This Week in Cannabis: Top Stories From Across Canada From Jan. 19-24

Aleksandr Korinskiy/iStock

Illicit cannabis may have infiltrated the legal market more widely than first though, the Northwest Territories debuts a disturbing public service announcement campaign, and Doug Fords daughter gets outed for promoting black market CBD products.

We’ve rounded up this week’s top stories from across Canada.

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Bonify Interim CEO: We May Not Be the Only LP Selling Illicit Product

RavenQuest CEO BioMed George Robinson—now also interim president and CEO at Bonify—told Bloomberg’s Andrew Bell that the broker who supplied their since-fired senior-management employees with 210 kilograms of “non-authorized” cannabis may have also supplied other LPs. “When we started looking through the process of how [the unauthorized cannabis] got in here,” Robinson said, “some of the people who were a part of that were making claims [that] they were selling to other licensed producers. Everyone who’s got a supply problem may have been impacted by this type of activity.”

Robinson claimed the company’s good reputation in the industry and history of good behaviour played in its favour with Health Canada, though lawyer Trina Fraser was critical of that assessment. “I would be very surprised if this is over (from Health Canada’s perspective),” she tweeted. “As long as [you] do the ‘right thing’ & confess to [Health Canada] that you tried to pass off black market cannabis as legal and fire a few people, it’ll let you keep your license?? Feel sorry for innocent [shareholders] but this is why [a management] team is critical in investment decisions”

New Guidelines on Reducing Cannabis Harms

An international team of public health experts prepared guidelines for reducing harms associated with cannabis use. They encourage recreational users to use cannabis once a week rather than daily, because daily or near-daily cannabis use increases a user’s risk of mental health problems, heart problems, vehicle collisions, and suicidal thoughts. They suggest vaped or edible cannabis instead of smoking, and warn users to steer clear of synthetic cannabinoids.

While some users take deep breaths, hold their breath, or perform the “Valsalva maneuver” to try to maximize the power of their inhalations, the guidelines discouraged all of these as increasing the risk of toxic material in the lungs. The team was led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Benedikt Fischer, with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Fischer said Canada’s next step is to move away from “the simplistic binary” of cannabis as either good or bad and toward “a public health paradigm” of informed and managed risks.

Quoth the Raven: “You’ll Puke and Freak Out”

Flush with $1.8M in federal money over three years for cannabis education, Northwest Territories debuted a public service announcement campaign in cartoon/comic form with a series of augmented-reality posters warning of the harms associated with cannabis use. The ad campaign featured vivid characters like Creepy Baby, who emerges out of the Aurora Borealis to warn mothers that cannabis can harm their fetuses, Stoney the Inukshuk who warns not to use cannabis regularly or too heavily, and Roach the Raven, a gnarly corvid who warns users not to mix cannabis with alcohol “unless you feel like puking and freaking out.”

Health Minister Glen Abernethy acknowledge the posters “may not resonate with everybody,” and the territorial government plans to make a tour of all 33 communities and design its program of public education based on individual community needs.

To Do List

Bongspiel

WIARTON, ON — Canada’s inaugural cannabis curling tournament takes place this weekend. Hosted by the Wiarton & District Curling Club in the Ontario town best known for its prognosticating groundhog, the 420-friendly curling event will take place on Jan. 26.

Butter Tarts and Bears Infused Cooking Class

TORONTO, ON — Learn to make infused butter tarts and gummy bears at this cannabis cooking class taking place on Jan. 26 near Richmond St. W. and Spadina Ave.

Ellementa

VANCOUVER, BC — Taking place Jan. 30 at Blyssful Alchemy, this gathering is being billed as a “Woman’s Guide to Cannabis” and will delve into the why, how, and what type of cannabis products women are consuming.

Playlist

Cannabis Goes Corporate

PODCAST — This week on our Leafly Canada, Alex Rogers, founder of the International Cannabis Business Conference joins Sarah and Ian to talk about how his time in a German jail has led to a career legalizing and legitimizing the cannabis industry.