The Week in Weed – May 20, 2023 

| Kieran Delamont

Happy May two-four, the true start of Canadian summer!

The main cannabis industry news comes out of Manitoba this week, where we covered the official repeal of the Social Responsibility Fee scheme and the related rebates expected to be returned to cannabis companies in that province. Also on our site this week was the latest sales data from BC, where prices are falling while sales are increasing, as well as BC’s announcement about repealing visibility requirements for stores, and a story about a new study looking at cannabis use disorder. 

Just in time for May two-four, Saskatchewan provincial parks will allow alcohol, and cannabis, on May long weekend.

On Friday new sales figures from Statistics Canada were released for March 2023, showing that sales increased by 11.3 percent compared to February (a sizeable spike, but worth remembering the month of March is about 10 percent longer), and a 12.8 percent increase over March 2022. The biggest increase was seen in the Yukon, which saw 17 percent growth in sales. 

BNN Bloomberg published a report on Canopy Growth late last week, specifically relating to their Biosteel sports drink business, of which they bought a 72 percent stake three years ago. Things are not going all that well: “that same investment has suddenly emerged as an albatross for the stumbling cannabis player,” writes Bloomberg, describing the state of affairs within Canopy and Biosteel as “dysfunctional.” Last week, Canopy filed financial statements that fessed up to irregularities and inaccuracies in their accounting, as they “review” their troubled investment.

The Toronto Sun was being…well, the Toronto Sun this week. “​​Legal weed in Canada has ‘induced’ its use among teens as young as 13,” their headline announced! Citing Ottawa insider rag Blacklock’s Reporter, a “Department of Health” report (do they mean Health Canada?) “says children consider using it to relax from ordinary stresses like schoolwork or loneliness” thanks to legalization. On the other hand, teens “said in the study that weed was good for them.” 

The report in question was this year’s Summary of results for the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey 2021-22.

Meanwhile, High Times ran a story looking at recent research that shows legalization in Canada is not linked to an increase in car crashes. “[N]either the CCA [Canadian Cannabis Act] nor the NCS [number of cannabis stores per capita] is associated with concomitant changes in (traffic safety) outcomes. … During the first year of the CRUL’s [cannabis recreational use laws] implementation in Toronto, no significant changes in crashes, number of road victims and KSI [all road users killed or severely injured] were observed.”

Two people were charged this week after police found nearly 12,000 cannabis plants in a Niagara, ON facility. The grow operation was only licensed to grow 1,000 – not the 11,800 that were seized earlier this month. A 40-year-old and a 25-year-old are facing charges. 

In investment news, BZAM announced their chairman will be investing an additional $5 million into the company through a Non-Brokered Private Placement.

BC’s Victoria Cannabis Co moved one step closer in the process of trying to get their farmgate licence approved by the city of Victoria.

The taxman is calling at a lot of cannabis businesses, going after the two-thirds or so of cannabis businesses currently in arrears, reports MJBizDaily. “The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is said to be raising the possibility of garnishment, liens on plant property and equipment, and legal action,” Matt Lamers writes. At least one company received a warning letter that said as much, and it has plenty of other companies worried. The CRA took in $1.5 billion in excise tax revenue last year. 

The shrooms businesses popping up in cities across the country are now saying the quiet part loud. CBC in Winnipeg spoke to Jamie Kagan, lawyer for the owners of Magic Mush, who had this to say: “We’re hoping that similar to what happened in the cannabis industry, which started in what we’d like to call a grey market, we’ll move to a legal market as the governments start to become more aware that there is an interest and there is a demand in it.”

The Australia Greens released the results of a survey showing high levels of support for legalization in the country.

And finally, another small international L for prohibition: Costa Rica has issued its first license to grow medical marijuana. It’s early days still for the Central American country’s medical weed industry, but we all start somewhere!