products and projects to support on a case-by-case basis.
Globe and Mail—Paywall

Complaints about LP REC and Packaging

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Lucas Z/@PromoCanna

Twitter user Lucas Z/@PromoCanna posted a photo of a 3.5-gram container of Canopy subsidiary Tokyo Smoke’s sativa cultivar Go, which was visibly full of stems and untrimmed small sugar leaves, and which the poster described as smelling of “mouldy hay.”
Twitter—PromoCanna

Ascent Shareholders Fight Management as License Suspension Looms

Ascent Industries subsidiary Agrima Botanicals was the first LP to be stripped of its license, for reasons that have not yet been made public.

MeanwhileAscent itself may have its licenses revoked permanently. As that unfolds, shareholders have forced a meeting to discuss replacing the board of directors, and management has threatened to release damning files about previous managers if the meeting to replace the board takes place. Globe and Mail—Paywall

Will Dooma Be the King of (Cannabis) Beers?

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WeedWeek founder Alex Halperin tells the story of Michael "Dooma" Wendschuh, CEO of Ontario-based cannabis beer company Province Brands. Dooma previously founded Colorado's Ebbu, whose intellectual property was acquired last year by Canopy Growth.
WeedWeek

  • With edibles--and drinkables--months away from legalization, Province is betting on demand for the novel beverage.
  • Having spent more than a year developing cannabis beer with Province, Dooma hopes the resulting product will be "the first true alternative to alcohol."

Quick Hits

  1. Aurora received its sales and cultivation licenses for its $150M Aurora Sky facility near the Edmonton airport. Aurora also announced it had acquired a 51% share of Portuguese MED applicant Gaia Pharm.
    MJ Biz Daily, New Cannabis Ventures
  2. Aphria signed a worldwide license agreement with pharma firm Manna Molecular Science to produce and sell transdermal MED patches.
    GrowthOp
  3. Fire and Flower began trading on the TSX venture Exchange with a market cap of $125M, representing seven REC stores in Alberta and two in Saskatchewan. It is out of the ordinary for a market cap to be so much greater than a company's sales.
    Twitter—CanadaPotStocks
  4. WalMart Canada removed Storz & Bickel’s Volcano Medic vaporizer—now owned by Canopy—from their website. “We do not have plans to carry cannabis and cannabis-related products at this time,” said a WalMart representative. WalMart’s US site still carries a variety of Storz & Bickel vaporizers, as well as vaporizers by other manufacturers.
    MJ Biz Daily
  5. Health Canada says the recent spate of recalls related to mould and labelling errors is a sign the oversight system is working the way it’s supposed to.
    MJ Biz Daily
  6. At the moment, no LP is licensed to cultivate outdoors, but 172 companies have open cultivation license applications that include outdoor areas.
    The Leaf
  7. Toronto Life magazine interviewed industry leaders about their relationships with cannabis.
  8. More pension funds—which are some of Canada’s biggest investors—are investing in cannabis. Globe and Mail—Paywall

See through the haze of Cannabis Marketing.

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PROVINCIAL
   

s ALBERTA

Alberta leads the country both in REC stores (75, with 633 license applications awaiting approval) and per-capita spending on cannabis.
Twitter—Deepak Anand, CTV News

Edmonton’s city council recommended an exemption to cannabis-store buffer-distance rules in order to allow stores in shopping malls like the West Edmonton Mall, where Aurora announced last week it planned to open a retail location.
Edmonton Journal, CTV News


BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC’s cannabis excise tax revenues are much lower than the province expected. A year ago, the province expected $70M in revenue, but so far has seen only $17M.
Globe and Mail—Paywall, Twitter—CanadaPotStocks

Cannabis companies across BC are having difficulty finding banks willing to do business with them.
Times Colonist, Business in Vancouver

For the first time since cannabis was legalized, Vancouver police raided an illicit dispensary. Police said rather than the first instance of a wider crackdown, the raid was connected with five search warrants executed across BC as part of an organized crime investigation.
The Straight Cannabis, Twitter—Piper Courtnay


ONTARIO

Ontario REC sales numbers declined 1.5% to $8.7M in December from $8.9M in November.
MJ Biz Daily

Ontario’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) moved to provide blanket coverage for MED in treatment of neuropathic pain, spasticity from spinal cord injury, chemotherapy-related nausea, appetite loss due to HIV or AIDS, and pain in palliative care.
Benefits Canada

Ontario was intent to keep LPs out of the running for the first 25 REC stores, banning them from entering the lottery, but LPs have found a way in all the same. When Ontario’s REC stores open next month—presuming some manage to make it on time, which many won’t—a significant number will be affiliated with major producers.
Leafly, Financial Post

A former Toronto dispensary owner who shuttered his business to comply with the law is suing the Ontario government for $1.1M over their decision to cap the number of Ontario retailers at 25.
Financial Post

Lawyer Jack Lloyd attacked Hamilton police for shutting down dispensaries serving MED patients, saying Hamilton police violated a 2017 Superior Court decision allowing the Hamilton Village Dispensary to remain open selling cannabis products to those with prescriptions. He plans to sue the police department.
The Star

Toronto police raided a dispensary operating from the back room of a head shop, and it led them to a warehouse full of cannabis products, including large quantities of bulk edibles. They charged one.
CBC Toronto

Protests in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory over dispensary raids resulted in police cars being burned.
Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

QUEBEC

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After years of public reticence toward legal cannabis in Quebec, many expected Quebeckers would be unenthusiastic consumers of legal REC. Instead, Quebec spent more on cannabis—$33.3M—than any other province. Alberta came in close behind with $32.9M spending, substantially more per capita.
La Presse—In French

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Jesse Staniforth
SQDC Shelves Now Stocked

With supplies increasing, the Société Québécoise du Cannabis began opening its stores on Wednesdays, leaving them closed only on Monday and Tuesday.
Montreal Gazette

I summarized the last two weeks of debate over the CAQ’s Bill 2 to raise the cannabis age and ban public smoking for Leafly.

Quebec’s opposition reacted with ire to a suggestion from the CAQ government last week that those who wished to use cannabis in public (or in homes where landlords or condo boards banned smoking and vaping) could just have edibles instead.

  • The Quebec National Institute for Public Health argued edibles carry too many risks to be presented as a solution to cannabis smoke in public.
    Le Quotidien—In French, Le Devoir—In French

Left-wing opposition party Québec Solidaire presented a motion before the province’s National Assembly recognizing the age of majority in Quebec is 18, and stating at that age Quebeckers are capable of making decisions for themselves related to their health and lifestyles. This is a challenge to Bill 2, which seeks to raise the cage for cannabis to 21.
Twitter—Annaballe Blais

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana introduced a petition pressuring the Quebec government to allow MED users to use cannabis anywhere tobacco is allowed.
Ganjapreneur


MARITIMES

The Atlantic provinces still have Canada’s greatest appetite for cannabis.
Global News

New Brunswick’s People’s Alliance party leader Kris Austin wants to privatize liquor and cannabis stores, but members of the Green and Liberal parties opposed the idea. The Progressive Conservative government did not comment on the issue.


PRAIRIES

Despite its 1.2M population, Saskatchewan sold $2.5M worth of legal REC--less than any other province. PEI, whose population is only 150,000, sold more than $3.4M worth.
CBC Saskatchewan

The Muscowpetung First Nation filed a court challenge to the federal government and the government of Saskatchewan, seeking court recognition that they hold the inherent right to self-government which empowers them to regulate cannabis themselves.
CTV News

The Muscowpetung First Nation filed a court challenge to the federal government and the government of Saskatchewan, seeking court recognition that they hold the inherent right to self-government which empowers them to regulate cannabis themselves.
CTV News

Regina police reported no cannabis DUI charges since legalization.

The owner of a Regina REC retailer blames the illicit market for his slow sales.
Global News

Officials from the Manitoba’s Liquor, Cannabis and Gaming Authority seized an impressive $34,000 worth of edibles and other unlicensed cannabis products being sold at Winnipeg’s HempFest Cannabis Expo.
Winnipeg Free Press