Week in Weed – March 16, 2024

| Staff

This week at StratCann, we looked at the changing landscape of Canadian cannabis events and how some producers are distinguishing themselves with low-THC products. We also asked when the cannabis industry will receive the kind of relief being provided to other comparable industries.

We looked into Nova Scotia’s annual sales report, including more than $111 million in sales, and the story of a Kelowna, BC, cannabis store receiving a one-week suspension for selling to a minor

BC’s Good Buds Company posted a notice of intent and a path to debt restructuring. Village Farms shared their newest quarterly report, as did High Tide, who also announced they were purchasing Queen of Bud for $1 million in shares and cash. 

Manitoba’s LGCA had planned to revisit the province’s ban on public consumption but paused pending direction from the new NDP government.

Police in Niagara are investigating an armed robbery at a provincially-licensed cannabis store, while OPP raided three “sovereign” cannabis stores in the Niagara region.

In other cannabis news…

A man in BC who received a lifetime ban from entering the US in 2022 after a border agent found a bottle of CBD oil in his truck’s console while he was attempting to cross the border into the US is now fighting to have the ban lifted when tests confirmed the oil had no THC.

MJBiz got their hands on a memo sent within the Department of Finance Canada’s Tax Policy Branch, updating the Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, on the financial state of federally licensed cannabis producers.

The document notes several well-documented issues, such as challenges with provincial distributors, high taxes, and a growing number of CCAA listings. The report also noted that as of last summer, 83 businesses owed less than $1 million, 40 owed between $1 and $5 million, 9 owed between $5 and $10 million, and 16 owed more than $10 million.

The Mississauga News spoke with cannabis retailers in the city. Mississauga has gained 34 legal cannabis stores since council lifted the prohibition on April 19, 2023. Another 20 are in the process of getting a licence. Pop’s Cannabis and The Woods Cannabis are both featured. 

Taylor Giovannini, president and CEO of Oceanic Releaf, was one of four Newfoundland women named among the most powerful in Atlantic Canadian business.

In BC, a Cariboo Regional District (CRD) director and some of his constituents are raising concerns about a residential property growing cannabis under a personal or designated medical licence that the director says is against its zoning restrictions. The article contains the usual conflation of commercial and medical licences and passing of the buck from local police, as well as a misunderstanding/misrepresentation of court rulings behind why personal and designated medical licences are issued.

Adastra Holdings Ltd. announced a “surge” in PO’s throughout January and February 2024, predominantly from Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia, that resulted in a record total for the period. 

Jones Soda says its recent launch of cannabis beverages in Canada with partner Tilray is doing well, and it has had to accelerate the production of its next load of inventory, with plans to expand beyond the initial launch in Ontario. Jones was originally founded in Vancouver but is now based in the US.

Cannaray Limited, a European medical cannabis company headquartered in London, announced it had signed a definitive agreement to merge with Aqualitas Inc., a Nova Scotia-based aquaponics grower. Aqualitas is joining forces with Cannaray’s medical cannabis divisions, Therismos GmbH (Germany) and Therismos Limited (UK).

Hempsana Holdings Ltd. announced that on March 11, 2024, its wholly-owned operating subsidiary, Hempsana Inc. filed a Notice of Intention to make a Proposal (NOI). The company has distribution deals with brands like Cream of the Crop, Social Lite Cannabis, Caviar Gold, and Ufeelu. In their most recent quarterly report for November 2023 the company listed $983,122 in net revenue and a $1.2 million loss. At the time, it listed $121,960 in cash on hand, $204,163 in inventory, and total assets of about $4.4 million.

Greenway Greenhouse Cannabis Corporation announced it shipped its first consumer packaged goods to the OCS, including its new MillRite brand, for the hard workin’ type folk.

Glow LifeTech Corp. launched four new cannabis products in Ontario, expanding its MOD and .decimal brands listed by the Ontario Cannabis Store.

CannaPharmaRx, Inc. announced that it has received its first purchase order covering the output of its first four harvests. This product was shipped on March 11 to another producer for distribution within Canada. CannaPharmaRx, Inc. was licensed in December 2022 and operates out of a facility in Cremona, Alberta, that was previously Aurora’s first licensed production space. The company has also announced plans to sell into Israel through Y.S.A. Holdings Ltd.

Cannabis NB says they are opening three new stores to add to the 25 stores they currently operate in the province, in addition to seven private retailers and six farmgate stores. The stores, expected to open in April, will be in Saint John, Fredericton, and Moncton. The provincial cannabis operator is also looking for a District Manager.

Cannabis NB’s Cannabis Expo is Saturday, March 16, in Fredericton. 

The CannExpo is happening March 22-24, 2024, at the Enercare Centre in Toronto.

Quebec hopes its Crown corporations like the SQDC can help the province find an extra $1 billion in net revenue over five years.

David Lobo, President and CEO of Ontario Cannabis Store, will be taking part in Queen’s University 2024 Donald Matthews Faculty Fellowship Symposium on Friday, March 22.

A new academic review says there was no consistent positive association between greater cannabis retail and increased frequent cannabis use in adolescents, healthcare service use potentially related to cannabis, or increased adverse neonatal birth outcomes. However, the study shows there may be a positive association between greater cannabis store access and increases in “cannabis-related harm.”

Police in Longueuil, Quebec, seized 1,337 cannabis plants, 20 kilograms of bagged cannabis, and eight kilograms of hashish from a building in a busy commercial district. They also seized hashish presses and other equipment.

Two people were arrested in two dispensary raids in New Brunswick.

And finally, Hong Kong customs officers arrested two men arriving from Vancouver, Canada, aged 48 and 67, on suspicion of smuggling 87 kg of cannabis. It was reportedly the largest passenger cannabis trafficking case at the airport in a decade.