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Cannabis, liquor businesses see less red tape due to COVID-19

While social programs have expanded immensely in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, government authorities have also relaxed many regulations that were once deemed near-impossible to change — such as when and where alcohol can be sold, or who is allowed to deliver cannabis to you.

From health-care licensing to food labelling, deregulation has become one of the responses to try and expedite otherwise lengthier approval processes during a health crisis. 

But multiple levels of government will, presumably, have to decide which changes should stick in the post COVID-world.


This Alberta scientist received worldwide attention for his cannabis and COVID-19 study. But getting funding and a clinical trial going in Canada remains a massive challenge

Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, a biological scientist and professor at the University of Lethbridge, wasn’t expecting his phone to ring this much. 

In April, he and a team of researchers and biologists published preclinical research in PrePrints, a multidisciplinary publishing platform, that demonstrated certain cultivars (strains of cannabis) may reduce the rate of entry of COVID-19 into human cells. 

But despite the worldwide interest the research garnered, Kovalchuk says it has been difficult to move the study forward in Canada, where a lack of funding and limited interest from the federal government, on top of working through a global pandemic, has created a challenging environment.


Edmonton police are focused on shutting down illegal weed websites. Will their strategy work?

“Politics, convenience and product.” These are the three reasons long-time cannabis consumer Andrew gives for using the illicit market rather than legal stores.

It’s been more than 18 months since Canada legalized weed, but the 54-year-old Nova Scotian prefers to buy from an illicit cannabis website. “I’ve simply been told by people that they’re not happy with the product or the price. So I’m just not going to try,” he says.


Edmonton library will go to court over distance between cannabis stores and branches

The Edmonton Public Library is challenging three decisions by the city's development appeal board allowing cannabis stores to open within 200 metres of its branches.

The Court of Appeal of Alberta has granted the city's library board leave to appeal decisions made by Edmonton's development appeal board.

The city's bylaws require a distance of at least 200 metres between a cannabis retail store and a public library.

The development appeal board has the authority to grant an exemption to that requirement under the Municipal Government Act


Researchers Say Newly Developed Cannabis Strains May Prevent COVID-19 Infections

Canadian scientists think they may have found a new way to prevent and slow COVID-19 with cannabis. But it’s not just any cannabis. Researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta believe that they have developed particular strains of the plant that work to keep coronavirus from binding to cells and causing illness.

In a not yet peer-reviewed paper published in Preprints, the authors wrote, “The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD C. sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy.”


Pandemic smokes out innovation, frustrations among cannabis retailers

Browsing for bud online and remotely selecting a buzz has become a part of the physical distancing routine among private cannabis retailers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led some cannabis merchants to go the more limited-contact, express-service model, among other adaptations to a pandemic-hit province that has deemed them an essential service.

Retailers like NewLeaf Cannabis allow customers to choose their purchase online and place an order before heading to their closest outlet for pickup and pay.

NewLeaf also has tips for buyers.

“When paying, use tap for debit and credit cards versus cash and don’t share joints, pipes or bongs,” advises the company.


Cannabis shows promise blocking coronavirus infection: Alberta researcher

Cannabis extracts are showing potential in making people more resistant to the novel coronavirus, says an Alberta researcher leading a study.

After sifting through 400 cannabis strains, researchers at the University of Lethbridge are concentrating on about a dozen that show promising results in ensuring less fertile ground for the potentially lethal virus to take root, said biological scientist Dr. Igor Kovalchuk.

“A number of them have reduced the number of these (virus) receptors by 73 per cent, the chance of it getting in is much lower,” said Kovalchuk.

“If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected.”


Canopy Rivers invests $2M in Edmonton-based pot gummies company

Canopy Rivers Inc. says it has made a $2-million investment in Dynaleo Inc., an Edmonton-based company focused on edible cannabis gummies.

Dynaleo has built a manufacturing facility and submitted the supporting documentation for a standard processing licence to Health Canada.

The company plans white-label production of CBD and THC edibles for the Canadian market that can be customized to meet customer's needs and regulatory requirements.

Canopy Rivers, which operates as a cannabis venture capital firm, says its investment in Dynaleo is structured as an unsecured convertible debenture with additional warrant coverage.

The debenture is convertible at the company's option into common shares of Dynaleo.


5 Reasons Cannabis 2.0 Sales Will Disappoint in Canada

For years, marijuana stocks were virtually unstoppable. The prospect of $50 billion or more in annual worldwide sales by 2030 sent North American cannabis stock valuations into the stratosphere. But over the past 13 months, most pot stocks have seen their valuations retrace anywhere from 50% to 95%. It's been ugly, with a capital "U."


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