Week in Weed – January 27, 2024

| David Brown

There are several headlines in cannabis news this week. On the international scene, StratCann reported on Israel opening an investigation into concerns that Canadian cannabis companies are flooding the Israeli medical cannabis market. Domestically, Cannabis was recently added to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, although cross-province sales are not likely any time soon, experts say.

In BC, the Fraser Valley Regional District is holding a public hearing for new zoning regulations for cannabis production, while Surrey released a survey on a proposal for allowing up to 12 cannabis stores in BC’s second largest city. The city has banned cannabis stores since legalization began.

StratCann’s deep-dive reporter Tim Wilson asked industry experts like Trina Fraser, Tanner Stewart, George Smitherman, and others, about the ideal approach to regulating cannabis.

We also shared an article on the state of the BC cannabis industry with comments from Antidote’s Shannon Ross and Victoria Cannabis Co’s Kype Rowe.

In Ontario, a judge ruled that a “frivolous” statement of claim against cannabis retailer High Tide had no hope of succeeding. We also shared a lighthearted story involving Shrek, Dutchie, and a Toronto-area cannabis store

In the Prairies, Saskatchewan Polytechnic teamed up with Mother Labs to tackle powdery mildew.

And, last but not least, we shared a profile on Kootenay Aeroponics’ deep roots in BC’s cannabis community.

In other cannabis news…

The RCMP eased its policy on cannabis use by members earlier this month, saying simply they must be fit for duty when reporting for work. This is a change from a previous rule that required a 28-day restriction between cannabis use and duty. 

An Ontario man is suing the province for $2 million following an OPP raid on his cannabis production facility in Wellington North in 2021. The investigation concluded in January 2023 without charges being laid. The man alleges the police trespassed and damaged property, ultimately interfering with his ability to make money, all because of a negligent police investigation.

Cronos says its Spinach brand was the number one flower brand in Canada in 2023, with a 6.9% market share in the fourth quarter, based on figures from HiFyre. The same data shows Spinach as the second best-selling cannabis brand in Canada across all categories as of December 2023 and the best-selling edible brand in Canada.

High Tide Inc. announced that its Canna Cabana retail cannabis store, located at 118 Millennium Drive, Fort McMurray, will begin selling recreational cannabis products on January 27, 2024. This opening will mark High Tide’s 163rd Canna Cabana-branded location in Canada, the 79th in Alberta, and the first in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

A new study that looked at the risk perceptions related to driving after cannabis use (DACU) among Canadian and US adults showed that Canadians perceived driving within two hours of cannabis use as more dangerous than Americans and reported that more of their friends would disapprove of DACU.

Cannabis activist Chris Enns says he’s leaving the industry—and cannabis—behind as his charges have been dropped. Enns said he’s looking to forge a new path in life, reports the CBC, and has told the Crown prosecutor handling the case that he intends to close his dispensary, Farm Assists, on Gottingen Street in Halifax. He said he will perhaps study law at Dalhousie University.

The Grow Up cannabis expo shared their Top 50 Dankest Canadians, which included StratCann’s own David Brown! Yay! Or is it Most dank?

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp. announced it is releasing new RAD products, including “liquid diamond vapes” and its new Juicy Hoots vape carts.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced the launch of three new cannabis-infused beverages, all available exclusively to veteran patients at first: Neon Rush, Strawberry Pineapple Tropical Fizz, and Pineapple Coconut Fizz, which can be purchased at Aurora Medical.

Canada released info on Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service (DAS) and Cannabis Laboratory (CL) laboratories across Canada, which analyze suspected illicit substances seized by Canadian law enforcement agencies. Cannabis was identified in a total of 8,800 samples during this period. 

International Cannabis

Finally, The New York Times ran a piece on a former US Navy lieutenant, Wanda James, who is a prominent advocate of racial justice in the changing cannabis landscape. The Times writes that Ms. James, 60, has owned multiple cannabis businesses over the years, including a pair of dispensaries and an edible company, which has given her a platform to speak about what she believes to be racial injustices in the industry. 

Oh, and Nigeria says it seized 32.5 kg of “Colarado Indica” that was imported from Canada