WeedWeek
POLITICS
   

Bruce Reeve
Doug Ford

In Last-Minute Reversal: Only 25 Ontario REC Shops Will Open April 1

Last week, Cannabis Compliance’s Deepak Anand ominously received no reply when he asked the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to confirm or deny rumours retail cannabis applications would not open as planned on December 17. The rumours were borne out in the new Ontario Cannabis License Act regulations, published Friday.

Quick Hits

Health Canada did not publish its edibles regulations, meaning they will likely be published next week.
Twitter

Despite legalization, it remains difficult for Black Canadians with cannabis-related convictions to find quality work.
Halifax Examiner

Across Canada, physicians are acknowledging gaps in their knowledge about cannabis and hurrying to learn to understand the drug.
The Straight

As the holiday season gets going, some are using REC at parties more openly, while others are still holding back for fear of stigma. Global

Canadian military veterans are increasingly working in LPs.

David Shankbone
Tommy Chong

Tommy Chong is glad legalization is reducing stigma, but feels the federal approach to legalizing REC has “kept the underground market alive and vibrant.”
CityNews

REC legalization helped lower Canada’s unemployment numbers to the lowest since 1976. ABS-CBN

Rather than drain interest away from MED, REC legalization seems to be encouraging patients to approach their doctors about using cannabis therapeutically.
National Post

The CBC released an interactive tool for understanding how THC is processed in the brain.

BUSINESS
   

Mike Kalasnik

Shortage Woes Drag On

The continuing supply shortage is a threat to REC retailers across the country. Some are closing while they await restocking, while others are focusing on selling accessories. Under law REC retailers may not sell products unrelated to cannabis, so diversifying is not an option.
MJ Biz Daily

Aphria Under Scrutiny, Changing Counsel

Quebec’s securities regulator, l’Auotorité des marchés financiers, is paying attention to Aphria after short-sellers alleged last week the company had misled investors and made insider deals.

Cronos a Good Match for Altria: CEO

Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein said his company “immediately hit it off” with Marlboro parent company Altria, which acquired 45% of Cronos last week. Gorenstein described Altria’s management team as focused on “reducing risk and increasing consumer choice.”
The Star, Financial Post

  • Analysts praised the deal, though Altria paid roughly 15 times Cronos’s estimated revenue for 2021.
    Barron’s

Canopy Plans for US as Shares Decline

Canopy shares have lost roughly 45% of their pre-legalization value, falling from $56.89 on October 15 to $31.02.
Daily Hive Grow

  • Canopy is making as many moves toward the US as possible without breaching the rule against cannabis companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange engaging in federally illegal business in the US.
    Globe and Mail—Paywall

Aurora Invests in Mexico
and Alberta Firms

Aurora moved to acquire Mexican pharmaceutical manufacturer Farmacias Magistrales, the country’s first licensed importer of materials containing THC.
Financial Post

  • Stone Fox Capital called the deal “questionable,” wondering whether Mexicans will buy Canadian cannabis when they will be able to rely on domestic supply. Seeking Alpha
  • Aurora invested $10M in Alberta REC retailer High Tide. Financial Post

Tilray Buys into QC and AB LPs

Tilray invested $7.5M in Quebec LP ROSE LifeScience in exchange for 12% common shares, and announced a supply agreement between ROSE and Tilray’s REC subsidiary High Park. Financial Post

Cannabis Fanciers Dismiss LP Flower

Two BC cannabis connoisseurs, both partners in industry Groundwork Consultants and longtime BC MED and craft-growing insiders, have been trying legal REC ordered from the BC cannabis store and commenting about it on Twitter.

  • After a week of posting strain reviews on Twitter, Travis Lane concluded, “I doubt I will be buying much more legal cannabis anytime soon.” Lane unreservedly praised only 7Acres’ product, giving CannaFarms, Whistler, and Tantalus Labs high marks but some criticism. , while saying he would not pay for products from CannTrust, Aurora, MedReleaf, and Broken Coast, though “they all do some things very well.”
  • Jamie Shaw reported “the only decent” product she sampled was a Flowr preroll.
  • Shaw concluded RIFF’s Blue Ninety Eight was “the absolute worst cannabis I have ever smoked in my life. This is clearly a cross between blueberry and road tar, that was most likely cured in someone’s ass. […] No dispensary I have ever been involved with would have sold anything this bad. Ever. I am ashamed that we would allow a product like this on rec shelves, never mind that it’s going to patients.” Twitter
  • Vancouver MED activist and consultant Rielle Capler said Lane and Shaw’s responses proved “good quality cannabis at large scale is difficult,” and underlined the need to fast-track small-batch local cannabis.
    TwitterMicro Licenses Slow but Starting

Micro Licenses Slow but Starting

To date, Health Canada has only received 23 applications for microcultivation licenses. In order to finalize applications, growers need local zoning approval—but many cities haven’t hammered out their zoning, while others do not welcome microcultivation.
Global News

Quick Hits

The US passed its Farm Bill, legalizing CBD among other hemp extracts. Canadian CBD producers hope to profit from the change.
Globe and Mail

Former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy joined Tilray’s International Advisory Board, along with former Vermont governor Howard Dean, and former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele.
MJ Biz Daily

The drive toward outdoor growing for LPs continues, with promises of product at 20 cents per gram rather than $1 to $3 per gram indoors. NOW Toronto

Whether it’s dehumidifiers, payment platforms, lighting systems, or armoured vehicles, the ancillary market for products to aid in cannabis production and distribution may be worth billions. “For every dollar smoked, there’s probably 25 cents of ancillary cogs,” said a private equity investor in ancillary firms.
Financial Post

Workers in the cannabis industry are making slightly more on average than workers in other Canadian fields, though 79% of them are male. Vice

As of January 2, a new Health Canada regulatory regime will demand all LPs have their products tested by independent laboratories for pesticide ingredients. Previously, LPs were banned from using pesticides but not obliged to test for them.
Regina Leader-Post

MJ Business Daily published its guide to best practices for hiring in the cannabis sector.

Manitoba LP Bonify announced the recall of two strains—Cherry Lime and Warlock Kush—that may exceed limits for microbial or chemical contamination. Roughly 52 of the 3.5-gram packages in question were sold at three locations in Saskatchewan.
Health Canada

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PROVINCIAL
   

ALBERTA

There are 710 cannabis retail licenses pending in Alberta—which has frozen licensing due to product shortages—while 28 applicants have withdrawn their applications.
CBC Edmonton

BRITISH COLUMBIA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Calkan
West Vancouver

The BC Supreme Court sided with the City of Vancouver and ordered 28 illegal dispensaries closed.
CBC Vancouver

Two months into legalization, the government of British Columbia has still only opened one Crown cannabis store and licensed three private storesnone in Vancouver.

  • Vancouver’s mayor and police chief said they’re in no hurry to raid unlicensed dispensaries. Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he expected illicit retailers would shut down on their own as they pursued licenses. CityNews

A dispensary on the Kwaw-kwaw-Apilt First Nation is operating according to the Nation’s own law on cannabis, which they consider to supersede the federal Cannabis Act. If the RCMP intends to raid the shop, the federal government will be on a collision course with the Indian Act as well as other Indigenous title issues.

ONTARIO

The Ontario Cannabis Store website announced it has suspended its standard delivery guarantees, roughly three weeks after Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said the backlog “has now been taken care of and we’re back to normal.”
OCS, CityNews

Fedeli issued a statement ahead of a meeting of the provincial finance ministers with federal finance minister Bill Morneau calling on the federal government to “take steps to address the national cannabis supply shortage and ensure there is an adequate and predictable supply of recreational cannabis by federally licensed producers to meet the objectives of legalization.”

Toronto voted to allow REC retail, after mayor John Tory warned opting out of REC retail would cut the city out of millions in provincial funding. Global News, The Star

  • Major Toronto suburbs Mississauga (population 721,600) and Markham (328,065) both voted to opt out of REC retail. CBC Toronto
  • Windsor mayor Drew Dilkins also supports opting out, saying, “here’s no harm in opting out and taking a wait and see approach for 60 days or six months or a year to see how it rolls out in other jurisdictions.”

The Ontario Cannabis Store website announced it has suspended its standard delivery guarantees, roughly three weeks after Fedeli said the backlog “has now been taken care of and we’re back to normal.”
OCS, CityNews

London, Ontario police charged the landlords of two buildings containing dispensaries, a power granted under the new Ontario cannabis law.

  • The dispensaries had reopened after previous raids. Lawyer Trina Fraser wondered why police didn’t simply barricade them—which they have the power to do—while the cases worked through the court system. London Free Press

One Ontario tomato greenhouse is resisting offers from LPs, emblematic of farmers hesitant to leave food behind in favour of growing cannabis.
CTV Ottawa

QUEBEC

Usually anti-cannabis tabloid Journal de Montréal published a fact check disproving the claim by CAQ Deputy Minister for Health and Social Service’s Lionel Carmant—a pediatric neurologist—that cannabis “shrinks” brains of chronic youth users.

In a Twitter comment, Carmant promised $25M for cannabis “prevention, education, and intervention for youths aged 6 to 21”—on top of the Cannabis Prevention and Research Fund the Liberal government created last June. Per the Liberal government’s Cannabis Regulation Act, the Prevention and Research Fund will also receive $25M, which the government must spend before the end of the fiscal year on March 31. Journal de Québec—In French

  • Later Carmant’s attaché clarified, “There’s certainly an intention,” though he said the promise was not “tied 100%” [presumably to Carmant’s stated goals], which is why the number does not appear in the government’s economic update, the party’s financial framework, or Bill 2, which Carmant tabled last week to raise the cannabis age and ban cannabis from public use. Journal de Québec—In French
  • The next morning, the Treasury Council confirmed Carmant had not requested the additional money.
  • The next day, Carmant retracted his tweet, saying, “I went too quickly on the amounts involved.”

The Quebec Association for Public Health released a statement assailing the CAQ plan to raise the age for cannabis to 21.

  • Cannabis is not risk-free, they argued, but it is better to make psychoactive substances controlled under supervision rather than leave them to the illicit market.
  • “There is no logical or scientific argument to support an age of access to cannabis later than the age of access to alcohol or tobacco,” said Université de Montréal psychology professor Jean-Sébastien Fallu. NewsWire—In French
  • The signatories note cannabis-related brain damage in youth users is rare and its connection is unclear, while alcohol is far more dangerous to developing brains—and more likely to cause addiction, accidents, and death. CBC Montreal
  • Carmant reiterated his belief that raising the age will deter adults below the age of 21 from using cannabis.

Éduc’alcool, the Quebec NGO formed by the alcoholic beverage industry with the provincial liquor supplier Société des Alcools du Québec, warned Quebeckers about using cannabis in conjunction with alcohol.

  • Mixing alcohol and cannabis, they said, multiplies the effects of both and creates “significant risks.”
  • They told those who feel it necessary to mix the two drugs to start with cannabis and move to alcohol later on in order to slow the process of metabolizing each. La Presse—In French

Montreal police launched a specialized team to investigate and shut down illegal cannabis production and sales. (Global News)

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Mohawk Territory adopted the territory’s own law on cannabis, banning the sale to those below 21 and bringing cannabis sales in the territory under Council control. Journal de Québec—In French

MARITIMES

Consumers in Atlantic Canada—among the country’s heaviest cannabis users—are worried there won’t be enough supply to meet their Christmas cannabis needs.
CTV Atlantic

Ontario LP Natural MedCo’s Eve & Co. brand is the first Canadian company to offer clones for sale.
MJ Biz Daily

PRAIRIES

The first REC retailer in an Urban Reserve opened in Winnipeg. The Meta Cannabis store is a joint venture between the Long Plain First Nation and National Access Cannabis.
CBC Winnipeg

THE NORTH

Nothing cannabis-related made the news in the North this week, but Kuugaq Café in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, “always [has] muskox, caribou, and char on the menu all the time.” Muskox burgers and chili and char chowder join roasted-caribou panini on a menu that amazingly includes vegetarian options, which I have never seen in the North.
Nunatsiaq News

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