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REC Retail Sales Crack $100M/Month

Public Domain

Statistics Canada revealed Canadians bought $100M in legal REC in July, the most they've spent to date—up 14.3% from June's $91M in revenues. (And exceeding October and November 2018 sales combined.)

  • Canadians have spent $686.4M on legal REC since legalization.
    Twitter—David George-Cosh
  • July's sales jumped the most in BC (34.1%) and Northwest Territories (23.5%), while sales remained closer to stable in the Yukon (1.4%), Saskatchewan (1.7%), and Nova Scotia (5.3%).
    Twitter—David George-Cosh
  • Though BC's sales increased, they remained the lowest per capita of any province, due not only to a slow REC retail rollout, but also to the province's longstanding legacy market.
    Globe and Mail

Cannabis sales are growing, but they're nowhere near other common goods. Over the Q1 2019 period, retailers sold $167M in legal REC while alcohol sellers sold $5.6B worth of booze. Yard and gardening equipment: $247M in the same period; while cut-flowers and houseplants: $330M; costume jewelry $171M.


Sector Analysts Uneasy

Public Domain

CIBS analyst John Zamparo published a client note calling consensus estimates from other analysts "unachievable." He believes the next year of REC sales will be lucky to hit $2.2B instead of the $6.5B in consensus revue estimates.

Market research group the Cannalysts argued legal cannabis (including MED) was "falling woefully short" of ousting the illicit market, with legal REC meeting only 14% of June's total demand by volume.
MJ Biz Daily

Retail revenues are so slow that a Mackie analyst suggested firms with less than six months' worth of cash on hand should start thinking expansion.
MJ Biz Daily

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Ontario May End Gov't Wholesale, Dismisses Disqualified REC Retailers

Ontario may end its government monopoly on cannabis wholesale and join Saskatchewan in allowing LPs to sell to retailers without an intermediary.

  • The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation owns crown online REC retailer the Ontario Cannabis Store and funnels all REC through its provincial wholesale warehouse.
  • The motivation for the change is the threat that after legalization 2.0, there will be so many new products the provincial warehouse will not have space to stock them.
  • Lawyer Trina Fraser praised the idea, saying, "There is no reason for a provincial distributor. The integrity of the supply chain can be maintained without product sitting on the shelf of a warehouse in Oakville for god knows how long."

A panel of judges dismissed a claim by 11 disqualified Ontario REC retail lottery winners, also ending a freeze on licence processing.

The Cannabis Council of Canada pressured the Ontario government to fast-track opening more REC retailers, arguing supply is now strong enough to support the whole market.
Press Release

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Retail Checkup

Public Domain

The Globe interviewed CEOs from four major REC retailers. They reported consumers have "zero brand recognition" and are looking mostly for high-THC flower and convenient prerolls.

It's a good time to be an Alberta REC retailer, especially after last week's report that Calgary now has more REC stores than BC, Ontario, and Quebec combined. For everyone else, it's more of a challenge.
Cannabis Retailer, MJ Bi

Vancouver Business Brokers, who broker commercial real estate, listed two REC stores on BC's real-estate Multiple Listings Service, though it is unclear whether the sites are licensed.

Cannabis NB is set to pay its board members $50,000 for their servicetwice as much as board members receive for sitting on the board of provincial wine and spirits regulator NB Liquor.
Ici Radio Canada—In French, GrowthOp

The supply shortage may be over, but many provincial REC websites are having difficulty keeping their products fully stocked.

Regina Police raided four unlicensed dispensaries, charging six. In the process, they also raided a cannabis-education business with a sign on its door noting there was no cannabis inside. Owner Kelly Csada was fined $250 for possessing an illicit MED edible, despite informing police she has a prescription. She believes she has the right under the Supreme Court decision R v Smith 2015, which guaranteed access to non-dried forms of edibles. Expect a lawsuit.
Regina Leader-Post, Global News, CBC Saskatchewan, CTV News


Vape Illness Threatens Burgeoning Canadian Market

Public Domain

In the US, Cowen & Co estimated vaping represents 24% of the REC market, and many expected vape pens would be the first REC 2.0 product to explode in popularity. After a summer of stock market losses, the industry was looking forward to new products to buck them up. For them, the U.S. vape crisis couldn't have been more poorly timed.

Quick Hits

  1. The Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction launched its searchable Canadian Cannabis Research Database, charting cannabis research under 40 topic headings.
  2. Aphria launched a program for parents to discuss cannabis use with their children. They partnered with Drug Free Kids Canada, an organization with which Health Canada severed ties in November after learning it was founded by a donation from opioid company Purdue Pharma.
    Winsor Star, Hill Times

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Green Party Cannabis Platform Riddled with Errors

The Liberals could be campaigning on the success of legalization, but in keeping with Bruce Linton's prediction that Conservatives and Liberals would avoid the subject of cannabis this election, we haven't heard much from either leading party.

This week, however, the Green Party released its complete 88-page platform, including a section on cannabis full of errors.
The Conversation, the Leaf, Global News

  • The platform promises to lower the non-existent "federally set price for cannabis," to eliminate non-existent "requirements for excess plastic packaging," and to "allow outdoor production" (licensed outdoor LP growing began in June and more than a dozen LPs are now licensed to grow outdoors).
    CTV News
  • A Green government would also "impose organic production standards," a move BC Independent Cannabis Association President Courtland Sandover-Sly said "would devastate the industry."

The platform has some common-sense cannabis planks, like removing the excise tax on MED, pulling CBD off the Prescriptions List and allowing its sale as a Natural Health Product, and loosening onerous security requirements.

Quick Hits

  1. CBD LP Eureka 93's entire leadership team resigned following an Ontario Securities Commission cease-trade order on the company's stock early this month. In good news, the company just got a new greenhouse license.
    Globe and Mail
  2. The Toronto Stock Exchange debuted the TSX30, recognizing the 30 best-performing stocks over a three-year period. Canopy came in first, and there are four cannabis companies in the top 10.


Plant Theft Gets Serious

Public Domain

It may be legal in much of Canada to grow four cannabis plants, but that takes months. As growers across Canada are learning, stealing them is a lot faster.
Global News

In Oshawa, a resident confronted two men stealing his plants at 3:45am, only to have them stab him. He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Toronto Sun

  • Growing outdoors in a residential neighbourhood has other risks: Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana's Dan Goulet reported his plants were pollinated by neighbours who didn't recognize male plants. Goulet said, "Growing outdoor in Canadian suburbs in 2009 seems to be yielding similar results as growing outdoor in Canadian suburbs in 1975."

Quick Hits

  1. Cannabis aquaponics (growing in water used in fish farming) is still in early days—after only two LPs have received aquaponics licenses, Habitat Craft Cannabis became Canada's first craft aquaponics licensee.
  2. Hemp growers in PEI are asking Ottawa to be allowed to grow high-CBD hemp plants, which they say would make them competitive with US counterparts.


Cannabis Sending Kids to Hospital More than Booze

A study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found of the 23,500 Canadians aged 10 to 24 hospitalized due to substance use in 2017-2018, alcohol caused 16% of ER trips, while cannabis caused 40%.
CBC Health, CBC Ottawa

  • Among those older than 25, cannabis is associated with only 11% of substance-use-related ER visits, while alcohol is associated with 58% of such visits.
  • A majority (69%) of all substance-use-related hospitalizations required mental health care. Among cannabis-related hospitalizations, 81% involved mental health care, compared with 49% of those with opioid-related hospitalizations.
  • Alberta youths were hospitalized for reasons related to substance use more than those of other provinces. CBC Calgary

Quick Hits

  1. Quebec's CAQ government will not require renters to show landlords their MED prescriptions to prove they use cannabis for medical reasons, leaving it up to provincial housing authorities to decide on whether renters involved in a dispute with landlords need to prove their medical need.
    Ici Radio-Canada—In French
  2. Canopy's Ontario hometown of Smiths Falls hopes to reframe itself as Canada's REC tourism destination, except no one in the town of 9,000 can legally sell you any weed.


The Week in MED'Dea

Strainprint released its inaugural 2019 Patient Retrospective, reporting patient data from 805,813 MED patients who used the Strainprint app throughout 2018 to track their symptoms and treatment routines. It can be yours for a cool $995.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal will hear the case of a retired Mountie and MED patient asked to leave a restaurant for smoking prescribed MED on an outdoor smoking patio.
CityNews 1130

In Montreal, patients at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre complained that while LPs push them to get MED prescriptions, it's hard to find doctors willing to write them.
Montreal Gazette

Quick Hits

  1. Pure Global Cannabis signed an agreement to grow 17,000 acres of hemp in China's Yunnan province. Hemp Industry Daily
  2. BC Business discussed the potential for cannabis beverages with two retail CEOs and Tantalus CEO Dan Sutton.
    BC Business


Cannabis "Breathalyzer" for Employers

Public Domain

Using technology exclusively licensed from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver company Cannabix announced it was developing a portable THC breath analyzer "ideally suited for workplace, parental, and personal use testing."
Globe NewsWire

  • Cannabis HR expert Erin Gratton argued, "To market this product to employers in this fashion is dangerous. It puts Canadians' workplace rights and protections at risk."
  • She accused the company of fostering fear and stigma in a video where its co-president falsely said, "Use of marijuana is as high as alcohol in our society."
    Twitter—Erin Gratton

Under Canadian law, only employees in safety-sensitive workplaces may be subject to drug tests. For all other workers, drug tests are considered to violate employee rights.
Ontario Human Rights Commission

Quick Hits

  1. Newfoundland paper the Telegram profiled Atlantic Canada's responses to a year of legalization. In Nova Scotia, one in four has bought legal REC, though many continue to buy on the illicit market.
  2. BC's municipalities still haven't gotten their share of cannabis excise taxes, though on the upside apparently Vancouverites who live in RVs are now growing weed in them. Good for them.
    Globe and Mail, Vancouver is Awesome

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