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Mar. 11 Newsletter | ON Retail Countdown Edition

Last week, Business of Cannabis launched BofC Live - a daily, live streaming show delivered via Twitter @bofc_canada. Guests included CannTrust’s Peter Aceto, 48North’s Alison Gordon, BLOCKstrain’s Robert Galarza, Ample Organics’ John Prentice, PharmaCielo’s David Gordon, Leafly’s Jo Vos, as well as Jeremy Potvin and Lorilynn McCorrister of WeedBox.

Check out @bofc_canada on Twitter this week at 10 a.m. Eastern for Chris Churchill Smith of Canada House, Abi Roach of HotBox Cafe, Will Stewart of Harvest One, Lisa Campbell of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, Mika Unterman of MediPharm Labs and Greg Engel of Organigram.

To acknowledge International Women’s Day, High Times Magazine honoured women in the industry, including the first person on the list, 48North’s Alison Gordon. Watch Alison Gordon’s interview from this week’s BofC Live.

Also, for a look back, Business of Cannabis co-founders wrote this for last year’s International Women’s Day.

The News

A major edibles bust in Toronto last week as police seized $1.7 million of edibles that look like candy. None of this should be surprising for that paying attention to black market products. That said, it did appear to be a surprise to York Regional Police, with the spokesperson saying, “...this is the first time we’re seeing products that appear to look so much like candy…” Which begs the question - where have they been looking if they haven’t seen edibles that look like candy?

Bust notwithstanding, StatsCan came out with illicit cannabis sales last week, and legalization is creating a slight decline in illicit cannabis sales. Legal cannabis sales aren’t just hitting black market sales, they are also taking a dent out of alcohol sales, at least according to Manitoba’s finance minister.

In other news of cannabis (potential) wrongdoing, Health Canada is looking at Canopy (and others) for sponsorship of charities.

In even other news of cannabis (potential) wrongdoing, embattled Namaste’s auditors - PwC - fired their client last week. You will recall Namaste’s Board recently fired their CEO (and then rehired him in a consulting role/settlement deal).

Some good news on the supply front, Aphria One is fully licensed now. The $190 million/800 square foot facility received Health Canada’s thumbs up last week. Also, Zenabis and Aurora also received go aheads from Health Canada on additional cultivation capacity. The big keep getting bigger.

Retail

Cannabis retailers are going to need that added capacity, because new retail is coming on line everyday - and the retail that is in place, is selling out. Just ask National Access Cannabis. Last week, retailer National Access Cannabis announced $20,000,000 in revenue since legalization in October across their 23 stores in Alberta and Manitoba. These numbers were published just over 3 weeks before Ontario bricks-and-mortar stores come online. Of course, National Access Cannabis is operating nearly as many stores on their own (23) as there will be in all of Ontario (25).

Speaking of Ontario - the licenses are coming slowly for the would-be retailers. Only 2 of the 25 retailers have received their Retail Store Authorization from the Province with only one other receiving their Retail Operator Licence. BofC will update status of the remaining 23 as details become available.

And if Ontario’s plans have you in a funk, worry not: your next epic ski vacation may be even more epic - that’s because Banff will have 5 retail shops (all below the tree line).

The US File

In additional all Democratic Presidential hopefuls joining the legalization bandwagon, the House in New Mexico passed an adult-use recreational legalization bill last week. But not before taking a quasi-Canadian approach to retail - with State-run retail shops. As well, you’ll need to keep the receipt to prove you have legal cannabis, you cannot grow at home and the possession limit is one ounce (about 28 grams).

Perhaps the best satirical piece ever written about cannabis appeared in this week’s New Yorker. A must read

While not satirical, equally funny and also from New York: The Catholic Conference, which represents Bishops in New York on public policy matters issued a statement on legalization, which includes this gem: “...our state’s elected officials are preparing to open a Pandora’s Box that will have multiple deleterious effects on individuals, families, and all of society….”

Finally, a great follow for you interested in how consumption sites are shaping up on Toronto.

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