Prairies 'bright spot' in Canadian cannabis market as legalization anniversary nears, expert says

As the one-year anniversary of the legalization of recreational cannabis approaches, an industry expert says the Prairie provinces are outpacing larger players Ontario and Quebec in the Canadian market with a smoother rollout and stronger sales.

"Manitoba and Saskatchewan are making Ontario and Quebec look very bad," said Chris Damas, editor of BCMI Cannabis Report, a newsletter for cannabis investors in Canada and the U.S.

In the two largest provinces, Damas said poor regulatory frameworks and slow-to-open stores meant the industry underperformed in its first year. He praised the framework in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan for allowing private retailers to sell product and opening the door to e-commerce.


Remember the Saskatchewan wheat pool? Now meet the weed pool cannabis co-op

Some independent retail cannabis store players are banding together to combat what they see as the growing encroachment of big business in Saskatchewan's legal pot industry.

Nearly a year after the first of the province's retail cannabis stores opened, at least 25 out of 36 operating stores — more than two-thirds — are owned by a publicly traded company or chain.

In Saskatoon and Regina, five out of 11 operating stores are either owned by Canopy Growth Corporation or Westleaf Cannabis, the parent companies of Tweed and Prairie Records, respectively. Another publicly traded company, Fire and Flower, owns six stores elsewhere in the province. 


Sask. Court of Appeal upholds tossing drug charges

The province’s top court has agreed with a judge who tossed out 10 drug charges against a man because the wheels of justice moved too slowly.

Arrested in June 2013, Jeremy Mark Lemioer’s trial was set for June of 2017. But in a decision ahead of that trial date, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Elson determined a four-year delay was unreasonable and directed a stay of proceedings against the then-34-year-old Regina man. The Crown appealed.

But in a recently released decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected the Crown’s argument.


Puff luck: Provincial pot websites have hugely uneven supply and selection

At midnight on Oct. 17, 2018—the second it became legal to sell cannabis—Christopher Duffitt was ready. His store, Puff Puff Pass Head Shop, opened its doors to a lineup of customers in Clarenville, Nfld., a town of 6,300 people northwest of St. John’s. But it quickly became clear that the business wouldn’t be open for long.


Saskatoon Council votes to reduce cannabis store licensing fee from $10,000 to $85

City Council voted by a margin of 6-4 Monday night to reduce the licensing renewal fee for cannabis retail stores from $10,000 to $85

The fee applies to the city’s seven retail cannabis outlets allowed under provincial legislation.

This is a further decrease from the original $500 recommended by city staff, the result of a motion introduced at a committee meeting August 12. It puts the renewal fee that cannabis businesses pay in line with most other types of businesses in the city.

In discussion Monday, Coun. Ann Iwanchuk called the $500 “arbitrary.”

“The vast majority of businesses pay $85 dollars, I feel like this is a way of singling out this one particular business,” she said. “We’re not the moral authority here.”


Beleave Inc. (BLEVF) expands recreational cannabis sales to Saskatchewan

Beleave currently distributes recreational cannabis in three other Canadian provinces; British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. The Company’s current portfolio of products includes mainstream and premium product offerings of pre-rolls, oils, and dried flower under both the Beleave and Seven Oaks brand names.


Fake cannabis labels circulating in Saskatchewan

The symbols found on the packaging of legal recreational cannabis for sale in Saskatchewan are hard to miss: A red octagon with the letters THC and a stylized cannabis leaf; a white and yellow warning label advising users to keep the product out of the reach of children. 

But these symbols can also be found on illegal cannabis disguised to look like the legitimate product. 

Now, at least one member of Saskatoon's legal cannabis community is advising customers to use caution when ordering cannabis online, because while the product and website might look legitimate, they could be making an illegal purchase.

Chase Ruttig is an assistant manager with Prairie Records in Saskatoon.


Cannabis Canada: Canopy Growth heading outdoors with Sask. pilot program

Canopy Growth testing outdoor cultivation with Northern Saskatchewan pilot program


Hemp crops promoted at Farm Progress Show

Saskatchewan may be seeing more hemp crops in the future.

Andrea Eriksson, business development officer at Norquest College in Edmonton, spoke at the Farm Progress Show in Regina this past week to educate farmers about hemp crops and the recent growth of the industry.

Saskatchewan is second in the country in the crop’s production, behind only Alberta.

Eriksson said the industry has “untapped potential” but added there is a lot of confusion as to what exactly hemp is. Although it is considered a cannabis plant, it is not marijuana.


Sask. cannabis company bought out to make infused beer, wines

With the purchase of a local pot producer, a beer and wine company could bring Saskatchewan to the forefront of cannabis-infused beverages.

The Hill Street Beverage Company out of Ontario has signed a letter of intent to buy OneLeaf Cannabis for $16 million.

Terry Donnelly, chairman and CEO of Hill Street, said the company is going to use OneLeaf’s expertise and massive production facility just outside of Regina to help create its upcoming line of weed-infused beers and wines.

“We think this is the equivalent to the end of prohibition of alcohol, so we’re planning a multi-year strategy to be able to create a whole new portfolio or whole new category of beverages that we believe will be an alternative to alcohol,” explained Donnelly.


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