One complaint from industry about the draft regulations on edibles is the demand, known as “the Second Building Requirement,” that cannabis foods and drinks be prepared in different facilities than those making non-cannabis products. This will certainly be opposed by beverage makers with existing facilities, like Labatt, and Steam Whistle, who have signed agreements with LPs to make cannabis beverages they planned to produce in their usual factories.
Victoria Times-Colonist, Twitter
Most of the discussion about the next wave of legalization focuses on edibles and beverages. However, concentrates—particularly vape pens, but also dabs/shatter/budder/wax/hashish—are more popular in the United States.
One way to advertise without running afoul of Health Canada regulations may be geo-targeting cellphone ads only to those who have been visited legal cannabis retailers.
Globe and Mail—Paywall
1. Canadians spent $5.7B on cannabis in 2018—of which $800M was purchased legally after REC legalization in October.
Globe and Mail—Paywall
2. There are a lot of reasons why it’s so hard for authorities to close down illegal dispensaries and keep them from reopening, but the most common is that the system isn’t designed to anticipate those who return immediately to breaking the law after having been raided.
3. Eight Canadian universities have Health Canada licenses to cultivate cannabis for research purposes.
5. Mental health charity the Canadian Institute for Health Information warned there will be “significant increase[s]” in cannabis-induced psychosis (CIP) following legalization, pointing to pre-legalization figures showing the number of Canadians treated for CIP had nearly doubled from 2012-2013 to 2016-2017.
4. MED advocates are concerned about the number of patients who are self-medicating without physician oversight, and they worry shortages only increase those numbers.
5. Illicit growers say legalization is helping them expand, rather than driving them out.
6. Do edibles and cannabis beverages need to be refrigerated? What are their shelf-lives? A plant chemistry professor from UBC Okanagan is researching these and other questions about how cannabis products will behave in storage.
7. WestJet encouraged passengers to pack cannabis in air-tight containers in their carry-on bags, though mysteriously suggested they allow for an additional 30 minutes for security screening as “local security, customs and immigration may have additional requirements.” Canadians are not allowed to leave the country carrying cannabis.
Investments analyst Chris Parry of Equity Guru dug through last week’s announcement by InstaDose Pharma that the company had “[become] the world’s largest cannabis producer,” with hundreds of thousands of CBD oil produced from hemp in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 96.3% less the standard cost. Parry calls the announcement, a “scam so brazen that it becomes unintentional comedy” and investigates one clue after another:
Responding to short-seller Hindenburg Research’s claims that Green Growth Brands, vying for a hostile takeover of Aphria, is actually a related party, CEO Peter Horvath dismissed all allegations that his company was supported by Aphria.
1. Canadian cannabis IPOs raised $490M last year.
AWK WORDING Both the Ontario Cannabis Store and Alberta Cannabis now have seeds available, following on Newfoundland’s cannabis distributor, which made the first legal clones available before Christmas.
2. The 47 LPs licensed in 2017 were ten more than in the four previous years combined. In 2018, 56 LPs received licenses.
6. CannTrust is unable to continue expanding its facilities due to a local bylaw banning new cannabis permits for a year, complicating the company’s plans to produce 100,000 kilograms of product.
7. HEXO co-founder Adam Miron criticized Health Canada’s packaging restrictions.
8. CannStandard’s Brad Martin has launched a website reviewing LP flower. Some of the reviews are entertainingly negative (“Acreage Pharms’ flower is beginning to define the worst value available in legal cannabis”). However, Martin is willing to give credit where it’s due, such as in this review of ABCann/Fireside’s Spoetnik (Red): “Despite the Sativa tastes, the structure of Spoetnik flower looks [sic] Indica taxonomy. Buds are round, firm and somewhat squishy. The trim is close but not too close, leaving the fattened calyxes at the top of the buds intact. Overall, visual quality is quite good for this Spoetnik, very pleasing to the eye. My compliments to the chef.”
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Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis said cannabis supply was slowly increasing, though it is not yet strong enough for the AGLC to begin issuing new licenses.
Premier Rachel Notley celebrated Alberta’s 65 licensed stores and law enforcement reports of a peaceful legalization rollout, saying “We have more product and more access to the product in Alberta than in other parts of the country.”
Sundial Growers were hit by an electrical fire in their growing facility north of Calgary, which required them to destroy all plants in four of the facility’s grow rooms. The company did not say how many plants they had lost. No one was hurt.
Evergreen Cannabis Society, the first licensed REC retailer in Vancouver, was due to open last Saturday. At the last minute, they pushed their opening back a week to January 5.
A second Vancouver REC retailer received a license—this time it’s a company that is concurrently operating an illicit dispensary.
A Vancouver REC retailer forced to close four stores and and lay off 40 staff as it awaits proper licensing chastised Vancouver, the province, and local law enforcement for not cracking down on the city’s illicit retailers. A City of Vancouver spokesperson said illegal retailers are not operating with impunity, and will be subject to more than $3M in fines.
Kelowna BC hopes to become a cannabis production centre, and hopes Flowr’s 85,000 square-foot hydroponic facility will be the first of many.
Kelowna Daily Courier
The majority of Ottawa dispensary employees charged during raids have been spared criminal records, provided they plead guilty and accept a discharge.
Quebec building owners have two weeks left to add bans on cannabis smoking and vaping to existing leases.
The variety of differing regulations about cannabis use in Nova Scotia—between communities that have passed anti-cannabis bylaws, versus those following provincial guidelines—has created uncertainty for those unsure of what law is in force across the province’s various regions.
CBC Nova Scotia
Since legalization, 11% of Manitobans have bought cannabis from a licensed retailer, 5% have bought from an illicit seller, and 15% have not yet bought cannabis but plan to.
The Saskatoon RCMP and the Saskatoon Liquor and Gaming Authority will likely not investigate Bonify after revelations the Manitoba company sold unauthorized cannabis of unknown origin. Health Canada is investigating and will decide whether or not to strip the company of its licence.
Despite concern REC legalization would increase impaired driving, Manitoba police noted most impaired drivers caught during the holiday season were just drunk. Of those charged, 240 were charged for driving drunk, while only 4 were charged for driving stoned.
The Yukon (population 35,874) reported that by December 16, two months after legalization, the territory had spent $924,000 on cannabis.
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