Here on the Marijuana Minute, you will find the top stories from around the industry in this week’s Cannabis Industry News Recap for the week of April 22nd – 28th, 2019.
Hash, Hot Drinks, Candy: The 17 Pot Products Canadians Could Buy When Edibles Become Legal
Canadians should expect a long list of cannabis-infused edibles, concentrates and other products to hit store shelves in the coming months, which will significantly expand the scope of the legal marijuana market, according to sources directly familiar with the matter.
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) seeks to add as many as 17 new product types to its sales catalogue when the items become legal in Canada, according to a list provided to BNN Bloomberg by two sources familiar with the organization’s plans. One of the sources confirmed other provinces are looking to add a similar list of products.
Provinces expect to sell the products under the following categories:
- Concentrates: Cartridges, rosin (a solventless concentrate made with heat and pressure), resin, hash, wax, kief (a dry powder) and shatter (a butane hash oil);
- Beverages: Hot, cold and dealcoholized drinks (each in single servings);
- Edibles: Chocolate, soft candy, hard candy, and baked goods;
- Topicals: Lotions, creams, and bath products
Uruguay Set to Begin Exporting Medical Marijuana
Already the first country in the world to legalize recreational use of marijuana, Uruguay now aims to go further by becoming the first in Latin America to export it for medicinal purposes. It’s taken a year to get to this point but in Nueva Helvecia — 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Montevideo — the first harvest is ready to be sent abroad.
Employees of the U.S. company Fotmer — the only one currently licenced to export — are cutting and drying the plant before it is exported to Europe, Canada, and Australia. In taking this step, Uruguay is joining the ranks of medicinal marijuana exporters dominated by the United Kingdom, which according to United Nations data from 2016 had cornered more than two-thirds of the market.
Canadian Cannabis Company Warns About Shady Stock Promotion
A small Canadian hemp cultivator is warning investors to be on the lookout for a “speculative” promotional email it says could be the cause of higher-than-average trading volume. The company – Toronto-based Two Hands Corp. – said it was unaware of the campaign promoting its company until it was notified by OTC Markets.
Two Hands said it did not have editorial control over the email and it was “sent from an unreliable source.” Offside promotional activities have been an issue in Canada’s volatile cannabis industry.
Keeping Score: Major League Sports’ Stance on Cannabis
When players from the Stanley Cup winning team skate off the ice after their final game in June, they will head to the dressing room and, in keeping with tradition, they will uncork bottles of champagne. In seasons to come, players might be smoking weed to celebrate their success.
Compared to other professional sports leagues in North America, the NHL is lenient when it comes to cannabis. The league doesn’t test players for street drugs in the off-season and, during the regular season, it tests only a third of its players at random. Those who test positive must enter a substance abuse program.
Aurora Cannabis Plant Working to Contain Skunky Smell at Edmonton Airport
A skunky smell greeting travelers at Edmonton’s airport doesn’t mean stinky critters are running loose in the area. The scent is coming from the Edmonton International Aiport’s new neighbour, Aurora Sky, one of the world’s largest cannabis facilities, which produces more than 100,000 kilograms of marijuana per year.
Aurora Cannabis (TSX: ACB) (NYSE: ACB), the company that operates the facility, is going to great lengths to mitigate any pot odour wafting over to the airport, as well as local hotels and outlet stores.
“We’re committed to continuous improvement and we do this for a very specific reason — we want to be good neighbours,” said Cam Battley, chief corporate officer of Aurora Cannabis.
Alabama Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Bill
An Alabama Senate committee approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana on Wednesday, the second major victory for cannabis reform supporters in the state within the span of a week.
The legislation would allow patients 19 and older who are suffering from one of 33 conditions to qualify for medical marijuana and obtain it at licensed dispensaries. It would also establish a commission responsible for licensing cultivators, distributors and retailers and also approving medical cannabis cards for patients.
Conditions that qualify patients for legal marijuana access include addiction, epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, and depression. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill in a 6-2 vote, with three abstentions. It will now head to the full Senate.
Shoppers Drug Mart Launches Online Medical Pot Portal in Alberta
Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic pot from Shoppers Drug Mart, with the retail giant opening its second online platform Tuesday in the western province as it pursues the growing market.
The launch follows the January debut of Medical Cannabis by Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario, where the company says uptake “has been strong.”
As in Ontario, the Alberta platform touts “expert advice and counsel from trusted health-care professionals,” including tips on the purported health properties of various strains, proper dosages, and titration techniques.
Despite Legalization, Cannabis Stigmas are More Prevalent in Canada than America
Legalizing cannabis doesn’t automatically put an end to longstanding stigmas around marijuana use, according to Civilized’s 2019 Cannabis Culture Poll, writes James McClure. Cannabis stigmas are often more prevalent in Canada than America even though the former repealed prohibition last October while marijuana remains banned for recreational use in the majority of US states.
For the poll, Civilized teamed up with PSB Research and Burson Cohn & Wolf to survey 1,000 Americans and over 600 Canadians about cannabis. One set of questions was designed to gauge their comfort level when it comes to being associated with or coming into close contact with cannabis.
USDA Accepting Applications for Hemp Intellectual Property Protection
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Wednesday that hemp cultivators can officially apply for intellectual property protection for seed-propagated hemp, making the newly legal crop part of an existing program. The move will cover certain hemp types for 20 years, allowing farmers to prohibit others from marketing their variety of the plant.
USDA’s Plant Variety Protection Office “provides intellectual property protection to breeders of new varieties of seeds and tubers,” the department said in a bulletin. “Certificate owners have rights to exclude others from marketing and selling their varieties, manage the use of their varieties by other breeders, and enjoy legal protection of their work.”
Federal Marijuana Reform May Be Entering New Era, Even if High Hurdles Remain
U.S. cannabis reform efforts have seen movement recently with a House committee’s endorsement of a banking bill and Attorney General William Barr’s comments that a federal shift would be preferable to the current “intolerable” situation.
But the progress that marijuana businesses have awaited remains an uphill battle – with Senate leadership a key hurdle – and experts say a narrowly tailored bill remains most likely to pass – such as the SAFE Banking Act, which would protect financial institutions that serve state-legal marijuana businesses.
“That, to me, is one of the lowest pieces of hanging fruit,” along with a measure to provide veterans access to medical marijuana, said Douglas Berman, director of Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center.
Texas House Votes to Legalize Industrial Hemp, CBD
The Texas state House gave broad preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would permit the Lone Star State’s farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is similar to the marijuana plant, but it contains low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element of the drug. Though hemp-based products that contain THC can be legally sold in Texas, growing hemp plants is illegal, and farmers often have to source it from other states.
“There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option,” Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau, told The Texas Tribune. “I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it’s available. It’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be grown anywhere where cropping is prevalent right now.”
Yukon’s 1st Private Pot Retailer Now Open, in Time for 4/20
he first privately-owned cannabis retail store in the North opened on Thursday morning in downtown Whitehorse. Triple J’s Canna Space received its licence from Yukon’s Cannabis Licensing Board on Wednesday, the day owners Jordi Mikeli-Jones and Jeremy Jones originally hoped to open.
But they were all smiles on Wednesday as they received a copy of their licence, and added some finishing touches to their Wood Street store. Their goal was to open in time for Saturday, which is 4/20 — a day that’s become associated with celebrations of cannabis culture.
“We’ve just put in a tremendous amount of money, heart, soul, energy, blood, sweat and tears — and we’re very, very happy with the final product,” Mikeli-Jones said of the store.
Marijuana Critics Seek to Derail Legalization Bill as N.H. Senate Takes It Up
Critics of marijuana are trying to derail a legalization bill in New Hampshire by questioning the costs of legalization in other states. They spoke out today as a Senate committee held its first hearing on the bill. Sen. Bob Giuda, a Warren Republican, rallied opponents before promising he would lead the opposition in the Senate.
Doctor Catherine Antley, who was a co-author of the Vermont Medical Society’s resolutions against legalization, warned of public health impacts of recreational marijuana.
“Unlike toasters, or buildings, or building roads, or selling cars, the industry of addiction depends on creating a widget called an addict,” she said during a news conference. “Someone with a substance abuse disorder. This person consumes 80 percent of the product.”
Chart: Eastern US Salaries Top Western Compensation in Cannabis
Salaries for employees of U.S. marijuana companies lean higher in East Coast markets than on the West Coast. That’s one key takeaway from a Marijuana Business Magazine survey of cannabis industry recruiters.
Exceptions exist, of course, such as California, where salaries are higher than average, and Florida, where they are lower than average.
Several factors are driving these trends, most notably:
- The cost of living is generally higher in East Coast medical marijuana markets than in Western states, so those companies need to pay employees more.
- Western markets are more mature, so sales and, therefore, salaries are starting to level out. East Coast markets still have lots of room to grow – including in terms of salaries.
- As Eastern markets expand with new businesses, they have new jobs opening, and the only way to fill them is with attractive compensation packages.
- Product prices are higher in the East, allowing companies to compensate employees better than those in the West, which are often operating in oversaturated markets.
Louisiana Bills Seek to Legalize Marijuana
More than a dozen bills related to marijuana have been filed by Louisiana legislators for this year’s session, including three that would take different paths to full legalization.
House Bill 462 by Rep. Cedric Glover, D-Shreveport, calls for a state constitutional amendment that would allow local governing authorities to hold elections to decide whether sale, possession, distribution, and use of marijuana would be permitted in their jurisdictions. Constitutional amendments require approval of two-thirds of the members of the state House and Senate and a majority of voters.
Nevada Judge Sets May Hearing on Lawsuits to Halt Marijuana Licensing
A Nevada judge announced she will hear arguments next month on a bid by dozens of companies to freeze a second wave of licenses for entry into the state’s lucrative adult-use cannabis market.
A number of companies accused state tax officials of failing to disclose how they chose winners and losers last December from 462 applicants for 61 new cannabis dispensary and processing licenses. Among the allegations is that the lack of transparency made the process “ripe for corruption.”
Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD: What’s the Difference?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has become an increasingly common fixture in medicine cabinets and on the shelves of local convenience stores and major drugstores. There is growing awareness that not all CBD products are made the same, nor are they even necessarily derived from the same kind of cannabis.
Hemp-derived CBD is sourced from industrial hemp plants, which are grown primarily for their fiber and seeds. Hemp plants tend to differ from marijuana plants in appearance; they are often skinny and scarce in foliage. Hemp is also differentiated from marijuana by its levels of THC, the cannabinoid that possesses intoxicating properties. Under U.S. law, a hemp plant must contain no more than 0.3% THC.
Utah Named as One of the Cheapest States to Purchase Marijuana
A new study by the Oxford Treatment Center has unearthed the average cost of marijuana by state and both Utah and its adjacent states are on the lower side of the price tag. Though marijuana is still recreationally illegal at the federal level and within the state of Utah, the center uses information from a national price directory to conduct its study.
Neighboring state Nevada is the cheapest place in the United States to purchase high-quality marijuana at $270 per ounce, according to the study.
Most 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Agree on Recreational Marijuana: Legalize It
There’s one topic almost every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate agrees on: removing marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. Nearly every candidate has offered support for the federal legalization of recreational marijuana and many have called to expunge federal charges for those prosecuted for pot use.
An application process to boost medical cannabis cultivation will be published “this spring,” the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) told Marijuana Business Daily.
The Netherlands is currently the main supplier of medical cannabis across Europe, and the move suggests the country doesn’t want to surrender that position.
Understanding the European CBD “Novel Foods” Regulations
Foreigners entering the European cannabis market are finding that the regulations here are much higher than they expected, if not well downright confusing. This is especially true as cannabis crosses over into both food and medicine as well as beauty and skin products.
One piece of regulation that is proving particularly thorny for CBD producers – in particular for those with edible products is something called “novel food” regulation.
But what is “novel food” legislation and how does it affect your CBD business in Europe?
Sale of Locally Grown Cannabis, Exports in Denmark Expected as Soon as Summer
Five companies in Denmark have applied for licenses to sell and export medical cannabis so far, putting the country on track to see its first cross-border shipment to key European Union markets as early as late summer.
Authorization to sell medical cannabis products cultivated and produced in Denmark is going to be key to lowering costs for local patients – who currently rely on pricey imports – and then initiating exports to European markets such as Germany.
As of Feb. 22, 2019, five companies had applied to serve as authorized cannabis bulk manufacturers.
- Aurora Nordic (subsidiary of Aurora Cannabis)
- Medical Cannabis Denmark
- Schroll Medical (partnership with Aphria)
- Spectrum Cannabis Denmark (subsidiary of Canopy Growth)