Expect longer border waits after marijuana legalization, CBSA report warns
The legalization of marijuana could lead to longer waits at Canada’s border crossings as officers deal with “cannabis tourists,” warns an intelligence report obtained by Global News.
The declassified Canada Border Services Agency document also said that illicit exports of marijuana “are expected to increase” after legalization, putting additional strain on officers.
“Unless exemptions are made for personal amounts of marijuana, cannabis legalization may increase workloads for officers and translate into longer border wait times, particularly at land borders,” it said.
Border delays will be particularly bad during summer months as visitors arrive for outdoor festivals, concerts and 4/20 cannabis events that occur every April 20, said the report by the CBSA’s Intelligence Operations and Analysis Division.
A declassified version of the Intelligence Briefing, titled “Cannabis Legalization: Implications for the CBSA and Canada,” was disclosed to Global News under the Access to Information Act.
Global News has previously reported that experts were concerned about the impact of legalization on the border. But the report confirms the government’s own border agency has the same worries.
The seven-page document shows the CBSA is trying to anticipate the fallout of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pot legalization plan, expected to come into effect later this year.
“Legalization of cannabis products will likely not lead to significant decreases in enforcement actions at the border as exports are expected to increase and travelers are likely to continue to cross the border with personal quantities,” it said.
The report said the main issues border officers will face are “cannabis tourists” arriving to use marijuana, impaired drivers and travelers carrying small amounts — unaware that taking marijuana across the border will still be illegal.
While the government has said legalization would hurt organized crime groups, the report said a black market will continue to exist for marijuana products that exceed the cultivation and potency limits set by the law, and crime groups will likely step in to fill the gaps.
The CBSA also said that as start-up companies begin large-scale production, the supply of marijuana products would outpace demand — a scenario crime groups could exploit by exporting the surplus.
Should crime groups find their profits undermined, they will simply shift to smuggling other types of drugs such as opiates, according to the report. Demand for hashish is also likely to outstrip domestic production, meaning illicit imports from the United States will continue.
The CBSA said it would have to update its agreements with partner agencies on import and export issues, and train officers. “Officers will require additional training to detect and determine intoxication levels due to suspected consumption of marijuana.”
By Stewart Bell and Patrick Cain Global News
TORONTO — Sun Life Financial Inc. is adding medical marijuana coverage as an option for its group benefits plans, signalling an insurance industry shift and growing acceptance of the drug that bodes well for Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector.
The Toronto-based insurer’s president and chief executive Dean Connor said the move was influenced by rising interest from Sun Life’s employer clients.
“Medical marijuana has become a very important part of their treatment program and pain management program,” said Connor, referring to patients who have cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or those requiring palliative care.
Currently, the vast majority of registered patients must pay for medical marijuana out of their own pockets. But the move by Sun Life, which provides health benefits coverage to more than three million Canadians and their families, or one-in-six Canadians, could set a precedent for other insurers.
The new offering comes as the country moves to legalize cannabis for recreational use later this year and as the number of registered medical marijuana patients grows. There were more than 235,000 medical marijuana patients in the system across Canada at the end of September 2017 — the most recent date for which data is available — more than double the roughly 98,500 a year earlier, noted Vahan Ajamian, a Beacon Securities Ltd. research analyst.
“The insurance companies have been getting pressure to cover this as a regular medicine,” he said.
Meanwhile, pharmacists and pharmacies have also been warming up to cannabis.
Shoppers Drug Mart has lined up supply agreements with licensed producers, conditional upon Health Canada’s approval of its application to dispense the drug. The Canadian Pharmacists Association and two Quebec groups representing the industry have also said that pharmacies should play a leading role in medical marijuana’s distribution.
Jonathan Zaid, the executive director of patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said Sun Life’s enhanced coverage comes after years of litigation to gain acceptance for medical marijuana.
“Although there may not be immediate benefit for patients as specific plan sponsors will need to purchase the coverage, this move will make covering medical cannabis simpler than today’s exception process and speaks volumes to the broader acceptance and legitimacy of medical cannabis,” he said.
A number of plan sponsors have moved to cover medical cannabis costs over the years, Zaid noted, including the University of Waterloo’s student union, the Arthritis Society, Loblaw Companies Ltd., the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Labourers’ International Union of North America. Those plans have varying eligibility criteria and levels of coverage, he added.
Starting March 1, plan sponsors with Sun Life will have the option to add medical cannabis coverage to extended health-care plans, ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 per covered person per year.
Medical cannabis coverage will be available for specific conditions and symptoms associated with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS, and palliative care.
In order to qualify for coverage, Sun Life plan members must meet specific criteria including an authorization letter from a physician and registration with a medical marijuana producer licensed with Health Canada.
Sun Life will also conduct periodic reviews of the growing body of clinical research supporting the use of medical cannabis for other conditions, and update its criteria if necessary, the company said in a document updating their client base of 22,300 plan sponsors.
Although this coverage does not encompass the full range of conditions and it is unclear how many businesses will use it, the insurer’s new offering is a positive development for Canada’s licensed medical marijuana producers, said Ajamian.
“Anything that makes it easier/cheaper for patients to get access should result in more patients, more volume, and (especially if it’s free) potentially more pricing power for producers,” he said in an email.
Manulife Financial Corp., one of Canada’s biggest insurers, offers medical cannabis coverage to clients on a selective basis, a spokesperson said.
“Manulife is supportive of clients that want to consider introducing medical cannabis as an option,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We also recommend that clients put limits and some management controls in place as this is an emerging market that is quickly evolving.”
As acceptance among insurers and employers appears to grow, a landmark battle over coverage of medical marijuana that helped add to the public conversation remains in the hands of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
In October 2016, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Canada elevator mechanic Gordon Skinner went before the province’s Human Rights Tribunal over his union’s denial of coverage for his prescribed medical marijuana. The Nova Scotia man was injured in a motor vehicle accident in August 2010 while working, and was later prescribed medical cannabis to help with chronic pain. In January 2017, the tribunal ruled that the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund discriminated against Skinner, and ruled that his employer must cover medical marijuana.
The union took the case to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal last fall, and Skinner is now awaiting the final ruling, said his counsel Hugh Scher.
Scher is optimistic about the outcome and noted Sun Life’s new offering is “a very positive development in the sense of recognizing the efficacy of medical marijuana, and attempting to provide for a means of enabling employers and insurers to address that need.”
Companies in this story: (TSX:SLF, TSX:MFC)
Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press, Feb. 15, 2018.
10 Things to Anticipate in the Cannabis Space in 2018
Predicting what will happen in the cannabis world is very difficult to do from year to year. Every new year brings new opportunities for cannabis industry growth in states that have already reformed their cannabis laws, as well as the possibility of more states legalizing cannabis for adult and/or medical use.
This year was a big year for cannabis, despite not being an election year. Legal states are estimated to bring in $655 million in state taxes on cannabis retail sales by the end of 2017. The cannabis industry now employs as many as 230,000 people via full and part-time jobs. Youth cannabis consumption rates are not rising in the post-legalization era and other doomsday predictions made by cannabis opponents prior to legalization are proving to be unfounded as time goes on.
The cannabis movement’s momentum has never been greater than it is now, and that momentum will continue to build with no end in sight.
What will 2018 bring in regards to cannabis reform efforts and the cannabis industry? Below are 10 things to watch for in the new year.
1. More states will likely legalize cannabis for adult use
2018 is an election year, and at least one state is expected to vote on cannabis legalization. The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 360,000 signatures in an effort to place adult-use legalization on the 2018 ballot. 70% of the signatures will need to be valid if the initiative is to be put in front of Michigan voters in November 2018.
If approved by Michigan voters, Michigan’s legalization initiative language, would:
- Legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis while not at an adult’s* residence, with up to 15 grams of that being concentrates
- Legalize possession of up to 10 ounces of cannabis at an adult’s residence, plus any cannabis that was legally cultivated at the residence
- Legalize the cultivation of up to 12 cannabis plants per each adult’s residence address
- Create a taxed and regulated system for adult-use cannabis sales
It’s quite likely that 2018 could see cannabis reform history made with the first-ever legalization of adult-use cannabis via legislative action. Vermont became the first state to see its legislature approve adult-use legalization via legislative action in 2017, however, the measure was vetoed by Vermont’s Governor.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott recently stated that he felt ‘comfortable’ with plans to legalize cannabis in early 2018. Such a move is far from guaranteed, but with strong support in Vermont’s Legislature and a Governor who now feels better about cannabis legalization in his state, it’s definitely something to watch for next year.
New Jersey is another state that appears to have a great chance of legalizing cannabis via legislative action in 2018. New Jersey’s outgoing Governor Chris Christie is one of the biggest cannabis opponents in the nation and has made it no secret that he would veto any cannabis legalization bill that came across his desk. Fortunately for the residents of New Jersey, there is a new Governor coming into office soon, and he strongly supports cannabis legalization. Incoming New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made cannabis legalization a key part of his campaign leading up to his election victory and stated in his victory speech that he wants to see cannabis legalized in New Jersey ‘within 100 days of taking office.’
Whether or not New Jersey will actually pass a legalization bill within 100 days of Phil Murphy taking office is tough to say for sure, but it is a fairly safe bet that New Jersey will legalize cannabis by the end of 2018. What New Jersey’s legalization model would look like is not clear at this time, which is also true with the state of Vermont. Cannabis supporters will have to wait and see if/when either or both states approve a legalization bill.
2. More states will likely legalize cannabis for medical use
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 29 states have legalized cannabis for medical use. Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico have also legalized medical cannabis. Some of those states have operating medical cannabis industries and others are in the rulemaking or implementation phase.
Seventeen other states have passed cannabidiol-specific (CBD) medical cannabis measures, but those are not included in the NCSL’s tally of medical cannabis states because CBD-specific laws are oftentimes merely symbolic. Only Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, and South Dakota prohibit all forms of medical cannabis.
One state has already qualified for a 2018 vote on medical cannabis. Oklahoma turned in enough valid signatures in 2016 to make a ballot, but not the 2016 ballot. The exact date on which Oklahoma voters will vote on medical cannabis is still undecided, but a vote will absolutely occur in 2018. Oklahoma’s Governor is currently mulling whether to place the initiative on the June 2018 primary ballot, or the 2018 general election ballot in November.
Utah is a state that has already legalized cannabis in CBD-only form. Utah was the first state to pass a CBD-specific measure (2014). A signature gathering effort, led by the Utah Patients Coalition, has been ongoing since June 2017. The effort has until April 15, 2018 to gather at least 113,143 valid signatures in order for the comprehensive medical cannabis initiative to be placed on the November 2018 ballot. The signature-gathering effort is well funded and is expected to be successful. A recent poll shows 73% support for medical cannabis legalization in Utah.
Multiple efforts have been underway in Missouri to put medical cannabis on the ballot in 2018. Missouri was very close to placing medical cannabis on the 2016 ballot, however, the campaign fell short by just 23 signatures. That endeavor, led by New Approach Missouri, is back for a 2018 effort. As of October 21st, New Approach Missouri was on pace to reach its goal of collecting roughly 265,000 signatures.
A second medical cannabis initiative in Missouri has stated that it has already gathered over 150,000 signatures, and if so, appears to be on its way to making the 2018 ballot. A third medical cannabis initiative is also gathering signatures in Missouri with the goal of making the 2018 ballot. It is unclear how many initiatives will be on the ballot in Missouri, but at least one of them is likely to be successful in doing so if not all three.
3. Support for cannabis nationwide will likely continue to increase
Gallup has been asking adults in the United States the following question since 1969 as part of its annual poll:
“Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”
The results from the original poll conducted in 1969 were depressing. Just 12% of poll participants answered ‘yes’ to the poll question. From the late 1980’s into the mid-2000’s support slowly climbed. In 2006 the number of poll participants that answered ‘yes’ to the poll question was 36%.
With only a couple of exceptions, support has grown significantly year after year in the poll. Gallup’s poll this year found a record 64% of poll participants answering ‘yes’ to the poll question. One fact from the poll that particularly raised eyebrows was the jump in support among Republicans from just the year prior. For the first time in the poll’s history, a majority of Republicans answered ‘yes’ to the poll question, reflecting a 9% jump compared to the year prior.
The increased level of support for cannabis legalization has been paralleled in the last decade by the rise of the cannabis industry. The cannabis industry used to be a cottage industry and so it was easier for cannabis opponents to downplay industry successes. With the cannabis industry now operating legally at the state level in a growing number of states, the benefits of a legalized and regulated cannabis industry are undeniable.
A voter does not have to be pro-cannabis use to be pro-cannabis reform. Twelve percent of Americans self-identified as being a current cannabis consumer according to a separate Gallup poll, with 45% of poll participants stating that they had consumed cannabis at some point in their life. That’s obviously less than the 64% that support legalizing cannabis. As legalization continues to succeed and the industry continues to increase in size, support will continue to grow among demographics that have historically opposed cannabis reform.
4. Adult-use cannabis sales will begin in California and Massachusetts, more than doubling the size of the industry
Right now adult-use cannabis sales are occurring in Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada. Adult-use cannabis sales are expected to begin in California on January 1st of next year and in Massachusetts in mid-2018.
The combined population of all five states that currently allow adult-use sales is roughly 20.6 million people. The combined population of California and Massachusetts is over 46 million people. When adult-use sales begin in California and Massachusetts, the size of America’s cannabis industry is going to grow exponentially, and not just because of the size of California and Massachusetts’ combined populations.
California is the number one tourist destination in America, and as such, it will generate a considerable amount of cannabis sales from people that are visiting from prohibition states.
Massachusetts does not have nearly the population size that California does, but it is essentially going to be a cannabis industry island surrounded by a sea of prohibition states. The only other state on the entire East Coast that has legalized cannabis for adult use is the state of Maine, which shows no indication of an adult-use framework going into place any time soon due to a veto of a cannabis industry regulation bill by its Governor this year. Even when Maine begins allowing the selling of cannabis for adult use, it will not have a significant impact on Massachusetts’ market.
Boston is going to be a top destination for cannabis tourism, with people flooding in from surrounding states and beyond to make legal cannabis purchases. California and Massachusetts have more than twice the population as Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada, but their combined cannabis industry market sizes are going to more than double the size of the current adult-use market.
5. Colorado’s cannabis industry growth will start to level out
Colorado has the distinction of being the first state in America to legalize cannabis, beating out Washington State by a couple of hours. Not surprisingly, Colorado is also the first state to allow sales of cannabis for adult use. Adult-use sales began in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Washington did not start adult-use cannabis sales until July 2014.
A substantial reason why Colorado was able to begin sales sooner than Washington State is that whereas Colorado already had a regulated system in place for its medical cannabis industry, Washington did not. Having the framework already in place for medical cannabis sales gave Colorado a big edge in getting its adult-use industry off the ground faster.
Since 2014, both states have sold a tremendous amount of cannabis, but Colorado is still looked at by many as the national leader for adult-use cannabis. Colorado’s industry has generated a tremendous amount of revenue for the state of Colorado via taxes and fees. Below is a year-by-year breakdown:
- 2014 – $67,594,323
- 2015 – $130,411,173
- 2016 – $193,604,810
- 2017 (Jan-Oct) – $205,080,035
If current trends persist in November and December of this year, Colorado will finish out 2017 with roughly 246 million dollars in taxes and fees generated. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that the rate of state revenue growth in Colorado is slowing down and at some point, it will level out. When that becomes the case there will be year-to-year fluctuations going forward, but exponential growth will cease to occur. This will be a mathematical trend that will occur in every state that legalizes cannabis and ramps up its legal cannabis industry until it reaches capacity.
That’s not to say that Colorado’s industry is hurting. Colorado’s industry is very strong by every measure. However, exponential growth is unsustainable in any state and any industry, and eventually, Colorado’s cannabis industry will hit its ceiling. 2018 could be the first year that we see this occur in Colorado, especially with California and Massachusetts coming onboard with adult-use cannabis sales.
Colorado’s industry may be leveling out, but it is still a glowing example of how cannabis can be legalized and a regulated industry can be implemented with no major issues. Other states will continue to look to Colorado as a standard to emulate, and Colorado will continue to generate enormous sums of cannabis taxes and fees that help fund many state programs.
6. FDA approval of Epidiolex
In late 2017 GW Pharmaceuticals (based in London) submitted an application with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval for a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a medicine designed as a treatment for seizures associated with two Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (two types of epilepsy).
Unlike Marinol, which is a synthetic cannabis-type medicine, Epidiolex is plant derived. Marinol received approval from the FDA and is currently scheduled as a Schedule III substance. If Epidiolex receives approval from the FDA, it could be on sale across America by the end of 2018. An answer as to whether GW Pharmaceutical’s application was approved or denied is expected sometime in mid-2018..
An approval by the FDA for Epidiolex would have a major impact on the emerging cannabis industry as well as future reform efforts. As previously stated in this article, a number of states have approved CBD-only laws. A big argument against such laws is that they do not help people that need to use CBD, in that they often do not provide legal ways to obtain CBD products. That would obviously change with an approval for Epidiolex.
Cannabis supporters could (and should) certainly argue that medical cannabis programs should provide protection and safe access to the entire cannabis plant and its derivatives. However, it will be a harder sell to lawmakers and voters that are hesitant to embrace more comprehensive medical cannabis reform.
Makers of non-pharmaceutical CBD products will have to compete on an uneven playing field if/when Epidiolex is approved. Whereas non-pharmaceutical companies cannot export their products across state lines, GW Pharmaceuticals will be able to sell Epidiolex in pharmacies across America. Also, doctors will be encouraged to promote Epidiolex to patients during doctor visits, which is something that rarely occurs for non-pharmaceutical cannabis products.
GW Pharmaceuticals would be prevented from promoting Epidiolex for any other conditions other than Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, but clinical trials are underway to test Epidiolex on other conditions. CBD has been found to treat all types of conditions from traumatic brain injuries to nausea.
It’s quite possible that Epidiolex could be prescribed for a number of conditions in the near future. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Epidiolex if approved, could become a ‘go to’ cannabis product across America, which would obviously have a huge impact on the cannabis industry.
7. The cannabis industry will become more crowded
For a long time, the cannabis industry operated in grey areas of the law. As such, one of the main ingredients for success was simply being willing to take the risk of starting a cannabis company. Demand for cannabis has always been strong, but for a number of years, supply was limited. Those days are gone in legal states.
The level of competition in the cannabis industry is now at a fevered pitch, and will only continue to increase in the future. Oregon is the top example when it comes to the increased level of competition in the cannabis industry. Oregon does not have residency requirements for cannabis business license approval and does not have a cap on the number of licenses issued (although there are industry bans in some parts of Oregon).
As of December 4, 2017, Oregon had received 3,178 applications for cannabis business licenses. 1,814 of those were for cannabis producer licenses. 733 of the applications were for dispensary licenses. More and more people are jumping into the cannabis industry every day, which is reflected in every Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) license statistical update, as the OLCC also regulates Oregon’s cannabis industry.
Other legal states have a higher barrier to entry than Oregon does and have various policies in place that help limit the number of licenses that are issued. But California, which is going to be the biggest state for the cannabis industry by far, will be like Oregon in that it will not have a cap on licenses. Competition is going to be fierce in California as a result. Many pundits are already predicting an oversaturation of supply in California.
Even in states that do have more stringent cannabis industry license approval criteria, competition is still very strong for the limited number of licenses that are up for grabs. In states that have a limited number of licenses, or plan to if/when cannabis becomes legal, application fees are very costly and with no guarantee of winning one or more licenses.
The cannabis industry is the fastest growing, sexiest industry on the planet right now so it should be no surprise that so many people want in on the action. As with all industries, there will come a point in the cannabis industry where competition becomes so strong that entrepreneurs get pushed out of the industry because they can’t compete.
But, unlike many other industries that have grown at an exponential rate, the cannabis industry does not appear to be ‘on a bubble.’ With only five states allowing adult-use sales right now, the industry has a tremendous amount of room left to grow in size. Opportunities for entrepreneurs will be abundant throughout 2018 and beyond.
8. Canada will legalize cannabis, and Canadian companies will continue their head start in the international cannabis market
Ever since Justin Trudeau was installed as Prime Minister of Canada, there has been a push towards cannabis legalization. Trudeau campaigned on a platform that included cannabis legalization, and a goal date of July 1, 2018 was set for Canada to end cannabis prohibition. A legalization bill has already been passed by Canada’s House of Commons late November 2017.
The Senate is expected to pass legalization as well, but nothing is guaranteed. With that said, it would be a dramatic development if legalization stalled in Canada’s Senate given the way legalization has been progressing with our Northern neighbor. Canada’s provinces will each regulate cannabis in their own way with some similarities and overlap.
Unlike the United States, Canada has a national medical cannabis industry already in place. The largest cannabis companies in Canada dwarf the largest cannabis companies in America, and with legalization on the horizon, large Canadian companies will likely continue to grow in size.
Canadian companies are not only beating American companies at the national level, they are also gaining a huge head start on the international market. Canadian cannabis companies now export products to Australia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Malta, and New Zealand. Plans are also underway for exports to begin in South Africa in the near future.
The combination of a nationally regulated industry and the ability to legally export cannabis products give Canadian companies a distinct advantage over companies in the United States. Canadian companies are not just focused on business at home and on other continents. They are also jumping into the United States market, which creates further competition in the American market. Expect this to continue throughout 2018.
9. The cannabis consumer experience will continue to evolve
It wasn’t that long ago that being able to visit a dispensary to purchase cannabis was considered revolutionary. The cannabis consumer experience has continued to evolve throughout this decade, and 2018 should be a particularly ripe year for a cannabis purchasing experience revolution.
Cannabis tourism is not a new phenomenon, but it has certainly become more of a ‘thing’ as more states have rolled out legal adult-use cannabis sales and cannabis-friendly lodging options have increased via companies like Airbnb. This will continue throughout 2018. California is the top tourist destination in America, and with adult-use sales beginning in early 2018, more tourists are going to be planning their vacations around the legal cannabis experience.
Just as cannabis tourism is set to ramp up in 2018 in America, so too will cannabis delivery services increase in 2018. Cannabis deliveries have existed for several years now in various legal states, but as time goes by it will become a very common thing in states that allow legal cannabis sales. Just as people regularly get pizza and Amazon orders delivered to their homes because of the convenience factor, the same will be true for cannabis.
This year, the cannabis industry witnessed the opening of the first cannabis drive-thru in America. A dispensary named Tumbleweed opened the country’s first drive-thru dispensary in Parachute, Colorado in April of 2017. The drive-thru building was previously a carwash, which is an ideal location due to legal requirements of cannabis transactions taking place out of public view. Other drive-thru locations have popped up in Colorado and Nevada, and that is something that we will likely see more of in 2018.
Social cannabis consumption is something that is likely to spread in 2018. Denver became the first city in America to pass a measure legalizing social cannabis consumption in 2016. The law was implemented in 2017, and the City of Denver is now accepting applications for venues that wish to allow on-site cannabis consumption. Other parts of Colorado along with California, Alaska, and Oregon are considering similar reform measures, with a good chance of passage occurring in 2018.
Massachusetts is the only state so far to adopt a regulatory framework for social use. At the end of 2017 the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission voted unanimously to approve rules that would allow on-site cannabis consumption at venues such as ‘cannabis cafes’ and spas. Social-use regulations in Massachusetts have to be finalized by mid-March (2018), with cannabis businesses expected to open in Massachusetts in July 2018.
10. The demand for craft cannabis industry will continue to increase in 2018
The cannabis industry was a cottage industry for a number of decades, as stated previously in this article. The transition to a robust regulated cannabis industry has been tough for many cannabis industry veterans, with some being able to navigate the turbulent waters better than others. With enormous sums of investment dollars flooding the industry, it is becoming increasingly difficult for small cannabis companies to operate.
But, that’s not to say that there is no demand for quality cannabis products produced by smaller companies, often referred to as ‘craft cannabis.’ The term ‘craft’ has been applied to many products throughout the years. The craft beer industry is the most akin to the craft cannabis industry.
It will be harder to measure the size of the craft cannabis industry compared to the craft beer industry because the definition of what constitutes craft cannabis is much less concrete than it is in the alcohol industry. The alcohol industry defines craft breweries based on brewery size, the percentage of ownership by actual brewers, and the volume of product produced. Similar standards have not been adopted by the cannabis community so far, but they will eventually, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it happen in 2018.
Sourced from: https://www.seedtosaleshow.com
By Staff The Canadian Press
MONTREAL – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “next summer,” and not July 1, is the date cannabis will become legal across the country.
Excerpts of an interview Trudeau gave the TVA network in Quebec were broadcast Tuesday, with the full interview to be shown Wednesday night.
READ MORE: Canadians could pay at least $1 per gram in weed tax, plus GST: feds
Trudeau shook his head when interviewer Pierre Bruneau asked him why he was so obsessed with July 1 as the date for the cannabis legislation to become law.
The prime minister said it “would not be July 1,” but that it would be “for next summer.”
“The date will not be July 1, I can assure you of that,” Trudeau said. “I don’t know where that date came from.”
Several provinces have asked the federal government to delay passing the legislation in order to give them more time to prepare.
A statement issued by the Health Department last month said, “as previously indicated, the government of Canada intends to bring the proposed Cannabis Act into force no later than July 2018.”
Until last month, he was the top international anti-drug official in the U.S. Now he says it is likely that the federal government will have to reclassify marijuana as more states enact legalization.
“Let the experiment advance. Consider its positive and negative effects,” William Brownfield, who resigned only weeks ago as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said in a new interview.
“Let’s see how many other states advance in this direction because we are a democracy and for the moment we do not have a consensus position. In California, the most populous state, they voted for legalization, but in Texas, the second most populous state, they have not even wanted to consider it. When the conclusions are drawn, it is likely that substances may be reclassified.”
That’s a remarkable statement coming from someone who was in charge of representing the U.S.’s position in the global drug war for more than six years, as Brownfield was until a few weeks ago.
But even as he acknowledges it may soon be time for the government to remove marijuana from Schedule I — the most restrictive category in federal law, which is supposed to be reserved for substances with a high potential abuse and no medical value — don’t mistake Brownfield for an anti-prohibition activist.
“I am not a fan of legalization,” he said in the new interview with Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.
Brownfield did acknowledge, however, that legalization is an “experiment that allows us to observe and learn.”
Even while citing traffic accidents and emergency room visits allegedly associated with cannabis, and arguing that local governments’ desire to generate revenue from legal marijuana sales “doesn’t seem like anything healthy,” he clarifies that he’s “not saying that [legalization] is a failure.”
“But,” he says, “I insist that we must be able to adjust policies to ensure that they do the least possible harm.”
Brownfield, who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Venezuela and Chile during the Bush administration, made headlines in recent years by shepherding along a new U.S. posture on drugs under President Obama. While the country historically pressured other nations into maintaining a prohibition approach, that became more difficult once U.S. states started legalizing marijuana.
“How could I, a representative of the government of the United States of America, be intolerant of a government that permits any experimentation with legalization of marijuana if two of the 50 states of the United States of America have chosen to walk down that road?” Brownfield asked in 2014, when Colorado and Washington were the only states to have ended prohibition. That number has since quadrupled.
Also in the new interview, Brownfield sharply criticized comments his former boss, President Trump, made about Colombia’s role in the war on drugs.
Trump threatened to “decertify” the country as a partner in drug policy last month, a move that could have harsh consequences for fiscal aid and trade between the two nations.
To decertify Colombia would have been “a fundamental error, counterproductive, false, and very stupid,” Brownfield said, adding that it would be “nonsense, an insult, an insult to the hundreds of Colombians who have given their lives” in the drug war.
All Brownfield quotes in this story were automatically translated by Google and then cleaned up with the help of a few fluent Spanish speakers.
Published 3 weeks ago on October 24, 2017 By Tom Angell
Photo courtesy of M a n u e l
Sourced from: marijuanamoment.net
The budding marijuana industry is spurring new research around cannabis that will have long-term effects on a variety of fields, from farming to new medicine, as companies look for solid scientific data on the substance.
With the looming legalization of recreational pot next summer, and the expansion of licensed medical marijuana producers, scientists at the University of Guelph say more organizations are turning to researchers for help growing better plants.
The Ontario university has a long horticultural research history and some of its staff and students are already deep into the study of medicinal marijuana.
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On Friday, a team of two environmental science professors and a graduate student published a research paper — one they called the first of its kind and the first of many to come — about optimizing the growth of medicinal cannabis indoors.
The study looked at the rate of organic fertilizer in soilless products holding cannabis before it flowered and the optimization of tetrahydrocannabinol — the primary psychoactive part of cannabis — and cannabidiol, which has been touted as a potential treatment for certain forms of epilepsy.
“There is hardly any scientific information on how to produce these plants and now there is so much interest in this area,” said Youbin Zheng, who led the study funded by a licensed medical marijuana producer as well the federal government.
Words such as “OG kush” and “grizzly” — types of marijuana strains — have now appeared in a scientific journal, this time in HortScience, and there’s more to come.
Zheng and fellow professor Mike Dixon have a series of studies in the pipeline that examine the effects of irrigation, lighting, fertilization and soilless technology on cannabis growth as they try to bring scientific rigour to marijuana research.
Building on anecdotal evidence
Dixon is blunt when reflecting on the current cannabis research landscape.
“Much of the work now is largely based on anecdotal bulls–t from people who think they have it all figured out and did all their research in their basements,” he said.
The idea now, he notes, is to take the medicinal marijuana world from the backwoods to pharmaceutical-grade production.
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Dixon has been part of pioneering research into the growth of plants in space and is using that knowledge and technology to help grow better medicinal marijuana. He plans to leverage the windfall of research money coming in from cannabis companies for his work.
“I’m shamelessly taking advantage of the cannabis industry sector’s investment,” he said.
“The bottom line is we’re developing technologies that will allow Canadians to exploit production systems in harsh environments.”
Marijuana production companies — there are more than 60 approved by Health Canada now — need a “huge number of trained scientists,” Zheng noted.
Then there are the potential medical applications associated with marijuana — there are more than 150 compounds found in cannabis that need to be explored, Dixon said.
Another big area is vertical farming — where crops are grown in stacks in vast warehouses with artificial lighting, either in solution or with soilless products — that can allow cold-climate countries to grow food year round, Dixon said.
The results of research on marijuana — driven by interest from the cannabis industry — could be applied to other areas, he explained.
“The funding isn’t coming from food, which has the lowest possible margin as a commodity, but pharmaceuticals,” Dixon said.
“But we can use this research to develop life-support technology, as in food, which can become an economic engine for a country like Canada that will carry us for the next 300 years.”
The dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, at the University of Guelph said the cannabis industry is also expected to help draw new students to the school’s programs.
“One of our greatest challenges is recruiting people into our programs because people typically don’t understand the fact that agriculture and food are high-tech, high-growth sectors and demand an awful lot of people for really interesting careers,” said Rene Van Acker.
“The cannabis industry is doing us a favour by drawing a lot of attention to the sector and drawing attention to the fact it is a high-skill, high-tech area.”
© The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press
Onerous regulations appear to be negatively impacting the cannabis business growth in Canada.
Specifically, current organizational structures may be too strict to allow production to meet demand for cannabis oils and extracts. While the number of applications for cannabis licensing continues to climb, many entrepreneurs are skipping the step of extraction, presumably in a move to limit potential liabilities by keeping initial operations to the basics of production and distribution.
Tyler Nvquvest of Business Vancouver cited a recent Health Canada report which shows a growth in the cannabis oil sector of more than 871% between April 2016 and March 2017, and pointed out the overall lack of cannabis oil production licenses – only 18 of the 51 licenses granted by Canadian authorities include a plan to produce and sell oil:
“The regulatory system is not structured to solely license companies exclusively focused on oil extraction, said Rosy Mondin, executive director at the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada. Oil extraction carries extra restrictions and regulations governing dosage and application.
“‘The way the system is set up is that it is a complete seed-to-sale license,’ said Mondin. ‘If you want to process oils, you are forced to cultivate [marijuana].’
“…’When you look at consumption trends in the U.S. and use [them] as predicators to Canada, the prediction is that consumption of extracted oil and oil-based products is going to increase 198,000% over the next five years,’ Mondin said.”
While Canada is currently losing out on the cannabis oil market due to regulatory hurdles, that will likely change in the near future. Over regulation and supply chain bottlenecks have temporarily plagued other marijuana markets, but the cannabis community is creative and persistent and elected officials like tax dollars. We can expect advocates and politicians to work out some common sense solutions, especially as legalization becomes more mainstream in Canada.
Keep up with the latest in Canada’s cannabis business development! Join the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, Hawaii on December 1-3, 2017, and Vancouver, British Columbia in June 24 and 25, 2018.
Author: AMBER IRIS LANGSTON- Date: OCTOBER 3, 2017
Indica vs Sativa: What are the Differences?
If you’re looking for a quick answer, cannabis Indica is more of a sedating high, while cannabis sativa is more uplifting/energizing.
Or, so we’re told.
But then you have experts like, Jeffrey Raber P.h.d, that claim the difference between indica and sativa is simply morphology, and that there is no difference in the highs.
Well, which one is it?
Do the fancy names and classifications matter?
Let’s take a look at indica vs sativa vs hybrid to find out.
What Is Indica?
Indica plants are use to growing in much harsher environments than their sativa counterparts.
Having to adapt to the cold and turbulent conditions of the kush mountain regions, indica evolved to be dense, short and stubby.
They also evolved to produce thick THC resin to help protect itself from its environment.
Indicas also naturally have high levels of CBD, making them a favorite of many looking for a pain-killing cannabis strain.
What Is Sativa?
The scraggly cousin of indica, sativa, is different from indica, not only in appearance but also in the effects it has on your body, its THC to CBD ratios, cannabinoids and terpenes.
Sativa is often paired with coffee thanks to its naturally uplifting properties.
The plants grow to be tall and lean with leaves that have a thinner face, very much unlike the typical indica marijuana leaf you see plastered all over bongs and grinders at festivals.
The Difference Between Indica and Sativa
There are two camps when it comes to the differences between indica and sativa: those who boldly claim that all indica and sativa give you a certain high and those starting to test and see if it boils down to more than just the different species of the same genus.
After all, some sativa cannabis can give you the “indica” high, and the same goes vice versa.
But we’ll dive more into this research in just a bit.
For now, let’s take a look at the differences that we know.
First named in 1785 by, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Indica was named after where the plants were collected—India.
I briefly mentioned earlier that indica evolved in the kush mountains.
More specifically, it grew wild in the areas between 30° and 50° latitudes.
This climate is susceptible to intense, cold winter and warm summers.
Sativa was named earlier than indica, 1753, and was first thought to be the only species of cannabis.
It originates from areas that are between 0° and 30° latitudes.
Namely, equatorial regions of Mexico, Colombia, Thailand and Southeast Asia.
Being subject to the harsh heat of these areas, sativa evolved to be long and lanky to conserve water.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do chemical composition tests to tell the species apart.
You can easily tell the difference between indica and sativa by their leaf shape.
Indica leaves are broad and thicker.
More akin to the prototypical marijuana leaf you see everywhere.
Sativa leaves, on the other hand, are skinny and scraggly like the rest of the plant.
You won’t have any luck using this method to identify a hybrid, though.
They can have a mix of the two or one or the other.
Sativa vs Indica High
The biggest reason we want to compare the two most important cannabis genus is to help get the kind of high or symptom relief we are looking for.
And, while the debate is still ongoing about whether it’s the species of the plant or the terpenes/cannabinoid make up of a plant that determines this, we can still look at the ways we commonly categorize the two different plants.
Cannabis indica will generally give you a more relaxed, body high.
The calm, sedating effects are ideal for when you’re looking to chill out after a long day, binge-watch Netflix or sleep.
It’s also known to enhance sensations such as sound, taste and touch.
Sativas tend to be more of a cerebral, energized high that can lead to an increase in creativity and a more psychedelic high.
This high is perfect for anyone looking to smoke early in the day without feeling like a zombie the rest of the day.
It’s also a great high for reading, writing and making art.
Just wanted to drop another disclaimer here before we look at the symptoms a particular genus can help with.
The result will vary from strain to strain, and this should just be used as a general guideline to help you in the right direction.
As a muscle relaxer
Headaches and migraines
As an energy boost
Mood disorders such as depression
Mild aches and pains
Which one has more THC?
Now, thanks to the advancement in breeding were able to achieve cannabis plants with up to 51% THC.
But what about when we just look at pure strains?
Well, one study has, and they found that, on average, indica strains tend to be significantly higher in not only THC but CBD as well.
The big flaw with this study is that it only looked at six different strains.
Leafy.com has over 720 indica strains and 1177 sativa strains as of 2017, and the number is only going to keep on growing.
We need a bigger picture and thanks to data that’s being collected by cannabis testing labs I’m sure we’ll get it.
The Differences in Growing
Where you are really able to tell the difference between indica and sativa is when you are growing them side by side.
Never will you be able to see such definitive differences.
Indica vs Sativa Buds
Indica buds are dense, and they also tend to condense themselves in clusters around the nodes.
The buds internodal gaps are almost non-existent.
Indica buds are known for being the buds with the strongest odor too.
With sativa buds, It’s pretty common to have a reddish hue when grown in warm environments and purple when grown in colder climates.
They also are far more spread out on the branches.
You can expect them to weigh less than indica after drying because they are less dense buds.
Indica strains are the best cannabis strains to grow indoors.
Commonly growing to be 3 to 6 feet tall they make the perfect plant for closets or grow tents that have a defined ceiling.
You can grow Sativa indoors, but be prepared to fight it and do some extensive plant training.
Believe it or not, sativa cannabis can grow up to 20 feet tall.
Many breeders like to mix indica into sativa strains to try and tame this height.
Flowering Time & Yield Size
Indica cannabis has a much faster flowering time than sativa coming in at between 8 to 9 weeks.
This is even faster than autoflowering plants that are usually around ten weeks.
It’s not just the fast flowering time that makes indica a favorite of many growers.
They also boast larger yields.
Sativa plants will usually flower between 12 to 14 weeks making them the longest flowering species of all.
The fact that most sativa plants take longer to grow and yields less has made breeders insert some of those traits into indica strains to get a better-growing plant while maintaining a sativa high.
And that brings us to our next topic—hybrids.
What is a Hybrid Strain?
Hybrid strains aren’t new to the cannabis scene.
As master breeders began the search for the perfect cannabis, they started to selectively pick traits from various indica and sativa strains creating hybrids of the two.
Hybrids can fall into any of three categories:
Hybrids can be the best of both worlds.
Let’s look at one of the most popular hybrid strains of all time—Blue Dream.
Blue Dream is a sativa-dominant strain forged from mixing Blueberry indica with sativa Haze.
This combination gives you a relaxed body while also giving you a light head high—creating a perfect, calm euphoria.
A hybrid strain like this can provide quick symptom relief all while avoiding the sedative side effects.
Popular Hybrid Strains
Hybrids are a lot of smokers favorite because you can blend the many effects from different cannabinoid profiles.
Here are some of the most popular hybrid strains:
Although there’s a lot of strains with no rhyme or reason to their names, a lot of indica strains take up the moniker, Kush, after the Kush Mountains from which they were born.
Here are a few of the popular Indica strains:
Sativa strains are all over the place with their names.
The only real common thread you’ll see is that a lot are named haze (I’m not sure why, if you do let me know!).
Here are a few of the most popular sativa strains:
Alaskan Thunder Fuck
What are Ruderalis?
Wait, there is a third species of cannabis?
Ruderalis is never talked about thanks to its low THC levels.
But, it’s thanks to them and breeding that we’ve made huge strides in growing cannabis.
First identified in 1924, cannabis ruderalis was discovered in southern Siberia by the botanist, Janiszewski.
While studying cannabis, he happened across these plants that showed a more weedy growth compared to other strains.
This new species was smaller than the others—hardly ever growing taller than two feet.
And it reached flowering much quicker than either indica or sativa—only 5-7 weeks after seed.
Sativa and indica lean on a photoperiod to determine when it starts flowering, while ruderalis depends solely on the maturity of the plant.
This means while you can keep an indica or sativa plant in vegetative stage indefinitely by keeping your grow lights on long cycles, ruderalis will ignore the light cycle completely and start flowering.
Master growers have taken advantage of this to create autoflowering seeds that dramatically reduce the time it takes to harvest a particular strain.
More weed in less time is never a bad thing.
It’s not just the flowering time breeders use ruderalis for.
They are hardy and shorter than the other species, so they are often used to help curb the crazy heights of sativa.
But, that’s not all ruderalis is good for.
While they may be low in THC, they make up for it in CBD.
Some medical cannabis users grow ruderalis for the CBD, and some breeders use this genetic trait to create CBD heavy strains.
When it comes to indica vs sativa a lot is still unknown.
We need more studies done on the different effects of the two, so we can provide a better experience for recreational users and better medical care for medical users.
Hopefully, with states legalizing marijuana, we will start to see real progress made that will tell us if it’s the strains or the cannabinoids and terpenes that we need to focus our attention on to make the best cannabis we can.
Did I miss any differences between indica and sativa?
Can you tell the difference in highs?
If so, let me know in the comments below!
Sourced from www.thcoverdose.com
‘We are going to see more of that’: Insurer must cover man’s medical marijuana, human rights board says
Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press | February 3, 2017 10:01 AM ET
A human rights board has determined a Nova Scotia man’s prescribed medical marijuana must be covered by his employee insurance plan, a ruling that advocates say will likely have impact nationwide.
Gordon “Wayne” Skinner, of Head of Chezzetcook, suffers from chronic pain following an on-the-job motor vehicle accident, and argued that he faced discrimination when he was denied coverage.
In a decision Thursday, inquiry board chair Benjamin Perryman concluded that since medical marijuana requires a prescription by law, it doesn’t fall within the exclusions of Skinner’s insurance plan.
Perryman ruled the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan contravened the province’s Human Rights Act, and must now cover his medical marijuana expenses “up to and including the full amount of his most recent prescription.”
“Denial of his request for coverage of medical marijuana … amounts to a prima facie case of discrimination,” the ruling states. “The discrimination was non-direct and unintentional.”
Deepak Anand, executive director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association, said the ruling is significant and could see a number of people apply for coverage through their provincial human rights commissions.
“If they could start to use this avenue to try to get their employers or insurance providers to start covering it, I think that’s going to be significant and we are going to see more of that,” said Anand.
Anand said he knew of one other instance where an insurance company agreed to cover medical marijuana — for University of Waterloo student Jonathan Zaid in 2015.
In the Nova Scotia decision, Perryman said the marijuana was medically necessary for Skinner.
“Since the medical marijuana in this case was prescribed pain management, it seems there is prima facie support for its medical necessity, owing to the fact that conventional prescription pain management drugs are normally eligible for coverage.”
Anand said the reasoning is “significant on its own” because many private and public insurers don’t recognize cannabis and marijuana as a medicine.
I’m elated, I’m still in shock it’s really still sinking in to be honest with you
“They (the inquiry board) are finally recognizing that prescription has some value, which so far the Canadian Medical Association and others have decided not to look at,” he said.
The ruling states the medical marijuana must be purchased from a producer licensed by Health Canada or a person legally authorized to produce for Skinner under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. The claim must also be supported by an official receipt.
Skinner, a former elevator mechanic with ThyssenKrupp Elevator Canada has been unable to work since the August 2010 accident.
“I’m elated, I’m still in shock it’s really still sinking in to be honest with you,” Skinner said in a telephone interview from his home outside Halifax.
He argued his own case before the board last October after being denied coverage three times, and said he hoped the inquiry board’s ruling would set a precedent.
“Hopefully this will help other people in similar situations and eliminate the fight that myself and my family have had to endure and the hardship that this has resulted in.”
Perryman found that Skinner’s chronic pain has been under-managed as a result of the denial of coverage, resulting in “profoundly negative effects on the complainant and his family.”
He also found that the plan’s justification for non-coverage was “wholly inadequate.”
“There was no evidence presented to suggest that premiums would have to be increased or that the financial viability of the plan would be threatened,” he wrote.
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association wouldn’t comment on Skinner’s case, but said in general it’s up to employers to decide if they want to cover medical marijuana under their group medical plan.
“We do not anticipate any impact on group benefit plans as each plan is unique, but will be reviewing the ruling,” the association said in an email.
For his part, Skinner said the human rights ruling has lifted a large weight from his shoulders.
“Just to have that security of knowing that these medications that are absolutely necessary for me to have any functionality are going to be provided for, just alleviates so much stress and hardship on my family,” he said.