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Found 136 results

  1. hi Big tobacco eyes Canadian cannabis for future of industry Audio On Link Since the 2018 legalisation of cannabis for recreational use in Canada, major multinationals have been eyeing local producers for investment opportunities. This month, British American Tobacco bought a 20% stake in Organigram for US$175 million, underscoring the fact that cannabis products are increasingly seen as regular consumer products. GUEST: George Smitherman, President and CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada, former health minister of Ontario. https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sundayextra/canadian-cannabis/13272524 Bogme
  2. Hi Would-be cannabis plant thief swings machete at pregnant woman in Nanaimo Victim unhurt, but police hope public can help track down suspect Nanaimo RCMP are on the lookout for a man who struck a pregnant woman in the head with a machete while trying to rob her of a cannabis plant. Brittney McLaren, who lives on Albert Street, was in her backyard at about 9:30 a.m. Monday when a man reached through the fence with a machete and tried to cut off a piece of one of her plants. “I was outside and we have these four little pot plants in planters,” McLaren said. “I was outside trimming my plants and this guy snuck up on one side of my fence that isn’t too well built, grabbed a plant and started hacking away at it with a machete.” McLaren’s first instinct was to grab the planter and pull it out of harm’s way. “I went and grabbed the bottom of the planter to try and pull it away from him and I could feel the machete hitting the top of my head a few times,” she said. McLaren said she was struck maybe four times by her assailant who was wearing a mask and sunglasses. Fortunately McLaren was wearing a baseball cap and the would-be thief was unable to get a good swing at her. Her assailant managed to hack off part of the plant, but failed to obtain the clipping, so he yelled a profanity at McLaren and then made his escape along the nearby train tracks on his bicycle. McLaren yelled for her husband and then ran across Albert Street to the Superette Foods grocery store where staff called Nanaimo RCMP. Police responded with several vehicles and patrolled the area, but were unable to find the suspect. McLaren, who said she is originally “from a farm in Saskatchewan where we don’t see this” and moved to Nanaimo last fall, wasn’t injured, but was rattled by the experience. “It really sucked for me because I was supposed to be going for my ultrasound to find out the gender of my baby because I’m six months pregnant,” she said. “I can’t wait to tell my kid this story.” She said she’d never seen the man with the machete in the area before, but did manage to get a photo of him. She also heard from a neighbour that a man had been seen swinging a machete at some bushes about 30 minutes earlier in a garden on Robson Street. “This really isn’t such a bad neighbourhood and this is the first problem we’ve had since we’ve been here,” McLaren said. Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the complaint was filed by investigators as an assault with a weapon and that McLaren was offered assistance of RCMP Victim Services, which she declined. The suspect is described as Caucasian, about 40 years old with a scruffy beard. He was wearing a black jacket with red sleeves, black pants and running shoes. “Somebody was obviously trying to steal something in her property, which was very disturbing for her,” O’Brien said. “We did active patrols. We took it very seriously, regardless of the nature of the call, and we’re hoping the public can assist.” Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-36595. https://www.nanaimobulletin.com/news/would-be-cannabis-plant-thief-swings-machete-at-pregnant-woman-in-nanaimo/ Bongme
  3. hi Cop who ate cannabis during raid a ‘complete idiot’ A Toronto police officer who ate a cannabis-laced chocolate bar seized during a raid was described as a “complete idiot” by a judge. Vittorio Dominelli pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct justice in connection with the incident at an illegal marijuana dispensary. Justice Mary Misener, who presided over the case, said: “From the point of view of public interest, the impact is profound,” she said. “The conduct here you cannot describe as anything other than stupid … He was just a complete idiot.” Beery pals stuck at sea on mattress Two friends had to be rescued after the blow-up mattress drifted further out to sea then they had planned. Jackson Perry and Noah Palmer found themselves stranded in the Indian Ocean on Australia’s west coast for almost three hours with just each other, some beer and a dying phone for company. They contacted a friend who rushed to pick them up on his jet ski. They advise anyone who likes drinking at sea on a mattress to “definitely check the wind forecast before anything”. Man breaks record for water jump A 21-year-old Egyptian man has set the world record for the highest jump out of water wearing a monofin, recording an impressive leap of 2.3m. Omar Sayed Shaaban was the first to break the record in nine years. It was previously held by Cesare Fumarola, Stefano Figini, both from Italy, and fellow Egyptian Soliman Sayed, all of whom managed a jump of 2m. https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/952175/cop-who-ate-cannabis-during-raid-a-complete-idiot Bongme
  4. hi Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use As Canadians struggled with the isolation and “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many turned to substances like alcohol and cannabis to help them cope. According to a new survey from Statistics Canada released Thursday (March 4), 16 per cent of people reported using cannabis in the past 30 days. The survey, which was carried out from Jan. 25-31, found that 34 per cent of prior users increased their cannabis use during the pandemic. The main reasons for the increase were stress at 65 per cent, boredom at 58 per cent and loneliness at 39 per cent. Of the people who had used cannabis previously, 25 per cent decreased their usage and 54 per cent consumed the same amount. Researchers also looked at alcohol consumption. Of the people surveyed, 66 per cent said they consumed alcohol at least once in the past 30 days. Researchers found that 54 per cent of people who previously consumed alcohol consumed the same amount during the pandemic, while 24 per cent said they had more and 22 said they had less. For people who increased how much alcohol they consumed, the reasons were similar to those provided by people who increased the amount of cannabis they consumed. Researchers found that the people most likely to increase how much alcohol they consumed if they were more stressed out. Forty-one per cent of responded who described the pandemic as “very stressful” or “extremely stressful” saw their alcohol consumption increase, compared to 16 per cent of people who found the pandemic “a little stressful” and “not at all stressful.” Isolation also increased drinking; 33 per cent of those who felt isolated during the pandemic increased their drinking, compared to 12 per cent of those who did not. https://www.campbellrivermirror.com/news/pandemic-stress-isolation-key-factors-as-to-why-canadians-turned-to-cannabis-alcohol/ Bongme
  5. hi Ontario man charged after three-year-old eats cannabis edibles OTTAWA -- Ontario Provincial Police have charged a 38-year-old man after a small child became dangerously ill from eating cannabis edibles. Officers were called to a home in Quinte West, northwest of Belleville, at around 6:30 p.m. Friday on reports a three-year-old had eaten "a high quantity of cannabis edibles," police said in a news release. The child was rushed to the hospital in life-threatening but stable condition. The accused is facing a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Police did not name him. He's due in a Belleville court in March. Police warn that edibles can look like candy and should be kept safely out of reach of children. In this case, the product was made to look like Skittles. The OPP shared an image on Twitter of the edibles in question. OPP Const. Devin Leeworthy told CTV News Ottawa by email that the "Skittles" edibles are an illicit cannabis product but detectives determined that the most appropriate charge in this case was criminal negligence causing bodily harm. "There is a charge for possessing illicit cannabis, however in this case that charge was not laid," he wrote. Leeworthy said he did not expect there to be any further charges. https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ontario-man-charged-after-three-year-old-eats-cannabis-edibles-1.5319381 Bongme
  6. hi Vancouver council votes to slash sky-high fees for cannabis retailers VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A city councillor is hopeful this is the last year cannabis retailers in Vancouver will pay the highest licensing fees in the country. A motion passed Thursday is the first step in slashing the $34,000 annual fee — which is nearly ten times what liquor stores pay. Coun. Rebecca Bligh says the move is meant to help licensed retailers thrive. “It was quite clear that there’s a growing concern that Vancouver’s market is actually growing, but in the illegal market,” Bligh says. “Can we make it a more fair and equitable start for licensed cannabis retailers by lowering that fee significantly? I mean when you think about $34,000, it’s a full-time person’s salary for a year.” The sky-high fee is a relic of the pre-legalization era. It was introduced in 2015 for medical marijuana dispensaries. “This fee just remained the same, even though the playing field had changed dramatically,” Bligh notes. Not only was the fee out-of-step with other businesses within Vancouver — it is not consistent with what other municipalities in B.C. charge, according to Bligh who says fees are under $1,000 in other cities. “We’re the highest, by far in the country, but even in our own province there’s a ton of room for improvement,” she says. As for where the money goes, Bligh says a lot of it goes toward cracking down on the unregulated market. “Well over half of the revenue from the fees is around enforcement, and it’s actually enforcement of the illegal market. So you’ve got legal shops that are struggling to open with an exorbitantly high fee, then the justification of the fee is that it’s a cost-recovery model. But then the revenue is being spent on enforcement of the illegal shops. So, you can imagine the level of frustration with that dynamic,” she says. City staff have been directed to come back with a recommendation before licenses need to be renewed again on Dec. 31, 2021. Bligh hopes they will come back with something similar to liquor stores, which pay an annual fee of $429. “We’ve known how to manage liquor retail in our cities much longer than we’ve known how to manage cannabis. I think the ultimate goal is to get the fee in line with liquor retail, but we’ll have to wait and see.” Currently, there are 36 licensed cannabis retailers in the city, with another four ‘coming soon.’ https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/02/18/vancouver-cannabis-retail-fees/ Bongme
  7. hi Amsterdam's loss to be a gain for cannabis tourism in Toronto? The doors of Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops have long been open to Canadians and other tourists. But that may change. Femke Halsema, mayor of the Netherlands’ capital, wants to restrict tourist access to its 166 cannabis-selling coffee shops, according toBloomberg News. Under Halsema’s proposal — supported by police and prosecutors — only Dutch residents would be allowed to enter the shops in an attempt to tackle problems associated with hard drugs, organized crime linked to the marijuana trade, and the city being overrun by tourists on the weekends. The bad news is the restrictions show demand from cannabis from Dutch residents would only support 68 coffee shops, according to a government study. “I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable,” Halsema said in emailed comments to Bloomberg News. “The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.” Ed Kim, who’s been operating torontotoketours.com since October 2018 when recreational weed became legal in Canada, said Halsema’s plan would definitely affect Amsterdam’s tourism negatively. He said it remains to be seen if it would redirect cannabis-seeking tourists to Toronto where cannabis stores are allowed. “I don’t know if it’ll help the Toronto side because we don’t have any weed cafes open because right now the legislation is you can’t consume onsite,” said Kim. “I know LPs (licensed producers) are pushing for that change, but right now there’s not cannabis cafes, per se. Down the line, yes. It was all supposed to happen this year and then COVID just kind of blew that all up. Will it increase the tourism rate? I would think so.” Back in February 2020, BNN-Bloomberg reported the Ontario government was soliciting input about potentially permitting cannabis consumption in lounges — likely cannabis-infused drinks and edibles only. There was no timeline provided on a decision. Halsema, who submitted the plan to the Amsterdam council recently, expects the policy to go into force in 2022 at the earliest. Before COVID, the city attracted more than 1 million visitors monthly — more than its permanent population. The Guardian reported Amsterdam city councillors recently approved Halsema’s plan to shut its famous red-light district and move sex workers out of the city. The plan is still seeking residents to weigh in on the move. Whatever happens, Kim said tourists are already flocking to Toronto which got 28 million visitors in 2019, according to Tourism Toronto. When the pandemic ends, Kim’s torontotoketours.com will join a local retailer, stickynuggzinc, and an unnamed licensed producer, to provide cannabis tours to tourists. “So we’ll pick people up at the retailer and then drive to them LP,” said Kim. “And tour the facility — the beverages, the edibles, and the main production growth — that’s something pretty cool that a lot of people want to see.” https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/amsterdams-loss-to-be-a-gain-for-cannabis-tourism-in-toronto Bongme
  8. hi Two Years After Legalizing Cannabis, Has Canada Kept Its Promises? PROMISES MADE Legal pot has made Canadian justice a little fairer, with “heavily racialized” arrests for possession mostly ending. But vows on amnesty, illicit sales and Indigenous inclusion are works in progress. OTTAWA — When Robert was 18, he was arrested by Montreal’s police for possession of a small amount of hashish, an event that would upend his young life. The charge brought him 30 days in jail, and the conviction ended his part-time job as a translator. “Back then, you smoke a joint, you would get arrested,” said Robert, who asked that only his first name be used because of the continuing stigma of his criminal record. “Then the cops would put you in a car, then pull over and give you a couple of shots in the head. You get slapped around just because of smoking.” His arrest in 1988 as a teenager marked the start of a long, unhappy history with Canada’s legal system, with his first jail stint opening up a new trade: burglary. “It was like school,” said Robert, who spent a total of 14 years locked up, roughly divided between convictions on drug offenses and thefts to buy more drugs. “I went there for smoking and then guys are showing me how to open doors.” The recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada two years ago, and when the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made its legalization pitch to the country, it was stories like Robert’s — a life derailed by a possession charge — that most resonated with many Canadians. Legalization, the government vowed, would address the inequalities in a criminal justice system where marijuana and hashish penalties and prosecutions — and the lifelong burdens they impose — had fallen disproportionately on marginalized communities, particularly Black Canadians and Indigenous people. That promise has largely been kept, with legalization essentially ending what Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto who studies race and policing in Canada, called the “heavily racialized” arrests for marijuana possession. But some other key promises, and hopes, that came with Canada being the first industrialized nation to legalize marijuana remain unfulfilled. The for-profit industry it created has struggled. Pot sales outside the legal system still thrive. Indigenous communities feel their needs are being ignored. And the injustices that came from criminalizing pot in the past have yet to be fully remedied. As more of the United States legalizes marijuana, with voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona this past November backing recreational use, joining about a dozen other states, here’s a look at the Canadian experience two years into its national experiment. WHAT WE FOUND An Emphasis on Fairness and Equality Mr. Trudeau’s pledge to legalize marijuana was not universally welcomed by Canadians, including some members of his Liberal party, who feared it would encourage use, particularly among teenagers. But the prime minister persuaded his party, and many voters, with an argument based on fairness and equality. Mr. Trudeau illustrated the system’s bias with a family story. In a 2017 interview with Vice, he said that his brother, Michel, was found carrying a couple marijuana joints by the police in 1998, six months before he was killed in an avalanche. Their father, Pierre Trudeau, a former prime minister, came to the rescue. “We were able to make those charges go away,” Mr. Trudeau said. “We were able to do that because we had resources, my dad had a couple connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.” Legalization, he promised, would ensure that not just the connected and wealthy could avoid a criminal record. The new law has all but eliminated possession charges. In 2018, the police recorded 26,402 possession cases until legalization went into effect in mid-October. In 2019, that number dropped to 46, according to Statistics Canada. (Possessing over 30 grams of marijuana remains illegal.) A report released in August by the Ontario Human Rights Commission showed just how tied to race cannabis arrests had been before legalization: An analysis of police data found that while Black people made up 8.8 percent of the population of Toronto, they faced 34 percent of marijuana possession charges there between 2013 and 2017. The police have lost one tool they once used, Professor Owusu-Bempah said, “as a way of bringing certain marginalized populations into the criminal justice system.” But how much change that’s brought to the system as a whole is open to question. While Canada is only starting to collect crime and police data that includes race, several leaders from minority communities continue to demand action against what they call systemic racism within many police forces. Last June Mr. Trudeau acknowledged that systemic racism is found in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police force, and other law enforcement agencies. What We Found ‘I’ve Got So Much Against the System’ While decriminalizing marijuana possession is viewed as a step toward building a fairer justice system, many charged under the old law are still dealing with the devastating consequences, despite promises of redress. “We haven’t reckoned as a country with the impact that drug prohibition has especially had on Black Canadians,” Professor Owusu-Bempah said. “Unfortunately, too many of them are being left with a criminal record.” The legalization effort came with an amnesty program the government said would erase criminal records for possession, but there are barriers to access. The process, Professor Owusu-Bempah said, is both complicated — with as many as six steps involved — and underpublicized, making it more a privilege for the few than a widely available solution. While there is no government statistic for the number of Canadians with possession records, a 2014 report by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, a Toronto hospital and research center, put the figure as high as 500,000. As of mid-November, just 341 people had succeeded in erasing their records. There are no fees, but applicants must frequently spend money to travel to the place of their arrest to retrieve their records, and they must be fingerprinted. Even if Robert, who has lived in Vancouver the past 25 years, could afford to return to Montreal, he says it wouldn’t be worth it. Removing the possession charges would not alter the theft convictions that followed. “I’ve got so much against the system,” said Robert, who has stayed out of jail the past decade and works for an overdose-prevention group. “It made everything go out of my reach.” WHAT WE FOUND Indigenous Sellers Still in Legal Limbo When marijuana was illegal in Canada, the Green Mile was a popular place to buy it, with about a dozen mismatched shops along a stretch of highway in Ontario offering every kind of cannabis product imaginable. Two years after legalization, customers still come to these stores in the Indigenous community of Alderville — although the sellers operate outside the new system put in place to regulate legal sales. “These people know what I’m looking for,” said Jess Lihou, whose one-hour drive to Maryjane’s Cannabis Dispensary in the Green Mile was justified, in her view, for two main reasons: price and selection. The licensed retail chains “don’t have enough options,” Ms. Lihou said: “And it’s cheaper. So great deals and great people.” The provincial police in Ontario generally respect the sovereignty of Indigenous communities and take enforcement action against shops like those along the Green Mile only if requested by a community’s leaders. But the new system has been criticized for keeping these Indigenous operations in a gray-market legal limbo, despite promises that Indigenous people would be consulted and made part of the new system. “Legalization happened so quickly that these issues of equity and issues of sovereignty with respect to Indigenous people were not properly addressed,” Professor Owusu-Bempah said. “The government’s still trying to figure out exactly what it wants to do.” In Ontario, the provincial government is meeting with Indigenous leaders about the shops, according to Jenessa Crognali, a spokeswoman for Ontario’s attorney general. “The province remains committed to continued engagement with First Nations communities interested in having provincially regulated stores or in developing their own approaches to legal cannabis retail,” Ms. Crognali wrote in an email. But with their legal status still unclear, the threat of being shut down hangs over Green Mile shops. “We’re hopeful, but we’ve never been too confident,” said Laurie Marsden, a co-founder of one of the shops, Healing House, which emulates the provincial system by running a lab that tests for potency and contamination. “We believe in our sovereign rights and that we have the ability to produce, grow and sell the medicines to our customer base.” WHAT WE FOUND Profits, and Diversity, Hard to Find in Legal Market When Mr. Trudeau announced his government’s plans for legalization, the creation of a major new source of jobs — or tax revenue — was not in the program. But investors envisioned tremendous business opportunities, as a “green rush” swept the Toronto Stock Exchange and legal players invested millions of dollars in supersized greenhouses. Two years later, most marijuana producers are still reporting multimillion-dollar losses. And these companies’ executives are overwhelmingly white, according to an analysis by Professor Owusu-Bempah. It concluded that 2 percent of the companies’ leadership are Indigenous people and 1 percent are Black Canadians. “African-Canadians and other racialized Canadians that were adversely affected by cannabis prohibition need to be given a chance to benefit from the fruits of legalization,” Professor Owusu-Bempah said. “We had this situation where Black and Indigenous people were being overly criminalized. Now they’re being left out of what is a multibillion-dollar industry.” WHAT WE FOUND ‘Not Just Going to Roll Over and Go Away’ In addition to a fairer legal system, the government promised legalization would shift marijuana sales out of the black market, parts of which are dominated by organized crime. “By controlling it, by legalizing it,” Mr. Trudeau said in 2018, “we’re going to ensure that criminal organizations and street gangs don’t make millions, billions of dollars of profits every year.” And the strict regulations governing legal sales, the prime minister promised, would ensure that Canadians were consuming marijuana not adulterated with other drugs or toxins and would eliminate sales to minors. The current pot scene in Vancouver is a good illustration of a promise that still has a ways to go before being fulfilled. The city once had more pot shops than Starbucks, with more than 100 at the peak. Now, there are about 19 unlicensed shops, along with 34 legal operators, numbers that broadly reflect the situation across Canada: Sales outside the legal system are shrinking but have not disappeared. “The shift has started, and maybe around half the market has transitioned from illegal to legal retail sources,” said David Hammond, a professor of public health at the University of Waterloo in Ontario who is heading a multiyear study on cannabis use. With loyal customers and often a competitive advantage on price (with no taxes to pay) and selection, the illegal shops are hanging on. “They’re not just going to roll over and go away,” said Mike Farnworth, the minister of public safety in British Columbia. In its latest survey released just over a year ago, Statistics Canada, the census agency, found that 28 percent of Canadians shopped for marijuana exclusively at legal stores and websites, while 58 percent used a mix of legal and illegal sources. Shutting down the unlicensed stores has not been a priority amid an opioid crisis: In British Columbia, from January through October 2020, 1,548 people died from overdoses. For Canada’s illegal growers, marijuana “is still a good business,” said Detective Inspector Jim Walker, deputy director of the Ontario Provincial Police’s organized crime enforcement bureau. But there are clear signs the legal domestic option is forcing gangs to look elsewhere. The number and size of seizures of outbound marijuana, said Mr. Walker, referring to pot headed to the United States, “are growing exponentially.” THE TAKEAWAY: Legalization largely delivered on its promise for a more equitable Canada, but has not eliminated unlicensed sales or brought redress to many of those whose lives were handicapped by a conviction. Tracy Sherlock contributed reporting from Vancouver, British Columbia. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/world/canada/marijuana-legalization-promises-made.html Bongme
  9. Hi Half of cannabis users have increased habit amid COVID-19 pandemic: Surveys TORONTO -- New data suggests half of cannabis users have increased their habit amid the pandemic, putting them at increased risk of addiction and other health problems. It's prompting experts at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to urge moderation among those who use, increased screening by clinicians and continued monitoring of cannabis use during and after the pandemic. Three online surveys involving three different groups of about 1,000 people revealed consistent increases last May and June. Senior author Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall, a scientist with the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH, says the concern is that people may be developing new routines that will persist throughout the pandemic and beyond. "A lot of people think that they're not at risk if they use cannabis but if you are using more frequently then it can impact your health," said Elton-Marshall, noting younger users are at greater risk of mental health concerns. "Now's the time to take a look at your cannabis use -- whether or not that has changed in response to the pandemic -- and would be the time to consider cutting back or not using cannabis." She pointed to stress, isolation, financial worries and boredom as likely factors in pushing some people to step up consumption. Among those who said they increased use, the average frequency was four days in the previous week. The survey did not capture how much more that was than pre-pandemic habits. The surveys were conducted in collaboration with the market research firm Delvinia and the findings were published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Leslie Buckley, CAMH Chief of Addictions, says people tend to rely on familiar coping mechanisms rather than create new ones when under stress. And since the surveys were conducted she notes the same stressors prevail today: "I do think it's getting harder for people." "We know that COVID-19 has really been difficult for all (substance users). It's a perfect storm for increased substance use," said Buckley. But while cannabis may alleviate anxiety and depression for some people, she says those effects are short-lived. "In the long-term we know that cannabis really increases your risk for anxiety and depression, and it can also increase your risk for psychosis, which a lot of people don't understand," she said, explaining that psychosis makes it hard to know what's real and not, and possibly hear voices. Groups at the greatest risk for increased cannabis use included those younger than age 50, people with lower rates of post-secondary education, residents of Ontario and people worried about the pandemic's impact on their finances. Guidelines issued in advance of legalization discourage cannabis use entirely. But if you do use cannabis, the guidelines discourage smoking it; products with lower THC percentages are recommended; and it's suggested frequency be limited to occasional use. Buckley says signs of a problem include daily use, concern from friends or family, a dip in job performance or job loss and if it's affecting romantic relationships. The first survey took place between May 8 and May 12, 2020 with 1,005 respondents; followed by another between May 29 and June 1, 2020 with 1,002 respondents; and between June 19 and June 23, 2020 with 1,005 respondents. All surveys were conducted in English. Researchers note cannabis use could be higher than suggested by the data, which relied on self-reports. https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/surveys-suggest-half-of-cannabis-users-have-increased-habit-amid-covid-19-pandemic-1.1548108 Bongme
  10. Hi New cannabis stores coming to Barrhaven and Kanata Canopy Growth is opening two new locations of its Tokyo Smoke cannabis stores in Ottawa. One of the stores is located at 80 Marketplace Avenue in Barrhaven and opens on Monday, January 11. The other is at A18-300 Earl Grey Dr. in Kanata and opens on Wednesday, January 13. Via a press release: “With Canadian recreational cannabis sales increasing in 2020, the opening of these new stores will help address growing consumer demand as well as provide more local communities across the province with safe and convenient access to high quality, legal cannabis. The stores have been designed to provide Tokyo Smoke’s best-in-class guest experience while adhering to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including contactless touch points at each location, online e-commerce, same-day delivery, and curbside pick up.” https://ottawastart.com/new-cannabis-stores-coming-to-barrhaven-and-kanata/ Bongme
  11. hi Young Amherstburg child eats cookie with cannabis, prompts warning from police WINDSOR, ONT. -- Police are warning residents after a young child ate a piece of cookie containing cannabis in Amherstburg. Windsor police officers with the Amherstburg Detachment responded to a home for a medical call involving a child on Thursday. When officers arrived, it was reported that the child had consumed part of the cookie containing a cannabis product. Through investigation, police say they learned an adult caregiver gave the child a piece of cookie and they were unaware at the time that it contained a cannabis product. The caregiver also consumed a piece of the cookie and believed there was something wrong with the cookie after tasting it. Changes in the behaviour of the child caused concern. Police say the child was treated medically and did not suffer any life-threatening reactions. Police would like to remind the public the importance of keeping cannabis edibles away from children. “This is an unfortunate example of how easily and quickly a child or even an adult can unknowingly consume an edible cannabis product,” said a news release from police. “Cannabis products should be stored out of reach of children, in child-resistant containers, locked-up, and all cannabis products should be clearly labeled in their original packaging.” Police say no criminal charges are expected. Officers would also like to remind the community that recreational cannabis can only be legally purchased on-line through the Ontario Cannabis Store or at one of the licensed authorized Retail Stores located in Ontario. https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/young-amherstburg-child-eats-cookie-with-cannabis-prompts-warning-from-police-1.5259428 Bongme
  12. hi Health Canada concerned too much cannabis is being grown at home Canadian health regulator on Thursday raised concerns about the large quantity of medical marijuana people were growing at home, after its data showed a significant jump in daily average production permitted by health care practitioners. While the practitioners can allow registered patients to grow limited amounts at home for personal use, the regulator’s findings show that such authorizations rose to a staggering 36.2 grams by the end of March, compared with 25.2 grams in October 2018. Meanwhile, average purchases by registered patients, who can buy pot from licensed producers and federal medical sellers, have stayed as low as 2 to 2.1 grams every month, data showed. “An early review of the data signals to me a striking difference in the average amounts prescribed per day in the two different channels,” said Deepak Anand, chief executive officer of Materia Ventures. With no concrete limits on personal production, Health Canada is facing rising pressure to tackle the perceived abuse of the home-grow program. “Health Canada is concerned that high daily authorized amounts are, in a few instances, leading to abuse of the access to cannabis for medical purposes framework and are undermining the integrity of the system,” the regulator said. CBC News reported in October that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) raided dozens of illegal cannabis grow operations between July and October, a majority of which had personal production authorization. “It remains unclear if we are dealing with systemic issues as opposed to targeted ones, as a result of the tremendous pressure the regulator has fallen under recently by provincial and municipal governments,” Anand said. Health Canada’s finding show 43,211 individuals were allowed to grow marijuana for their personal medical use by the end of September, and 377,024 clients were registered as patients. https://globalnews.ca/news/7530148/cannabis-home-grow-health-canada/ Bongme
  13. hi Cannabis customers have been complaining Ontario's pot is 'too dry' TORONTO -- More than two years after the legalization of cannabis in Canada, the majority of Ontarians consuming pot still buy it from the illegal market because they find it offers better quality, according to Ontario's auditor general. Bonnie Lysyk's annual report found that the underground market represent about 80 per cent of cannabis sales in Ontario during 2019 and 2020. Investigators for the auditor discovered that quality, not price, was the primary reason why cannabis consumers chose the illegal market over the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), or private pot shops operating with a provincial license. "In our discussions with cannabis store managers and AGCO staff, we heard that some people prefer illegal cannabis because it is more potent and the product is fresh," the auditor general's report stated. Private retailers have heard complains that OCS pot "subpar" with the primary gripe being that the weed was "too dry." Product shipped to private retailers from the OCS also do not have an expiry date, making it difficulty to assess the quality of the product. The auditor also found the Ontario Cannabis Store "closely monitors" illegal cannabis websites to "compare prices and products." While the government announced plans to increase the number of licenced pot shops by approving 10 stores per week, the auditor general warned that a lack of product oversight could lead to dangerous consequences. "As more stores open and competition increases among retailers, they will have an incentive to generate greater profit margins by selling illegal products that compromise consumer health," the report stated. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/cannabis-customers-have-been-complaining-ontario-s-pot-is-too-dry-1.5220170 Bongme
  14. hi Scientists probe DNA to create game-changing strain of mildew resistant cannabis Grey mould — known in the industry as bud rot — can quickly devastate a cannabis crop. University of B.C. researchers are on the hunt for genes that protect cannabis from the destructive ravages of powdery mildew, which will be a game-changer for commercial growers. Loren Rieseberg and Marco Todesco are comparing the natural resistance with four mildew strains in about 500 different cannabis cultivars maintained by Aurora Cannabis. These are the strains of mildew that are commonly found in Canadian greenhouses,” said Rieseberg. Grey mould — known in the industry as bud rot — can quickly devastate a cannabis crop. Only a tiny fraction of infected plants will recover from an infection. Although the project will require massive computing power to sort through genetic information, finding candidate cultivars is relatively simple. “You just infect the plants by sprinkling them with mildew spores and see if they become diseased,” he said. Once the researchers identify the most resistant cannabis varieties, they will sequence the genomes of the best candidates and compare them with identified genes and genetic variants associated with resistance. The genetic variants that are strongly associated with broad resistance to mildew and specific resistance to the most damaging mildew strains can quickly be incorporated into Aurora’s breeding program. Article content continued “Cannabis is a terrible crop in the sense that it’s not particularly resistant to disease and insects,” said Rieseberg. The focus of breeders has always been to make cannabis a more potent intoxicant rather than making a resilient plant. As a result, the most highly prized strains of cannabis are relatively feeble plants, requiring strict control of light and humidity usually in a greenhouse-like environment. Better cannabis strains would greatly reduce losses due to disease, according to a statement from Genome B.C. The $4.2-million project — Fast-Track Breeding of Powdery Mildew-Resistant Cannabis — is jointly funded by Aurora, Genome B.C. and Genome Canada. Because cannabis is ingested or inhaled, commercial growers are forbidden from using most chemical pesticides, and testing for residues of those products is strict. “For something like powdery mildew, there is a strong incentive to develop really strong genetic resistance,” he said. Studies of illicit cannabis have found pesticide residues, heavy metals and microbes in products intended to be smoked or eaten. Commercial growers are reluctant to use genetic engineering to introduce desired traits into their crops, anticipating resistance to genetically modified organisms in their target markets, Rieseberg said. The genomic data from the project will be made public for other researchers to use. The same sequences used to find genes associated with mildew resistance could also be used to identify and enhance other traits. “I’ve been told by cultivators that different strains require different growing conditions, but obviously it would be more efficient if they could all be grown the same way,” he said. “The idea would be to make it into a crop more like tomatoes. “Right now we are focused on mildew, because that is the industry’s biggest problem, but once the genomic data is developed, you could apply it to any sort of trait you want to target,” he said. rshore@postmedia.com https://vancouversun.com/news/scientists-probe-dna-to-create-game-changing-strain-of-mildew-resistant-cannabis Bongme
  15. hi Canadian Medical Cannabis Patients Report Using Less Alcohol Does cannabis have the potential to combat alcohol use disorder? New Research in Canada reveals that many of those in a study who reportedly have used medical cannabis also claim that they’ve noticed a decrease in their drinking. The research was conducted by the Canadian Institute for Substance Abuse Research and the University of Victoria, School of Public Health and Social Policy. They talked to 1,000 medical cannabis patients in Canada and asked them about their habits, including their rates of alcohol consumption, and the results were positive for reducing alcohol use. “Evidence details how cannabis can influence the use of other psychoactive substances, including prescription medications, alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, but very little research has examined the factors associated with these changes in substance use patterns,” the study claims. “This paper explores the self-reported use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol among a Canadian medical cannabis patient population.” Of those polled, 44 percent claimed that they noticed a decrease in the frequency with which they consumed alcohol during the study, as they used medical cannabis. Eighty-five percent reported they reduced the number of drinks they consumed each week, and 18 percent claimed they refrained from consuming alcohol entirely during the study. The data came from a sampling of 2,102 people who were a part of the Canadian medical cannabis program. Each person answered based on their medical cannabis use during the study and how it impacted their alcohol intake. “We included 973 (44%) respondents who reported using alcohol on at least 10 occasions over a 12 month period prior to initiating medical cannabis, and then used retrospective data on the frequency and amount of alcohol use pre-and post medical cannabis initiation to determine which participant characteristics and other variables were associated with reductions and/or cessation of alcohol use,” the surveyors added. Alcohol Use Disorder and Cannabis According to Cannabis & Tech Today, as many as 107 million people in the world suffer from alcohol use disorder, a mental and physical addiction issue that’s quite common. Since so many people suffer from alcohol abuse, this is welcome news, as medical cannabis or cannabis use can help lessen alcohol use according to these findings. Also, the World Health Organization reports that alcoholism causes the death of 3 million people a year across the world, quite a staggering number, and that cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol, as it has proven not to be fatal. For all these reasons, these findings could be incredibly important. “Our findings suggest that medical cannabis initiation may be associated with self-reported reductions and cessation of alcohol use among medical cannabis patients. Since alcohol is the most prevalent recreational substance in North America, and its use results in significant rates of criminality, morbidity and mortality, these findings may result in improved health outcomes for medical cannabis patients, as well as overall improvements in public health and safety,” the study’s authors claim. This is just one study that analyzes the connection between medical cannabis and alcohol use, and it could lead to more research supporting cannabis as a way to stay away from alcohol. https://hightimes.com/news/canadian-medical-cannabis-patients-report-using-less-alcohol/ Bongme
  16. hi Kangaroos, zebras found as police seize $160m of cannabis in Canada Kangaroos and zebras were seized by police during raids which netted about $160 million worth allegedly illegal cannabis in Toronto, Canada. Project "Green Sweep" took place during Canada's recent mid-year summer months, with police raiding 15 cannabis grow operations throughout Toronto's York region. A total of 37 people were arrested and 67 charges laid. Police alleged that organised crime elements were exploiting Canada's medical cannabis legislation. Under the current law, designated growers can produce hundreds of plants and store hundreds of kilograms of cannabis for personal use. Police claimed all the cannabis seized during Operation Green Sweep was only destined for illicit use - with more than 1800kg of harvested cannabis and almost 29,000 plants confiscated. The cannabis had an estimated street value of CA$150 million ($160.85m). At one location, three kangaroos and two zebras were also found. "The illegal production of illicit cannabis is a growing problem in York Region and our citizens regularly call to report these large-scale indoor and outdoor grow operations," Chief of Police Jim MacSween said. "Organized crime continues to exploit an outdated Health Canada medical licensing system, which is generating tremendous profit that we know is resulting in violence and funding other criminal activity in our community." The investigation is ongoing. https://www.9news.com.au/world/kangaroos-seized-in-major-cannabis-raids-in-toronto-canada/bd963c9b-58b9-4f69-ac02-ec794afd3e6d Bongme
  17. hi Vast majority of Canadians believe B.C. has the best cannabis in the country: report But just over half of BCers don’t know where their marijuana is from It’s not shocking that most Canadians believe B.C. bud reigns supreme in the country. But you might be surprised to learn that many of this province’s cannabis consumers don’t actually know where their stuff is from. In a recent survey produced by Delta cannabis producer Pure Sunfarms with the Angus Reid Institute, 76 percent of Canadians said B.C. cannabis ranked among the top three in the nation (Ontario and Quebec were second and third, with 53 percent and 43 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, 72 percent of respondents agreed that B.C. had Canada’s best reputation for cannabis growing. Among British Columbians, 98 percent thought you’d find the best cannabis in their home province. But only 55 percent of B.C. respondents knew where their pot comes from. That share was higher than in Alberta (44 percent) and Ontario (51 percent). Canadians also don’t have much of a handle on whether pesticides are being used in their weed, with 80 percent saying they’d prefer not but only 40 percent knowing for sure. That latter number was just 20 percent in B.C. “It’s clear that Canadians care about a lot more than just price and potency when they make their purchasing decisions, but they’re still getting up to speed,” Pure Sunfarms president and CEO Mandesh Dosanjh said in a release. “The fact that Canadians don’t have awareness of these issues shows me that this industry has more work to do to give Canadians the information they need.” The survey of 1,505 respondents across Canada took place from September 25 to 29, 2020. https://www.bcbusiness.ca/Vast-majority-of-Canadians-believe-BC-has-the-best-cannabis-in-the-country-report Bongme
  18. hi London Police say since legalization, cannabis theft has become a citywide trend Police are encouraging people to report any incidents of pilfering by pot poachers A London man says after six months of lovingly tending to his first homegrown cannabis plant, someone stole it from right beneath his nose, something police say has recently become a citywide trend. Mark Kulmala said he doesn't even smoke cannabis, the plants were actually a gift from a friend who knew he had always wanted to try his hand at growing cannabis at home. "I've always kind of wanted to get into gardening and grow fruit and vegetables and stuff but I just thought it would be a funny thing to do now that you can grow it legally. I wanted to learn how to harvest it too and give it away to all my friends." "The one plant was the runt of the litter and ended up dying. It got to be about six inches tall and that was it. Then they gave me another one and it grew pretty big." So for six months he took care of it, carefully giving it all the water and attention it needed to grow big and tall. Then one day, he came home to discover someone had made off with it. "Normally I see the plant sitting there and I'll kind of look at it and see how it's doing and I got home and it was just a pot with the spikey stick." "They had just broken it right at the branch." Luckily, Kulmala isn't a cannabis aficionado, or a serious grower. "Honestly, I laughed. It looked really funny. It wasn't even ready to be harvested, so it's just such a waste for them to take it." As far as suspects go, Kulmala said it could be anybody. "I get a lot of characters coming through my yard," he said. "I have to kick them out of the yard and all that." "I don't know if it was someone who just walked by and happened to see it and broke it off and just walked around with this weed bouquet or if it was someone who waited and thought it was ready and just didn't know about it." Backyard bud becoming more popular According to Statistics Canada, growing cannabis in the backyard has become more common since legalization. Data from 2019 shows 14 per cent of cannabis users either grow their own or get their weed from someone who does. There are no official numbers on the amount of cannabis plants that are stolen from backyards each year, but reports of it happening are becoming increasingly common. Last month, a series of thefts were reported in nearby Waterloo Region and the OPP have recently had reports of cannabis stolen in Exeter, Mount Forest, Owen Sound and Norfolk County. In London, city police have been hearing about thefts since the first legal backyard plants matured in the fall of 2019. Police spokeswoman Const. Sandasha Bough said police received a number of reports of cannabis plants being stolen last fall and again this fall. The trouble is police have no exact data on how many. The reason, she explained, is because each plant is considered to be worth approximately $1,000, so when it gets filed in a police report as "theft under $5,000." She said while the police database can sort by alleged crime, it can't sort by what happened during that alleged crime. London Police offer tips on how to protect your plants Any budding green thumb looking to grow cannabis should also consider the fact the plant is highly prized by sticky-fingered thieves, who Bough noted only have to follow their nose. "Cannabis, just like any property in your yard, there are thieves who are looking to take advantage of easy access to these items." "The odour of the plant alone is a giveaway to anyone in the neighbourhood that the plants are growing nearby." Bough said if someone is looking to grow their own at home, police offer a number of tips to make one's budding backyard stash more secure: If you have a fence, ensure your gate is locked.. Install security cameras around your property as a deterrent to thieves and to assist police. If you see something, say something. Bough said the last point is the most important. She said police can't do anything about it unless they know about it, so she encourages anyone whose weed gets stolen to report the theft to police. She said that way, officers get a more accurate picture of which crimes are being committed in the city and can allocate their resources more efficiently. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/cannabis-theft-1.5775153 Bongme
  19. Hi Health Canada aims to cut emissions with virtual cannabis inspection pilot Canada’s federal cannabis industry regulator has launched a two-year pilot project exploring virtual inspections of marijuana production sites, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions. That could ultimately lead to a greater number of cannabis inspections, according to a licensing expert. The project, called “Eagle Eye,” has received 151,753 Canadian dollars ($115,000) in funding over two years from the Canada’s Greening Government Fund. “If successful, the program’s carbon footprint will be reduced while still maintaining – and perhaps augmenting or enhancing – regulatory oversight,” a government summary noted about the pilot program. Virtual inspections have already been used by Ontario’s cannabis retail regulator, which conducted hundreds of remote inspections of marijuana stores this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Canada is still “in the early stages” of identifying exactly what types of inspections may be suitable for the project, department spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily. The program “could enhance existing approaches to virtual inspections or could be used in conjunction with conducting a physical inspection,” she continued. A virtual approach could bring other benefits on top of emissions reductions, Jarbeau added. “Conducting virtual inspections will not only reduce emissions but will potentially allow inspectors to safely observe higher-risk activities such as pesticide applications, material destructions and certain processing activities that may not be possible to observe at the time of a physical inspection.” The project will also inform future approaches to scheduled inspections despite bad weather or pandemic-related restrictions, according to Jarbeau. Heath Canada said it doesn’t know how much carbon has been emitted from physical inspections of regulated cannabis producers across the country in recent years. However, the department believes that a single inspection involving 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of air travel and 200 kilometers of ground travel would generate 1,750 kilograms (3,858 pounds) of carbon emissions, on average. An average inspection relying only on ground travel would generate roughly 128 kilograms of carbon emissions based on a round trip of 350 kilometers. Those emissions have likely increased in recent years as Health Canada increased the pace of cannabis facility inspections. The department said annual on-site physical inspections of licensed cannabis producers totaled 257 in 2017, 264 in 2017 and 343 in 2019. Health Canada has occasionally conducted virtual inspections of cannabis and other regulated industries in the past, according to Sherry Boodram, CEO and co-founder of cannabis regulatory consultancy CannDelta and a former senior inspector with the federal agency. “It’s something that’s rare,” she said. “It doesn’t really happen often. “It’s usually not for a major, compliance-type issue.” Boodram said virtual cannabis inspections could ultimately open the door to more inspections, more often. “We’ve all seen that there’s such a large number of license holders now. There’s over 500,” she said. “And each regional (inspection) team obviously has a finite number of staff.” More inspections could be welcomed by some cannabis license holders, Boodram suggested. “A lot of them actually really do like having inspections, because it ensures that their company is moving forward in a compliant manner, before they get too far down the rabbit hole.” Canada’s current federal government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from government activities by 80% between 2005 levels and 2020. Solomon Israel can be reached at solomon.israel@mjbizdaily.com https://mjbizdaily.com/health-canada-aims-to-cut-emissions-with-virtual-cannabis-inspection-pilot/ Bongme
  20. i Council gives OK to Abbotsford’s first four cannabis outlets Three must still get provincial government approval & government-run stores have face delays A day short of two years after cannabis became legal in Canada, council gave their approval Monday to proposals for four retail stores in the city. Those cannabis stores won’t be open right away, though. Three must still go through a vetting process by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. A government-run BC Cannabis Store approved for HighStreet doesn’t need to jump through those hoops and could open soon, but it still needs a business licence and a building permit before it can open. Building permits related to signs are among the quickest for the city to process, with the city’s website saying sign-related applications are currently reviewed within about a week of submission. But opening dates will also be subject to the operator’s timelines – BC Cannabis Stores approved last winter in Mission and Port Coquitlam have yet to open. Last year, the city capped the number of initial stores at four and pre-zoned 10 sites for cannabis sales and setting the guidelines for a competitive application process. When the city finally started accepting applications this spring, eight proponents came forward. Seven made it to a public hearing stage, with one proposed for a site not zoned for cannabis sales. Council heard little opposition at the time, leaving staff to sift through the details of each proposal. On Monday, staff recommended which four applicants should get to open. After evaluating the proposals, planners found few major faults with any of the applications. Planner Ryan Beaudry told council Monday that all seven remaining applicants had a number of similarities and “all generally meet the policy, but meet it to different degrees.” Significantly, the city’s policy sought out a geographic balance of stores. And with four proposals clustered in Central Abbotsford and along South Fraser Way, that gave an edge to the three others sites spread around the rest of the city. All three of those were recommended by staff. Of those along the South Fraser Way corridor between Clearbrook Road and Ware Street, only one – Meta Cannabis Supply Co. – was allowed to proceed. The four applicants recommended to proceed are: This is Cannabis at Abbotsford Village Shopping Centre on Sumas Way Muse Cannabis Store at Parallel Marketplace on North Parallel Road BC Cannabis Store (government-run) at Highstreet Shopping Centre Meta Cannabis Supply Co. at Clearbrook Town Square. Failing in their applications were Sweed Cannabis Store at Sevenoaks, A Little Bud at West Oaks Mall, and Honeycomb Cannabis at Meadow Fair Plaza. Aside from a desire to avoid clustering, staff didn’t indicate what, particularly, tipped the scales in favour of Meta Cannabis in central Abbotsford. All four companies operate cannabis stores in other jurisdictions, although Meta Cannabis has the most outlets, with 35 licenced operations across Canada under several names. Beaudry did tell council that both Sweed and A Little Bud had previously operated unlicensed stores, although both have since closed those outlets. Regarding feedback from the public, the report says “Most of the comments were supportive and there were few comments of non-support. Staff would therefore not suggest excluding any of the seven applications on the basis of public input.” Council unanimously approved the recommended stores. They also alluded to a future increase of the number of stores in Abbotsford. “This is a first phase,” Coun. Sandy Blue Said. “We’re really want to take a look at what’s happening and will re-evaluate later.” Mayor Henry Braun said the experience with the first four applicants will influence the city’s approach if and when it welcomes new proposals in the future. https://www.abbynews.com/news/council-gives-ok-to-abbotsford-first-four-cannabis-outlets/ Bongme
  21. hi Black market cannabis linked to organized crime being exported to U.S. from Canada: OPP As part of an Ontario Provincial Police enforcement project tracking black market cannabis, investigators say they have uncovered sophisticated operations connected to organized crime and the exportation of marijuana to the United States. “We see individuals coming in (and) buying up rich agricultural properties, properties with existing greenhouses, that make it easy for them to then turn them into these illegal cannabis production sites,” explained OPP Det.-Insp. Jim Walker, who is with the service’s organized crime enforcement bureau as well as the Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET). “It’s a profit-rich environment for organized crime to generate money and a revenue stream.” Police said PJFCET has been active for two years and is responsible for enforcing the cannabis laws and investigating criminal enterprises that are exploiting or abusing the legal cannabis market. Since May, the task force has been involved in dozens of cases which have resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars worth of product and equipment used to grow, cultivate and distribute marijuana. Despite closed borders, investigators said much of Canada’s illegal marijuana is being sent south and the proceeds then come back in the form of cash, firearms and other drugs. “This is organized crime benefiting from the ability to make huge revenue streams through this commodity,” said Walker. “What the public needs to know is when they are purchasing it from the illegal black market, their money is just facilitating other crimes.” Officers said criminals are utilizing the Health Canada medical cannabis regime by exploiting people with Health Canada registrations and selling the product on the black market. “What we’re seeing is more serious charges of marijuana possession or marijuana trafficking, large quantities and exporting of marijuana charges are coming through the courts system now, so what that means is people are sending marijuana overseas, into the U.S. and other counties,” explained Daniel Brown, the vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. “People who are selling and disturbing as if they have licences to sell marijuana when they simply don’t have that.” Police busted a $42-million large-scale production and distribution network in August through “Project Woolwich,” a year-long investigation that resulted in several arrests of people in the Niagara Region and the Greater Toronto Area. The investigation was multi-jurisdictional and identified people involved in the production, wholesale distribution and sale of illegal cannabis. There was an international component to the investigation as investigators seized shipments of illegal cannabis destined for the United States as well as two large shipments of U.S. currency destined for Canada. Investigators said they believe the accused people in this investigation were also responsible for large-volume shipments of illegal cannabis to Ontario from British Columbia. “Cross-border law enforcement collaboration between the United States and Canada is extremely vital to dismantling transnational criminal organizations exploiting our shared border to conduct their illicit smuggling activity,” said Michael Buckley, a homeland security investigations attaché with the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. “[The investigation] clearly highlights that the critical sharing of information can successfully lead to the dismantlement of criminal organizations in both countries.” In all, 15 people were charged with 135 offences under the Cannabis Act, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The OPP is expected to release more information about the cases the specialized unit has been working on in the coming days. https://globalnews.ca/news/7403819/cannabis-organized-crime-exporting-opp/ Bongme
  22. hi COVID-19 pandemic a ‘boon’ for legal cannabis in Canada as marijuana industry turns two Canada’s legal marijuana industry is celebrating a jump in sales, more brick-and-mortar stores and competitive pricing as it celebrates two years in business. Since Canada legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, 2018, legal sellers and producers have struggled to compete with the black market, but there have been recent gains in the licensed industry. The change? The coronavirus pandemic, says retail marketing expert David Soberman. “It’s been a boon for the legal industry,” said Soberman, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto. In July, licensed marijuana stores sold more than $231 million in product — a 15-per cent increase from June’s sales — marking the biggest monthly jump since the country legalized cannabis. “Because people are spending more time at home, they’re perhaps more comfortable with consuming cannabis,” said Terry Kulaga, the founder of Weed Me, a legal cannabis production company based in Pickering, Ont. “As people work from home, they probably have more time to actually consume cannabis.” Canadians have been buying more pot, according to Statistics Canada, and where people are buying it is changing. The long-established black market has always had more business than the Canadian pot industry, but households have been spending more on the legal cannabis market and less on the illegal market. Statistics Canada data shows that compared to April-June 2019, people spent 74 per cent more money on licensed cannabis during the same period this year, which is just after the World Health Organization declared a coronavirus pandemic in March. The decrease in spending on the black market in the same time frame is less than five per cent. “There’s been a downturn in the black market because people are much more reluctant to go out and meet their regular cannabis dealer in the way that they were prior to the pandemic,” said Soberman. Another reason Canadians have been spending more on legal pot is Canada is seeing more licensed retail stores pop up. Ontario, which is Canada’s biggest market by population, opened zero brick-and-mortar stores come legalization day. Now, the province has more than 180 licensed cannabis stores and growing — the province recently greenlit opening 40 stores per month, which is double what it did before, says the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which is responsible for regulating Ontario’s marijuana retail stores. “More and more people are having a shop open up locally where they can access a safe and reliable product,” said Kulaga, whose business provides cannabis to provinces across Canada. “Moreover, I’ll mention that inside of the stores themselves, the people selling the product are becoming more knowledgeable about the product and the suppliers.” Steven Fry runs Sessions Cannabis, a chain of five stores across Ontario, and he says he’ll have 35 more stores built and ready to open before the new year. It will take time for the legal market to completely overtake the illicit market, Fry says. “Legal cannabis is infinitely better than illegal cannabis,” said Fry. “It’s a healthy and safe product that’s approved by Health Canada … it is highly regulated. Tax money is going back to the community when we’re purchasing through the legal channels.“ The legal market can now boast cheaper prices. When Canada first legalized recreational marijuana, the average price per gram for legal pot was $10.25 while in the illegal market, it was around four dollars less. The Ontario Cannabis Store released a pricing comparison showing more recent prices: near the beginning of the year, the average price per gram for legal dried flower on its site was $7.05, including taxes, which is almost a whole dollar cheaper than the cost of cannabis on sale through illegal mail-order sites: $7.98. Soberman says the customers who’ve been loyal to the legal marijuana market throughout the pandemic will stick with it. “Even once the pandemic is over and we have a vaccine, you’re going to find that people have become accustomed to buying their pot legally. And it will be a while before the black market is able to recapture perhaps a larger fraction of what it used to sell.” https://globalnews.ca/news/7402001/canada-cannabis-industry-turns-two/ Bongme
  23. hi Per-capita cannabis sales led the nation The Yukon saw the highest per-capita cannabis sales in Canada last year, according to the federal bureau of statistics. The Yukon saw the highest per-capita cannabis sales in Canada last year, according to the federal bureau of statistics. “The Yukon has outperformed all other Canadian jurisdictions,” John Streicker, the minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corp., said on Thursday. Streicker tabled the corporation’s Annual Cannabis Report in the legislative assembly on Thursday. Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada. Cannabis sales in the Yukon doubled the N.W.T.’s and were nearly five times higher than Ontario’s, per capita, according to Statistics Canada. Cannabis sales totalled about $4.9 million in the Yukon’s 2019-20 fiscal year. The vast majority of cannabis sales this year was in the form of buds, or flower cannabis, totalling $4.3 million. Oils accounted for $461,153, while edibles and concentrates accounted for $84,394. The liquor corporation made a gross profit of $1.3 million from cannabis sales last year. Expenses, including salaries, totalled $1.5 million. A government grant of $195,000 and income from disposal of property resulted in a total comprehensive income of $171,000. Streicker said the corporation doesn’t intend cannabis sales to be a money-making venture. “Our target is a zero balance; we are not trying to earn any revenue for the government through cannabis,” Streicker told the legislature. “Our goal is for it to be revenue-neutral from a government perspective.” The corporation’s mission is to funnel profits into the private sector, the minister explained. Streicker said he believes that legalization has impacted the illicit cannabis market, because cannabis sales are rising while reported cannabis usage among Yukoners has stayed essentially the same. “Here in the Yukon, cannabis sales increased by almost $3 million over the past fiscal year,” Streicker said. Statistics Canada reported that the illegal cannabis market was at an all-time low last summer, with legal sales outpacing the street market. Yukon Party MLA Wade Istchenko questioned Streicker’s claim that the illicit market has been impacted by legalization. “We know that there is still a very robust black market in the Yukon,” Istchenko told the house. “We believe that the only way the black market will be substantially reduced in the Yukon is if the legal market can compete on price.” Istchenko claimed that government mark-ups are driving retail prices higher than street prices, and increasing availability of cheaper products is vital. Streicker responded that the liquor corporation won’t adopt a free-market mentality to help lower prices. “Our two chief goals here have been, all along, to displace the black market and to support the health and wellness of Yukoners,” Streicker said. “Like alcohol, it is a controlled substance, and we will continue to control it.” The 2019-20 fiscal year saw five private dispensaries open their doors. The government-run cannabis store off Industrial Road closed last October to make room for private retailers. Cannabis retailers were briefly permitted to sell products online under the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) as an action against COVID-19. Streicker withdrew that ministerial order – killing online sales – on Sept. 9. Streicker told the house Thursday his department intends to enable online sales permanently, but didn’t want to continue under the ministerial order. Online sales resulted in $25,000 in sales over four months last year, contributing to less than 20 per cent of total cannabis sales. “It’s a very, very small portion,” Streicker said. “This has been to allow our remote communities – to make sure that they have access; that’s all.” He said the liquor corporation is working on permanent implementation of online cannabis sales outside of the CEMA. https://www.whitehorsestar.com/News/per-capita-cannabis-sales-led-the-nation 3 comments Bongme
  24. hi Ontario police see a spike in cannabis plants being stolen out of people's backyards A recent case in London, Ont., saw a thief hopping the fence, hacking down the plants, and then absconding, all in less than a minute. As Canadians start harvesting their homegrown cannabis, police are seeing a spike in reports of sticky-fingered bandits. That was the case recently for London’s Mike Nutt, whose backyard camera captured a thief hopping the fence, hacking down hi “He’s lucky I didn’t catch him,” Nutt told CTV London. According to Tanya Calvert, a corporate communications officer with the St. Thomas Police Service, last fall marked the services’ first report for cannabis theft. “We saw a trend begin and again this year we’ve seen another spike in theft of cannabis plants from backyard private grows,” she told CTV. To avoid having your plants stolen she suggests harvesting early, installing security cameras and staying home to keep an eye on your grow. It’s also a good idea to keep your plants off social media. Last month, a Chatham man took it upon himself to deter a potential thief, tackling the burglar and detaining him until police arrived. A similar strategy backfired for an Oshawa man last fall, however, who noticed his motion sensor lights go off and then confronted two pot pillagers in his backyard. The suspects stabbed the man before taking off with his plants. Retired master grower Pete Young also offered some tips to CTV, explaining that he used to tie flowers around his cannabis plants to give them the appearance of a rose bush. He also suggests bringing your plants in at night if possible or installing chain-link fencing if you’re growing outdoors. “Don’t do anything stupid like booby traps, but do anything you can to deter thieves and make them want to move onto the next yard,” he said. If your plants do get nabbed, take a look at your home insurance policy, as you may be eligible for some coverage. According to a blog from Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers, insurers are more likely to provide coverage for plants that are grown indoors, as outdoor plants are riskier and more prone to theft or damage. https://lfpress.com/cannabis-news/ontario-police-see-a-spike-in-cannabis-plants-being-stolen-out-of-peoples-backyards Photo Bongme
  25. hi Don’t call it budget bud. Canadian cannabis prices are normalizing The latest quarterly report from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) says that the legal industry has reached a turning point. “This quarter marks a milestone for the sector on the critical front of pricing,” Cheri Mara, chief commercial officer at the OCS, writes in the report’s introduction. For the first time, Mara notes, the price of weed from the OCS is less — at an average of $7.05 a gram — than the average price on the illicit market ($7.98 a gram). “The fact that consumers now have the choice to purchase regulated, tested, traceable product from Health Canada-Licensed Producers [LPs] for prices equal to or below what they are used to paying is a clear step forward,” she writes. A separate report, released yesterday by market research firm Brightfield Group, points out that the position in the legal market that “has truly surged in recent months is budget brands.” “Budget brands are well-positioned to compete with the illicit market as they are now comparable in price. The heavy economic impact of COVID will also make consumers more likely to look for cheap bud as opposed to treating themselves to luxury or novel items,” the report states, before highlighting a few licenced producers that are performing well with a budget-conscious approach. These include Aurora’s Daily Special, Hexo’s Original Stash, Canopy Growth’s Twd., and B.C-based Pure Sunfarms, which is owned by Village Farms, one of North America’s largest and longest-running greenhouse growers. Mandesh Dosanjh, president and CEO of Pure Sunfarms, disagrees with the “budget” characterization. “We’re not a value brand,” Dosanjh tells The GrowthOp. “Pure Sunfarms is about quality, B.C.-grown cannabis, at prices customers should demand and expect.” Dosanjh says the company doesn’t think about its products as value or budget offerings, but, instead, as reflective of a legal industry that is still finding its footing and going through a period of price normalization. “I don’t know how you sell people products at a price point vastly different than what they’re used to,” he says. “And I’m not sure why the other LPs did that.” As legal producers pushed out high-price pot and the legacy market continued to thrive, Dosanjh says there was an opportunity for Pure Sunfarms to compete at a price point that Canadians are used to. The company entered the recreational market in September 2019 with eight cannabis strains. Within two months, it was the top-selling brand by weight and dollar sales at the OCS. Three of the seven best-selling strains in the province were Pure Sunfarms strains, including White Rhino, Island Honey and the top-selling Afghan Kush, which currently retails at the OCS from $6.10 a gram. In March of this year, looking for another way to compete with the illicit market and offer Canadians a format they are used to, Pure Sunfarms released ounce-sized bags — indica, sativa and hybrid blends — for $117.60, taxes in. “We knew that there was a customer who wanted a large format at a really good price point,” Dosanjh says. “So we said, ‘Let’s service the market with these indica, sativa, hybrid packages, which are very aggressively priced.’” The timing also worked in the company’s favour. As customers began to stock up in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown, the 28-gram bags became hot-ticket items. “We saw a huge uptake in that product segment,” Dosanjh says, noting that the company has started offering strain-specific, large-format products, including ounces of Pink Kush and Death Bubba, strains that it believes will resonate with legacy consumers. It’s not just about hitting notes that customers are already familiar with, however. Though the majority of consumers are still using THC percentage to guide their purchasing, Dosanjh believes that will change in the future and his company, which is in a state of perpetual harvest and grows its cannabis in two greenhouses in Delta, B.C., is always looking for new strains to trial. Previously, the company sold a strain with mid-levels of THC called Purple Sun God, which was bred to feature elevated levels of cannabigerol (CBG). Like CBD, CBG is a non-intoxicating compound, and early research suggests it could be beneficial in fighting inflammation, pain, depression and anxiety, as well as illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma. Pure Sunfarms has paused production of Purple Sun God for now, but Dosanjh says the company will likely be bringing it back in the future. “I do believe that over time, there will be that customer that doesn’t necessarily want the high THC,” he says, pointing to trends in mature cannabis markets like California, Colorado and Oregon, where balanced cultivars and products that may offer specific therapeutic benefits are in high demand. With other producers catching on and more companies pushing out affordable bud — there are currently three pages of flower listed for under $5 a gram on the OCS — Purple Sunfarms is hoping its simple, streamlined approach will continue to resonate with Canadians. “We’ve kept things simple so customers remember us, and think about us, and know that they can depend on us for high quality, B.C.-grown products at the pricing that it should be,” Dosanjh says. https://www.thegrowthop.com/cannabis-news/dont-call-it-budget-bud-canadian-cannabis-prices-are-normalizing Bongme