Canada Archives - Green Market Report

Stella LincolnStella LincolnSeptember 18, 2019
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9min5232

Shortages of Canadian marijuana appeared immediately after recreational sales of cannabis starting from October 2018.  Hence, there is a typical Canadian refrain almost lately.  Because of little inventory remaining, many stores are closed three days a week, and provincial distributors are blaming federal regulations and producers. Some of the giant retailer’s licenses have also frozen and some are limited to 25 stores on the state level.

The shortfall concern for medicinal cannabis has appeared even earlier. Also, some regular users have shown interest that cultivators and manufacturers are prioritizing lucrative recreational products more for overseas markets. In response to the concerns raised by the stakeholders, the federal regulation authority has been pointed out to increase the number of producer’s licenses and industry inventories. While producers are blaming regulatory restrictions and new industry red tapes. Moreover, some of the growing industry analysts have criticized provincial licensing limits as implementing mandatory restrictions.

After all the blame game, the question arises that how can Canada have massive cannabis supplies seemingly yet facing a widespread shortage? Let’s take some critical findings from cannabis sales and inventory data released by Health Canada below.

Market Insight

Last year, cannabis producers already expanded their stockpiles to a greater extent before legalization. In 2018, between January and September, the dry cannabis inventories for month-end analysis for both leaves and flowers were noted as more than doubled yield that was 40 to 100 tons in weight. Moreover, supplies of cannabis-infused oils were reported as tripled yields as of 14 to 48-kiloliters.

Hence, as the recreational began in October 2018, the inventory growth slowdown. The official noted that there as a tremendous amount of cannabis available overall. However, the availability cannot make sure there is no shortage. When we talk about medicinal cannabis, the sales of oil per registered client were increased by 18% between April 2017 and September 2018. Also, dry marijuana sales plunged 53% from 11gm per client to 5gm per client. Due to this reason, dry cannabis sales decline has to reflect a gradual shift to medicinal oils. Instead, that fact cannot be denied that shortages are still contributing to the supply shift curve.

Meanwhile, November’s oil sales were above September, that is 18%, and dry cannabis soared 103% in the same period.  The post-legalization sales then somehow increasingly support the demand and supply curve theory. Hence, medicinal clients refilled their dry supplies with its after legalization and made transfer through prescriptions easier.

High demand and short supply

Considering market insights, cannabis oil recreational sales 2 kiloliters in November compared to October’s influential figures that were 1.8 kiloliters due to the shortage of oils. Hence, this clearly shows that potential demand for recreational cannabis is around 3.8 kiloliters every month while the sales of medicinal cannabis hit 5.9 kiloliters monthly.

The good news is, on November 2018, distributors close sales in good shape and doubled the inventory to 7.6 kiloliters. The stock is enough to fulfill two months of recreational medicinal demand for two months satisfactory.

Producers get to the stock mark of 26 kiloliters ready to ship oil, and that is nearly three months of combined medicinal and recreational demands. Furthermore, an increase in outbound shipping rates suggests high user demand.

When we talk about dry cannabis, the situation is the opposite. An inventory of 9.5 tons with the need of 13.5 tons clearly indicates insufficient stocks with significantly high demand. This implies that the shortage will continue to worsen.

Challenges

“Several theories explain the existing shortfall of dry cannabis despite having huge inventories,” says Jordan, a financial analyst at Premium Jackets. One of the possible reasons is that 80% of the dry stock is unfinished at the producer’s end and unavailable for sales. The possible unfinished processing point outs packaging bottlenecks as well.

The second possible challenge is the data add up inventories at distribution level as a single provincial distributor serves every recreational client. This is why 50% of the customers have to get disappointed seeing empty shelves during a shortfall. Also, the demand and supply gap is much harder to balance for individual products when compared to overall categories.

Investments

“There are a number of times when buyers and sellers have experienced many mismatches in cannabis demand and supply. This keeps medical patients at risk because many clients treating conditions like epilepsy and seizures can be affected in their therapy dosages. As a substitution product cannot cure them, they are bound to take a specific formulation for treatment” Elaborated by Clark Anderson, Stock Analyst at Australian Master.

Another factor that is critical to investors is cannabis exports. They have only averaged 2.5% of monthly production as an export product. That’s a significantly small value which is affecting domestic availability as well. Some experts blame the growth of cannabis for this impact. There are piles of crude dried stocks at producers. Hence, there is a pressing need to keep the harvesting aligned with processing.

Future predictions

Currently, the cannabis industry is facing a massive challenge to overcome the demand and supply gap. The estimate of demand may vary widely; however, Health Canada estimates the need for both oil cannabis and dry cannabis that may work out well is about 77 tons monthly.

Hence, the legal cannabis suppliers are providing better availability to the user with a specific formulation for their therapies. Also, they are serving every recreational and medicinal user. Although investing in such cultivation is strongly needed to match the capacity of growth. Lastly, dealing with the black market is the most stand over a hurdle that the federal market has to deal with.


AxisWireAxisWireMay 21, 2019
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14min2070

SMITHS FALLS, ON, May 21, 2019 /AxisWire/ Canopy Growth Corporation (“Canopy Growth” or the “Company”) (WEED.TO) (CGC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Lee to its executive leadership team in the acting role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective June 1, 2019. Mike’s permanent role as CFO will commence upon receiving Health Canada security clearance required for all Officers and Directors of the Company.

Mike brings a wealth of experience from the consumer goods & beverages industry, having worked for companies such as E. & J. Gallo Winery, PepsiCo, and recently Constellation Brands, where he served as Senior Vice President & CFO for their US$3BWine & Spirits Division. He worked closely with Constellation Brands’ executive leadership to transform their premium Wine & Spirits business, applying financial rigor along the way with a true sense of urgency that translated strategy into action.  Mike also led the business transformation agenda at Constellation Brands, focused on digital enablement and operating model design. Most recently, Mike has served in the role of Executive Vice President, Finance at Canopy Growth Corporation.

Mike’s experience across these mature, category-leading CPG companies along with his experience in business transformation will be an asset as Canopy Growth continues to scale at an exponential rate. Taking advantage of his established strengths in developing high-performance teams, delivering financial results, and his ability to translate strategy into execution will help the Company’s leadership chart a course for the future.

Tim Saunders, whose invaluable contributions to the Company’s direction, finance leadership, and culture will continue to serve the executive team and Board of Directors of Canopy Growth as a strategic advisor in areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate financing, and business transformation.

“When I welcomed Tim four years ago, Canopy Growth had a market cap of $93 million, two partially licensed production sites in Ontario and a single acquisition under our belt. After more than 26 acquisitions, 8 financings worth over $6.2 billion, the sector’s first TSX and NYSE listings, and reaching a market cap of $21 billion, Tim exemplifies what it means to be a leader at Canopy Growth,” said Bruce Linton, Chairman and Co-CEO, Canopy Growth. “As Tim transitions roles, I am also pleased to elevate Mike into the acting CFO role. His philosophy, accomplishments and all-around track record give me confidence that the Company’s financial health and governance are in good hands. I look forward to working more closely with Mike, benefitting from his vision and expertise as the Company continues growing, both at home and abroad.”

The Board of Directors, co-CEOs Bruce Linton and Mark Zekulin, along with the whole Canopy Growth family, thank Tim Saunders for his dedication and leadership. Having championed the financial health of the Company through an aggressive phase of M&A growth, multiple financing rounds, and historic listings on the TSX and NYSE, both firsts for cannabis companies, Tim’s impact on Canopy Growth is permanent and sincerely appreciated.

Here’s to Future Growth (now with Mike!).

About Canopy Growth Corporation
Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED, NYSE:CGC) is a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms, as well as medical devices through the Company’s subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. From product and process innovation to market execution, Canopy Growth is driven by a passion for leadership and a commitment to building a world-class cannabis company one product, site and country at a time. The Company has operations in over a dozen countries across five continents.

The Company’s medical division, Spectrum Therapeutics is proudly dedicated to educating healthcare practitioners, conducting robust clinical research, and furthering the public’s understanding of cannabis, and has devoted millions of dollars toward cutting edge, commercializable research and IP development. Spectrum Therapeutics sells a range of full-spectrum products using its colour-coded classification Spectrum system as well as single cannabinoid Dronabinol under the brand Bionorica Ethics.

The Company operates retail stores across Canada under its award-winning Tweed and Tokyo Smoke banners. Tweed is a globally recognized cannabis brand which has built a large and loyal following by focusing on quality products and meaningful customer relationships.

From our historic public listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange to our continued international expansion, pride in advancing shareholder value through leadership is engrained in all we do at Canopy Growth. Canopy Growth has established partnerships with leading sector names including cannabis icons Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen, breeding legends DNA Genetics and Green House Seeds, and Fortune 500 alcohol leader Constellation Brands, to name but a few. Canopy Growth operates ten licensed cannabis production sites with over 4.4 million square feet of production capacity, including over one million square feet of GMP certified production space. For more information visit www.canopygrowth.com

Notice Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements and information can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Canopy Growth or its subsidiaries to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release. Examples of such statements include statements with respect to changes to the leadership team. Risks, uncertainties and other factors involved with forward-looking information could cause actual events, results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including the Company’s ability to satisfy provincial sales contracts or provinces purchasing all cannabis allocated to them, and such risks contained in the Company’s annual information form dated June 27, 2018 and filed with Canadian securities regulators available on the Company’s issuer profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information or forward-looking statements in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements included in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company does not undertake an obligation to publicly update such forward-looking information or forward-looking information to reflect new information, subsequent events or otherwise unless required by applicable securities laws.


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerNovember 12, 2018
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6min6010

Early insights reveal out-of-stocks remain elevated in Canada’s first 3 weeks of legalization

An analysis of the e-commerce platforms of Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador, represented approximately 65% of the Canadian population, shows that Canadians are taking full advantage of the products available from their provincial retailers.  

The report released by Cowen & Co.’s  Vivien Azer focused on the issue of out-of-stock rates as Canada falls deeper into its market shortage following legalization on October 17 while providing an up-to-date profile on the who and what of legal cannabis from Health Canada.  

The Out-of-Stock Issue

Out-of-stock levels across suppliers show that the product shortage is nothing to scoff at, as supply fell far short of the demand for Canadians accessing legal cannabis immediately after legalization took effect.

Overall, out-of-stock levels remain flat from the prior week at 57%. For Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC), out-of-stock rates fell to 54% from 65% in the prior week. Tilray’s (TLRY) out-of-stock rates remained flat. Aphria (APHA), which is still recovering from dips in its inventory levels, continues to see out-of-stock rates climb.

Canopy and Tilray Rate an Outperform

Canopy Growth, which had the second highest number of products offered (169 SKUs), rated an outperform with an C$82 price target.

Tilray’s product SKU data was not able to be obtained because the company doesn’t have supply agreements with three of the four analyzed provinces. Tilray also rated an outperform at a C$172 price target.

Market Leading Products

Azer notes that in the provinces examined, loose leaf cannabis is making up 80% SKUs noting that this is likely due to the unavailability of other products like concentrates on the legal market. High-THC flower, made of 20% THC or higher, and oil-based products measured at 20 mg/ml, are proving to be popular products for both offerings and consumer take up. While the purchase of flower (i.e. bud) is most common, pre-rolls are also proving popular with the out-of-stock levels increasing for these particular products; out-of-stock rates for pre-rolls outweigh those of flower.

With the rise in popularity of CBD, out-of-stocks for these products rose to 100%; CBD-focused and CBD-balanced products were sold out at 67% and 61% respectively.

The report noted that oils and capsules make up only 8% of SKUs on the market with these out-of-stock rates climbing faster than other categories.

Capsules carry the highest out of stock rates 75%, but this data is based on a small sample.

The Price Factor

Azer notes that 70% of flower SKUs are priced at $11, while the data is showing that people are willing to pay more for premium pre-rolls, at the equivalent of $10 per gram. Products in the higher end price range (up to $20/pre-roll) are proving to be bigger sellers than those of a lower price category (as low as $12/pre-roll).

As Canada adjusts through its growing pains, we can expect firms like Cowen & Co. to keep a close eye on the who, what, and how much of Canadian cannabis.

Profile of Canadian Cannabis Users

Azer’s report revealed some interesting statistics from Health Canada about cannabis use amongst Canadians. It’s showing a decline in use among 15-19-year-olds by 7%, while use among 20-24 and 25+ is increasing. At the same time, alcohol use among these latter two groups is decreasing.

Females are trailing men at 11% in reporting instances of cannabis use, in comparison to 18% of men, but that gap is beginning to close as more women turn to cannabis. Interestingly, alcohol use among women is on the increase along with a reported increase in women using cannabis.

More incidences of cannabis use were reported in British Columbia over any province; with Ontario falling slightly under the provincial average, and Quebec reporting the lowest incidences of cannabis use in the country.

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 25, 2018
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3min8990

It has been a little more than a week since recreational cannabis sales were launched in Canada, and already the policy has become a big hit. Millions of dollars in cannabis sales have already been recorded, and in the province of British Columbia alone there have been more than 21,000 transactions. Although some cannabis companies, like MedMen, have posted large revenues with considerable expenses to counter its gains, other cannabis companies have enjoyed much rosier financial outcomes; such as Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. (NINE), THC BioMed Intl Ltd.  (THC), and Organigram Holdings Inc.  (OGI).

Delta 9 Cannabis Inc.

Earlier this week, Delta 9 announced that within the first seven days of legalization, its Delta 9 Cannabis Store subsidiary logged roughly 9,600 transactions; generating CAD$736,124 in revenue. The majority of its revenue came from the sales of dried cannabis and to a lesser extent the sale of ancillary products and accessories. Although online sales were restricted to 10% of its initial in-store inventory, the company received a total of 1,583 online orders, of which 622 were same-day deliveries. The first day of legal recreational cannabis sales blew away all of our expectations,” said Delta 9 CEO John Arbuthnot in a statement. “We launched online sales of cannabis just after the stroke of midnight on October 17… By 4 a.m., we had sold out all the product set aside for online sales…”

THC BioMed Intl Ltd.

Although THC BioMed did not post its sales figures for the last week, the company did announce that it has sent its third shipment to the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch and that all of its strains and pre-rolls have already sold-out.

Organigram Holdings Inc.

Also enjoying early success in Canada’s new adult-use cannabis market is Organigram. Providing cannabis to a number of Canadian provinces, the company has reported more interest than initially expected. In the province of Ontario, for example, the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website has received more than 1.3 million unique visits and approximately 100,000 online orders within the first 24 hours of retail sales. “The launch of the Canadian adult recreational cannabis market has already exceeded our expectations in many ways,” commented Organigram CEO Greg Engel. “Consumers have immediately shown tremendous support for this new marketplace and incredible interest in our own portfolio of recreational brands, driving a phenomenal volume of early sales.”


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerOctober 18, 2018
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5min8280

As the clock rolled onto 12:00 am in Newfoundland, eager cannabis users lined up around city blocks as the first legal cannabis was sold within the country of Canada on legalization day, October 17.

Cannabis is now legal for production, sale, consumption and personal growing in Canada, but early critics of Canada’s legalization warn that we should be wary of the “green rush”.

Rollercoaster Stocks

Shares of Canadian companies Canopy Growth (CGC), Cronos (CRON), and Tilray (TLRY) have been soaring all year, but saw a plunge on Wednesday with the turn of legalization, causing critics to warn that the hype doesn’t meet the promise for profits.

Other stocks such as Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF), and Aphria (APHQF) took a plunge in light of recent news that big consumer products like Coca-Cola and Marlboro respectively have been poking their noses into cannabis looking to cash in.

Despite estimates that Canada’s recreational market could be worth $4.3 billion within the first year, critics scoff at the idea that the cannabis boom is akin to the dot-com boom of previous decades. Paul Rosen, CEO of Cronos joked to CNN earlier this week that not every cannabis company will become the Google of cannabis; with some having to settle for Ask Jeeves status.

Customer Feedback on Pricing

“An eighth cost me $56!,” said Emily, who logged on early on Wednesday to the Ontario Cannabis Store’s online shop. “The prices alone may keep me in the grey market”. Another Ontario consumer purchased 2 (yes, only two!) pre-rolled joints for $30. While there is certainly a privilege of purchasing legal cannabis, the high pricing and Harmonized Sales Taxes make a “dime bag” feel more like a hefty investment.

Of course, one of the goals of The Cannabis Act is to stamp out the black market and ensure that “keeps profits away from organized crime”, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau puts it.

It was recently announced to Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) patients that prices for medical cannabis would go up by $1 per gram (or the equivalent of 10% of the purchase price) and would be subject to higher taxation. Licensed Producers like Emblem are working to resolve these issues to make cannabis remain accessible to ACMPR patients.

Product Shortages

Winnipeg’s Delta 9 cannabis store reported that within the first minute of online sales, there were 100 orders and that sales for the day totaled $50,000. Products sold out within the first few hours.

“[All cannabis is] all sort of spoken for across the entire country,” said Living Skies Cannabis, a Saskatchewan-based retailer who was ready to open their doors, but had no inventory to offer customers.

The Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission’s website was so overloaded that it failed to load for some consumers, with 11,000 customers in the queue waiting to purchase cannabis at one time. The platform had to tweet that they’d be back up and running soon.

For the largest consumer province in Canada, Ontario Cannabis Stores’ website ran smoothly, but consumers saw the availability of products dwindle throughout the day.

It was estimated just days before legalization that Canada’s cannabis supply could meet only 30-60% of demand, causing the black and grey markets to continue to thrive as people continue to get cannabis from their pre-legalization sources.

Time to Iron out the Kinks

We’ve gotten through the first day of legal cannabis in Canada. This is the dawning of a new Canada, where certain privileges are granted, while others are taken away. It may be a while before we can properly assess the social and economic impact of legal cannabis in Canada, but at least this is a start.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 17, 2018
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3min8400

As Canada launches its adult use cannabis sales, the focus from investors has been on production size and facilities. Canadian cannabis companies have been racing each other to claim the crown as the biggest producer with the largest facilities and greatest yields. The industry north of the border has seemed to ignore the lessons already learned in the U.S. when there is a race to produce more than is needed.

Jonathan Rubins of Cannabis Benchmarks said, “We have been observing and assessing prices in multiple U.S. markets for over three years, and we have watched a steady erosion of prices in the most mature, competitive markets – specifically CO, OR and WA – as greater production capacity, innovation in technology and production techniques, and improved supply chain management have driven wholesale prices down.” His company diligently records the prices of wholesale cannabis and this is what they’ve seen:

    • Colorado is down 22% YTD at $865 per pound
    • Oregon is down 62% YTD at $677 per pound
    • Washington is down 42% YTD at $693 per pound

Rubin noted that cannabis investors have pushed the Canadian company stocks to lofty levels as the companies raise millions upon millions of dollars to fuel this production expansion. “However, investors appear to be betting more on potential future valuations than on fundamental analysis, and there seems to be greater weight being put on a company’s production capacity rather than the value of that production and how its value may change over time,” he said.

If the Canadian analysts have used Colorado as a guide for consumption per person data, Rubin believes they can’t ignore the pricing side of the equation.

“Some companies are being rewarded with higher valuations for pursuing a strategy of vertical integration as a means of controlling exogenous variables. We are not aware of a single commodity-based industry in which vertical integration resulted in the best long-term results,” said Rubin.  “Simply put, vertical integration reduces the ability to hedge various aspects of the business with other industry participants and requires companies to be best-in-class operators in every segment of the value chain.”

 

 


Steven HawkinsSteven HawkinsOctober 17, 2018
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6min4790

On Wednesday, marijuana sales will begin nationwide in Canada, making it the second country in the world — following Uruguay — with a federally legal adult-use marijuana industry.

Each Canadian province has developed its own system for how marijuana will be sold to adults. This will include government stores, private retailers, online government sales with delivery, or a mix of those approaches.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., nine states have legalized marijuana for adults’ use (although sales are allowed in only eight of them) and 30 states have comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Two more adult-use states and two more medical states may come on board on Election Day. But all this progress exists under the cloud of federal illegality.

Businesses in the U.S. have to contend with a myriad of problems caused by federal prohibition. Even MPP — a nonprofit organization that works to end marijuana prohibition  — was dumped by our bank (we now have a new one) and our retirement fund briefly planned to drop us. In addition to banking challenges, U.S. cannabis businesses typically can’t accept credit cards, products can’t ship to retailers in other states, and most alarmingly, there is still the possibility of federal prosecution.

In addition to overriding federal law context, here is a comparison between the Canadian adult-use program and common features of U.S. state legalization laws:

  • Age: In Canada, provinces set the drinking age at either 18 or 19. The age limit is mirrored for cannabis. Meanwhile, all legalization states have set the age at 21, mirroring U.S. alcohol laws.
  • Edibles: For the first year, no edibles will be allowed in Canada. Initially, reports indicate that only flower will be available. In contrast, every adult-use legalization law in the U.S. allows edibles and a myriad of other products, albeit with regulations. (However in Oregon during a transitional period, existing medical businesses were initially allowed to sell flower only to adult-use consumers.)
  • Public consumption: Every U.S. state that legalized marijuana prohibits marijuana smoking in public, although some allow for on-site consumption at specific adults-only establishments. In Canada, some provinces will allow cannabis smoking in certain locations that are open to the general public, although most or all ban it in locations that appeal to children.
  • Possession limit: In Canada, an adult will be allowed to possess just over an ounce of cannabis (30 grams) outside the home. Possession limits for outside the home in legalization states vary from one ounce to 2.5 ounces.
  • Home cultivation: Canada is allowing home cultivation of four plants. All of the adult-use states but Washington allow home cultivation, although in Nevada only those living at least 25 miles away from the nearest retailer may grow their own cannabis.
  • Government involvement: Due to federal illegality, thus far U.S. state government have not directly participated in selling, distributing, or growing adult-use marijuana (although two public universities in Louisiana are involved in marijuana cultivation, and Utah plans to dispense medical cannabis). In contrast, there will government distribution systems in Canada and government stores and deliveries in some provinces.
  • Import/export: At this time, Canadian law does not allow the import or export of cannabis, although it does allow hemp exports. In light of federal prohibition, all state marijuana laws are set up as intrastate programs — with retailers purchasing only from product manufacturers and growers in the same state.

The Marijuana Policy Project has been at the forefront of legalization among the states as well as decriminalization for possession of cannabis.  Our efforts have removed the threat of local prosecution for citizens in 21 states and the District of Columbia.  But we cannot rest on yesterday.  We have to continue to push today for a better tomorrow.  Last year, the NYPD was still arresting African American and Latino youth for marijuana possession at a rate 9 times greater than Caucasian youth.  Currently, we continue to house hundreds of thousands of people for cannabis possession, leading to devastating collateral consequences in their lives, such as job loss or denial of parental rights.   MPP plans to keep growing the number of U.S. states where marijuana is legal for adults. With sufficient funding, we believe we can more than double the number of adult-use states within just a few years. Meanwhile, we aren’t losing sight of the need to change federal law. It’s easy to get complacent when the DEA isn’t busting down cannabis business’ doors. But, recent comments from Colorado’s top federal prosecutor should remind us all that there is an urgent need to change federal law so that state-legal marijuana businesses are no longer a crime.  Most critically, we still have over 500,000 marijuana-related arrests and convictions each year in the United States.  Canadian jails are used for a better purpose.  Visit www.mpp.org to learn more and join our mission.


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerOctober 17, 2018
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9min13440

It’s been gracing the front of almost every newspaper, on the tongues of this year’s political candidates, and becoming the topic of choice around the water cooler: The end of cannabis prohibition in Canada has finally come.

Canada is now the first G7 country to legalize cannabis on the federal level, making it legal to sell cannabis across the country to adults over the age of 19 (or 18 in Quebec and Alberta).

Cannabis has been under prohibition in Canada since 1923 when it was included in the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill, and later in the Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs. Rising in popularity in Canada in the 1930s and experiencing a resurgence in the 1960s, Canadians have been fighting for the decriminalization of cannabis since 1972.

Canada never decriminalized cannabis.

Cannabis was made legal for medical purposes in 2001 with the passing of the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, evolving into what is now known as the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). It wasn’t until Justin Trudeau took the office of Prime Minister in 2015 that the legalization of cannabis was on the table, and Bill C-45 or “The Cannabis Act” passed in Canada’s Senate on June 7, 2018.

As of today, it is now legal to purchase, grow, and use cannabis in Canada.

What does this mean for Canada and the lives of every day Canadians? Here are some important aspects of what Canada’s legalization truly means for Canada and its citizens:

Purchasing Legal Cannabis

While all Canadians will be able to log on to their respective provincial government’s sales portal, not all Canadians will have the opportunity to visit a brick and mortar shop today. For instance, in Ontario where Doug Ford recently reversed the Liberal’s position on keeping cannabis in the public realm, there will be no brick-and-mortar stores where there was once the promise of 40+ Ontario Cannabis Stores. In Northwest Territories, there will be no legal cannabis stores open amidst concerns of the potential for cannabis addiction.

Age to Purchase Cannabis

In every province other than Quebec and Alberta, the legal age to purchase cannabis is 19 (18 in the aforementioned provinces). Recently, as Quebec changed the provincial government, there have been threats to raise the legal purchase age in Quebec to 21 amidst growing concerns about the age to purchase legal cannabis being too low, in light of the fact that the human brain is still in development until the age of 25.

Possession of Cannabis

As of today, all adults who are legal to purchase cannabis may possess up to 20 grams of legal cannabis, dried or in equivalent non-dried form. You may also share (but not sell) up to 30 grams with another person. According to the Government of Canada, 1 gram of cannabis is equivalent to: 1 gram of dried cannabis, 5 grams of fresh cannabis, 15 grams of edible product (although edibles won’t be sold in Canada yet), 70 grams of liquid product, .25 grams of concentrate, or 1 cannabis plant seed.

Federal law does not limit the amount of cannabis that may be possessed within a single private home.

Growing Cannabis

As of today, every household in Canada will be able to legally cultivate up to 4 plants for personal use, with the exception of Manitoba and Quebec. In British Columbia, it’s law that plants must be hidden from public view. The right to cultivate up to 4 plants per household cannot be transferred from one household to another.

International and Domestic Travel

There’s been a bit of a back and forth about the issue of Canada-U.S. border crossings, and there had been a strong threat that would disallow any workers from the Canadian cannabis industry from entering the U.S. Last week there was a bit of a relief as it was announced that workers would “generally” be allowed to enter the U.S., as long as they didn’t have a history of use with the plant. The issue of denying anyone who has ever used cannabis is still a topic of debate.

Domestically, while it’s forbidden to pack bags of cannabis in a plane’s cargo, each person can legally fly within Canada with 30 grams of cannabis.

Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis

Canadians who use cannabis better be prepared to follow similar practices to driving while under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence of cannabis has become a hot topic within Canada’s law enforcement, as well as a heated human rights issue as Canadians feel stigmatized and punished for cannabis use.

According to Canada’s Department of Justice, those who are caught driving a motor vehicle with 2-5 nanograms of THC in their system could face a maximum fine of $1,000. If caught with over 5 nanograms, it’s a mandatory $1,000 fine for the first offense, a mandatory 30 days imprisonment for a second offense, and a mandatory 120 days imprisonment for a third offense.

The Dawning of a New Era?

Some early and current critics of Canada’s legalization see the confines of legal cannabis in Canada to be echoing of prohibitionist sentiments. We will have to wait to see how legal cannabis in Canada unfolds, as truly, it’s something this country is new at, truly, all Canadians are completely unsure of how it will turn out.

Let’s just take a collective deep breath in of our legal cannabis, and hope for the best.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 15, 2018
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4min14490

Move over 420, 1017 is about to take over. On Wednesday, both medical and adult use cannabis will be legal for adults in Canada. The Cannabis Act that was passed in June created a legal cannabis program allowing each province in the country to establish its own cannabis marketplace. Canada is the first G-7 to legalize cannabis in both forms at a national level.

October 17 was the day that was set for the first sales of adult use or recreational cannabis. The dispensaries won’t be like the ones in the U.S. since the packaging is decidedly plain, but adults will be able to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis.

“Canada is setting a strong example of how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The U.S. and other countries grappling with the complexities of such a significant policy shift will have an excellent opportunity to learn from the Canadian experience.”

According to a report from Deloitte, the total cannabis market in Canada is expected to generate up to $7.17 billion in total sales in 2019. Deloitte also noted that $4.34 billion would be specifically legal sales. Consumers are expected to begin leaving the illicit sales channels and migrating to legal outlets by as much as 35%.

Hawkins added, “The Canadian model is rather similar to what many envision for the U.S., and in many ways, it mirrors what is happening here, as states have taken the lead in regulating commercial cannabis activity. The big difference—and it is a critical difference—is the blessing provincial governments have received from their federal government.”

Other Countries

While many think Canada has been leading the charge, it was actually Uruguay who first legalized adult use cannabis. That country passed legislation was signed into law in December 2013  but it wasn’t until July 2017 that some pharmacies began selling the product. Various European countries have legalized medical marijuana and Amsterdam has allowed limited adult use cannabis consumption for years.

“As just the second country and the first G7 nation to end marijuana prohibition, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader for cannabis business and development. As the U.S. continues to face federal roadblocks to cannabis-related medical research, Canada could very well become the world leader in discovering new cannabis-based medicines,” Hawkins added. “Canada is going to generate significant revenue, create all sorts of jobs and business opportunities, and become the world leader for cannabis-related research and development. Hopefully, Congress will take notice quickly and that competitive American spirit will kick in sooner rather than later.”


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerJuly 16, 2018
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(Editors Note: The story is contributed content from LeafGuru)

With national legalization set for October 17, many Canadians will admit they haven’t felt overly informed on how the legal industry unfolds in their province.

Sales, marketing, industry participation, cultivation regulations, and who can do what in which province makes Canadian cannabis seem complicated, and not something Canadian’s cannabis users have completely warmed to.

“I really don’t know much about the new legal cannabis retail stores,” says Kitchener, Ontario resident Stacey when asked whether she’ll access one of the new Ontario Cannabis Stores near her, “I understand the privilege of legal cannabis, but I don’t feel there’s been enough communication from the governments about what will be available to us.” For many, the recent amendments to Bill-C45 that were recently proposed provided no more clarity than before.

Canadians deserve to be more informed about legal cannabis, and a new information hub is stepping in to connect Canadians to the legal recreational cannabis experience.

Time to Bridge the Knowledge Gap

A team of web developers in Alberta have been quietly working towards building the central and premier hub for cannabis information for Canada, across all provinces and territories, from sea-to-sea.

Leaf Guru had their soft launch on earlier this month, presenting Canadians a resource to help them get up to speed on the ins-and-outs of the cannabis plant, and what legal cannabis means for the country.

“The months leading up to the provincial implementation of legal cannabis provide an opportunity for all Canadians to increase their literacy on the cannabis plant,” said CEO and Founder of Leaf Guru, Cam Edwards, “Leaf Guru seeks to go back to the basics of cannabis and rebuild what we know about the plant in the legal context in Canada.”

The site shows all Canadians where you can get legal cannabis, what products are available, and unites all developments in Canada’s provinces and territories into one resource.

Supporting the Shift from Grey Markets to Legal Markets

Canada has had a legal cannabis market since 2001 when Canadians were able to access a medical cannabis prescription through one of Health Canada’s 101 Licenced Producers (LPs). As of December 2017, 269,502 Canadians accessed medical cannabis through physician’s prescriptions and LPs.

Despite the medical cannabis user numbers being relatively low considering Canada’s over 36 million population, recreationally, millions of Canadians have been accessing and using cannabis for decades.

According to Statistics Canada, $5.7 billion dollars was spent in 2017 by 4.9 million cannabis-consuming Canadians in Canada; which includes both medicinal and recreational cannabis. Not surprisingly, 90% of money spent on cannabis by Canadians is for non-medicinal (or recreational) purposes.

“On October 17, cannabis will finally be legal for Canadians to purchase, possess, and cultivate for personal use,” says Edwards, “It’s important for all Canadians, no matter where they live in the country, to know their legal rights and privileges in this new age of legal cannabis,” he added.

A specific feature of Leaf Guru, and its decision to launch so close to the date of legal cannabis is to ensure that it is a legal-market only resource. The team watched what happened to similar platforms in the U.S. unfold when they were still promoting grey and black-market participation on their platforms.

“All cannabis retail locations and Licenced Producers listed on our site are licensed by either their local municipality or the federal government to operate legally. We will not promote any stores or operations that are not licensed and are deemed illegal,” said Edwards about this approach, “We want to be a place where folks interested in knowing about the upcoming cannabis industry in Canada can go and feel comfortable in knowing that what they are reading is accurate, true, and created within the context of legal cannabis only.”

Canada’s One Stop Cannabis Information Shop

Leaf Guru addresses almost every aspect of legal cannabis in Canada that many are unclear on with the provincial approach to national legalization.

The site fills Canadians in on cannabis’ past in Canada, and the path to legalization. It brings the public accessible information about the societal, health, and economic perspectives of cannabis as it takes its place as a legal activity.

The thoughtfully curated content deconstructs the cannabis plant back to basics to help Canadians understand exactly what cannabis is rather than what the age of prohibition has led them to believe it to be.

A source for new users and cannabis connoisseurs alike, Leaf Guru is a one-stop shop for everything Canadian cannabis. Seeking to unite provinces and territories under our new era of legal cannabis, Leaf Guru promotes the duty to respect the confines of the law, while celebrating the large role that cannabis has always played in Canada’s culture.



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