The federal government inaugurated Bill C-93, its new no-cost, expedited pardon system for those convicted of simple cannabis possession WHEN?, waiving the usual $631 record suspension application fee, and canceling a previous waiting period. Despite being free, record suspensions are not exactly simple to get.
Because the U.S. keeps its own data on those who have previously crossed its border, Customs and Border Patrol agents often have independent records of arrests. Regardless of whether they are pardoned at home, Canadians can still be banned from the U.S. if they lie about being arrested.
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CannTrust announced the company is being investigated both by the Ontario Securities Commission's Joint Serious Offenses Team, a partnership with the RCMP's financial crime branch and the Ontario Provincial Police's anti-racketeering arm. (The Leaf has a helpful summary of l'affaire CannTrust if you've missed the last few weeks.)
The same day he received and replied to an email about the company's unlicensed growing, now-former chair Eric Paul (as well as director Mark Litwin) sold $1M in CannTrust shares, followed by another $5M in shares over the following 30 days.
Globe and Mail
CannTrust hired US investment bank Greenhill & Co. to conduct a strategic review that may conclude the company should be sold in whole or in part. It may also recommend strategic investment, business combination, or other changes. The company's legal liability has not yet been determined, while Health Canada may suspend or cancel CannTrust's licenses.
Globe and Mail, Bloomberg, MJ Biz Daily
This week on the WeedWeek podcast, Alex and Donnell sit down with Bruce Linton, one of the most interesting conversationalists in the industry.
The only bank still willing to back Ontario's REC retail lottery applicants is Alterna Savings, which required them to open an account and deposit $300,000. (BMO stopped accepting new applications in late July.) As of Tuesday, Alterna confirmed the bank has "exceeded the limit of applications that we can presently process, and will not accept further application for this AGCO allocation." The Globe reported, "With nearly a week left before Ontario begins accepting submissions for its second cannabis retail lottery, the window to enter might already be effectively closed."
Twitter, Globe and Mail.
The news also made Aphria the first major LP to show positive retained shareholder earnings. Bloomberg's Kristine Owram said, "Aphria, once thought to be at death's door, turns a net profit, while CannTrust, once thought to be one of the best companies in the industry, says it's under investigation by the OSC."
Neither Hexo nor investors found the attack convincing. Hexo told media it was " scrupulous in adhering to rules and regulations surrounding cannabis promotion, both federally and provincially," and added it geo-fences ads to prevent from breaking provincial law. Stocks actually went up following the release of Friendly Bear's report.
Once vaping cannabis extracts is legalized in the fall, analysts expect vape-pens and other related technology for vaping extracts to occupy a sizeable share of the market. LPs are enthused because the retail price of extracts is nearly ten times that of dry flower, but everyone's rushing to get ready in time.
Selling packaging to cannabis producers is big business. With edibles, beverages, extracts, and topicals about to come on the market, the cannabis-packaging industry will get more complicated, but no less lucrative. Here's a chart of how many grams of packaging each LP uses to hold a few grams of flower.
Globe and Mail, Twitter
Baked Edibles founder Brandon Wright, now CEO of legal edibles maker Dynaleo, warned the cannabis industry does not yet have a unified system of testing standards and methodologies for already-legal products. Noting inconsistent standards led to public wariness of edibles, Wright warned that the approach of ingestibles legalization will likely overwhelm the testing system.
Health Canada is having a disturbingly hard time explaining why researchers still need permission to possess cannabis when every other adult Canadian can carry 30 grams in public. Research licenses are notoriously hard to get, and Health Canada is stringent to the point of absurdity about a now legal product.
The Vancouver Island Compassion Society shut its doors after 20 years serving a middle-aged population suffering from chronic illnesses, pain, and anxiety. The threat of heavy fines or seizures of property was too much, and operators say federal and provincial regulations—which prevent REC retailers from associating cannabis with medical care, and require sealed packages—make it difficult to provide the same kind of services to patients as they did.
The Toronto Star editorial board said the Ontario government and others have botched REC retail, and only have themselves to blame for illicit dispensaries providing access to a product that's too hard to get legally.
Quebec is ramping up efforts to raid and arrest illegal growers.
The government of Canada failed in its duty to consult Indigenous people about legalization, which is a particular problem because "Regulating the use of traditional medicinal plants is consistent with the law-making authority exercised by many Indigenous peoples since time immemorial," argues articled First Peoples Law student Jesse Donovan. For that and other reasons, Donovan argues Canada must not challenge "legitimate expressions of Indigenous law-making."
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