Week in Weed – December 23, 2023

| David Brown

It was a relatively slow week in cannabis news as we moved into the holidays. Still, StratCann covered several big stories, including Alberta announcing several changes to retail cannabis regulations, such as allowing cannabis sales at some festivals and events. We also looked at new testing results from a group of labs looking at inflated THC levels, and some interesting news about synthetic cannabinoids in Canada’s illicit market.

In Canna Pubco news, Canopy is getting rid of its This Works brands, Organigram posted a net loss of $248.6 million in 2023, and Auxly Ottawa recalled one lot of Mandarin Cookies from Manitoba due to a minor labelling error.

We also looked at an interesting story in BC where one First Nation has filed a lawsuit against a group it says is using its land to, among other activities, grow and sell cannabis without a licence, and spoke with some cannabis retailers about the newest string of robberies and burglaries. 

In other cannabis news…

The National Post shared a piece on the “monopoly” the OCS enjoys on online sales, speaking with Jennawae Cavion, executive director of NORML Canada and owner of Calyx+Trichomes, along with Sam Gerges, owner of MaryJane’s Cannabis, and Nick Baksh of cannabis shop Montrose. Unsurprisingly, given the source, the piece quickly morphed into a call for more enforcement against illicit online retailers. The OCS had 42.8 million in sales through OCS.ca, their online consumer store, or about 3% of total sales for the OCS. This is down from $72.7 million in the previous year. 

Trees Corporation announced that the company and its subsidiaries had received an order for creditor protection from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The Trees Group currently has 13 branded Trees storefronts in Canada, including nine stores owned and operated in Ontario and four stores owned and operated in BC.

Organigram appointed a new CFO, Greg Guyatt, formerly of Phoena Holdings Inc (formerly CannTrust), effective January 8, 2024. 

Quebec’s Médicibis, owner of Mendo Medical, announced an agreement with Ontario micro cultivator Kilometer Cannabis Limited, operator of the Headwater Cannabis brand. The agreement means the Mendo Medical platform, mendocannabis.ca, will now include Headwater’s offerings.

Tilray announced the launch of two new cannabis edibles across Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, under its Chowie Wowie brand. Both products have 10mg THC and 10mg CBD.

High Tide is opening a Canna Cabana location within the Tsuut’ina Nation in Alberta. This opening will mark High Tide’s 160th Canna Cabana branded retail cannabis location in Canada, the 78th in the province of Alberta, and the first Canna Cabana on the Tsuut’ina Nation. The Tsuut’ina Nation is located southwest of Calgary.

Stat’s Canada’s monthly update shows cannabis sales up by 0.4% (at 2017 constant prices) from the previous month.

A new survey shows the prevalence of youth reporting that cannabis is easy to access in Canada has declined since legalization, however, a substantial number of underage youth continue to report that cannabis is easy to access.

The Global Cannabis Times also recently interviewed Raj Grover, CEO of High Tide, where he says they are just 4.5% of Canada’s total brick-and-mortar store count, but 9.5% of the Canadian retail market share in terms of dollars.

The Good Shroom Co Inc., which sells cannabis products in several provincial markets under its Nordique Royale brand, as well as wellness beverages, released its financial results for the quarter ending October 31, 2023. The company saw revenue of $1,510,586 and $92,126 in net profit, primarily from cannabis sales. The same quarter last fiscal year was a net loss of $191,569.

An Enniskillen, Ontario, man who has been fighting to keep cannabis from being grown at a Tilray greenhouse just 28 meters from his home now has permission to be part of a hearing at the Ontario Land Tribunal. Cannim Canada, an Australian-based cannabis company, has already received a licence to cultivate and process cannabis at the Lasalle Line greenhouse.

Laval Police in Quebec say they recently dismantled a “vast” network of cultivation and sale of cannabis that operated in the territory of Laval, Montreal, as well as in the North and South Crown.

International cannabis

A Colombian-Canadian cannabis company near Bogota is frustrated by regulatory red tape and political hurdles it says are stifling the country’s cannabis industry. Reuters reports that more than 17 acres of land owned by a Colombian-Canadian company near Bogota was once meant to grow 25 varieties of cannabis, but over the past year, weeds have overtaken greenhouses, and 200 of its 218 employees have been fired. 

“We’re going from bad to worse. It’s slow agony and the clock is going against us with pressure from partners and without cash flow,” said the owner of the Colombian-Canadian company, who asked for anonymity because he is seeking new investment to save his $20 million business.

Hong Kong customs officers have arrested three men and confiscated 228kg of cannabis hidden in a seaborne tire shipment from Canada.

US President Joe Biden has announced pardons for certain federal cannabis convictions and clemency for 11 people imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. The executive order covers those convicted under the federal law of simple possession, attempted simple possession, or use of cannabis. The White House has said thousands of people would be eligible for the pardons.