Status Update on Ontario Retail Cannabis Stores
To date, only 3 of the 25 retailers have received their retail store authorization or their retail operator license from the province. The first three stores to receive the licenses are in St.Catharines, Brampton, and Toronto. JADEO will continue to include updates for readers as the countdown to April 1st ticks on and we eagerly await the news of when a retail shop may be opening near you.
Illegal Edibles Seized in Toronto
A major edibles bust happened in Toronto last week when police seized $1.7 million of edibles that look like candy. With roughly 80% of the cannabis sales in Canada still coming from black market products, we are bound to hear of more seizures of this size. Const. Andy Pattenden said in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca that “the number one reason police are issuing this warning is these products are still illegal and number two is this is the first time we’re seeing products that appear to look so much like candy so of course children will be drawn to them,”
A York Regional Police spokesperson claimed that “this is the first time we’re seeing products that appear to look so much like candy.” With new edibles packaging regulations soon to come into place, black market products that don’t conform to the new rules will only stand out that much more.
Cannabis Promotional Sponsorship by Canopy and Halo Faces Scrutiny
LP giant Canopy Growth Corp. and extraction company Halo are facing investigation by Health Canada after the latter believes their sponsorship of a charity event for children may have violated sections of the Cannabis Act. Section 21 of the Act states that “It is prohibited to display, refer to or otherwise use any of the following, directly or indirectly in a promotion that is used in the sponsorship of a person, entity, event, activity or facility: a brand element of cannabis, of a cannabis accessory or of a service related to cannabis; the name of a person that produces, sells or distributes cannabis; sells or distributes a cannabis accessory” or “provides a service related to cannabis.” The companies are both still in review for this potential violation of the Cannabis Act.
Fire & Flower Announces Digital Marketing Partnership with Lift & Co
Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower and Toronto marijuana media company Lift & Co. announced an agreement to partner on digital marketing services. The firms said that Lift will feature Fire & Flower as a premium retailer on its platform in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, while Lift members will be eligible for exclusive promotions and an opportunity to earn points for contributing reviews of the retailer. The partnership takes effect on April 1.
48North Announces Licensing Agreement with Arbor Pacific
48North Cannabis has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with U.S.-based Arbor Pacific to brings its premium brand Avitas to Canadian consumers. Avitas, available in 500 stores in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, is one of the best-selling single strain vaporizer cartridges in the United States. This licensing agreement completes 48North’s vaporizer strategy, according to the company.
Whole Foods to get in on the Green Rush?
Cannabis sales have been climbing steadily in legal states across the U.S., attracting the interest of Whole Foods founder Steve Mackey, who says that once Texas legalizes weed, grocery stores will sell products too. Currently, cannabis dispensaries in the US outsell grocery giant Whole Foods with sales reaching $974/ square foot, while Whole Foods sales are at $930/square foot. The idea that Whole Food could eventually start selling cannabis products could put them at part or exceed their dispensary competitors, making the prospect somewhat painful for the cannabis industry as a whole. The grocery chain, which is owned by Amazon, could easily swoop in and provide customers with more trust and convenience than traditional dispensaries.
“If cannabis is ever passed in Texas, chances are good that grocery stores will be selling that too,” Mackey recently told a crowd during a Texas Tribune event. “You just never know what happens over time with markets. They change and evolve.” Whole Foods hired a trend-spotter following its 2017 acquisition by Amazon, who predicted that hemp and other products of the “cannabis biz” would be a region with large growth potential for the grocery chain. That prediction is looking more and more accurate as the FDA takes action toward creating a regulatory framework for hemp-based products including CBD oils, foods, nutraceuticals, tinctures and more.
Facebook Inconsistent about Enforcement of Cannabis Ads
Facebook has continued its spree of uneven treatment of cannabis organizations, even for those who are technically compliant with its policies regarding cannabis ads. Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), a Canadian non-profit campaigning for the elimination of taxes on medical cannabis, had its Facebook account shut down while trying to reach potential voters on social media. Facebook does not allow marketing for anything that promotes the sale or use of cannabis. Under those guidelines, however, ads for a specific issue such as tax law changes should be allowed. Facebook told Global News that the ad account was disabled in error and will be reinstated. Earlier this year, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) was ramping up well know “Don’t Tax Medicine;” a campaign to eliminate taxes on medical cannabis, which included robust social media. See https://donttaxmedicine.ca/
Hawaii Introduces ‘Visiting Patient” Cannabis Program
The Hawaii Department of Health has announced a new program where visiting patients can use their out-of-state medical cannabis cards to access medical cannabis while in Hawaii.
The city of Los Angeles turning off the lights of Illegal Cannabis Shops
A Los Angeles City Council committee advanced a proposed ordinance to shut off water and power at unlicensed marijuana ships, another attempt to crack down on LA’s still-thriving illicit cannabis market. If the measure becomes law, the new ordinance would empower the city’s Department of Water and Power to disconnect both electricity and water utilities at locations that have been identified as unlicensed MJ shops by both the LA Department of Cannabis Regulation and either the police department or another city agency.
The Wait Lengthens for Legal Rec in New York State
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will likely take longer than expected to iron out the details of recreational marijuana legalization. He says hopes are fading for legalization to be included in the state budget due on April 1, but he is hoping for movement on the issue in June before lawmakers adjourn. If not, New Yorkers would have to wait to legally smoke pot until at least next year.
The First Medical Cannabis Clinic Opened in the UK
Britain’s first medical cannabis clinic opened in Manchester this week despite only just four patients have successfully obtained cannabis-based treatments since their use was legalized in the country late last year. The private clinic in Manchester will deal with patients suffering from chronic pain conditions, neurological conditions such as epilepsy, and psychiatric problems including depression and anxiety.
Aurora Cannabis extends its reach in Germany
Aurora is adding to its products on offer in Germany, announcing it will begin selling cannabis oil drops in the country’s pharmacies. The Edmonton-based cannabis producer first started supplying the German market with dried flowers through its Aurora Deutschland unit in 2015 and added to that product lineup with Canadian-grown marijuana in 2017. Aurora says it helps to give it an early-mover advantage in Germany, as many producers have been eyeing Europe for growth.