This week on Stratcann, we had stories on overall sales growth (albeit slowing) in the cannabis market, the Ontario regulator getting hip with the times and reconsidering the window covering rule, as well as data on new license applications and a look at a cannabis festival in Eastern BC
While I have a hard time believing it’s ever been hard to get your hands on some cannabis in Whistler, BC, you’ll soon be able to do so completely legally: the ski town has finally approved applications for four stores, five years after legalization. (There are still some council members unhappy about it: “Deep in my heart, I could care less if there’s a weed store in Whistler,” said lead curmudgeon Councillor Ralph Forsyth.)
MJBiz reports that a group of Fire & Flower shareholders is opposing a proposed agreement between the cannabis retailer and its largest shareholder, an affiliate of convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard.
Organigram is consolidating its shares in an effort to stay listed on the Nasdaq. The New Brunswick producer’s share price has fallen below the minimum $1 price required to be on the Nasdaq, leading to its announcement of a 4-to-1 consolidation. They’re not the only big company to do this—both Aurora and Hexo recently did the same.
TerrAscend, a Canadian LP with operations in several US states, announced it has received conditional approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange to list its common shares.
Cannabis retail sales in Canada in April increased by just over one percent from the previous month to $411.7 million. Sales spiked to their highest level yet in December to $425.9 million, before an expected post-holiday decline in January and February, before climbing again in March and April.
A Statistics Canada survey suggests that the risks of cannabis addiction may be higher for young men and people with anxiety. The report found that overall, around 5 percent of people are at risk for cannabis “addiction,” and the risk is elevated for particular groups (though it’s also worth noting here that many people have issues with the application of the term addiction to cannabis dependency).
There’s been some industry reaction to a story we flagged last week where Ottawa Public Health recommended graphic warning labels on cannabis. CTV spoke to Spiritleaf Crossroads franchisee Richard Dufour, who was critical of the idea, pointing out that in most circumstances, the sale is already done by the time the customer would see the warnings anyways.
More losses at Canopy Growth. The company reported a $648-million Q4 loss this week. On its earnings call the company also said that it is continuing to make management and staffing changes related to its troubled BioSteel sports drink business.
April’s growth in sales was driven mostly by increased sales in Ontario and British Columbia and to a lesser degree, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Other provinces and territories saw either a decline in sales or the same as sales in March.
Cova Software announced a new Point of Sale platform for Canadian cannabis retailers.
Nathan Mison continues his mission to push for cannabis tourism in Edmonton, calling for Alberta festivals to officially designate cannabis consumption areas.
Internationally, one Canadian cannabis beverage company has its eyes on the Mexican CBD market. Hopes of legalization in Mexico have mostly faded, but Xebra Brands’ exec Rodrigo Gallardo spoke with Bloomberg this week about the long-term potential he sees in Mexico. “Everyone talks about Colombia or Costa Rica—but Mexico is the crown jewel,” he said. “We have more land than any of those countries and, more importantly, we share a border with the world’s largest consumer.”
In law enforcement news
Montreal police have arrested a suspect they allege is the head of a network that distributes cannabis vaping products outside Montreal, largely to teenaged customers. Police say the products were sold on social media. Police also seized 17,000 vapes, wax, and dried cannabis, along with cash and other goods.
TMZ reported that Afroman was stopped at the US Border with a small amount of cannabis oil after returning from Canada. He was issued a $500 fine.