December 7 2019,



Newfoundland & Labrador's Liberal government joined Quebec in refusing to allow sales of REC vape products when they become legal nationwide on elsewhere in the country in just over a week on December 16.
Financial Post

  • Explaining the decision, the government pointed to the VAPI crisis and said, "An analysis by experts […] has not been able to pinpoint the specific cause of this lung disease, however the majority of cases involve vaping cannabis. The intent of the decision is to protect the health of the people in this province until there is more evidence about the connection between cannabis vaping products and severe lung disease." Globe and Mail
  • The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has cited additive vitamin E acetate as "a chemical of concern" in causing VAPI. The compound is not legal for use in Canadian vape products.

Nova Scotia, also citing VAPI, moved to ban sales of "cannabis vaping products that have a scent or flavour other than cannabis noticeable before or during use."
Press Release

  • Though BC has not banned vape products, it has introduced a 20% sales tax on both oil and dry-flower vapes.

Industry stressed the US vaping illnesses were caused by unregulated counterfeit products, which many believe bans encourage.
MJ Biz Daily


If New Brunswick's Conservative government finds a buyer for crown REC retailer Cannabis NB, that company will not be required to keep all 20 outlets open. That means as the rest of the country begs for more stores, New Brunswick may lose some.
MJ Biz Daily

  • As part of its privatization offering, New Brunswick will allow applicants to their Request For Proposals seeking a single operator to choose which of the 20 stores they include in their bids.
  • The RFP stresses "This is not a sale of the existing business, Cannabis NB, but rather the sale of the rights to operate recreational cannabis retail, wholesale/distribution and e-commerce in the Province of New Brunswick on an exclusive basis over a period of 10 years with two five-year renewal periods."
  • All 20 stores are leased until 2033.

Quick Hits

  1. Quebec's REC monopoly, the Société Québécoise du Cannabis, which continues slowly expanding its number of stores, made $5M profit on $63.8M revenue during its fiscal Q2, bringing in $17M in taxes and excise duties for the Quebec government during that time. This represented 29% of all REC sales in Canada by weight, with prices as much as 20% less than in other provinces.
    TVA Nouvelles, CTV Montreal, Twitter—Caroline Lavoie
  2. Ontario Cannabis Store CEO Cal Bricker said his organization was prepared for the demand that will follow the release of vape, edible, and topical products in the coming weeks.

Shoppers Drug Mart rolled out its MED portal nationwide, after first debuting it in Ontario and Alberta in the spring.
Winnipeg Free Press

  • With more than 1,300 stores, Shoppers is one of the country's most recognizable brands. Accordingly, some feel the move will help normalize MED.
  • At the same time, of the 1.1M Canadian MED users, 800,000 do so without a prescription or medical supervision. Pharmacists hope bringing MED into Shoppers will encourage self-medicating users to open discussions with medical professionals about drug effects and interactions.
    CBC Nova Scotia

The Medical Cannabis by Shoppers program offers patient resources, online telemedicine MED prescriptions (where allowed—so not in Quebec), and the opportunity to order from 12 different MED LPs. Shoppers outlets do not carry MED.
Radio-Canada—In French

Quick Hits

  1. The University of Alberta partnered with Atlas Biotechnologies to research the effects of MED on MS, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's diseases.
    Global News, Folio
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Canopy entered the US market with hemp-derived CBD brand First & Free, which will be sold in the 31 states where CBD is legal.

Maltese regulators issued a "statement of non-compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice" against Zenabis after an inspection last December at Zenabis's production site found the company out of compliance with EU GMP standards. The company presented a plan for "corrective and preventive action," but failed to meet it.

Aurora CEO Terry Booth bought roughly $1M worth of his company's stock.

In a marriage of two controversial companies, Namaste Technologies' MED platform CannMart inked an exclusive licensing agreement with unlicensed legacy operator Phyto Extractions to use its trademarks on products.
Canadian Manufacturing


LP Wayland Group, among the first LPs licensed by Health Canada in 2014, filed for creditor protection, saying it had not seen positive cash flow since it was launched.
Globe and Mail

Ontario LP AgMedica Bioscience also applied for creditor protection. In its filing, there was a warning for the sector: "Many other licensed producers of cannabis in Canada face similar pressures due to capital market conditions that have challenged the cannabis industry in recent months."
MJ Biz Daily

  • AgMedica explained its reasons for seeking protection include "price competition with the illicit market, challenges with the roll-out of retail models across the country, and learning curves to adjust product mix to match consumer demands."
    Twitter—Matt Lamers

Quick Hits

  1. Edibles makers bemoaned the timing of 2.0 legalization that will prevent their products from making the holidays more endurable.

Manitoba's RCMP succinctly summed up the appeal of illicit cannabis when it published a list of "Common signs to help identify an illegal online cannabis retailer," alongside helpful clip-art icons. They included:
Twitter—RCMP Manitoba

  • "Requests payment by e-transfer or cryptocurrency,"
  • "Packaging/products appeal to young persons";
  • "Referral bonuses, sign up bonuses or other promotions";
  • "Ships anywhere in Canada."

Vice's Manisha Krishnan pointed out this list "[sounds] pretty great" compared with the comparatively small number of legal REC stores offering lower-quality product and multi-day shipping only in-province by Canada Post.

Winnipeg Free Press reporter Sol Israel noted there's good reason for the RCMP campaign, as many Canadians have bought from illicit online sellers believing they were buying legally.
Twitter—Sol Israel

Quick Hits

  1. The Alberta Motor Association found 21% of Albertans are unsure about how edibles might affect driving, while 26% don't know edibles may have a different effect than smoked cannabis.
    Global News

CEOs from three outdoor-grow LPs—WeedMD48North, and Aleafia—reflected on their first year of growing outdoors in interviews with the Globe and Mail.
Globe and Mail

  • 48North had the highest production cost per gram at $0.25 compared to WeedMD's $0.16 and Aleafia's $0.10.
  • WeedMD CEO Keith Merker noted Health Canada regs make cannabis more labour intensive than other crops.
  • 48North CEO Alison Gordon explained the delay in drying product her company experienced was because they had built the drying space but were waiting on licensing. She added autoflowering plants (which begin flowering after a certain amount of time, regardless of how much sun they have received) had not succeeded.
  • Aleafia CEO Geoff Benic said it was hard to find farm labour for planting and harvesting, though eventually they found help from colleges with cannabis cultivation programs.
  • Benic also discussed the dangers of soil contamination, as well as the importance of making sure there were no nearby hemp farms that could pollinate REC and MED fields.

Aleafia completed a $7.1M agreement to sell 2,840 kg of dry flower to an unnamed Canadian LP (at a price per gram of $2.50).
Press Release

Quick Hits

  1. McGill University (alma mater to both me and WeedWeek founder Alex Halperin!) will launch a one year Diploma in Commercial Cannabis with $24,000 tuition, significantly greater than the $4,430 tuition McGill charges Quebec residents for a year of graduate school, though less than their two-year MBA, which costs $83,273.
    Montreal Gazette

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Two weeks ago, BC LP Pasha laid off a dozen of its 50 employees, mainly in communications and client services, calling six of them back on a commission basis, as it shifted focus to producing pre-rolls.
The Deep DiveMarketWatch

  • Pasha positioned itself as an umbrella organization to help BC craft producers enter a market dominated by corporate players.
  • Subsequently, most of Pasha's board of directors resigned—including important sector players like extraction entrepreneur Rosy Mondin and Auxly CEO Hugo Alves.
    The Deep Dive

Cannabis lifestyle magazine/website Civilized was bought by American firm New Frontier Data, which laid off all staff "temporarily."
CBC New Brunswick

Ernst Young cannabis manager Ashley Chiu warned—of the sector in general—that "30-40% of these companies won’t be around in a year. It will come down to execution and whether these companies have a differentiated strategy and a road to profitability."
Twitter—Ashley Chiu

Quick Hits

  1. Now that cannabis is legal, the next hot investment for canna-executives is psychedelics, which show therapeutic promise despite illegality.
    Globe and Mail

BC premier John Horgan acknowledged the quality of cannabis from that province's legacy market, saying "We have in B.C. a legendary quality product, and that’s not making its way to the legal market."
Nelson Star

  • Speaking of the BC NDP government's $676,000 project to help illicit growers in the Central Kootenay region into the legal system, social development minister Shane Simpson said if the project works it could work in other craft-heavy areas of BC such as Okanagan or the Sunshine coast.

Simpson added, "Everybody talks about BC Bud and the reputation it has, so if we can build a craft industry that’s legal, that’s regulated appropriately, then that’s a good thing."

Quick Hits

  1. Workers at Tilray's Nanaimo production facilit, joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, , citing concerns about job security.
    MMP Connect

While the Liberal government estimated 10,000 Canadians with cannabis convictions were eligible for expedited pardons (out of some 500,000 with convictions that include other crimes), to date Public Safety Canada has only received 234 applications, and has given out only 118 pardons.
CBC Politics

  • Senator Kimberley Pate, appointed by Justin Trudeau in 2016, said the number was "incredibly low." She acknowledged despite the process being named a "no-cost record suspension system" it cost hundreds of dollars to request a pardon.
  • Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, who has routinely criticized his own party's approach to pardons, said, "Automatic cannabis amnesty would have been more practical and effective, and better remedied the injustice of our discriminatory prohibition policies."
    Twitter—Nate Erskine-Smith

Quick Hits

  1. Two people were arrested using a potato gun to fire cannabis and crystal meth over the wall of the Saskatoon Provincial Correction Centre.
    Youtube—Cottage Life, CTV News
  2. US travellers entering Canada are told "All cannabis products must be declared." However, though REC is legal in Canada, declaring you're bringing legal REC or MED—even from US legal states—is enough to get Americans turned away, or even barred for life.
    Seven Days