APRIL 7, 2018
THIS IS WEEDWEEK CANADA.
Welcome to WeedWeek Canada, the best way to keep up with Canada's green rush.

WWCanada is a Saturday morning newsletter for professionals in the world's largest fully-legal cannabis market. Our goal is to deliver key data and insights in a quick, digestible format.

Like the original WeedWeek, WWCanada strives to replicate the separation of business and editorial operations practiced at reputable news organizations. Most importantly, advertisers have no influence on editorial content. (For complete ethics statement see the bottom of this email.)

WWCanada is written by Jesse Staniforth, a freelance journalist in Montreal who has reported extensively on indigenous issues, cybersecurity, food safety, and cannabis for outlets including Leafly, ThinkProgress, The Walrus and Salon. You can find him on twitter @jbstaniforth .
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ALEX HALPERIN
The WeedWeek Podcast
Inside Jeff Sessions' Head

This week on the podcast, journalist and CNN analyst Molly Ball discusses her recent Time magazine cover story on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In a fascinating interview, Ball elaborates on Sessions' well-known dislike for weed, and discusses the roots of his unforgiving conception of justice.

The episode lands Monday by 4:20 p.m. Pacific.

Don't forget to rate it five stars on iTunes !

Previous shows feature:
-Episode 12 Cannabis attorney Hilary Bricken discusses what's not working in the California market. A must listen for professionals!
-Episode 11 Jim McAlpine founder of the 420 Games
-Episode 10 Previously incarcerated activist and entrepreneur Lukas Lucas on L.A.'s equity program
-Episode 9 Journalist David Bienenstock talks about social justice within the industry and his new podcast Great Moments in Weed
-Episode 8 Jackie Fox (Hayley's mom) talks about becoming a MED user later in life.
-Episode 7 Dr. Peter Grinspoon, Harvard Medical School, on cannabis, opioids and the medical establishment.
-Episode 6 Anja Charbonneau, editor of design forward cannabis magazine Broccoli
-Episode 4 L.A. cannabis Business attorney  Ariel Clark on what cannabis entrepreneurs need to know
-Episode 3 Congressman and longtime legalization supporter Earl Blumenauer
-Episode 2  Emily Dufton, author of Grass Roots: The rise and fall and rise of marijuana in America, on the history of legalization

Comments or feedback? Don't be shy. Our producer is Katie Long.

Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact here.

Here's the news.
Politics
Three Conservative Senators— Claude Carignan, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, and Denise Batters—visited Washington DC to discuss REC legalization with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (CTV News)
 
Independent Senator André Pratté, who previously argued that the Senate must not block the cannabis bill, said that the Federal Government should not block Manitoba and Quebec from enacting bans on home-growing, saying the government “is in no position to impose its decision on the provinces.” (Toronto Star)
Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, now head of the REC legalization task force, said government outlets might keep track of cannabis buyers’ identities and purchases, but such data will be protected by privacy laws. (Metro News, CBC News)

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana have been lobbying for years against taxes on MED, and activists hoped the new legislation would offer tax relief. However, the only MED that will be tax exempt will be the small portion containing no THC. Activists continue to fight against excise taxes, arguing that MED users are some of the country’s poorest, and often struggle to pay for therapeutic cannabis. (Financial Post, THIS Magazine)
 
MED users who wish to grow their own are also going to court to fight delays in the permitting system that have left them waiting for the right to do so. (iPolitics—Paywall)
 
Following on a city council committee recommendation, the City of Calgary voted to ban REC consumption in public places. (CTV News)
 
REC legalization remains a complex issue in Indigenous communities, and many individual communities wish to set their own cannabis laws independent of federal legislation. (Herb, Civilized)
 
Strict federal limits on advertising and supply may only boost the cannabis black market, warned policy analyst Rosalie Wyonch of the pro-enterprise think tank C.D. Howe Institute. (CBC News)
 
The federal government guidelines demand packaging include an expiry date, but cannabis expiration is hard to determine. (Global News)
Business
After a tumultuous month, cannabis stocks ended March up 0.8% before a steep decline in the first week of April. (New Cannabis Ventures, Pot Network)
 
Canopy Growth, whose new 10-acre Vancouver cannabis greenhouse is the largest in the world, failed to defend its 50-day Moving Average, leading to a series of sell orders across the industry. (The Straight, Midas Letter)
 
Canada’s cannabis industry could be headed for a bubble, Barron’s warns.
Early on, RBC Royal Bank ditched Canopy Growth (then Tweed) because they didn’t want to deal with a medical cannabis producer. TD Toronto Dominion, BMO Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, and CIBC all refused Canopy as well. It was Alterna Savings & Credit Union that took the chance—and profited enormously. (Bloomberg)
 
Lawyers from McMillan LLP noted packaging restrictions will make it hard for producers to brand their cannabis. As a result, producers are developing tactics for brand differentiation without advertising and packaging. (Mondaq, Globe and Mail—Paywall)
 
By 2020, the cannabis industry may produce 6,000 tonnes of organic waste, and Vancouver startup Micron Waste Technologies is developing digesters that extract clean water and leave compostable vegetable matter behind. MWT is already working with Aurora to meet Health Canada disposal restrictions. (Vancouver Sun)
 
REC legalization may be a windfall for security companies, including those that employ armed guards. (Edmonton Journal)
 
Private investor Green Acre Capital supplied $15M in funds to private cannabis companies, though few cultivators. The company targets investment of roughly $2M per company, and has raised $25M for the purpose. (New Cannabis Ventures)
 
CanniMed Therapeutics CEO Brent Zettl resigned ahead of Aurora’s acquisition of that company. Zettl co-founded the company in 1988 as a fruit producer, and it received a medical cannabis contract in 2000. Aurora SVP André Jerôme was appointed Interim CEO. (Financial Post, Winnipeg Free Press, NewsWire)
 
Aleafia Health Inc began trading on the TSX Venture Exchange. Its CEO Raf Souccar is former deputy commissioner of the RCMP, and its executive chairman Julian Fantino, former Toronto Police Chief and federal Veterans Affairs Minister, once compared REC legalization to legalizing murder. (Financial Post, Globe and Mail—Paywall, CBC News)
 
SpeakEasy Cannabis Club offers stock from “craft growers” for the “highly sought-after millennial” REC market. (Globe Newswire)
 
High Tide Ventures applied for 25 location licenses from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to open its new Canna Cabana dispensaries in Calgary, Edmonton, and smaller Alberta communities. (NewsWire)
 
Beyond Gene Simmons, celebrities hoping to cash in with their own brands of REC include the Tragically Hip, Kevin Smith, Snoop Dogg, and the Trailer Park Boys. Olympic skier Jan Hudec and Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati are also entering the industry. (Ottawa Citizen, CBC News)
Provincial News
Nova Scotia’s proposed Cannabis Control Act, introduced Tuesday, set fines from $10,000 to $25,000 for illegal sales, and synchronized punishment for cannabis offenses with alcohol offenses. (Vancouver Sun, CBC Nova Scotia)
 
Saskatchewan’s proposed penalties for selling without a permit will reach a maximum of $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is hiring two to three cannabis enforcement officers. (CBC Saskatchewan)
The union representing the Société des Alcools du Québec, the province’s liquor control board, wants the government to use the existing staff and delivery apparatus of the SAQ as a foundation for the Société Québécoise du Cannabis, rather than building that control board as a new and largely separate entity. (Montreal Gazette)
 
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson continued to push for decriminalization of all drugs. (Vancouver Courier)
 
CBC Vancouver will host a community forum on cannabis, teens, and youth featuring a panel of six experts. Called 419, it will be held on April 19 at Vancouver’s Technical Secondary School at 7:30 pm, and broadcast province-wide on CBC Radio One. (CBC Vancouver)
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson theorised enforcing cannabis bylaws in that city would cost between $10M and $20M. (Edmonton Journal)
 
More than half the charges laid in London, Ontario dispensary raids since summer of 2016 have been withdrawn. (London Free Press)
 
Police should raid dispensaries more aggressively in order to kill off the black market, argued University of Regina economist Jason Childs. (CBC Saskatchewan)
 
Three employees of Regina’s Best Buds Society, raided last week, were charged with trafficking, though Regina Police Chief Evan Bray publicly promised they wouldn’t be. A spokesperson for Regina police said employees were charged because they continued to operate after the raid. Owner Patrick Warnecke was later also charged with seven counts under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (CBC Regina)
 
Research into cannabis is poised to expand after REC legalization. (University Affairs)
 
Toronto’s eco-consumer event the Green Living Show runs this weekend and will spotlight numerous cannabis exhibitors in an exhibit called Cannaspace. (Now Toronto)
 
Cannabis is harmful to pets, warned Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association president Dr. Lesley Sawa, and consumers must take care to prevent animals from consuming it.
  • Dr. Sawa also argued that there are no veterinary studies proving that CBD-infused dog treats are effective for treating dog anxiety. (Saskatoon Star Phoenix)
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Bye,
Jesse

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