fbpx

Cannabis

Three years on, we need to relax cannabis regulation

Moving away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach would help make Canada’s legal cannabis market more consumer-friendly Author of the article:

Three years ago Sunday (October 17, 2018), Canada legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. The Trudeau government deserves credit for making this happen, as most Canadians had for some time believed that the consequences of prohibition outweighed whatever negatives would arise from legalization. That said, the Cannabis Act is now three years old, and it needs to be amended to make the legal cannabis market more consumer- and patient-friendly.

A good first step would be to remove “CBD” products from the Cannabis Act altogether. CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” a chemical found mainly in hemp, which itself is low in THC. On its own, CBD has a variety of medicinal and wellness uses. CBD is used to treat seizures, joint pain and inflammation, and as a sleep aid. Because CBD products are not psychoactive and have a significantly lower risk profile they shouldn’t be regulated the same as cannabis products containing THC. Any CBD product with a THC concentration of less than 0.3 per cent (the U.S. legal standard) should be treated as a natural health product. Moving away from the “one size fits all” approach would help make Canada’s legal cannabis market more consumer-friendly in a number of ways.

First, it would exempt CBD products from the heavy-handed marketing, branding and packaging restrictions set out in the Cannabis Act. Regulating cannabis like tobacco rather than alcohol was a huge mistake, given the differences in risks between the two products. But treating CBD products like tobacco is downright silly.

Beyond chipping away at the paternalism built into the Act, exempting CBD would dramatically increase consumer access. The markets for CBD wellness products and beverages, including sports drinks, likely would expand significantly, especially if these products could be sold outside of licensed cannabis retailers, which in many provinces are in short supply. Even in Ontario, which has opened up retail access, some cities — Oakville is one — have maintained their cannabis retail ban. Under a looser regulatory regime, CBD products would be beyond the reach of nanny-state local councilors.

On the industry side, removing CBD products from the Cannabis Act could help reduce the current glut of over one billion grams of cannabis. Freeing the CBD market from the Act would allow producers with too much cannabis on their hands to simply extract the THC and make CBD products.

Reform of the Act should also address the excise tax system for cannabis. Medical cannabis should be exempt, period. We don’t have extra taxes for other medicines. Why this one? Removing the tax may also have the benefit of encouraging medical patients to purchase legal medical cannabis, rather than be pushed into growing their own with a Health Canada permit, an avenue that has regularly been found to be supplying the illicit market.

For recreational users, the $1/gram excise tax should be replaced with a floating percentage. The minimum excise of $1/gram artificially inflates prices, limits the availability of discount brands, and hurts the craft cannabis industry. More competition on price would obviously benefit consumers, but it would also help chip away at black market sales, which are still running at $750 million a year.

Finally, the act should be amended so that the rules for cannabis marketing and promotion are the same as those for alcohol. A legal cannabis brand should be allowed to sponsor events, advertise more broadly, creatively brand its packages, use spokespeople or endorsements, and provide discounts and other inducements for sales — all of which are allowed for alcohol.

To their credit, some provinces have done what they can to make their legal cannabis market more consumer friendly. Ontario, for example, has made significant progress in expanding retail access, and has just committed to permanently legalizing curbside pickup and delivery for cannabis retail stores. These changes at the provincial level are in large part why legal cannabis sales surpassed illegal sales for the first time in the third quarter of 2020.

The provinces seem to be committed to expanding consumer access. With the Cannabis Act now three years old, it’s time for the federal government to step up, too.

Originally published here

Ontario set to make cannabis delivery, curbside pick-up permanent

“Through the pandemic, licensed cannabis retailers have proven that we can operate home delivery in a safe and secure manner.”

A new proposal from the Ontario government, the Supporting People and Businesses Act, would allow private cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up permanently.

Retailers were permitted to offer delivery and pick-up services during the pandemic and advocates have argued that the success of the temporary measures proves it’s a viable and safe option for consumers.

The decision to grant these options during the pandemic helped cannabis retailers stay afloat and limit layoffs, according to Raj Grover, the president and CEO of High Tide, a retail-focused cannabis company.

Read the full article here

Cannabis Freedom Alliance Doubles Membership with Addition of New Values Members and Working Groups

Today, the Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) added a new class of membership, Values Members, who share a vision with CFA of ending prohibition in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market; and three new working groups focused on CFA’s core values: Successful Second Chances and Competitive Open Markets.

CFA congratulates, and is proud to welcome, the newest additions to the coalition: Consumer Choice Center (CCC), End It For Good (EFIG), Nevada Policy (NP), R Street Institute (RSI), and Students for Liberty (SFL).

Read the full article here

Same-day recreational cannabis delivery service launches in 11 B.C. cities

Dutch Love Cannabis now delivering across the Lower Mainland and Kelowna area using an all-electric fleet.

Dutch Love Cannabis has announced they are now offering same-day recreational cannabis delivery in 11 cities across British Columbia, using an all-electric delivery fleet.

n mid-July, new regulations took effect in British Columbia that allows for same-day recreational cannabis delivery from private retailers.

Previously, only the BC Cannabis Store, the online public retailer, offered delivery services.

Read the full article here

Miljard gram cannabis opgeslagen zonder verkocht te worden

BNN Bloomberg kondigde deze week aan dat een miljard gram legale pot in Canada onverkocht in magazijnen in het hele land ligt te verstoffen. De vraag rijst waarom deze cannabis niet wordt gebruikt om cbd-olie van te maken.

Dat is heel veel wiet. Een voorraad die genoeg zou moeten zijn om drie jaar vooruit te kunnen. Door de steeds hogere eisen die de consument stelt aan zijn cannabisproduct ligt veel cannabis uit het middensegment nu te verstoffen in magazijnen. “Je kunt echter geen THC-producten uit het middensegment voor een cent weggeven,” vertelde Peter Machalek, vice-president verkoop en partnerschappen bij TREC Brand, aan Bloomberg. “De markt is veel geavanceerder geworden en volgt wat de consumenten eisen.”

CBD-olie van onverkochte cannabis

Het roept de vraag op waarom een deel van die miljard gram niet is gebruikt om CBD-olie van te maken. De niet-bedwelmende stof die voor veel mensen wordt gebruikt als natuurlijk medicijn tegen hoofdpijn, rugklachten, slechte knieën, artritis, angststoornissen en tal van andere klachten, aandoeningen en bijbehorende pijnen. Het is een bonafide elixer voor veroudering en pijn.

Het probleem is echter dat CBD-olie, ondanks dat ze geen high geeft, nog steeds onder de Cannabiswet valt en daarom net zo streng gereguleerd is als THC. Een lastige markt die zelfs de meest bescheiden vormen van reclame en branding verhindert. David Clement, de Noord-Amerikaanse zakenmanager voor het Consumer Choice Center, gelooft dat de overvloed aan wietproducten gedeeltelijk kan worden tegengegaan door CBD-olie uit de Cannabis Act te verwijderen. Hierdoor kunnen bepaalde extracten en dranken worden verkocht bij reguliere retailers en in supermarkten.

“Vanuit het oogpunt van consumentenbescherming en volksgezondheid is er geen redelijke rechtvaardiging om CBD-producten zo strikt te reguleren als THC”, zegt Clement. “Naar onze mening is de Cannabiswet te restrictief. Wanneer CBD-producten uit de wetgeving worden verwijderd, zouden CBD-producten op grotere schaal beschikbaar komen, wat het probleem van het overaanbod zou kunnen verlichten.

Overschot aan cannabisproducten

“Bovendien moet de federale overheid de marketing-, merk- en verpakkingsbeperkingen die momenteel gelden voor legale producenten versoepelen”, zegt Clement. Volgens het Bloomberg-rapport heeft Health Canada eindelijk branchegegevens voor oktober vrijgegeven, waaruit blijkt dat 1,1 miljoen kilo onverkochte cannabis door producenten in het hele land is opgeslagen.

Met Canada’s maandelijkse consumptie van ongeveer 30.000 kilo, betekent dit dat er een voorraad van drie jaar inactief is. Er lijkt echter licht aan het einde van de tunnel om dit probleem kan verlichten. Health Canada zal waarschijnlijk binnenkort beslissen of CBD-olie ver vrij verkrijgbare gezondheids- en welzijnsproducten mag voorkomen. Later dit jaar wordt een formeel besluit verwacht. Het is een wildcard die een game-changer zou kunnen zijn voor de markt, maar is nu nog steeds een longshot.

Originally published here.

Set CBD oil free from the restrictive Cannabis Act

Despite providing no high, it’s as strictly regulated as THC

Perhaps due to the thriving marijuana black market — cheaper prices, higher THC content, a reliable dealer? — BNN Bloomberg announced this week a billion grams of legal pot is sitting unsold in vaults across the country.

That’s a lot of weed, supposedly a three-year supply for the struggling legal market that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assumed would flourish to extraordinary heights and put the illegal marketeers out of business.

Alas, the Trudeau Liberals’ legalization of recreational marijuana has not lived up to those expectations.

“You can’t give away mid-range THC product for a buck now,” Peter Machalek, vice-president of sales and partnerships at TREC Brand, told Bloomberg. “The market has become much more sophisticated, following what the consumers are demanding.”

It begs the question then why those billion grams have not been used to make the non-intoxicating CBD oil, seen by millions as relief from bad headaches, bad backs, bad knees, the creaks of the aging process, and a long list of other bodily afflictions and accompanying pains.

Those that use it swear by it once they have found the sweet spot when it comes to the amount needed to work its magic.

It’s a bonafide elixir for the aging and the pain-stricken.

The problem, however, is that CBD oil, despite providing no high, still falls under the Cannabis Act and is therefore as strictly regulated as THC.

It also exists in a challenging market that prevents even the most modest forms of advertising and branding.

David Clement is North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center, and he believes today’s pot glut can be partially alleviated by removing CBD oil from the Cannabis Act, thereby allowing for products like extracts and beverages to be sold at retailers more commonplace for Canadian consumers such as health food outlets and grocery stores.

“From a consumer protection standpoint, there is no reasonable justification to regulate CBD products as strictly as we regulate THC,” says Clement. “In our view, the Cannabis Act is overly restrictive, and removing CBD products from the legislation would mean that CBD products would become more widely available, which could help ease the issue of oversupply,

“Additionally, the federal government should ease up on the marketing, branding and packaging restrictions that currently apply for legal producers,” says Clement.

“From the outset, we thought that these regulations were overly paternalistic, and handcuffed the legal industry from effectively communicating and advertising to adult consumers.”

According to the Bloomberg report, Health Canada finally released industry-wide data for October showing that 1.1 million kilos of unsold cannabis has been stockpiled by producers nationwide.

With Canada’s monthly consumption rate of pot pegged at approximately 30,000 kilos, it means a three-year supply is sitting idle.

It’s an overload that analysts tell Bloomberg continues to “weigh heavily on the industry, possibly spelling further write-downs and facility closures in the months to come.”

Five will get you 10 that this never crossed the mind of the Liberals when they were conjuring the wording for legalization legislation that very quickly started circling the bowl.

The illegal market could not be busier or happier.

But some breathing room might be on its way with Health Canada expected to rule soon on whether to allow CBD oil to be used in over-the-counter health and wellness products.

A formal decision is expected later this year.

It’s a wild card which could be a game-changer if the Trudeau Liberals have learned anything from their screwups at every turn on the cannabis legalization file.

But it’s still a longshot.

Originally published here.

$143 Million Cannabis Bust Confirms Diversion From Medical Program To Illegal Marke

On October 22nd, Ontario Provincial Police announced that they have seized $143 million worth of illegal cannabis in the last 4 months. In addition to that, police confirmed that the seized cannabis was a result of criminal networks exploiting Health Canada’s medical cannabis personal and designate production regime.

David Clement, Toronto based North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center responds: “The OPP’s report confirms was we speculated in April, which is that organized crime has weaseled its way into the permit process,” said Clement.

“In April, via Access to Information Requests, we were able to show that the personal and designate program produces 2.5 – 4.5 times more cannabis than the legal market. Unfortunately that excess cannabis is being diverted into the illegal market. Health Canada should review the permit process to ensure that criminal networks aren’t using it to fuel their nefarious activities.

“That said, the government shouldn’t target legitimate permit holders. Doing so would violate their constitutional rights, and would be exceptionally cruel given how marginalized this group has historically been. Rather than trying to arrest their way out of the problem, the government should focus on transitioning permit holder growers into the legal market. Making it easier for for excess cannabis to end up in the legal market, coupled with a Health Canada review for criminal activity, would go a long way in stamping out the black market,” said Clement.

Originally published here.

David Clement and Yael Ossowski: Pa. can and should legalize cannabis, but do it right

If the General Assembly takes up Gov. Tom Wolf’s call, Pennsylvania could become the 12th state to legalize recreational cannabis. They should absolutely follow through. But it won’t end there.Tom Wolf wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Legalizing cannabis is a no-brainer. Any negatives from legalization pale in comparison with the costs of prohibition. The failed war on drugs has criminalized otherwise peaceful citizens, torn minority communities apart and locked up far too many of our friends, family and neighbors. We know the cost.

But legalization in itself isn’t virtuous. State legislators must ensure that legislation does not end up causing even more problems. We need only look at other states, as well as our friendly neighbor to the north, to understand why smart cannabis legalization is necessary.

To begin, it has been suggested that Pennsylvania use its model of state retail of alcohol — namely through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board — as a template for selling cannabis products. Though Harrisburg legislators are tempted, this would be an outright disaster.

The state should lean on the private sector and avoid treating cannabis like alcohol. It is well known that Pennsylvania’s alcohol retail market is one of the most archaic and anti-consumer markets in the country, one that artificially raises prices, causes massive inconvenience and pushes thousands of Pennsylvanians to buy alcohol out-of-state. We especially saw this during the pandemic. That’s hardly an example to emulate.

In states where it is legal, cannabis retail is offered by licensed private businesses rather than state monopolies. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, now has only private retail storefronts and is proceeding to have a retail market where licenses are uncapped. That means there can be better competition, a more responsive market and better customer service than in a state store.

A licensed private retail market would be wise for Pennsylvanians, as it would allow the market to determine the number of stores available to consumers, rather than a bureaucracy in Harrisburg.

The legal market would be dynamic enough to respond to consumer demand, an important factor in prying consumers away from the illegal market. Stopping the black market would help raise the tax revenue Mr. Wolf intends to offer to minority communities and small businesses in need of assistance post-COVID-19.

Added to that, Pennsylvania should ensure that taxation and regulation of cannabis products are reasonable and fair.

Though Colorado and Washington have raised an impressive amount of revenue since legalization, California — with higher-than-average taxation, counties that don’t allow legal shops, and a myriad of red tape governing who can grow and sell — has one of the largest cannabis black markets in the country. Nearly 80% of cannabis consumed in the state remains in the illegal market, depriving the state treasury of much-needed revenue, but also locking out entrepreneurs who could otherwise operate successful dispensaries and contribute to their communities.

Another issue is which products will be legal to sell and use.

Canada, the largest industrialized country to legalize cannabis, mandated that only dried cannabis and oils be made legal on day one. That meant harm-reducing alternatives, such as beverages or edibles, were not available for sale until the next year. Giving the green light on product variety would benefit consumers and the retailers who are permitted to sell legal products, and would help the legal market compete against illegal alternatives.

If the General Assembly acts, there will be a lot of temptation to treat cannabis as nothing more than a cash crop for government coffers. But if legislators want to help benefit the minority communities who have been hurt by prohibition, future consumers and prospects for raising enough revenue to ease the pain caused by the pandemic, they would be wise to enact a smart cannabis policy.

David Clement and Yael Ossowski are North American affairs manager and deputy director, respectively, at the Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group.


Originally published here.

David Clement and Yael Ossowski: Pa. can and should legalize cannabis, but do it right

State should ensure that taxation and regulation of products are reasonable and fair.

If the General Assembly takes up Gov. Tom Wolf’s call, Pennsylvania could become the 12th state to legalize recreational cannabis. They should absolutely follow through. But it won’t end there.

Legalizing cannabis is a no-brainer. Any negatives from legalization pale in comparison with the costs of prohibition. The failed war on drugs has criminalized otherwise peaceful citizens, torn minority communities apart and locked up far too many of our friends, family and neighbors. We know the cost.

But legalization in itself isn’t virtuous. State legislators must ensure that legislation does not end up causing even more problems. We need only look at other states, as well as our friendly neighbor to the north, to understand why smart cannabis legalization is necessary.

To begin, it has been suggested that Pennsylvania use its model of state retail of alcohol — namely through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board — as a template for selling cannabis products. Though Harrisburg legislators are tempted, this would be an outright disaster.

The state should lean on the private sector and avoid treating cannabis like alcohol. It is well known that Pennsylvania’s alcohol retail market is one of the most archaic and anti-consumer markets in the country, one that artificially raises prices, causes massive inconvenience and pushes thousands of Pennsylvanians to buy alcohol out-of-state. We especially saw this during the pandemic. That’s hardly an example to emulate.

In states where it is legal, cannabis retail is offered by licensed private businesses rather than state monopolies. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, now has only private retail storefronts and is proceeding to have a retail market where licenses are uncapped. That means there can be better competition, a more responsive market and better customer service than in a state store.

A licensed private retail market would be wise for Pennsylvanians, as it would allow the market to determine the number of stores available to consumers, rather than a bureaucracy in Harrisburg.

The legal market would be dynamic enough to respond to consumer demand, an important factor in prying consumers away from the illegal market. Stopping the black market would help raise the tax revenue Mr. Wolf intends to offer to minority communities and small businesses in need of assistance post-COVID-19.

Added to that, Pennsylvania should ensure that taxation and regulation of cannabis products are reasonable and fair.

Though Colorado and Washington have raised an impressive amount of revenue since legalization, California — with higher-than-average taxation, counties that don’t allow legal shops, and a myriad of red tape governing who can grow and sell — has one of the largest cannabis black markets in the country. Nearly 80% of cannabis consumed in the state remains in the illegal market, depriving the state treasury of much-needed revenue, but also locking out entrepreneurs who could otherwise operate successful dispensaries and contribute to their communities.

Another issue is which products will be legal to sell and use.

Canada, the largest industrialized country to legalize cannabis, mandated that only dried cannabis and oils be made legal on day one. That meant harm-reducing alternatives, such as beverages or edibles, were not available for sale until the next year. Giving the green light on product variety would benefit consumers and the retailers who are permitted to sell legal products, and would help the legal market compete against illegal alternatives.

If the General Assembly acts, there will be a lot of temptation to treat cannabis as nothing more than a cash crop for government coffers. But if legislators want to help benefit the minority communities who have been hurt by prohibition, future consumers and prospects for raising enough revenue to ease the pain caused by the pandemic, they would be wise to enact a smart cannabis policy.

David Clement and Yael Ossowski are North American affairs manager and deputy director, respectively, at the Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group.

Originally published here.

Let legal pot shops deliver, critics say, as Ontario Cannabis Store brings express service to London

Ontario’s marijuana wholesaler is expanding its expedited delivery service to London, the only city in Southwestern Ontario where the new service is available.

But critics of the Ontario government’s cannabis delivery monopoly are questioning why pot shops aren’t allowed to offer the same service.

Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the government-run pot wholesaler and delivery service, has rolled out its express delivery service to seven more cities across the province. Orders placed will be delivered within three days at no cost.

“OCS is pleased to continue increasing access to legal cannabis for Ontario adults and making it easy for consumers to choose legal,” spokesperson Joanna Hui said in an email.

OCS is the only legal option for cannabis delivery in the province, but it has drawn fire for being too slow and expensive.

Ontario briefly let cannabis retail stores offer delivery and curbside pickup — a move the industry had long demanded — in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the temporary emergency order was lifted in July, despite protests from many of the brick-and-mortar stores, which argued the services let them compete with the black market.

The Friendly Stranger at 1135 Richmond St. was the only London pot shop to offer both delivery and curbside pickup.

Company president James Jesty said the government wants to maintain a monopoly on pot delivery in Ontario.

“I fully think that we should be able to do delivery,” said Jesty, whose company struck a partnership deal to open the store near Western University’s gates. “We’re still in COVID, we’re still being asked to stay home.”

Money was spent hiring drivers and renting vehicles to set up the Friendly Stranger’s delivery service, which was free for orders over $50, he said. “When they took it away from us, it really didn’t make a lot of sense.”

David Clement, North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Centre, said only letting OCS deliver pot products hurts consumers by leaving them with no other options.

“COVID-19 has really rallied people to support local businesses,” said Clement, whose centre has lobbied provinces to let retailers offer same-day delivery. “That same concept would apply to cannabis retail.”

OCS offers same-day delivery in more than a dozen cities, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area.

Last month, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s marijuana regulator, pledged to increase the pace of pot shop approvals from 20 to 40 a month, starting this fall.

In London, where seven marijuana retailers now operate, another 15 are in the final approval stage.

Originally published here.

Scroll to top