Cannabis is always making the news in positive, negative and neutral ways across Canada ever since legalization hit last October 2018.
So what’s happening in the world of cannabis in Canada as we wrap up the month of March and move into April with April Fool’s Day right around the corner?
We’ve rounded up the latest news stories from around the Canadian cannabis market and are bringing it to you in bite-sized chunks so you can get caught up. From a new dispensary set to open, tighter regulation demands around age-verification, to pot-laced brownies fed to the elderly – we’re covering it all.
Tokyo Smoke Getting Ready to Open Shop in Former Flagship, HMV Store
Don’t you think that the flagship HMV store on Yonge Street would make a killer location for a cannabis dispensary? Apparently, the guys that run the Tokyo Smoke chain of cannabis dispensaries under the umbrella company, Canopy Growth think so. According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the location has been approved and will be home to a new Tokyo Smoke dispensary, soon.
HIKU owns the Tokyo Smoke brand under the umbrella of the Canopy Growth. Currently, there are a handful of coffee shops throughout the city under this same brand. This will be the first Tokyo Growth dispensary that is licensed to sell cannabis throughout Ontario, and it will operate similarly to the other cannabis retailers in Manitoba under this same marquee.
The opening date of the new dispensary has yet to be announced, but the Tokyo-Smoke brand cannabis is already being sold through the Ontario Cannabis Store.
Canada Lawmakers Clamp Down on “One-Click” Age Checks for Marijuana Content and Promotions
According to Health Canada, the one-click authentications that are supposed to verify an internet user’s age are not enough to ensure cannabis promotions are not being accessed by minors. After putting out this letter, the agency predicted that regulated parties will take the recommended corrective actions to more accurately identify age in the next “coming weeks.”
It was emphasized by Health Canada that the prohibitions related to promoting cannabis flowers, accessories, and services must be followed and the federal law prohibits any type of promotion that encourages the use of cannabis among minors.
Health Canada explains that the letter was issued following the discovery of online promotional content on websites and social media that was accessible without the appropriate steps in place to ensure this content was not seen by youth. The agency spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau told Marijuana Business Daily that:
“Health Canada has made it clear that one simple ‘click’ attesting to age is not sufficient to prevent young persons from accessing promotional content. Health Canada’s expectation is that in the coming weeks regulated parties will review their activities and, if necessary, take steps to ensure that they are compliant with legislative requirements. While we have not established a deadline, we expect that they will wish to comply with the law.”
Steps to ensure regulations are upheld may include:
- Required entry of date of birth and authorization age
- Pop-up messages that make it clear that youth are not permitted to view the promotional content
- Pop-up messages that enforce and make it clear that youth are not permitted to buy cannabis and accessories
Health Canada Updates Warnings About Cannabis-Addiction
A cannabis-user on Reddit recently pointed out a development in Health Canada’s cannabis-addiction warning since legalization. A cannabis package purchased on legalization day last October read: “Cannabis can be addictive. Up to 1 in 2 people who use cannabis daily will become addicted.”
What does the warning label say now? A cannabis product purchased during the Month of March 2019 read: “Cannabis can be addictive. 1 in 11 people who use cannabis will become addicted.”
Why are there discrepancies in the two different warnings? Apparently, the first one is a warning that applies to users that use cannabis daily, where the second one is a general warning. The study published in 2011 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence is responsible for the new warning. Findings of that study suggest that 8.9 percent of cannabis users transitioned to dependence in comparison to:
- 67.5 percent of nicotine users
- 22.7 percent of alcohol users
- 20.9 percent of cocaine users
Many commenters on the Reddit thread were quick to point out that there is not an addiction-warning label mandated on alcohol products, even though the rates of alcohol addiction were higher in the same study used to establish the risk of cannabis addiction.
What’s interesting, is that in 2017, the Yukon Liquor Corporation mandated that all bottles of alcoholic beverages warn drinkers that:
“The Chief Medical Officer of Health advises: Alcohol can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers. To reduce health risks, drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day for women (3 for men); plan two or more non-drinking days each week.”
However, it was reported that the pressure from the liquor industry killed the program for alcohol warning labels within just one month!
Police Investigation Ensues After Pot-Laced Brownies Served to Seniors
A strange turn of events took place earlier this week when a monthly community lunch held for a group of Ontario seniors ended with many attendees feeling ill following the ingestion of cannabis-laced brownies according to provincial police.
According to Const. Miles Loach, seniors at the event began seeking out medical attention within just an hour of eating the marijuana-laced brownies which were served as a dessert at the event that was catered at the community centre in Whitestone, Ont.
Symptoms that prompted the attendees to seek out medical attention included dry mouth, dizziness, and disorientation. A few of the seniors also reported nausea and vomiting. The spike in citizens who reported to the local health centre on the same afternoon made investigators question what had happened that day, according to Loach:
“We got a hold of everybody who was at the meeting and the only people that had these symptoms were the ones that ate the chocolate … brownies.”
Police are now investigating how the pot-laced brownies made it to the event. In the meantime, we are happy to report that no lasting effects were experienced by the seniors who felt their unexpected highs.
Cannabis Industry News Happens Fast
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