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Canada: Illicit pot market still robust as prices beat legal sources

The difference between cannabis prices on the illicit and legal markets in the fourth quarter of last year widened slightly from the prior three-month period, according to new figures from Statistics Canada published Thursday.

The average price of cannabis in the illicit market during the fourth quarter of 2019 was $5.73 per gram, slightly higher than the $5.65 reported in the prior quarter but below the $6.44 mark tallied in the year-earlier period, data from StatsCan showed in its quarterly release of crowdsourced pricing information.

The average price of legal cannabis purchased by Canadians in the fourth quarter was $10.30, edging higher from the $10.12 observed in the prior quarter and up from the $9.69 in the fourth quarter of 2018, the data showed.


Toronto shelled out more than $350,000 to put concrete blocks in front of illegal dispensaries

It might be time to build a few bridges instead of walls.

Toronto’s efforts to shut down illegal cannabis dispensaries last summer by placing giant concrete slabs in front of the doors reportedly cost the city more than $350,000.

Alex Burke, Toronto’s senior communications advisor, told the Toronto Star that the $361,459.49 bill included the cost of labour to install (and reinstall after they were removed) the concrete slabs, security costs and the engineering tab. The funds did not come from the city’s budget, Burke said.


9 ways Canadians are getting busted for cannabis post-legalization

When recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018, some imagined the country would become a utopia for weed-lovers: Canadians could be sparking up doobs with impunity, drunk — or stoned — on the fact that they can do whatever they liked with the once-prohibited plant.

Not exactly. The Cannabis Act didn’t legalize cannabis in all its forms; it changed the way the plant was regulated. Thus, there are still a significant number of cannabis laws and bylaws that, when it comes to enforcement, range from largely frowned-upon by police to straight-up illegal – each with its own set of potential consequences.


Five Things To Watch in Cannabis In 2020

2019 was a hard year for cannabis stocks. As the industry struggled to start showing profitability, companies tried their best to strengthen their presence in the U.S. with a great wave of consolidation through M&A.

Although the impressive market potential of cannabis remains undisputed, hurdles along the way have caused many cannabis investors to become disenchanted with the industry and its short-term yields. 

In 2020, expect many of those same issues to continue -- but the new year could also bring new opportunities that could turn the tables for some sectors in the industry.


B.C. cities that veto retail weed creating vast cannabis deserts

More than 1.5 million British Columbians in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have no local retail access to recreational cannabis more than a year after weed was legalized for sale.

“In B.C., municipalities have been given veto power over the rights that the federal government has given to Canadians, the right to regulated, dignified access to cannabis,” said Jeremy Jacob, president of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers.

Municipalities must support any application for a cannabis retail store, before the province will consider granting a licence.

About 174 cannabis retail stores are concentrated on Vancouver Island, the southern Interior and Vancouver.


Veterans Affairs Canada mulls adding disposable vape pens to reimbursement program

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is mulling putting disposable cannabis vape pens on the list of drugs and devices that qualify for a reimbursement program.

The department has categorized vaporizers as medical devices for about five years. Veterans, as well as retired RCMP officers, may be reimbursed up to $300 for their purchase of a vape to be used with doctor-prescribed medical cannabis.


Saskatoon woman appealing after court says province was right not to subsidize her medicinal cannabis

A Saskatoon woman who is fighting to have the Government of Saskatchewan subsidize her medicinal cannabis says she hopes to take her battle to the province’s highest court.

Alicia Yashcheshen, who consumes medicinal cannabis to treat her Crohn’s disease and chronic pain, receives social assistance through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services. In 2018, she applied for special food status coverage to cover her medicinal cannabis. According to court documents, the ministry rejected the application, saying that cannabis is a drug, not a food item.


Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.

Some of Canada's biggest cannabis producers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the United States after investors were hit with steep financial losses in the stock market.

At least nine U.S. law firms are pursuing cases against Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. in American courts.

Although the allegations vary, each pot producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses. When those problems became publicly known, the lawsuits claim, share prices plunged and investors were stuck with losses.

"[Investors] are mad; they were taken by surprise," said Reed Kathrein, a lawyer at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which is pursuing claims against all three producers.


Did cannabis legalization kill B.C. bud?

There was a time when a pound of “B.C. bud” — high-quality cannabis grown in British Columbia — could go for USD$3000, hustled across the border by backpack-toting smugglers and delivered into the hands of “ganjapreneurs.” To some, these were the good ol’ days — before 9/11 changed border security; before the police caught on, and before legalization and corporate entities got into the game.

Those days are long gone, but the legacy of B.C. bud has endured. So much so that in December, B.C. Premier John Horgan lamented that the culture, created underground, had been negatively impacted by legalization.


Athletes Will Use CBD This Olympics And Here’s Why

Thanks to changes in WADA policies, Olympic athletes can use CBD legally for the first time.

A new champion will be crowned when the 2020 Summer Olympics debut in Tokyo. We’re not talking gold medals or world records, though. Instead, a new presence will be felt for the first time legally at the Olympics—cannabidiol, or CBD.

The World Anti-Doping Agency, an organization that monitors and fights against the use of drugs in the Olympics, announced in 2018 that CBD had been removed from its list of banned substances. Since the organization’s formation in 1999, all cannabinoids like CBD and THC had been banned for all Olympic athletes. The 2020 Olympics represents the first games in which athletes can legally use CBD without fear of consequence.


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