Canada’s Cannabis Shortage Making More Headlines

In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed “pockets of resistance to the legalization of marijuana” for a cannabis supply shortage that has slowed the dissemination of legal weed in parts of Canada. The shortages have been most pronounced in Ontario, “forcing the province to limit the number of licensed pot dispensaries that will be opened in the spring.”

Trudeau called the supply shortage the biggest challenge associated with the legalization of cannabis. "It's going to take a little time to adjust but we're on the right track,"Trudeau added.

Dismal News for Ontario Potpreneurs

Last week the AGCO announced that Ontario is going to take a phased approach to cannabis retail licensing due to a national supply shortage from Licensed Producers. Cannabis entrepreneurs across the province have been are more than a little shocked and discouraged by the news. Only 25 licenses will be issued to private retailers by Apr. 1 during the "initial phase," with a lottery system to determine which owners are eligible. With the dramatically limited number of licenses said to be handed out through a lottery system, some entrepreneurs who had their ‘ducks in a row’ are afraid all their efforts have been wasted.

Koby Smutylo told CBC news that he leased 2 stores in Ottawa before government's 25 licenses cap. "It's amazing how much work went into each application, and here we are ready and … the government decides that the rules are completely different," he said. "We don't believe that's very fair."

Tommy Chong Chimes in 🔔

Famous Edmonton born cannabis enthusiast and Comedian Tommy Chong was in Toronto last week to film a cameo as himself in CBC TV’s “Air Farce New Year’s Eve,” which premieres Dec. 31. He shared with the Associated Press that he thinks Canada's weed legalization has kept 'underground market alive.' The Canadian living in Los Angeles expressed his mixed feelings: “I love that it’s Canada that was first (to do it before the U.S.). See, God has a sense of humour: he gave us Trump and he legalized weed at the same time,” he said, sitting on a couch in his dressing room wearing a Cheech and Chong T-shirt emblazoned with a marijuana leaf. Still, Chong feels Canada hasn’t approached recreational cannabis legalization in the right way.

“Absolutely not, but that’s the Canadian way,” said the 80-year-old. “Like when they legalized alcohol, the government took control of the monopoly and you could only buy booze from the government, and the government is trying to do the same thing with pot.

“They want to make it so that they’re the only supplier and it’s not going to work that way. So what Canada has done now, legally, they’ve kept the underground market alive and vibrant, because people still go to their dealer to get the best weed and the quickest weed.”

Dispensary Applications now Open?

Despite the discouraging number of licenses available, the AGCO was said to begin accepting applications on December 17 for private retailing of cannabis in Ontario, which will begin on April 1, 2019.

Major News for Vancouver Dispensaries

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered dozens of illegal marijuana shops in Vancouver to cease operations last week but the enforcement timeline remains unclear says CBS news. Princess of Pot, Jodie Emery has been very outspoken on her twitter feed, pulling up old posts that speak out against the legalization process Canada is implementing. Today she shared how she “ just sent #Vancouver City Council & Mayor @kennedystewart scientific evidence that Dispensaries Save Lives in the #OpioidCrisis — and dispensary closures kill.”

Jeremiah Vandermeer, CEO of Vancouver dispensary chain Cannabis Culture, says the city regulations provide no path to legalization for businesses like his. “They’re threatening immediate enforcement against the medical marijuana dispensaries who are serving a vital purpose in town, and it’s right before Christmas.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says dispensaries operating without a license have had plenty of time to adjust to current regulations, and should “get with the program.” “It’s not like these bylaws were sprung on people,” he said. “They’ve known for quite some time, for many months, that this is what is coming.”

“The truth, quite frankly, is the dispensaries do not have a path to (become) legal stores, because the city has not let them,” Vandermeer said.

Montreal creates police task force to crack down on illegal cannabis

In Quebec, only the province’s Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) is authorized to sell recreational marijuana since it became legal across Canada on Oct. 17. With the black market still strong, a new the Montreal police task force will be added, consisting of 26 police officers and two administrative staff, Global News Reported.

Cannabis legalization voted Canadian Press' Business Story of the Year

Canada's trailblazing move to legalize cannabis for recreational use, which sparked an entirely new industry and had wide-ranging implications for nearly every facet of society, has been voted The Canadian Press Business News Story of the Year. In an annual poll of the country's newsrooms conducted by The Canadian Press, business editors and reporters across the country chose cannabis legalization in a landslide, with 60 percent of the votes cast.

Andrew Meeson, deputy business editor at the Toronto Star explained why: “It’s hard to think of an area in Canada that hasn’t been shaken up: not just commerce, but also policing, health care, justice politics. Even culture” he said. “If that doesn’t make it the business story of the year, I don’t know what would.”

Female-focused LP first to offer clones in Canada

Natural MedCo’s Eve, toted as “Canada’s premier cannabis brand for all women” was featured in the Marijuana Business News Daily last week as “the first company in Canada to offer marijuana clones for sale to legal recreational consumers, achieving a first-mover advantage for an untapped and underserved consumer segment.”

Cannabis on the Wishlist

‘Tis the year for the gift of cannabis, a recent survey by Lift & Co. discovered, after learning that nearly 3 million Canadians plan to give the gift of cannabis this holiday season. People living in Manitoba and Alberta were the most likely to give weed while people in Quebec were the least likely. Millennials (aged 18 to 34) are the likeliest generation to gift cannabis at 20 percent, which is twice the number of all other generations combined.

Legal Rec is coming to New York State

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could generate more than $1.7 billion in sales annually and put New York in line with several neighbouring states.