Cannabis in the news September 04, 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 law prohibiting Quebecers from growing cannabis at home is unconstitutional, according to the province’s superior court.

Justice Manon Lavoie ruled this week that the ban on growing cannabis for personal use amounts to criminal legislation—something that falls under federal jurisdiction.

Still, those Quebec residents wanting to grow cannabis at home should hold off for now, says the lawyer who led the challenge, Julien Fortier.

The province could in fact appeal the ruling, which would keep the restriction in place until an appeals court decision.

Under federal law, residents are permitted to grow a maximum of four plants at home.

Quebec’s cannabis law was passed in June 2018 under the previous Liberal government.

The ruling Coalition Avenir Québec government still plans to amend the law to raise the legal age of consumption from 18 to 21.

2. Ontario has now disqualified a dozen applicants who participated in and won the right to licences in the latest cannabis lottery.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario held its second lottery in August for the next 42 cannabis store licences. The winners then had to submit supporting documents. The province’s cannabis regulator says 12 of them failed to do so and were disqualified. One withdrew its application.

The AGCO says today all of the disqualified and withdrawn applicants are now being replaced by people on a waiting list.

With this latest lottery, the number of bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores allowed in Ontario will increase to 75.

3. A U.S. cannabis company is now offering to collect and properly dispose of any waste from other marijuana stores.

Canna Culture Shop began the pot waste program early this week to help reduce the impact marijuana packaging waste has on the environment.

According to KING-TV, Canna owner Maryam Mirnateghi says the program is meant to keep cannabis packaging from ending up on the street or in waterways.

Mirnateghi pegs the industry’s total waste at 1 billion pieces of cannabis packaging annually, starting in 2020.

Canna will accept cannabis packaging from consumers as well as merchants. It hopes to incentivize participation in the program by giving donors vouchers for merchandise sold at its store.

4. Hemp demand is rising, not just because of its “medicinal” Cannabidiol (CBD) content, but for its construction applications.

“We have way more demand than we can supply,” said Mac Radford, head of JustBioFiber Structural Solutions in Airdrie, Alberta. The firm is now increasing its production of Lego-like hemp bricks—used in residential construction—to equal the amount required to build 2,000 homes.

Six years after setting up shop in the shadow of Calgary’s tar sands, Radford says he can’t satisfy all the orders from builders for Earth-friendly materials that help them limit their carbon footprints. His company is on the vanguard of businesses using hemp—a relative of the marijuana plant with the same non-psychoactive properties—to mitigate the greenhouse gases behind global warming.

Around the world, builders are putting modern twists into ancient construction methods that employ the hearty hemp weed. Roman engineers used the plant’s fibers in the mortar they mixed to hold up bridges. Early results indicate hemp can also be used to create a cleaner alternative to cement.

5. A growing number of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are turning to cannabis’s non-psychoactive compound for treatment.

A systematic review published in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis finds that the active components of cannabis, called cannabinoids, could eventually be prescribed by doctors as a treatment for PTSD. For now, the compound has yet to undergo the kind of rigorous scientific study needed to make that case.

Still, anecdotally, PTSD sufferers are pointing to the power of CBD to reduce nightmares and improve sleep.

“There has been a recent surge of interest in the use of cannabinoids to treat PTSD, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Chandni Hindocha, with the University College London Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit. That’s “particularly from military veterans, many of whom are already self-medicating or obtaining prescriptions in some American states.”

In fact, the lack of evidence supporting cannabis as a PTSD treatment is striking given the vast interest in it, said Hindocha.

Potentially debilitating, PTSD typically consists of re-experiencing a traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks or nightmares, and often involves hyper-reactivity (a state of constant vigilance) and insomnia.


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