Despite months of efforts from MED activists, the Liberal government’s 2019 budget did not repeal the MED excise tax. I spoke to the federal Ministry of Finance about the decision and wrote about responses to the budget from industry and activists on the WeedWeek website.
CBC, Twitter—Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana
Ministry of Public Safety spokesperson Sean Bardsley, said only 4% of the 250,000 Canadians convicted for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis would be likely to access record-suspension under the Liberals’ proposed system. (Many others have died, have received pardons already, or have other criminal charges.) Bardsley predicted the number of possible pardons would be around 10,000, which the Globe reports “is considerably smaller than the 70,000 to 80,000 people Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said earlier this month Canada could expect to apply.” Globe and Mail
Substance-use scholars Dr. Rielle Capler and Dr. Jenna Valleriani called on Health Canada to choose a safe standard THC-dose for REC edibles (and create a second, stronger stream of edibles for MED users inaccessible to REC users).
Health Canada clarified its position on website age-gates, which it criticized last week as ineffective at blocking minors from sites displaying cannabis advertising. They specified they were referring to websites that have only one question (like “Are you of age to access this website?”) rather than those that ask users for their day, month, and year of birth.
A BC child and adolescent psychiatrist said it’s important for parents to balance the risk of harm to the developing teenage brain against teens’ need to assert their own choices about using cannabis. “The conversations really should be like having a conversation about alcohol: what does it do to your body, how are you going to stay safe?” CBC British Columbia
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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!
Organigram CEO Greg Engel called for police to crack down on the illicit market. He argued, “We continue to hear stories about online or same-day delivery people in major cities in Canada going around and giving out free product with their website address and phone number. They are doing things that we would never do […] They just see cannabis as legal.”
Ascent Industries, along with Agrima Botanicals and its other subsidiaries, entered into an asset purchase agreement with BZAM management (part of Gulf Bridge International) for a price that will become public when the court approves the purchase. Last week, Health Canada court documents revealed Ascent’s licenses were suspended due to sales of oils and other concentrates by the company, which was neither licensed to extract oil nor to sell to clients or other LPs.
NewsWire, Twitter—MMJ Investing
Tilray more than doubled its revenue year-over-year for Q4, but expansions meant its net loss jumped to US$31M from US$3M last year.
Deepak Anand told the Harvest Investor that Alberta “is the perfect breeding ground for large, retail [cannabis] corporations to be born not just on the Canadian landscape but also on the international landscape”—provided the province drops its moratorium on new REC stores. Harvest Investor
Edmonton police are threatening unlicensed CBD sellers with jail time, which is frankly a little much, especially since retailers can’t figure out what the rules about CBD actually are. The Star
Calgary leads Canadian cities in the number of REC stores—it has 24, and has approved business development permits for 167 more. Calgary Herald
Calgary hosted the first Canadian Cannabis Wedding Expo. “There are more ways of incorporating it than just smoking it,” organizer Laureen Cauryn-Cameron said. “You can do it aesthetically in the flowers, you can have it as a wedding favour. It can be anything from adding a few drops of CBD oil, which is non-psychoactive, into your tea or smoking up a cannabis cigar. There are different alternatives to what people can think of as a cannabis wedding.” Global News
Store owners and police don’t like frosted windows for both safety and business reasons: they hide what’s happening inside stores while discouraging passers-by from coming in. However, provincial regulations demand “a cannabis retail store must be located in a permanent building or structure and be enclosed by floor-to-ceiling walls that are not transparent.” As a result, municipalities around British Columbia are changing laws demanding all stores have transparent windows.
Business in Vancouver
Cannabis producers are flocking to the Okanagan valley around Kelowna, and discovering local zoning hostile to cannabis greatly limits where they can build facilities. Globe and Mail
The first licensed REC retailer opened in Victoria. CTV News
With less than two weeks before the April 1 deadline for REC retail lottery winners to open their stores, winners are working desperately to avoid serious fines for delaying. But it remains uncertain how many stores will open in time. The Star, CTV news
London REC lottery winner Chris Comrie hired consultancy Ontario Cannabis Holdings to help him get his store open in the last two weeks before the April 1 deadline. London Free Press
Despite REC lottery rules mandating that LPs and cannabis retailers could not enter, many or most winners will be opening franchises of major brands including Tokyo Smoke (owned by Canopy), Tweed (also Canopy), Canna Cabana (owned by Aurora subsidiary High Tide), Choom, and Fire & Flower. Twitter—Abi Roach, Ottawa Citizen
A number of seniors were hospitalized in Parry Sound, Ontario, after they unknowingly ate brownies containing THC. Police said if they were deliberately served THC-infused products, the personal responsible could face charges. Vancouver Sun
Hamilton police charged 19 in raids on three illicit MMJ Canada dispensaries. Global News
Police stopping cars in the Orillia region (north of Toronto) on St. Patrick’s Day to test for impaired driving discovered 64 pounds of illicit cannabis. Orillia Matters
A tipster informed Journal de Montréal cannabis reporter Annabelle Blais that the base salary for the director of the Société Québécoise du Cannabis is $290,000.
Gatineau police say they have an entire team of detectives hunting illicit cannabis in the region. It is part of a project under the provincial ministry of public safety and receives provincial funding. Ottawa CItizen
A major Halifax children’s hospital, IWK Health Centre, said the number of excess-cannabis cases it has treated last year tripled to an unknown number from 2015, and called for regulations on the safe storage of cannabis products (particularly edibles) in the home. Canada.com
It’s up to PEI hotels and other tourism operators to decide whether or not cannabis will be allowed on their property—and if so, whether it should be allowed in rooms, in a designated space, or outside. CBC PEI
Saskatchewan expects cannabis excise tax revenue will generate $5M. Regina’s mayor is calling for a portion to be diverted to municipalities. The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union said the number should be a lot higher.CBC Saskatoon, CTV News
Manitoba selected 7 rural communities in which to set up private REC retailers.
Some Nunavut MLAs supported in-person cannabis stores as an economic driver for local business. However, the territory has not yet developed regulations for private cannabis retail, and it remains uncertain when they will be finished.
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