Another week over. Time to recap on what we learned and what entertained us over the past few days!
Canadian cannabis news this week was dominated by stories marking the first year of recreational cannabis legalisation in Canada. Many news outlets focussed on how legalisation hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for many businesses and how consumers have been left disappointed by the quality and range of legal products available to them. Our own Don Briere was featured in a number of print and TV news reports. Speaking with CBC, Don touched on the much-maligned excessive packaging and cost of legal cannabis, confirming that when WEEDS reopens, stores will only sell these government-approved products as “That’s what we have to do to be in this market”. Outside of the cannabis industry, other sectors also spoke about the impact legal recreational cannabis has had on their businesses and communities. A survey by RE/MAX found that the housing and property market in some parts of Canada has experienced a “flurry” of activity, leading to micro-booms in areas with a thriving cannabis industry, such as Smith Falls in Ontario (home to Canopy Growth). The same survey also noted that 25% of those surveyed would move if a dispensary opened in their neighbourhood though this seems like a very high number in our opinion!
This week also say the next wave in the legalisation of cannabis products. As of October 17th 2019, cannabis edibles, drinkables, concentrates and topicals are legal. However, they are not expected to hit stores until December at the earliest (so probably later!). Many sources highlight that these are the products a lot of consumers have been waiting for though with restrictions being placed on THC content and other ingredients, time will tell if customers actually turn away from the many well-known and established black and grey market sellers.
Medical cannabis and taxes has been a talking point for nearly all parties running in this month’s federal election, with the Green Party and NDP revealing that they would like to scrap the $1 per gram federal excise tax on medical cannabis. The Arthritis Society of Canada has also chimed in, adding that they would like to see medical cannabis on pharmacy shelves. The majority of medical users rely on mail order to get their cannabis and advocates for medical cannabis in pharmacies argue that medical cannabis should be treated just like any other prescription medication.
The UK has signed a deal with Canopy Growth to import medical cannabis. This is the first license of its kind issued by the UK, where medical cannabis was legalised in November 2018. Cannabis will be imported from Canopies facilities in Denmark and Germany. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out for both the UK and Canopy. At the moment, medical users in the UK wait up to three months to receive their cannabis, something that can only be prescribed by a doctor when all other medical treatments have failed. The deal with Canopy is hoped to speed up wait times. However, with Brexit likely to happen in the coming weeks, time will tell if the UK continues to be able to affordably import from their EU-member source countries.