Cannabis in the news October 16, 2019

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News on cannabis stocks and on developments in the industry haven’t let up in today’s volatile markets. Here are this week’s stories that we believe will mean the most to you as a Canadian investor.

1. A leading cannabis producer says it will eliminate millions of dollars of pot to settle non-compliance issues.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. is planning to destroy approximately $77 million worth of cannabis as the beleaguered pot producer seeks to restore regulatory compliance.

In a press release issued on Monday, CannTrust said it will not challenge Health Canada’s Sept. 17 decision to suspend the company’s sales and production licences. Instead, CannTrust said it “remains focused on working collaboratively and transparently with the regulator to address the company’s non-compliance matters.”

Those “non-compliance matters” arose in July when Health Canada discoverd unlicensed production at the company’s Pelham, Ont. facility.

In the immediate aftermath, then-CEO Peter Aceto was fired and Chairman Eric Paul stepped down.

The company said it expects to provide a detailed remediation plan to Health Canada by Oct. 21.

2. Thursday will mark the first time that cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals will also be legal to sell.

Despite this, the City of Calgary says it will take time before consumers will see these products on store shelves locally.

“Federally licensed producers must first get approval from Health Canada to produce the products,” a Tuesday news release explained.

In addition, federal cannabis licence holders must provide 60 days’ notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell the new product.

As such, Canadian consumers are unlikely to see any edibles, extracts or topicals for sale until mid-December 2019 — Dec. 17 at the earliest.

These products will be available at licensed cannabis retail stores or online through provincially run stores.

3. The Ontario Cannabis Store says it will launch consultations later this month in an effort to get the private sector involved in the storage and distribution of marijuana.

The agency’s CEO says the province’s online and wholesale distributor will consult with federally licensed producers and retail store owners on the possible change.

The OCS will then make recommendations to the Ontario government. says Cal Bricker, to ensure sufficient distribution capacity is in place to combat the illegal market.

He says the current centralized distribution has served existing retailers, but the agency wants to prepare for the addition of more retail stores and the launch of edibles.

This OCS has been struggling to meet the demand for cannabis, and earlier this month the agency said it lost $42 million in the latest fiscal year ended March 31.

The number of legal pot outlets in Ontario is expected to grow from 25 to 75 this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2019.

4. Standardizing the potency of cannabis – similar to the system used for alcohol – would significantly improve the mental health of users, according to addiction experts.

Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath in the U.K. say more needs to be done to make people aware of the levels of THC – the main psychoactive component in cannabis.

Writing in the journal Addiction, the experts suggest a unit level should be set at 5 mg of THC – the amount that would typically be found in a small joint. This is enough to induce intoxication but without psychotic symptoms, they say.

“Our findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggests the health effects of cannabis are dose-related,” said lead author Sam Craft, from King’s College London. “We believe a unit system would help both users and healthcare professionals by providing clearer information on the types of cannabis products and their strength.”

5. A professor at the University of Northern British Columbia says knowing who is using cannabis is important to develop sound policy aimed at reducing cannabis-related harms.

Russ Callaghan, medical professor at UNBC, is the lead author of an article in the December issue of the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The research attempts to identify the biggest consumers of pot in Canada.

Callaghan and a team of researchers looked at data from the federal government’s 2018 National Cannabis Survey to find out who are the biggest users and how that should inform public policy.

According the survey conducted prior to legalization — which did not distinguish between legal and illegal cannabis — 10 per cent of people use roughly 66 per cent of the cannabis in Canada. The data also showed males reported higher use than females and males aged 15-34 were the highest using subgroup.

Callaghan said the usage rates are similar to alcohol statistics which show the heaviest users consume a high proportion of alcohol in Canada.

With weed, as with alcohol, consumption rates can be influenced by prices and taxation, the availability of stores in a neighbourhood and their operating hours.


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