Week in Weed – February 10, 2024

| David Brown

It’s been another busy week in Canadian cannabis news. StratCann’s own Tim Wilson uncovered that the CRA is currently owed more than $200 million in unpaid cannabis excise taxes. Despite this, the federal government continues to issue payments to provinces to the tune of nearly $2 billion since legalization.

We also looked at how to navigate the world of bankruptcy and restructuring in the cannabis industry, and how formerly dry municipalities put cannabis stores in industrial zones.

We looked at Pure Sunfarms’ sister company receiving approval to begin building a cannabis greenhouse in the Netherlands, and a Canadian cannabis company importing genetics from New Zealand.

A police captain in Quebec says the SQDC needs to do more to compete with the illicit market in Nunavik, while the SQDC says they are closing a store in Montreal.

The town of Beaumont, Alberta, passed new rules for medical cannabis production to move it out of residential neighbourhoods, and a judge in Ontario ruled police violated Charter rights in a 2021 raid of an unlicensed, online cannabis store.

Aurora Cannabis reported a net loss of $25 million in its most recent quarterly report, while Canopy Growth reported a loss of $216.8 million.

Chatham-Kent Police raided an illegal cannabis shop, seizing cannabis, psilocybin, and LSD, while the OPP raided 7 illegal dispensaries, seizing 63 kg of flower, 500 vape pens, and made 7 arrests.

In other cannabis news…

Jeff and Vicky Curtis of TruQuartz and Boro and Beyond spoke with the news about their desire to see cannabis consumption spaces in BC. The BC government is looking at the issue but has been clear that indoor inhalation is off the table. 

Catherine Lemay, assistant general counsel, IP at Hexo, spoke with ISED about how various IP rights are used in the cannabis industry and discussed some things to consider if you have an invention you think may be worth something. Full transcript here.

Mainstream media finally picked up on the story StratCann broke in Canada a few weeks ago about Israel accusing Canada of dumping medical cannabis into their market. The Toronto Star shared comments on the subject from Global Affairs Canada and several Israeli cannabis companies.  

Prince George, BC Councillor Garth Frizzell is asking the province where the city’s share of tax revenue is. He noted the Union of B.C. Municipalities continues to lobby the province for municipalities’ share of the “grass tax.”

Tilray Brands is bringing beverage brand Mary Jones from Vancouver’s Jones Soda Co. to the Canadian cannabis market, starting with Ontario in Q1 2024. Green Hedge will support sales and field marketing for Mary Jones in Canada. 

RCMP in PEI say they made five impaired by cannabis arrests in three days. Police are awaiting blood sample test results and anticipate these cases will be in court at a later date.

The Town of Caledon, Ontario, would like to know whether residents want to see legal cannabis stores in the municipality. The survey is open until March 1.

Some residents in eastern BC near Lumby say they are frustrated by recent changes to a zoning bylaw to allow a large cannabis facility. Bylaw 3000 expands the allowable size of buildings from 500 m2 to 1400 m2 for buildings with a base not consisting entirely of soil.

Nextleaf Solutions Ltd. announced a wholesale distribution agreement with Lineage Distribution, a licensed cannabis processor and distributor based in Niverville, Manitoba.  Lineage will exclusively distribute Nextleaf’s complete product catalogue of over 35 SKUs across four initial categories. The Agreement encompasses Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon Territories. 

MediPharm Labs Corp. announced receipt of GMP certification for their Barrie, Ontario facility from ANVISA, the governing body of Brazil’s pharmaceutical industry. MediPharm Labs now has GMP certification from the United States FDA, European Union, and Australia’s TGA, and holds a drug establishment license from Health Canada.

A new study from researchers in Ontario says cannabis-involvement in self-harm Emergency Department (ED) visits almost doubled over 12 years and may have accelerated after medical cannabis legalization. The results, caution the researchers, cannot determine whether cannabis is increasingly causing self-harm ED visits or whether individuals at high risk of self-harm are increasingly using cannabis. While many headlines focussed on anxiety, the study itself was much more broad and only mentions “anxiety” twice. Of the 158,912 self-harm ED visits in Ontario between 2010 and 2021, 4.9 % involved cannabis.

The Cannabis Benchmark’s Canada Cannabis Spot Index for February 9, 2024, shows the average LP wholesale selling price for cannabis continuing to decline to $4.73 per gram, down from last week’s C$4.82 per gram.

Greenway Greenhouse Cannabis Corporation announced that it has surpassed 20,000 kg of product sold since its inception.  Greenway will deliver its first brand, MillRite, to the Ontario Cannabis Store this fiscal quarter.

Cannabis NB plans to open new stores in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton. They will soon be hiring employees. The average vape price per gram equivalent in Canada fell to $8.65 in Q4 2023, a 9% decrease from the previous year. Vape products accounted for significant portions of cannabis sales, with Alberta leading at 22%, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.