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Feb. 25 Newsletter | Gift Bag Edition

A few weeks back at the Grammy Awards, Cardi B joked that she should smoke pot to calm her nerves. This week, The Academy Awards took cannabis to a new level - the gift bags. Cannabis products galore. Not to be left out, Toronto Life’s March issue is dedicated to all things Toronto cannabis. (More on this issue next week…)

The #Don’tTaxMedicine campaign led by Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) has been in full force as of late. Meetings in Ottawa (obviously) - but also a tax ticker roaming the streets - thanks to Aurora.

Retail

In Alberta, home-province to Aurora, the leading LP is moving into a space in the West Edmonton Mall.

And as Aurora doubles down on Alberta retail, Canopy Growth announced that a cannabis shop in London, Ontario will be named Tweed. To further extend their retail strategy, Canopy announced a partnership with Alimentation Couche-Tard.

Of course, the roll out of retail cannabis in Ontario has been under some serious scrutiny about ownership, branding and fairness. But one thing that isn’t up for debate, is that the Ontario Cannabis Store online sales are declining. Bricks and mortar retail can’t happen fast enough.

A week after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada announced their partnership with Lift & Co. for mandatory training for cannabis retail employees, MADD Canada CEO falsely claimed that “Cannabis presence is the leading cause of fatalities on our roadways” - obviously, this caused quite a stir on the canna-Twitter-verse.

LPs

CannTrust will start trading on the NYSE today. BofC connected with CannTrust CEO Peter Aceto a few weeks back.

Last summer, it looked as if Emblem was going to acquire Natura Naturals. Instead, Emblem is being acquired by Aleafia and Tilray is acquiring Natura. The Natura/Tilray deal closed last week.

But Tilray wasn’t content with one big announcement last week. They also announced the acquisition of Manitoba Harvest in order to launch CBD products in the US.

Emerald Health announced the launch of Verdélite Sciences Inc. - 88,000 square foot facility in  Quebec to serve that Quebec market.

Remember when Namaste Technologies turfed their CEO Sean Dollinger a few weeks back in response to suspected self-dealing? Well, the Board of Namaste Technologies has made amends/settled. Dollinger is now back as a consultant to the company.

Some other financial fall out - this time at Aurora. The cannabis giant announced some board reshuffling to address “margin challenges” - including making Chairman Michael Singer the Executive Chairman.

As Aurora takes action to address “margin challenges” - Canopy reported a “spreadsheet error” in their Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) filings with regulators. Don’t worry, the adjusted EBITDA loss for the nine months ending Dec. 31, 2018  was only about $100 million off… This might help. (Also, MD&A sounds funny.)

International

Barrie, Ontario-based MediPharm Labs announced a sales agreement of oils to Australia. Watch the recent BofC interview with MediPharm Labs CEO Pat McCutcheon.

South Korea will be entering the medical cannabis fray in a few weeks. They will look to meet demand via imports - and MJBIzDaily reports that Canopy has hired a country manager. World domination efforts continue…

New Cannabis Ventures has a guest post describing the path forward for Greek cannabis - furthering the EU’s push toward medical cannabis.

Speaking of which, remember, Business of Cannabis is the Canadian Media Sponsor of ICBC, Berlin. Will you be there?  Join us. Connect for further details.

Look Back

From the “elections have consequences” file. Last year, this week - the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. held their first meeting with potential suppliers of their would-be 40 retail shops.

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