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One Year On: Update on Cannabis Legal Market In Canada

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis Market in Canada - An Update

One of the first nations to declare the legalization of cannabis is Canada. The decision to make marijuana legal has wowed not only marijuana advocates around the world but also those who are skeptical about it. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the regulation to make marijuana consumption legal, more illegal dispensaries showed up, which urged the authorities to take control over the market.

More than a year later, Canada surprised the world with positive results of the cannabis legalization. Trudeau started the advocacy with the mission to ‘combat criminal elements’ and now, the response is beyond what was expected. Aside from wiping out illegal producers and sellers, the legalization also opened up a new driver for Canada’s economy.

Cannabis Update in Canada

Let us take a look at the first-year journey of cannabis legalization in Canada.

Transition to the Cannabis Legal Market

Before the legalization kicked in, there are a number of illegal marijuana dispensaries all over Canada. Without the license to operate, a number of risks are seen, particularly minors getting involved with marijuana for recreational use. If the market is uncontrolled, almost anyone can purchase and abuse cannabis products. This is already a problem and the Canadian government has to do something to turn the tables and construct stricter regulations.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in charge, he declared support for marijuana, which led to its legalization in 2018. The Cannabis Act made marijuana legal but involved a number of rules for sellers to distribute cannabis, as well as buyers to get access to the products.

The regulations have made the market saturated, however, participating dispensaries acquired licenses to operate and distribute cannabis. This means, no under-the-table deals are in place, encouraging more people to buy from reputable sellers all over Canada. In one way, this is Canada’s way of dissolving the cannabis black market and take control of the market.

Regulating Cannabis in Canada

By the time that rules were in place, illegal sellers were minimized. The enforcement of the law is strict and the Office of Controlled Substances works closely with the local enforcement agencies to combat illegal sellers and distributors. In addition, raids were conducted to seize cannabis in large amounts and penalize sellers who illegally distribute cannabis beyond Canada’s borders.

Under the Cannabis Act, only individuals in the legal age of 18 can legally possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, grow 4 plants for personal use, and purchase cannabis from authorized retailers. Violations result in tickets and prison time of 5 to 14 years.

A new law was also introduced called the Bill C-93 or No Fee, Expedited Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis, which sought to expedite Canadians with historical criminal records on selling or possessing cannabis in public. This new legislation aims to break the stigma and help people to apply for consideration for small possessions of cannabis.

Positive Impacts Recorded

The Canadian government recently released its first National Cannabis Survey in 2019, detailing the effects of marijuana legalization in the country. The study aims to find the condition of the cannabis market, the number of underage people consuming cannabis, as well as the influence of marijuana in society.

One of the highlights of the study is the contribution to the Canadian economy, with sales up to $43 million in the first two weeks of legalization. According to the study, the cannabis industry grew by 185 percent, contributing almost $8 billion to the country’s GDP. Industry experts believe that the cannabis market have bigger potential and can be worth more than $20 billion in the coming years.

Because of the cannabis legalization, more cannabis enterprises are going in the country to legally produce, sell, and distribute marijuana. The biggest cannabis in the world is operating in Canada, including Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria Inc.

Meanwhile, consumer rates also increase for a year, but underage people consuming cannabis didn’t increase. The study also revealed that the number of people driving impaired under the influence of marijuana didn’t increase. Following the legalization, the study states that cannabis use across Canada has remained unchanged, however, the number of people consuming cannabis increased. The statistics revealed that more first-time users increased in numbers, with age over 45 years.

What Needs Improvement

Despite the positive impacts of cannabis legalization, there are some things that need improvement. One is in terms of supply shortages that hurt retailers in Canada. Because the regulation requires licensing of production, sales, and distribution, the licensing bodies cannot fully deliver due to overwhelming demand. Some provinces move quicker than others, that is why there are still some people who turn to illegal sellers to get access to marijuana.

The licensing challenges also prevent more sales for retailers, that is why optimistic year-one estimates were not met. The differences between the local government regulations matter, for instance, Ontario voted for a private model for storefront sales. This led to the increase of online stores in Ontario while physical stores did not open until April 2019. After the storefronts were opened to the public, sales jumped to $19.7 million from $7.7 million.

The issue of accessibility was also raised as edibles and concentrates can be accidentally consumed by youth. A child can easily mistake an edible cookie for a normal cookie, which could bring risks or effects, depending on the potency of the cannabis product. The government also needs to impose stricter regulations on advertising extracts, topicals, edibles, and other cannabis products so youth can be properly educated.

The packaging of cannabis goods also needs to be looked into, just like what Quebec is implementing. Quebec currently prohibits cannabis chocolates, sweets, and desserts to avoid enticing youth to try cannabis-infused products. It all boils down to proper and accessible education to reduce the risks associated with the new cannabis products.

Speaking of new products, cannabis extracts used in vaping devices must be monitored to avoid fatalities related to this. The ingredients causing the harm need to be looked into in order to combat the growing death toll on vaping. This is the reason why Nova Scotia has prohibited flavored cannabis vaping products altogether. Although this move may carry the risk of illegal vaping products, the government needs to take action.

Displacing Illegal Markets

Immediately displacing illegal markets is a big challenge for Canada, considering the uneven access to retail stores in the country. If the supply isn’t enough, many people resort to alternative, which is offered by unlicensed retailers. However, there is a success in slowly displacing these illegal retailers because there is an increase in the reporting purchases from legal purchases. Those reporting purchases from illegal sources declined for a year.

The National Cannabis Survey also revealed that most people turn to legal retailers for safety and product quality, not just price. The strong quality assurance provided by legal producers and distributors helps consumers to shift to the legal market.

For a cannabis business to get a license from the government, basic product quality is examined to fit the quality standards set. The government has established benchmark laboratories to test and standardize the quality of cannabis products. The tests ensure the consistent result or effect of cannabis before commercial selling.

Marijuana Market In The Future

Given that cannabis legalization is only in its second year, Canada will surely have a lot of improvements to make. Some improvements can wipe out illegal sellers, with stricter regulations and penalties. Moreover, as more businesses are jumping in, the cannabis market has a lot of potentials. From edibles, topicals, capsules, skincare, and cosmetics.

In addition to physical dispensaries and stores, more online retailers are expected to come out in the coming years. This is in response to the growing demand of Canadians for high-quality marijuana products for both recreational and medical use.

Finally, research facilities in the country can flourish, identifying emerging concerns in the market as well as implementing best practices for producing high-quality marijuana products. New developments on the marijuana plant can still happen in the future, which will entice more people to use cannabis for medical purposes.

Conclusion

Canada is truly commendable for implementing the legalization of marijuana. Making consumption or use legal on a federal level provides value access to high-quality cannabis for medical and recreational use. More than displacing illegal markets, the legalization also opened another economy driver, which helps the country increase its GDP.

The results came out mostly positive but some loopholes can be corrected given the proper management and implementation. While it is still too early to predict whether 2020 will be a good year for cannabis, market stabilization is key to cater to consumers. This is especially applicable to heavily-populated areas like Ontario.

Effective monitoring and implementing best practices is needed between the different tiers of the government. This might mean reforming regulations set or adding new ones to create an effective policy moving forward.

Arts & Culture

4 Ideas for Celebrating World NGO Day with Cannabis Products

Stacey Wellington

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Celebrating World NGO Day with Cannabis Products

On February 27, we will be celebrating World Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Day. This day is dedicated to recognizing and aiding the works of NGOs across the globe. It was started by several countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Germany. Today, it is celebrated by a lot of countries and organizations, making one of the most internationally recognized days.

This coming February 27, cannabis consumers like you can participate in the celebration of World NGO Day in your own way. Of course, as patients or enthusiasts of the pant, you can incorporate cannabis products into your event. Wondering how? Here are 4 ideas for doing so:

Create a Charity Event Discussing CBD Oil Benefits

Countries and organizations that celebrate this day usually organize conferences that talk about the value of non-profit organizations. These events usually discuss developments in the field and strategies that can be used to boost the activities of and support for these organizations.

Because of this, why not organize a mini-event similar to this? You can organize a symposium talking about the plant, the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, as well as the socio-economic and political need to legalize cannabis. During this, you can sell products and donate the proceeds to an NGO of your choice.

This is a good way to share well-researched information about the plant and enlighten your audience about the implications of proper marijuana laws. At the same time, this offers an opportunity to participate in the celebration of World NGO Day.

Purchase from Dispensaries that Donate to NGOs

A charity event can be pretty hard to pull off. So, why not go the easier route by simply purchasing CBD oil and other products from dispensaries that do charity work through NGO donations. This lets you purchase the products you want and need while also making sure that you do your part in giving back to the community.

To find the right dispensaries for this, you might want to do your research first. A simple Google search can help you find the right shop to choose from. However, you might want to get familiar with the NGO first, so why not approach your local budtender to know if they donate to charity and what kind of programs they support?

World NGO Day

Donate Straight to Cannabis NGOs

If you want to contribute to cannabis-focused charities, then donating or volunteering directly with such NGOs. This is a great way to help showcase the plant as a medical and lifestyle aid. Moreover, you can also opt for an org that promotes legalization and education about cannabis. By going straight to organizations such as NORML, you can be an active advocate for the plant. You can even continue participating in this org after World NGO Day!

Voice Your Support for NGOs

Those who are active in the cannabis community knows how important creating a conversation is. This lets people add their voices into the discussion, letting them share facts, experiences and thoughts. This is a great way to spread awareness about the plant.

Similarly, adding your voice to support NGOs is a great way to get people to talk about the importance of such orgs. With this, you can convince your friends and family to donate and volunteer in their chosen organizations. Allowing you to give back to the community by getting more people to contribute.

 

The world needs more people and organizations who exist not for profit but for giving back to their respective communities. By participating in the celebrations of World NGO Day, you can be one of these people while using cannabis as a platform and advocacy.

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Cannabis News

Why More Universities are Offering Cannabis Courses

Jordan Webber

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As the cannabis industry booms, it comes as no surprise that more and more colleges and universities are expressing interest in what the field can offer. After all, this particular sector can pave the way for more cannabis-centered careers that not only add more value to the industry but also further the research and advancements in the field. With emerging CBD oil effects and even more benefits, it appears that the demand is far from over.

The increasing legal sales throughout the globe is a testament to this. As a matter of fact, Forbes revealed that a new study by New Frontier Data predicts that legal sales of cannabis products are slated to reach an all-time high at nearly $30 billion come 2025. In the next years, the sales of legal cannabis products are projected to climb steadily at 14%.

With these figures, it’s not surprising that the educational sector sees marijuana as the future of business, especially with the varying fields and possibilities it can offer. To touch base with the current demand, universities and colleges alike are delving deeper into the system and are one by one coming up with their respective programs.

Cannabis Courses and Programs in Universities

Some schools that have already launched programs include the Colorado State University’s Pueblo Campus to offer Cannabis Biology and Chemistry, Commercial Cannabis Production Program in Niagara College, Cannabiz: Exploring the Legalized Cannabis Industry from Ohio State University, University of Washington’s Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain program, Cannabis Law from Harvard, and many more. Those who have yet to include such offerings plan to do so within the next few months, reveals a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

Almost all of these programs help students and other interested individuals into further learning and studying about hemp and marijuana properties, cannabidiol and other compounds, as well as the proper CBD dosage in products. More than exposing learners to the science of this plant, these educational courses and programs are preparing individuals for the business aspect and the ever-evolving nature of the industry.

The incorporation of these cannabis-centric courses shows that the stigma typically associated with marijuana is slowly diminishing. Backed by facts and figures, as well as countless researches and studies on the field, there is a sure sign that more people are seeing the benefits of marijuana and different CBD oil uses.

Reasons for Offering These Courses

While there is a rise of businesses in the marijuana sector – no doubt as a means to answer the growing demands of the industry – there remains a major whole in the educational aspects and opportunities afforded to individuals from this business. Not to mention, there is still a lack of preparation for people who are interested to venture and who are currently venturing into this field.

Though CNBC reports that some industry insiders are quick to dismiss individuals with academic background and knowledge on the subject, it cannot be denied that further skills and information acquired through education can give birth to explorations in wider fields. In addition, such education can also provide students with more career opportunities.

In fact, one of the main reasons why colleges and universities in the United States have jumped on this trend is because there is an increasing need for professionals and employees who have proper know-how on the subject. Moreover, there is a need for medical professionals who can safely advise patients on how to use medical marijuana products in their treatment.

At the same time, education in this budding industry offers unparalleled learnings that change the trajectory not just of marijuana use and awareness, but also other CBD oil products made over time.

The Bottom Line

Whether you intend to pursue your college education with these courses at the helm or simply further your knowledge on the field, there is an expansive choice of universities and topics to choose from. As the success of the cannabis industry continues to soar, so can you expect to see more courses and degree programs popping up in the future.

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Cannabis News

Returned Cannabis Products Becoming a Million-Dollar Problem

Daniel King

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Returned Cannabis Products

For Canopy Growth Corp., the mounting number of cannabis products returned to them is quickly proving to be a huge issue in Canada. Currently, the company is dealing with $26.9 million worth of returned products.

In a conference attended by investors and analysts last November, the company said that it was handling $20.5 million worth of items returned by provincial retailers. It also announced during the meeting that they were expecting another batch amounting to $6.4 million. Prior to the conference, the Ontario-based firm has also suffered from a writedown of $8 million because of items that went unsold.

According to CTV News, the issue of returned cannabis items is a “little-discussed” matter. Companies are forced to deal with items that are returned to them by retailers. Grounds for returns cover a wide range of reasons including lack of sales, consumer complaints, and quality issues. However, experts remarked that returns usually come from the side of sellers instead of consumers.

The report noted that analysts have difficulty determining return rates as provincial retailers and companies have varying systems for tracking such activities. Moreover, some of their organizations do not declare their numbers.

Reasons Behind the Returned Cannabis Products

Referring to the $8-million returns, Canopy vice president of communications Jordan Sinclair said that the oil and gel capsules were returned due to lack of sales. He noted that the products “didn’t catch on in the recreational market as quickly as [they] had anticipated in part due to slower store rollout.”

While this resulted in the writedown, Sinclair emphasized that the industry is a new arena for players in the market. Because of this, the company sees this issue as “natural friction” and is an avenue for learning about customer and retailer feedback.

In finding out the reason for the significant return impact, experts are looking into the number of players in the market. There has been a “predicted oversupply” of products since the legalization of the plant and infused products.

Meanwhile, the report said that the lack of sales is just one part of the problem. Other causes include voluntary recalls due to quality and legal issues. The late arrival of products leading to the retailers’ failure to deliver the items is also another source of returns. Moreover, damages and wrong delivery both contribute to return rates.

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