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Canadian cannabis producers say the process to vet new products needs an overhaul

Cannabis producers in Canada say the process to notify Health Canada of new products is creating needless paperwork and a significant backlog.

The Notice of New Cannabis Product (NNCP) process requires cannabis producers to inform Health Canada of any new products they intend to sell. This notice must be sent to Health Canada at least 60 days before making those products available for sale. Although the process does not officially endorse products, it is intended to give the federal regulator a chance to review the compliance of products prior to reaching consumers.

But many in the industry say the process has become unmanageable for Health Canada, with insufficient employees or infrastructure to manage the thousands of new notifications producers often send in a shotgun effort to get ahead of the bureaucratic curve. 

Significant backlog

Health Canada tells StratCann that since the regulatory requirement for NNCPs first came into force on October 17, 2019, the regulator has received 86,337 Notices of New Cannabis Product and sent 18,979 requests for more information. These figures are current to April 26, 2023. Health Canada confirmed that eight employees are dedicated to administering this regulatory requirement. This would mean each employee would need to review about a dozen NNCPs per day.

Because of the enormous quantity of NNCPs that come into Health Canada on a daily basis, many products appear to go unnoticed for months, or longer, well after the 60 day notice period has passed and producers have shipped those products off to provincial and/or medical markets. 

Health Canada emphasizes that the NNCP process is not an approval process, which means these products can be available to consumers for some time before the federal regulator even notices them.

The most recent high-profile examples of this are the so-called “edible” or “ingestible” extracts: products like lozenges and gummies that some companies had been, in some cases, selling for well over a year before finally being told by Health Canada that they had to take them off shelves for violating the federal 10mg THC limit for edibles. 

In a similar issue in 2022, one company was told that their cannabis-infused freezies were not compliant, despite being nearly identical to another product that had been on shelves for about a year prior. Shortly after, the company that made the latter product, Radsicles’ Chill Pops, received notice that they also had to stop selling those products. 

Staying true to original names

Jonathan Wilson, the CEO of Crystal Cure, a cannabis producer in New Brunswick, says his company has had to change product names, often several months after they’ve been in the market. Although they didn’t have to pull existing products off shelves, they still had to change product names moving forward, which costs them time and money.

Another problem, he says, is that this can mean being forced to change a well-known “legacy” or black market cultivar name, like Runtz or Wedding Cake, so that they can be compliant with Health Canada’s rules around product names. 

In the case of Runtz, he says they ultimately changed the name to “Red Velvet Runaround” to reflect their frustration with the process. But this means they still have to take steps to communicate the original cultivar lineage and name. 

Crystal Cure’s description for their “Red Velvet Runaround.”

“We’ll tell people through other channels what the true name is because part of our story is to give props to the breeder,” says Wilson. “So now we just have to take one more step to tell that story and stay true to the original names and breeders.”

Wilson says he understands why Health Canada needs a process like the NNCP to monitor new products, but he thinks the system needs to be built in a way that takes into account how the industry will always have an incentive to send in numerous iterations of products in advance to save time in getting to market. 

“There are only going to be more. We’re all unveiling more kinds of products, and products are getting more innovative. This is not going to get any better as far as the number of products Health Canada will need to deal with. As an industry, that’s good. We want more innovation. So if they can’t handle it now, I can’t see how they will handle it going forward, and you’re going to have a mess of some truly non-compliant products on the market. They won’t be able to keep up and get them out.

“I don’t know if removing the process entirely would work because you’d have things going through that are truly non-compliant. I think cutting down some of the red tape needs to happen. They need to give us, the producers, better assurance that they have reviewed it within the 60 days so we aren’t being told months or even years later that we have to take something off of shelves. That’s not acceptable.”

“There are only going to be more….if they can’t handle it now, I can’t see how they will handle it going forward.”

Jonathan Wilson, Crystal Cure

Benny Presman, the founder and president of Weed Me, an Ontario-based producer with hundreds of different products on the market, says part of the problem with the process is simply that Health Canada is overwhelmed with submissions. While the process is a 60-day notice, he says his company has been told to change product names or branding after months, or even a year, of them being available for sale. 

Too much paperwork

“There are so many NNCPs. I think the process should be changed somehow. We don’t necessarily send many in, but speaking with others in the industry, as soon as they get an idea they will send every option and format to Health Canada.”

He doesn’t blame his colleagues who take this approach. It’s just a byproduct of how the system is built and part of why he thinks the regulator needs to revisit the process. 

One cultivar name they had to change was a traditional name, “Goliath,” which they ultimately had to rename as “Go Lie Eth,” then to “Goliat” (as a different LP got an approval under this name) and eventually to “Oliath” because Health Canada deemed the original name as a character from the Bible—the Cannabis Act does not allow products to depict a person, character, or animal, whether real or fictional. 

Weed Me’s Goliath packaging

Weed Me also had to deal with a name change for a Wedding Cake vape that had been available for around a year before they were told to change the name. 

Like Wilson at Crystal Cure, he says their goal is paying homage to the original cultivar names.

“We want to stay true to the original strain name. That’s our main priority and why we do this.”

Although they have never faced any demands to pull products from shelves, even renaming products costs time and money, something companies in this space don’t always have.

Health Canada will again be extending some of its COVID-19 related measures for the cannabis industry

In a memo sent to licence holders on May 4, 2023, Heath Canada says it will be extending certain administration and enforcement adjustments beyond the previously-set September 30, 2023 cut-off. 

The federal health authority has previously extended some of these “flexibilities” on several occasions. These had originally been put in place early on in the pandemic to give licence holders more options for compliance given some COVID-19 related limitations.  

Health Canada says it has now reviewed these measures and, after discussing with stakeholders, will be keeping several of these flexibilities in place beyond the September 30, 2023 deadline. Not all will be extended. Those being extended include:

1. Allowing licence holders to submit additional security clearance applications to fill key positions (responsible person, head of security, master grower, quality assurance person, and their alternates), provided that a rationale for the additional clearance is provided.

2. Activities that do not require physical possession of cannabis can be conducted off-site by licence holders, provided that all requirements of the Cannabis Act and its regulations are complied with, and records are kept and made available to Health Canada upon request. Specifically, the activities that can be conducted off-site are:

Quality Assurance

  • Investigating complaints received in respect of the quality of the cannabis, provided that a complete investigation can be conducted off-site.
  •  Batch record approval by the quality assurance person from a remote location, provided the quality of the cannabis can be adequately assessed without physical possession of cannabis before it is made available.

Facilitating Sale of Cannabis

  • Answering phone calls
  • Registering medical patients
  • Helping individuals to navigate a website
  • Providing product information
  • Taking orders
  • Fulfilling recordkeeping and reporting requirements
  • Entering data and information to comply with monthly reporting requirements for the cannabis tracking system

3. Witnessing the on-site destruction of cannabis by licence holders can be done virtually (using a camera or another device), provided that a copy of the video is retained and is included in the destruction records required to be maintained under the Cannabis Regulations.

4. Permitting holders of an import or export permit to use different ports of entry/exit than those indicated on their permits, provided that all other requirements of the permit are respected.

5. In situations in which a security clearance holder is required to accompany cannabis for off-site antimicrobial treatment or destruction, permitting the security clearance holder to not enter an off-site facility that is authorized, as per the Cannabis Regulations, to possess and produce cannabis. This is permitted so long as the security clearance holder otherwise accompanies the cannabis before it enters and, if applicable, after it exits the off-site facility. 

6. Permitting a packaging date on cannabis products that is plus/minus 4 days of the printed packaging date on the label, provided records of the actual packaging date are kept alongside other required packaging and labelling records as stated in Cannabis Regulations paragraphs 224(2)(b) and 225(2)(b), in the event of recalls. For more information on Packaging and Labelling requirements please consult the Packaging and Labelling Guide. 

Health Canada also notes that licence holders will be given “ample advance notice” in regard to administration and enforcement of these provision changes.

Measures that WILL end September 30, 2023

Previously, Health Canada had allowed medical cannabis producers to accept verbal attestations from patients when filling out their registration application to become a client for medical purposes, rather than requiring patients to provide a signature when they are not able to do so. This allowance will not be extended beyond the September 30, 2023 date. 

Health Canada also reminds stakeholders of their ongoing public consultation on potential amendments to the Cannabis Regulations, which is open until May 24, 2023. 

Health Canada is seeking feedback on potential amendments to the Cannabis Regulations around licensing, security measures, production, packaging and labelling requirements, and record-keeping for licence holders.

In addition, in a 60-day notice of intent published on Friday, March 24, the federal health authority that oversees the cannabis file said it’s considering potential amendments to the Canadian Cannabis Regulations that would seek to streamline and clarify existing requirements, eliminate inefficiencies in the regulations, and reduce administrative and regulatory burdens where possible. Some of these potential amendments relate to some of the pandemic flexibilities. 

The notice also points out that this proposal is separate from the current legislative review of the Cannabis Act, which is primarily focused on the societal impacts of cannabis legalization rather than a regulatory review.

Crossborder cannabis: Detroit to Windsor

Windsor, Ontario has been known as Sin City for as long as most can remember due to a history of rum running, strip clubs, and other forms of more socially permissive entertainment in Canada than in the US. So it was no surprise that when cannabis was legalized in Canada, many entrepreneurs saw a budding opportunity.

Four and a half years into legalization, and while it took a year and a half for the first retail store to open in Windsor during COVID in 2020, today there are roughly 50 open or opening, and 20 more in nearby Essex County.

Windsor shares a border with Detroit, and with Michigan and Illinois having legal medical and recreational cannabis and Ohio with medical cannabis, there are many American cannabis consumers within a three-hour drive of Windsor.

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, sixteen percent of Americans consume cannabis, and with the 2021 populations of Illinois (12.67 million), Michigan (10.05 million), and Ohio (11.78 million), totalling roughly 35 million, there’s approximately 5.5 million cannabis users within the three states.

Grassroots Cannabis in Windsor, Ontario. Image via Google Maps

COVID Implications 

When COVID hit and borders closed, all non-essential visits dropped to almost zero – a significant blow to tourism from Americans, representing a 33 percent loss of the visitor market, according to Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI).

“As one of the most free-flowing routes for trade and visitation was cut off instantaneously… [tourism] essentially disappeared…” said Gordon Orr, chief executive officer of TWEPI.

Most out-of-market visitors spend twice as much as domestic customers, meaning that businesses relying on tourism took a double hit, or as Orr said, the tourism industry was hit first and hardest but will also take the longest to recover fully.

Pre-pandemic annual border crossings were 1.7 million, and when the border partially reopened with ArriveCAN and COVID restrictions, the region’s tourist visits only increased to 0.9 million. While most restrictions are gone today, the numbers have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Cannabis Retailers Opening During Covid

Greentown Cannabis opened in June 2020 in downtown Windsor as the city’s second retail cannabis outlet. When cannabis was declared essential by the provincial government, owner Rob Katzman was amazed.

“Isn’t that amazing? Blew me away. But…cannabis is essential,” he said, adding that he was “glad they did.” 

“…it was one lucky thing that we stayed open…[my] other businesses were closed for…twenty-four months, but they allowed [cannabis stores] to stay open like beer stores and liquor stores,” he said. “We couldn’t let people come in the store, and we had to sell through a hole in the door, which made it more uncomfortable to do business, but we were open.”

With COVID restrictions now gone and a border fully open, Windsor cannabis retailers can eagerly cater to American clients, a welcomed change.

In 2020, Windsor Essex hotel occupancy dropped to 33% and climbed to 45% in 2021 before increasing to 51% in 2022, according to TWEPI. There are hopes that number will continue to grow this year.

Most retail business in the downtown Windsor core, where there are three cannabis retail stores, depends on tourists, specifically Americans, who, according to the local chamber of commerce, provide 25% of all revenues.

The impacts of COVID were significant on all local businesses, and this upcoming summer with no COVID restrictions is important for Windsor’s business, according to Rakesh Naidu, president and chief executive of The Windsor-Essex County Chamber of Commerce.

“…this upcoming summer will be the first opportunity for our local tourism sector to get back to pre-pandemic levels. But it’s challenging because we need Americans to know that the restrictions are gone, but we are hopeful,” he said.

Hempstarz, a cannabis accessories shop in Windsor. Image via Google Maps

Serving Americans

While Katzman only had the opportunity to serve an American customer once COVID border restrictions were eliminated, he now sees his customer base expand as tourists return to Windsor.

“[American customers] just started when the border opened, and they dwindled in. We saw American dollars a few at a time, and every week it’s steadily growing,” he said. “With American customers, they’re discovering cannabis in Windsor, and they’re rediscovering Windsor, which is a real positive thing, thank goodness.”

According to Katzman, Caesars Windsor and other entertainment venues help drive business, and he explained that he notices more American currency in his cash registers on the weekends, which is when American tourists typically visit Windsor.

“It’s weekend stuff.  I’ve taken to calling my controller…and [asking] how much U.S. currency we take in over the weekend,” he said. “We’re not seeing much during the week, but the weekend is getting stronger, and it’s encouraging.” 

A benefit of operating businesses in a border city is the currency exchange rate when it is in your favour, says Katzman, because when Americans spend in U.S. currency, “it’s a little bit of a boost…we enjoy the American currency.”

Unlike Katzman’s cannabis retail businesses, Scott Hackney, owner and operator of downtown Windsor’s Grassroots Cannabis Store, is not seeing significant US traffic post-COVID yet.

“US traffic is here but not like it used to be,” said Hackney. “I feel like a lot of businesses went out of business during COVID, there’s not a lot of bars [or] activities [to draw tourists] …and the traffic’s not there yet.” 

What’s the deal with all these SKUs?

When Americans do purchase in Windsor, they do so with a tourist mentality, according to Katzman, meaning smaller quantities that can be used and tossed if necessary at the end of a visit, but what really stands out is the quantity and quality of products to Americans.

“What the Americans don’t have that we have…is nine-hundred plus SKUs (stock keeping units),” he said, adding that Americans are “amazed” at the selection.

At Grassroots Cannabis Store, when Hackney serves American customers, they tend to purchase one single product: pre-rolls.  

“Pre-rolls, that’s it, one pre-roll,” he said. “They’re not really coming in and buying huge amounts.”

More to be desired on both sides of the border

Eric Birkner is a resident of Windsor who purchases cannabis on both sides of the border and often buys in America if spending the day.

He’d purchase more cannabis stateside if he could bring it home, but because that’s illegal, he feels it’s only worth it to purchase if he’s “spending an extended time across the border.”

“Honestly, I find [the products] substantially better [in Michigan],” said Birkner, adding that they’re “all fantastic.” 

Birker appreciates that there are more significant sales, bulk pricing, contests, and giveaways in Michigan.

“As far as what’s available, it’s everything we have here, but without the low THC caps on edibles,” he said. “I found most of the products that I tried to be comparable or better than the ones I’ve bought this side of the border.”

Richard C. Clement is a Detroit resident and cannabis consumer who has visited Windsor numerous times since the 1980s to consume then-illicit cannabis because it was safer for him to do so on the Canadian side of the border.

“I have been visiting Windsor…because it was safer to use my medicine there. While America was giving people long prison sentences for possession, Canada was always a safe haven and a wonderful place to enjoy the plant from God,” he said. “I am glad that there is different leadership in Ottawa, unlike what we had to deal with in America regarding cannabis reform.”

While Clement hasn’t had an opportunity to purchase cannabis legally in Canada because COVID prohibited him from visiting, he plans to soon and has been keeping apprised of what’s available.

Currently, the most significant barrier for Clement to visit Windsor to purchase legal cannabis is a concern that border services on either side might pull him into a secondary search which could result in an arrest.

At Grassroots Cannabis Store, Hackney hears from American customers that while vast product offerings are appreciated, the prices are significantly higher than in downtown Detroit, especially when it comes to vaporizers and disposable vaporizers.

All about that tourism

While it might not be obvious to those who don’t live in border communities, there is a strong reliance on the relationship.

“There’s no doubt that’s the relationship, and it’s of interest to us and good for the city,” said Katzman. “There’s a relationship between higher revenues and more American tourists, and I’m not embarrassed. I’m proud of Windsor because they’re coming over and getting really good products from businesses that are really organized.”

According to Katzman, Windsor has always had the opportunity to present services to Americans they can’t access across the river, whether it be drinking at 19 instead of 21, strip clubs that offer specialized entertainment, and now access to national cannabis in retail stores.

“People really get what they pay for in Canada, and it’s safe with every product inspected, whereas in a US state, you don’t really know what you could be indulging in,” said Katzman, adding that as more Americans visit the border cities to discover cannabis, it’s better not only for cannabis businesses but for the cities too.

Similarly, Hackney says a lot of downtown Windsor’s business is tied to tourism and “without that tourism, I don’t think there’s a lot of opportunities for sales to Americans.”

TWEPI’s chief Gordon Orr is “cautiously optimistic” of reports forecasting increasing tourism traffic but noted that to get to where we were pre-COVID, it will take “two to three more years of uninterrupted growth.”

But for Katzman today, he’s content with what he’s seeing in his cannabis retail stores.

“It’s just fantastic to see Americans discovering us,” he said.

Feature image via Google Maps

Peace Naturals recalls Spinach GMO Cookies pre-rolls from Ontario, Alberta due to inaccurate labels

Peace Naturals Project Inc. has recalled two lots of Spinach GMO Cookies pre-rolls sold in Ontario and Alberta. 

The recall is because the products were labelled with incorrect cannabinoid values, listing the wrong amounts of THC and CBD in the pre-rolls. 

Two separate lots were sold, one with 420 units of product from lot 008397, distributed to Ontario, and the other with 1104 units of product from lot 008406, distributed to Alberta. 

The packages contained ten .35-gram pre-rolls. 

  • The products sold in Ontario were labelled as having 0 mg/g THC (Total THC 260 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 0 mg/g). They should have shown 26 mg/g THC (Total THC: 228 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g).
  • The products sold in Alberta were labelled as having 29 mg/g THC (Total THC: 268 mg/g) and 1 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g). They should have shown 29 mg/g THC (Total THC: 268 mg/g) and 0 mg/g CBD (Total CBD: 1 mg/g).

As of February 8, Peace Naturals Project Inc. had received only one complaint related to incorrect cannabinoid values on the product label. Health Canada has not, as of yet, received any complaints related to the recalled products. Neither Health Canada nor Peace Naturals Project Inc. has received any adverse reaction reports for the recalled cannabis product lot.

Health Canada reminds consumers who wish to return an affected product to contact the retail store where it was purchased.

Health Canada also reminds Canadians to report any health or safety complaints related to the use of this cannabis product or any other cannabis product by filling out the online complaint form.

Peace Naturals faced another recent product recall for inaccurately labelled pre-rolls, this time with the wrong amount of CBG listed.

Inaccurate labelling is one of the most common reasons for cannabis products being recalled in Canada.

Cannabis NB launches Good to Know education campaign

Cannabis NB, the cannabis regulator and retailer in New Brunswick, is launching a new public education campaign to inform consumers about the difference between legal and illegal cannabis. 

The Good to Know campaign is built around data Cannabis NB collected and released in 2021 that showed testing results from different licit and illicit products seized by police. 

The report looked at samples of several cannabis products obtained from markets in New Brunswick, including dried flower and edibles, and tested them for things like THC levels, moulds, heavy metals, and pesticides. 

Testing results showed that the actual THC level in illicit cannabis flower and edibles was often far below the advertised value, as well as having higher than acceptable levels of several microbiological contaminants and pesticides.

In comparison, the legal products also tested as part of the report showed samples well below acceptable levels for microbiological contaminants and pesticides. In most cases, THC levels for legal products were accurate, although some were slightly under and some were outside of acceptable deviation limits.

Seven illicit flower samples and six illicit edible samples were obtained from unlicensed New Brunswick storefronts, along with four legal flower types and five legal edible types from Cannabis NB.

According to Cannabis NB, the Good to Know campaign “promotes the fact that any product not sold by Cannabis NB in New Brunswick is not tested or regulated, nor are illegal vendors held accountable for the claims made about their products.”

The provincial regulator and retailer will be launching the program in the coming weeks on “various websites and social media apps with age-gated ads geared towards a 19+ audience.” 

Starting on Friday, November 18, the campaign will also include full window decals on a number of Cannabis NB stores throughout the province. 

Cannabis NB notes that the core focus of its retail model includes “youth protection, reducing the illicit market, and education, and safety. Cannabis NB stores offer a range of safe, legal products with a one-on-one guided retail experience.”

An example of window decals from Cannabis NB’s Good to Know campaign

Cannabis NB currently has 26 locations in 18 communities across New Brunswick and is in the process of expanding its retail model to include private retailers, pop-up stores, and cannabis farmgate stores

It is currently in the review stage for ten new private locations in the province. The most recent quarterly report shows the provincial agency brought in $4.8 million in profit from $21.7 million in revenue from July 4 to October 2, 2022.

Compared to the same quarter last year, sales of flower, extract, and accessories declined (13.8%, 26.9%, and 18.9% respectively) while sales of edibles, topicals and concentrates increased (42.8%, 130.1%, and 15.4%).

Image via

Liberal MP listed as director of cannabis co. that owes nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes

A recent report in Blacklock’s Reporter contends a Liberal MP was listed as a Director at a cannabis producer that owes the Canada Revenue Agency more than $2 million in unpaid taxes and other deductions. 

The federal parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa Centre), was a director of Eve & Co in the past year, drawing employment income from the federally-licensed cannabis producer. 

Naqvi joined the Eve & Co board in 2020 and was elected as an MP in September 2021. According to one source close to the file, Naqvi left his role with the company prior to these bankruptcy filings. In October 2021, Jeannette VanderMarel replaced Yasir Naqvi on the board of directors. Naqvi resigned as a result of his election as a member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre in the recent federal election.

Naqvi, is also a former Ontario attorney general, and in this role helped oversee the province’s creation and launch of its cannabis sales program.

In March, Eve & Co filed for bankruptcy protection in the Ontario Superior Court. 

According to court records, Eve & Co owed the Canada Revenue Agency $1.9 million along with another $1,434,051 in unpaid excise tax, $267,932 in GST, and $206,660 in unremitted Canada Pension Plan payments and other employee deductions.

According to court documents, the producer also owes the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) $17.5 million on the mortgage of their Ontario facility, among several other creditors. The total debt is listed as $7,049,329.31.

According to Blacklocks, Eve & Co did not disclose what payments were made to Naqvi in his role as a company director.

H/T to

Cannabis NB introduces FarmGate program

August 20, 2021

Fredericton, NB – Today, Cannabis NB is pleased to announce it is introducing a new addition to its retail model. The Cannabis FarmGate program will allow licensed New Brunswick cannabis producers to sell their own products on-site at their facilities.  

“We are thrilled to launch this program in New Brunswick. There is growing interest from both consumers and producers for this type of initiative across the country and we believe this will create opportunities for the legal recreational cannabis industry,” said Lori Stickles, CEO of Cannabis NB. “The Cannabis FarmGate program will increase visibility for local licensed producers, and provide them with more opportunities to educate customers about their products at their own facility, while also creating potential tourism opportunities.” 

To participate in the program, eligible New Brunswick cannabis producers will submit an application to Cannabis NB for consideration. All cannabis products sold at an approved FarmGate store will be required to be grown, produced and packaged on-site and meet all federal regulations prescribed by Health Canada (including packaging and labelling, excise stamps, social responsibility, testing requirements etc.)

About Cannabis NB 

Cannabis NB, the only legal retailer of recreational cannabis for the province of New Brunswick, is a subsidiary of ANBL and manages retail cannabis sales for the Cannabis Management Corporation. The core focus of the retail model is youth protection, reducing the illicit market, public education, and safety. Twenty stores in fifteen communities offer a range of products with a one-on-one guided retail experience. Cannabis NB’s results are reported on a retail reporting cycle, which is typically a 52-week year. Retail reporting will result in a 53-week year occurring every 5 to 6 years. 

Media contact: Tom Tremblay, Public Relations Specialist, [email protected]  

Cannabis NB annonce la création du programme FarmGate 

Le 20 août, 2021

Fredericton, N.-B. – Aujourd’hui, Cannabis NB est heureuse d’annoncer qu’elle introduit un nouvel élément dans son modèle de vente au détail. Le programme Cannabis FarmGate permettra aux producteurs de cannabis autorisés du Nouveau-Brunswick de vendre leurs propres produits sur place, dans leurs installations. 

« Nous sommes ravis de lancer ce programme au Nouveau-Brunswick. Il y a un intérêt croissant des consommateurs et des producteurs pour ce type d’initiative à travers le pays et nous pensons que cela créera des opportunités pour l’industrie légale du cannabis récréatif », a déclaré Lori Stickles, directrice générale de Cannabis NB. « Le programme Cannabis FarmGate augmentera la visibilité des producteurs locaux autorisés et leur donnera plus d’occasions d’éduquer les consommateurs sur leurs produits dans leurs propres installations, tout en créant des opportunités touristiques potentielles. »

Pour participer au programme, les producteurs de cannabis du Nouveau-Brunswick admissibles soumettront une demande, à Cannabis NB pour examen. Tous les produits du cannabis vendus dans un magasin FarmGate approuvé devront être cultivés, produits et emballés sur place et respecter tous les règlements fédéraux prescrits par Santé Canada (y compris l’emballage et l’étiquetage, les timbres d’accise, la responsabilité sociale, les exigences en matière de tests, etc.)

À propos de Cannabis NB

Cannabis NB, seul détaillant légal de cannabis récréatif pour la province du Nouveau-Brunswick, est une entité d’ANBL et gère les ventes de cannabis au détail pour la Cannabis Management Corporation. L’objectif principal du modèle de vente au détail est la protection des jeunes, la réduction du marché illicite, l’éducation du public et la sécurité. Vingt magasins dans quinze collectivités offrent une gamme de produits avec une expérience individuelle de vente guidée. Les résultats de Cannabis NB sont déclarés selon un cycle de déclaration de vente au détail, qui correspond généralement à un exercice de 52 semaines. Le cycle de rapport de vente au détail donnera lieu à un exercice de 53 semaines tous les 5 ou 6 ans, le prochain exercice de 53 semaines ayant lieu au cours du présent exercice financier.

Personne-ressource pour les médias : Tom Tremblay, [email protected] 


Fondée en 2018 par Maxime Paris, docteur en génétique moléculaire végétale et titulaire d’un MBA en commerce international, EXKA est la première entreprise québécoise spécialisée dans la recherche, l’innovation et le développement de produits pharmaceutiques à base de cannabis. 


Antoine Boucher, directeur commercial, explique qu’EXKA se positionne dans une catégorie de services techniques et scientifiques avancés. L’activité principale de l’entreprise : la micropropagation, le stockage de matériel génétique et l’extraction.

Q : Quel rôle EXKA veut-elle jouer dans l’industrie du cannabis à court, moyen et long terme ?

RA : EXKA veut être un centre d’expertise essentiel pour l’extraction, un leader dans l’innovation génétique et un service essentiel pour toutes les entreprises du secteur.


Située à Mirabel, l’entreprise dispose de laboratoires de culture de tissus végétaux, d’un complexe de serres hybrides et d’une usine d’extraction agréée GMP/EUGMP.


Avec une capacité d’extraction de plus de 150 000 kilos par an, la branche extraction est le cœur de métier d’EXKA. La complexité de ces procédés exige des équipements de la plus haute qualité à la fine pointe de la technologie, d’où la certification GMP. 

Q : Quel est le but de l’extraction, que recherche l’entreprise et qu’est-ce qui est extrait des fleurs de cannabis ?

RA : Il existe trois techniques d’extraction chez EXKA. L’objectif est d’obtenir soit de l’huile de cannabis, soit du distillat.

La première technique d’extraction vise l’huile de cannabis brute en utilisant un procédé au CO2 supercritique. La seconde, par précipitation d’éthanol, consiste à extraire une huile hivernisée. Le procédé consiste à dissoudre l’extrait dans de l’éthanol, puis à faire baisser la température du mélange. Le froid permet de séparer les composés par des différences dans leurs points de fusion et de précipitation, explique M. Boucher. La troisième et dernière méthode d’extraction vise à obtenir un distillat avec un niveau de pureté supérieur à 95% de cannabinoïdes.

Q : Quels sont les avantages pour EXKA de se spécialiser dans l’extraction ?

RA : Nous sommes à l’aube d’une nouvelle industrie florissante. Les produits à base de cannabis ont un potentiel médicinal incroyable. Nous voulons devenir le premier centre d’extraction de biomasse pour les producteurs de cannabis au Canada et fournir au fabricant de nouveaux produits de cannabis une huile de cannabis de qualité pharmaceutique, fiable, reproductible et constante…


L’un des défis de l’industrie du cannabis est la prévention, l’assainissement et l’hygiène des installations. Les laboratoires in vitro (PTC Labs) permettent aux plantes de sortir sans insectes, maladies ou agents pathogènes, explique M. Boucher.

EXKA a une capacité de production de plus de 5000 clones par jour, ce qui équivaut à plus ou moins 1 à 1,5 million de clones par an.

Q : Pourquoi voulez-vous modifier génétiquement les plantes ? 

RA : Nous travaillons sur le développement de nouvelles génétiques supérieures. Les plantes sur lesquelles nous travaillons sont ultra vigoureuses et ont d’excellents rendements. Contrairement à la méthode classique, nous travaillons avec les cellules souches de la plante, ce qui nous permet d’améliorer l’espèce et donc d’améliorer la qualité des produits finaux.

La beauté, selon M. Boucher, est qu’EXKA peut travailler sur la génétique de son inventaire de plantes, certes, mais cela ouvre aussi un grand accès à la demande actuelle et future pour travailler sur des clones de variétés d’autres entreprises, ce qu’elles n’ont pas nécessairement l’expertise pour faire.

Q : Quels sont les avantages de ces services de clonage ?

RA : Le fait de travailler à partir de cellules souches offre une flexibilité inégalée qui nous permet de répondre à des demandes personnalisées très spécifiques. Par exemple, nous pouvons décider de la forme des plantes en fonction des besoins et des capacités des serres de nos clients.


L’obtention d’une excellente génétique est un processus long et coûteux pour de nombreuses entreprises du secteur. Comment pouvons-nous nous assurer que ce travail long et fastidieux est protégé ? EXKA offre la tranquillité d’esprit aux entrepreneurs en fournissant un stockage génétique pour les plantes.

Q : Comment fonctionne le stockage génétique ?

RA : Nous proposons de stocker en toute sécurité dans notre laboratoire PTC un explant des souches préférées de nos clients qui sert de “sauvegarde” de la génétique. Si quelque chose arrive sur le site de production d’un de nos clients, il sera assuré d’obtenir rapidement des plantes avec la génétique originale afin de relancer la production le plus rapidement possible.


EXKA dispose de 10 serres hybrides reliées par des gouttières mais néanmoins indépendantes, couvrant plus de 28 000 pieds carrés, à partir desquelles il est possible de contrôler la lumière, la ventilation, l’humidité et les niveaux d’irrigation. L’objectif d’avoir 10 serres, explique M. Boucher, est de créer un cycle de récolte hebdomadaire.

Q : Pourquoi avoir des serres ? Prévoyez-vous de vendre des fleurs ?

RA : Non, l’intention d’EXKA derrière les serres est principalement à des fins de R&D. Tous les rendements de la serre doivent être extraits. Elles serviront également à tester de nouvelles variétés et à cultiver des clones pour les clients qui voudront des plantes de 6 à 8 pouces, et pas seulement des jeunes plantules. Les programmes d’hybridation et la production de semences pourraient également avoir lieu dans les serres.

Aider l’industrie

EXKA est convaincue, selon M. Boucher, que s’entraider dans l’industrie est le meilleur moyen de relever les défis d’un marché florissant. Nous espérons que la qualité des produits qui passent par EXKA fera une différence majeure sur les normes de l’industrie.

Cannabis retailer denies accusations made on social media

Representatives from Fire & Flower, a national retail cannabis chain, says there is no truth to an accusation circulating online that employees at one of their stores in Yorkton, Saskatchewan reported a woman for buying too much Cannabis to social services.

The accusation, which originally surfaced on a Facebook post in 2019 by the Saskatchewan Medical Cannabis Association, claimed that employees at the Yorkton store called police on a woman for purchasing too much cannabis. It is claimed that then police referred the call to social services who visited the woman’s house and took her children away. In the same post, the group says “legalization is just as bad as prohibition” and directs people to only use illicit dispensaries.

The claim resurfaced on social media again recently after the same Facebook group re-posted their previous post from June 2019. No evidence has been provided supporting these claims, with the Facebook group attributing the accusation to “a confidential informant”. Attempts to contact the group and their co-founder and spokesperson were not fruitful. 

“Recent social media posts have circulated claims originally made by the Saskatchewan Medical Cannabis Association in June of 2019 about our store in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The claims were fully investigated at that time – they were not true then and are not true now. Our staff have always treated all of our customers with respect and in the spirit of inclusion and support.”

Matthew Anderson – Fire & Flower

A representative from Fire & Flower did respond to a request for comment.

“Fire & Flower is proud of our record as an active and supportive member of the local communities where our employees live and work,” Matthew Anderson Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs and Corporate Secretary told StratCann via email. “Recent social media posts have circulated claims originally made by the Saskatchewan Medical Cannabis Association in June of 2019 about our store in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The claims were fully investigated at that time – they were not true then and are not true now. Our staff have always treated all of our customers with respect and in the spirit of inclusion and support.”

Anderson says Fire & Flower’s legal team will take action against the source of the claim.

“We support all Canadians’ rights to express their viewpoints through peaceful protest, but are disappointed that some have chosen to do so by disseminating blatantly false information. We take the circulation of defamatory claims very seriously, and will take appropriate action to stop their spread.”


LICENCE TYPE;Micro culture
APPROACH:Intérieur, hydroponique, canettes de mer
TIMELINE:~4 mois (décembre 2019 to avril 2020)
FACILITY:Retrofit, 1400ft2

MindiCANNA est l’un des deux premiers microcultivateurs récemment approuvés au Québec. L’entreprise, qui exploite également un service de conseil aux demandeurs de cannabis, a décidé de franchir le pas et d’appliquer les leçons qu’elle a tirées en conseillant les autres à sa propre application.

Maxime Guérin, le directeur des affaires juridiques et du développement commercial de la société, déclare qu’ils sont enthousiastes à l’idée d’entamer la nouvelle étape du processus de licence et de commencer à se concentrer sur la culture de cannabis de qualité en petits lots après avoir aidé de nombreuses autres personnes à naviguer dans le processus de licence.


Leur installation, un espace industriel réaménagé utilisant plusieurs Sea Cans convertis en chambres de culture, leur a coûté environ 450 000 dollars pour la rénovation et l’équipement, dit Guérin, et contient actuellement environ 1 400 pi2 d’espace de floraison, et environ 400 pi2 de plus pour les plantes, les mères et les clones. L’installation fonctionnera avec une équipe de trois à quatre personnes à plein temps, et quatre ou cinq autres aideront à la récolte et à la taille une fois qu’elles auront atteint ce stade.


Leur licence de microculture leur permettra de se concentrer sur des produits de qualité, tout en maintenant des coûts de production bas, dit-il.

« Lorsque vous regardez toutes les licences que vous pouvez obtenir, la micro licence est très attrayante, car vous pouvez vous concentrer sur la production, la rendre peu coûteuse et faire quelque chose qui est plus artisanal. »

« Nous pensons que l’accent doit être mis sur le faible coût de construction de votre bâtiment, les rénovations et tout le reste, afin que votre coût de production soit très faible ».


En tant que l’un des premiers microcultivateurs au Québec, M. Guérin dit qu’ils sont enthousiastes à l’idée d’essayer de mettre sur le marché ce produit artisanal plus spécialisé, et que leurs discussions avec la province indiquent que le Québec est prêt pour ce genre de produits également.

« Nous savons avec certitude que la province s’intéresse aux produits artisanaux cultivés au Québec. »

Pour l’instant, cependant, ils veulent se concentrer sur l’introduction de matières premières dans leurs installations et sur la culture de leur première récolte, ainsi que sur la recherche d’un transformateur avec lequel ils pourraient s’associer et qui comprendrait le marché québécois.

« Nous savons que la province s’intéresse aux produits artisanaux cultivés au Québec. Nous devons donc passer par une autre société de production et nous assurer que la société de production avec laquelle nous nous associons comprend les besoins du marché québécois. Jusqu’à présent, nos discussions ont été très intéressantes, et nous pensons que nous parviendrons à un partenariat avec une société de production qui a cette idée en tête ».

Il souligne également que ce n’est que la prochaine étape de ce qui sera un long processus.

« Nous voulons prendre des mesures sûres sur ce marché et nous voulons d’abord nous concentrer sur la culture ».


« Les premières choses d’abord. Nous allons nous concentrer sur la culture pour le moment. Nous voulons prendre du temps, regarder ce qui se passe, afin de pouvoir obtenir les meilleurs produits et nous préparer aux besoins du marché. Je pense qu’en ce moment, tout le monde doit prendre du recul et regarder le marché parce qu’il y a beaucoup de changements qui vont venir avec la COVID-19, et en considérant les crises économiques qui vont suivre. Nous voulons prendre des mesures sûres sur ce marché et nous voulons nous concentrer d’abord sur la culture”.

« Cela a été un sacré voyage et nous sommes très conscients que ce n’est que le début d’un autre voyage à commencer. Il nous reste à le mener à la production, à passer tous les tests, à nous assurer que nous pouvons vendre nos produits, mais c’est un grand soulagement d’en arriver là pour pouvoir entrer dans le jeu avec les autres acteurs et dire que nous sommes pleinement dans ce secteur ».


Malgré ces nouveaux départs, Guérin et le reste de l’équipe de MindiCANNA ont abordé le processus d’une manière tout à fait unique, puisqu’ils ont l’expérience de la consultation d’autres candidats. Cette expérience, dit-il, les a aidés à comprendre comment monter la meilleure demande dans un délai assez court, avec environ 5 mois qui s’écoulent entre la présentation de leur dossier de preuve et la délivrance de leur licence de culture.

Nous avons une bonne compréhension de la philosophie qui sous-tend l’obtention d’une licence en travaillant avec d’autres producteurs licenciés et en apprenant de ce qu’ils ont fait, cela nous a permis de bien comprendre le processus de Santé Canada.

Bien que certains le fassent eux-mêmes, et que certains consultants puissent donner une mauvaise réputation à l’industrie, M. Guérin affirme que travailler avec une agence de consultants qui comprend le processus peut absolument aider.

« Nous croyons qu’avec des professionnels comme nous, qui comprennent le processus et la façon dont Santé Canada voit les choses, cela facilite le processus. Mais il faut trouver les bonnes personnes. Il y a beaucoup de consultants sur le marché qui n’ont aucune formation juridique et parfois nous voyons et entendons parler, ou recevons des documents, de personnes qui n’ont aucune connaissance juridique. Nous nous rendons compte que parfois les gens paient trop cher pour quelque chose qui ne les aide pas à obtenir une licence ».

« Il n’y a pas de surprises, il faut juste être patient. Et bien sûr, si vos documents sont en règle et sont bons – si vous envoyez des documents que vous devez modifier trois ou quatre fois, cela va être, bien sûr, plus long que si vous le faites un coup par coup, et c’est ce que nous avons fait. »


Bien qu’il se garde bien de souligner qu’ils ont encore un long chemin à parcourir, M. Guérin voit beaucoup d’opportunités pour le marché du cannabis au Canada à mesure que l’industrie mûrit et que davantage de producteurs comme MindiCANN sont capables d’approvisionner le marché avec du cannabis artisanal de plus en plus spécialisé et en petits lots.

« Je pense que le consommateur en aura fini avec l’achat d’herbe de fossé provenant d’installations plus grandes, lorsqu’il aura accès à plus de “bud” de qualité et à quelque chose de meilleure qualité et qui a ce sens de l’artisanat. Je pense que c’est l’avenir du cannabis au Canada”.

Carl Richard, le maître producteur de l’entreprise, qui cultive le cannabis dans le cadre du RAMM puis de l’ACMPR depuis le début des années 2000, se dit enthousiaste à l’idée de commencer à commercialiser un produit de meilleure qualité pour aider le marché plus “connaisseur” qui achète encore principalement au marché noir.

Richard compare la transition vers un système commercial entièrement réglementé au passage du hockey de rue à la LNH. Selon lui, c’est la qualité du produit sur les étagères qui aidera le connaisseur à passer du marché noir au marché légal.

Comme le dit Richard, à la fin “Le plus important, c’est la plante !

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