The Week in Weed – March 25, 2023

| Kieran Delamont

With provincial and federal budgets in the air, many have been hoping to see some changes to cannabis regulations in Canada—though as we covered on StratCann this week, this won’t be coming to Ontario, where premier Doug Ford lightly shot down the call from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to permit cannabis lounges (he doesn’t want to smell people “smoking their doobies or their weed,” apparently…).

Recent reforms have instead been small, like Alberta’s move to allow producers to provide samples to retailers. We also covered the most recent raid on the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, which may have a new location, but does not have a newfound friendship with provincial regulators, as well as publishing a piece about inaccuracies in THC testing.

And Friday afternoon, Health Canada announced they are seeking feedback on some possible regulatory changes.

Elsewhere on the licensing beat, Saskatchewan Polytechnic has been granted a research license that will give students the ability to conduct more hands-on research with cannabis, CTV in Saskatoon reported this week. They were also granted an analytical license that will allow them to provide testing services to licensed producers. 

Researchers at Saskatoon’s Canadian Light Source also showcased new highly detailed images of the cannabis plant, using “groundbreaking” techniques that they say will help growers determine optimal harvest times. The lead researcher, Teagen Quilichini, suggested that this could help growers develop new applications and growing techniques for the plant. 

After our own recent reporting on the effects THC obsession is having on the genetics market, THC testing has been all over the cannabis news lately—including at MJBizDaily, which conducted some third-party testing of their own, and found (as many have suspected) a good deal of discrepancy between the label and the product inside.

Having perhaps exhausted ways to tap into reefer madness relating to humans, the Toronto Sun reported this week on the increase in veterinarian visits related to dogs eating roaches off the ground. Vets quoted in the story say it is becoming a common issue, so it’s at the very least a good reminder not to litter your butts. 

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix covered the thorny question of when it is safe to drive after using cannabis, reporting on a local man who failed a roadside cannabis test more than 12 hours after using. The story included comments from University of Saskatchewan professor Robert Laprairie, who noted that the research on this question is rapidly evolving. 

Calls for BC’s government to drop mandatory window coverings for retail cannabis stores are getting louder. This week, a Penticton, BC vape shop owner joined a growing chorus of cannabis stores who feel that the window coverings are increasing the risk of break-ins and violence, and doing little to actually protect children. A related story we included in last week’s roundup, of a failed armed robbery at Kingsway Cannabis in Vancouver, was also covered in High Times this week.

A proposed retail cannabis store in Whitehorse is taking the territorial government to court after it blocked their application to open a new store just a block away from a Yukon Montessori School. The province said no, as territorial laws require at least a 150 meter buffer between a store and a school; the applicant, Community Cannabis, is arguing that Montessori’s aren’t registered schools at all, but rather daycares. (Try making that argument to a Montessori parent, though…) 

And in international news, a Czech court convicted the editor-in-chief of the cannabis magazine Legalizace for “inciting the abuse of addictive substances.” Their editor-in-chief, Robert Veverka, has also been accused of sending cannabis seeds out with the magazine, and is a regular thorn in the side of the Czech authorities. Czechia’s Marc Emery, perhaps?

Two residents of the Toulouse region of France were recently surprised to receive packages of cannabis from an unknown sender in Canada.

A plan to import Canadian cannabis into Jamaica continues to garner reactions on the island, with a column in the Jamaican Observer this week. The former chairman of the Cannabis Licensing Authority of Jamaica, LeVaughn Flynn, says the plan “reflects the deep dissatisfaction with our inability to create more revenue opportunities from our own resources.” 

And finally, this week the New York Times published its obituary for Raphael Mechoulam, long acknowledged as the father of cannabis research, who died earlier this month. Mechoulam was the first to isolate THC, and his discoveries still form the foundation of what we now know about the chemical structures and uses of cannabis. Mechoulam was 92.