WeedWeek
POLITICS
   
Jesse Staniforth
WeedWeek MJ BizCon Party

At MJ Biz Con Las Vegas last week, I joined WeedWeek founding editor Alex Halperin, WeedWeek California editor and podcast co-host Donnell Alexander, and WeedWeek podcast producer Hannah Smith. In partnership with Arcane Revelry, we threw a party at Jerome Baker's private glassworks gallery attended by people from across the sector.

Public Domain

ARE WE OVERREACTING TO THE BORDER?

At least 25 Canadians destined for Vegas were detained for hours of secondary screening in the US customs pre-clearance zone at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on their way to MJ Biz Con. (CBC Business)

  • One Canadian was banned for life from the US when he told border authorities he planned to visit the site of a federally illegal US company in which he invested. He also admitted he knew his investment was a violation of federal law. (Financial Post)
  • Yet border worries may be exaggerated. On Twitter, industry folks reported being allowed across the border when they truthfully said they were headed the conference. A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection said in her experience there seemed to be no significant change since legalization. (CTV News)

NUMBERS FROM THE 2018 CANNABIS SURVEY

The Government of Canada released a summary of the Canadian Cannabis Survey 2018.

An Ipsos poll found Cannabis use hasn’t increased since legalization. Fifty-four percent of respondents say legal REC is too expensive, but 58% said it was easy to buy, and 85% were satisfied with product quality. (Global News)

An Angus Reid poll found 52% of respondents wanted to raise the legal age for cannabis above 20. (Daily Hive Grow)

INDIGENOUS PROFITS AND POWER

The first National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference was held at a resort in the Tsuut’ina Nation in Alberta. Cannabis as a revenue booster was on the agenda, as well as the importance of asserting sovereignty over control of cannabis in First Nations. (The Star)

Quick Hits

Straight Cannabis's Sarah Leamon argued the REC shortage was driven by provincial governments' eagerness to shut down illegal dispensaries, which resulted in higher than expected numbers of users seeking legal REC.

Various parties worried edibles will mean more kids will accidentally ingest cannabis. (CBC Ottawa)

Leafly editor Bruce Barcott argued against the assessment by New York Times reporters that legalization is "failing" in Canada.

Leafly also surveyed the differences in price, quality, and access for MED patients versus REC users.

Interdisciplinary scholar Dr. Rielle Capler noted the greatest public expenditures associated with cannabis have been the costs of policing prohibition. (Twitter)

Scientists are overjoyed at research the last month of legalization has freed them to do. (New York Times)

Rawpixel on Unsplash

Canada's privacy commissioner is worried about how credit-card information of those buying legal cannabis in Canada may be accessed by third parties, including the US Customs and Border Protection. (CTV News)

Two employees of the Federal Government of Canada were fired for using and selling cannabis on the job. (The Leaf)

Legalization is inspiring some Canadians to lower their alcohol consumption. (Global News)

Nurses are leading a drive to introduce patients to MED. (CTV)

Business
   

HEALTH CANADA REVOKES LP CULTIVATION LICENSE--A FIRST

Health Canada threatened to revoke MED LP Agrima’s currently suspended licenses due to (unspecified) "unauthorized activities with cannabis" that took place pre-legalization when the company was licensed under the ACMPR. (Globe and Mail--Paywall)

REDECAN MOULD RECALL

LP RedeCan is recalling all 3.5-gram bottles of its B.E.C. strain sold through the Ontario Cannabis Store after receiving five complaints of mould. (CTV News)

Public Domain
Marley Van

The government has not been clear how it will apply the Cannabis Act to cannabis marketing, and in some case its rules are open to interpretation. Marketing people are uneasy about how to proceed. (Financial Post)

  • Billboards are out, but some LPs are advertising on taxis and social media, while no one's really sure how to avoid "associating a brand with a way of life."

TROUBLED NAMASTE PARTNERS WITH CANNABIS COMPLIANCE

Namaste MED-retail subsidiary CannMart launched a craft cannabis program to support microcultivators with reputable regulatory partner Cannabis Compliance. (NewsWire)

JOB BOOM WELCOMES ONCE ILLICIT HIRES

Job opportunities in the sector are booming--even for those who’ve worked in the illicit market.

Quick Hits

The top three US producers--Acreage Holdings, Harvest Health and Recreation, and MJardin Group--have debuted on the Canadian Securities Exchange in the past week. (MJ Biz Daily)

Canopy, Aurora, and Cronos produced more than 5,000 kilos of combined product in Q1--impressive output from three LPs in three months. (The Star)

Wikimedia Commons
KISS Stockholm 2008

BC's Gene-Simmons-affiliated LP Invictus acquired grower Canandia for $29.4M in shares. (New Cannabis Ventures)

Hexo's regional focus--in Quebec above all, though also Ontario, Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan--helped shield the company from legalization's volatile first month. (Yahoo Finance)

Canopy Rivers is not investing in the US now, but if the country legalizes federally they’re ready to go. (Financial Post)

Serruya Private Equity (founded by frozen-yogurt kingpins the Serruya brothers, who built a fortune on Yogen Früz) formed a joint venture with MED producer Aleafia, and will invest $10M in Aleafia. (New Cannabis Ventures)

Edmonton app-based cannabis credit card GreenGreen promises to safeguard privacy of Canadians users, while allowing American users to buy cannabis on credit, which they're otherwise not allowed to do. (The Province)

Vice investigated national illicit dispensary chain Green Tree/WeeMedical, which it says exploited workers.

Chefs are getting ready for cannabis-infused dining with underground dinners in which each diner is dosed with an amount of their preference. (CBC Edmonton)

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PROVINCIAL
   

Alberta

Alberta temporarily halted issuing and processing applications for REC retail licenses due to product shortages.

  • Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis said they ordered enough stock to supply 250 stores for six months, but received only 20% of the expected product.
  • To date, Alberta has issued 70 REC retail licenses--compared with BC’s one public and one private store.
  • Rielle Capler noted BC chose not to open stores until adequate product was available, versus Alberta, which allowed stores to open and suffer empty shelves. (Twitter)

Police warned Albertans not to try to make cannabis concentrates as they risk blowing themselves up. (CTV News)

British Columbia

The province will not allow mobile vendors or consumption lounges for festivals, parties, and weddings. (CBC British Columbia)

BC's Liquor Distribution Board is still desperately trying to find workers for its cannabis division. (Straight Cannabis)

Vancouver asked its citizens not to smoke legal cannabis at the Santa Claus parade. (Vancouver Sun)

Ontario

Wikimedia Commons
Toronto Police Car Accident

Premier Doug Ford's chief of staff demanded the Ministry of Community Safety and the Attorney General raid all unlicensed dispensaries on October 17 and put "people in handcuffs," but was rebuffed by those who told him the government doesn’t issue orders to police. (The Star)

Ontario’s REC retail rules will make it easier on “the little guy” to open stores, but more complicated for LPs to get into retail. (Globe and Mail)

In January, the province will begin distributing $15M in funding for municipalities to cover costs associated with legalization. (Sarnia Observer)

Municipalities protested the 150-metre buffer the Ford government will impose between retailers and schools, calling for greater buffers of their own choosing. (The Star)

  • Municipalities that choose to override the government buffer with a greater distance of their own will likely be open to lawsuits.

Those hoping to open REC stores in Ontario in the spring must sort out their security and insurance plans now, analysts warn. (The Province)

Ottawa will have dozens of applicants for REC retail licences. (Ottawa Citizen)

Quebec

Paweł Czerwiński/Creative Commons
Recycling Bins

The Société Québécoise du Cannabis cannot take part in the cannabis-packaging recycling initiative spearheaded by Tweed, because Quebec law prohibits LPs from sponsorships. (Journal de Montréal—In French)

As they arrested three for trafficking, Quebec City police reminded citizens that all sales of cannabis not by the SQDC are illegal, even reselling legal cannabis. (Québec Hébdo—In French)

Maritimes

Cannabis NB is satisfied it did the best it could in the first month of legalization. All its stores are open again, though none offers a full range of products. (Radio-Canada—In French)

The University of New Brunswick finally found someone for Canada’s first academic research chair in cannabis health, after months of searching. (Globe and Mail—Paywall)

Prairies

Manitoba will tax REC retailers 6% to cover "social costs" of legalization. (Winnipeg Free Press, CBC Winnipeg)

Manitoba has licensed 13 REC stores.

Saskatchewan still has very few REC retailers. (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)

The North

The North

The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission reported 76% growth in alcohol sales over 2016–2017, largely due to the opening of Iqaluit’s first-ever beer and wine store. The report did not contain information about cannabis, due to its recent change of legal status. (Nunatsiaq News)

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