Another week over. Time to recap on what we learned and what entertained us over the past few days!
Community Safety Units (CSU) continued with raids at BC dispensaries this week. On November 5th, the province of B.C. took “enforcement action” at two dispensaries in Squamish — 99 North and Grassroots Medicinal. This week’s raids come on the tail of last week’s high-profile raid at The Medical Cannabis Dispensary on Thurlow St in Vancouver. To date, the province has taken action or conducted “educational visits” at 191 stores across B.C. When asked if he would reopen, owner of 99 North, Bryan Raiser said “I would love to open again…The dream is dead. The dream was not killed by a decision by the province, as it should have been. It has been killed by a bureaucratic delay and questionable use of resources. It is absolutely unacceptable. None of this had to happen”. This is a feeling surely felt by many owners and businesses across B.C., present company included. Writing for The Straight, cannabis lawyer and activist Sarah Leamon acknowledged that even though the law is the government’s side in terms of raiding dispensaries and fining owners, it doesn’t make it right or morally justifiable: “The manner in which our province has profited from, tolerated, and even assisted cannabis dispensaries prior to legalization sits in stark contrast to the newly acquired aggressive—and quite frankly, unethical—approach to cannabis enforcement”.
More news that is likely to frustrate many veterans of the cannabis industry: Toronto millionaire entertainer and owner of a private Boeing 767 (received for free from Canadian airline Cargojet as they believe it will pay for itself in publicity), Drake, has partnered with Canopy Growth to launch cannabis wellness company More Life Growth Co. Drake will own 60& and Canopy 40%. As part of the deal, More Life will become the beneficial owner of a cannabis production facility in Toronto that is currently operated by Canopy. Some marketing experts have noted that the “cleverly,structured deal” could effectively circumvent the strict advertising rules for cannabis. For example, if Drake promoted More Life Growth Co. on social media, he would be well within his right and it would not be considered a violation of cannabis advertising rules as he is an owner of the company and not just a celebrity paid an endorsement fee by Canopy.
In some positive news, the province of Ontario will soon allow cannabis retailers to sell online and over the phone. The proposed changes were announced this week during the government’s fall economic statement and are intended to help decrease waits for cannabis and help combat the black market. On the same day, the government also said it will allow licensed producers to have retail stores on each of their production sites to further increase access so finally some good news for cannabis users in Ontario!
Research from the United States has shed some light on whether or not it matters to the public if pot is referred to as “cannabis” or “marijuana”. The research abstract states “proponents of reform have begun to shun the term “marijuana” in favor of the term “cannabis”. Arguing that the “M” word has been tainted and may thus dampen public support for legalization, policy advocates have championed “cannabis” as an alternative and more neutral name for the drug.” But does it really matter what word is used? Apparently it does not with researchers concluding “we find no evidence to suggest that the public distinguishes between the terms “marijuana” and “cannabis”.”