After a thirteen-month thrill-ride of nonstop cannabis news, I (and WeedWeek Canada) will be taking a well-earned vacation next week, and we'll be back the week of April 8. In our absence, I strongly encourage you to follow the original WeedWeek as well as WeedWeek California. See you soon.
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.
Barron’s said the “great marijuana shortage shows no signs of letting up,” citing a report from US brokerage Cowen on five provinces that found the best online product availability was 61% (Ontario Cannabis Store), and products were far harder to get in less populous provinces like New Brunswick.
A Global News story profiled family physician Dr. Sarah Giles’s objections to the presence of MED companies at the 2017 Family Medical Forum, an annual family-medicine conference organized by the College of Family Physicians Canada. Giles told Global, “Marijuana is the next OxyContin, where everyone’s like, ‘Oh, it’s not addictive, it’s harmless, it’s good.’ [. . .] I think we will look back at this time and just be like, ‘What the hell was going on?'”
Youth cannabis rates hit their lowest point in the 2014-2015 year and have been increasing since then, according to a study by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s School of Public Health and Health Systems.
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Health Canada’s new regulations on MED packaging came into force, subjecting it to the same strict no-adornment rules as REC products.
Cronos reported Q4 revenue (ending December 31, 2018) of $5.6M up 250% year over year. Its 2018 gross revenue of $17.1M was up 317% from 2017. The company lost $11.8M or six cents per share in Q4.
MJ Biz Daily, Twitter—Earnings Max
Canopy partnered with Pineapple Express actor/writer Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg (for an unspecified amount) to sell their Houseplant REC brand of dried flower, pre-rolls, and softgels.
Niklas Kouparanis, CEO of European cannabis company Farmako, suggested Canadian producers missed an opportunity for major export deals to Europe due to the supply shortage. Deepak Anand dismissed the assertion as “Absolutely incorrect. It's the inability of several Canadian companies to obtain EU-GMP which led to this deal not going through not a 'product shortage'. In 2018, no Canadian #cannabis company was awarded EU-GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice standards].”
Bloomberg, Twitter—Deepak Anand
Canadians should monitor the progress of the US’s Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which proposes to shield US banks from criminal consequences for working with cannabis companies provided they operate in compliance with state law. If the legislation goes through, writes the Financial Post’s Vanmala Subramaniam, the Canadian sector stands to lose its first-mover advantage.
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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!
The potential profit in cannabis is making Alberta farmers consider shifting crops from vegetables—but cannabis can be unforgiving, and there are a variety of factors that make cannabis a hard product for vegetable farmers to adopt as their own.
Residents in a Vancouver condo building protested as the illicit dispensary on the building’s ground floor applied to go legit. Whether the store is illicit or legit, they want it moved somewhere else.
British Columbia will open 12 more provincially run cannabis stores in smaller communities around the province by late summer.
Part of the reason the illicit market is so strong in BC is that unlicensed dispensaries are often better set up to serve low-income and homeless customers with portions of single grams and cheap pre-rolled joints (roughly $2, rather than closer to $6 for legal pre-rolls), neither of which are available under the legal REC system
Not all Ontario REC stores will be able to open in time. Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said Ontarians would have to “wait and see” how many REC retailers are actually able to open on April 1. “We will have stores open April 1 and I know that the AGCO is continuing to work to make sure that the 25 that have been approved get their stores open in a timely manner,” Fedeli said.
CTV News, The Star
Thanks to the random selection of REC lottery winners, some of Ontario’s larger small communities have been shut out of REC retail, including Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Thunder Bay.
Windsor Star, Global News
Toronto's Health & Wellness department debuted a video of a child making art for his mom out of her tampons, with the slogan, "Kids get into everything, so always remember to keep cannabis locked up and out of reach of children." Though this is generally good advice, the content of the ad raised criticisms—both from some like GrowthOp’s Emma Spears, who suggested discomfort with tampons was misogynist, and from others who noticed the double standard implicit in the group not extending the same warnings to potentially lethal prescription drugs and alcohol.
Twitter—Rebecca Haines-Saah, GrowthOp, BlogTO
Some Ottawans expressed concerns about the impending opening of REC retail across the city. Ottawa REC stores, meanwhile, expect massive lineups and some are planning entertainment and games for those waiting to get inside.
As Windsor’s automotive industry declines, many hope to find work in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
The end of cannabis prohibition in Quebec mirrors the end of alcohol prohibition, after which Quebeckers were only allowed to buy two 26-oz bottles per day, served from behind the caged-counter of government liquor-control board stores. (See image above.) It took about 70 years before the Société des Alcools du Québec began treating their product as a desirable commercial good rather than something buyers should be ashamed of.
Montreal LP Great White North Growers received three Health Canada licenses—cultivation, processing, and medical sales. Quebec has far fewer LPs than other provinces with similar populations.
Two scholars—one a sociologist, the other a McGill professor of psychiatry—cautioned the CAQ government against making definitive statements about the effect of cannabis on the developing brain, as they say too little evidence exists thus far to confirm or deny the existence of those effects.
New Brunswick craft growers hope they can make a name for the region as a hotbed of “artisanal” small-batch cannabis.
CBC New Brunswick
Manitoba complained it needed more supply if it wanted to beat the illicit market, though Health Canada claimed—again—there is no supply shortage.
Manitoba is following Ontario’s lead in finding REC operators for stores in the seven rural towns the province identified as needing licensed cannabis retailers: it will assign licenses by a random draw of names from a pool of 100 applicants that pre-qualified last year.
Winnipeg Free Press
An editorial in the Nunavut News called for more competition in the cannabis available to Nunavummiut, who until recently could only buy online from Tweed. A second online company, Agmedica, recently joined the market, but many want to buy from physical stores. It will be a while before Nunavut sees physical REC retailers, however. Nunavut finance minister George Hickes said he did not know when REC retail will begin in the territory.