The pandemic may be keeping cross-border traffic to a minimum, but weed seizures in 2020 are maxing out

There seems to be no stopping drug seizures, the majority being cannabis, at border crossings in New York state, with the amount of confiscated weed increasing more than 1,100 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures from its annual report show that 3,456 pounds (1,568 kg) of cannabis was seized at the Buffalo Field Office in fiscal year 2019, a mere portion of the 41,688 pounds (18,909 kg) confiscated in fiscal 2020. The field office covers 16 ports of entry in the state of New York.


Border patrol intercepts weed worth US$8 million at Peace Bridge

The tally of cannabis seizures at the Peace Bridge running between Canada and the U.S. increased yet again last week when U.S. border officers in Buffalo discovered a commercial shipment with more than a ton of weed.


Province to take $180M hit on ending pot delivery, pickup: Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario stands to miss out on about $180 million in economic activity if the province's 100-odd privately-run cannabis stores aren't allowed to provide delivery or curbside pickup services, according to estimates from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. 

However, that figure balloons to nearly $1 billion in losses if that includes the additional 450 stores which are ready to open, but whose licence applications are pending approval by provincial regulator, the business group said. 

"This is coming from a time when the economy is grappling with the impact of COVID-19 measures," Daniel Safayeni, co-chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ontario Cannabis Policy Council, told BNN Bloomberg in a phone interview.


Ontario's private pot shops to stop delivery and curbside pickup

Ontario’s privately-run cannabis stores will no longer be permitted to deliver or offer curbside pickup once an emergency order issued by the province in response to COVID-19 expires.

“As our province carefully moves towards recovery, the (emergency order) to temporarily allow for cannabis retail curbside pickup and delivery will end when the declaration of emergency expires, along with other temporary measures that had been put in place to support people and business during the public health emergency,” said Richard Clark, communications director for Ontario's Finance Minister, in an emailed statement.


Another Cannabis Founder Is Out At Aurora Cannabis

It’s been a rough road for some of the OG’s of the cannabis industry. Today, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) said its Co-Founder Terry Booth had retired from his role as Director of the Company, effective June 26, 2020. Mr. Booth was the Chief Executive Officer of Aurora from December 2014 through February 2020 and served on Aurora’s Board of Directors since December 2014.


Hexo Corp. sells Niagara Falls cannabis facility for $10.25 million

Hexo Corp. says it has sold its facility in Niagara Falls, Ont., for $10.25 million to an undisclosed buyer.

The cannabis company announced in March plans to list the facility after reviewing its cultivation assets.

Hexo determined that it no longer expected to restart operations, which it halted in November 2019, due to an excess of cultivation capacity in the market, forecasted demand for cannabis products and expected market development.

The sale of the Niagara facility included land and greenhouse facilities, as well as certain equipment.

The company says it expects to use the proceeds to fund additional expansion of its Belleville, Ont., facility and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.


Ontario online pot purchases jump 600% amid COVID-19 pandemic, data shows

Cannabis purchases rose as much as 600 per cent since the beginning of March in Canada's biggest market thanks to stockpiling by consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic - and demand may be sticking around. 

Sales data provided by the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) over the past six weeks - the same period that COVID-19 spread across the country - show legal pot appears to be a more "habitual" purchase than a one-time novelty, according to Cheri Mara chief commercial officer at the provincial retailer. 

While it may be too early to really gauge how COVID-19 will impact legal cannabis sales over the long term, the OCS data provide a highly precise glimpse at how people are consuming cannabis during the pandemic. 


Canopy Growth closing legal pot shops amid virus outbreak

Canopy Growth Corp. is temporarily shutting down its corporate-owned cannabis stores across the country Tuesday due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company said in a statement. 

Canopy, which owns 23 legal cannabis stores in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, will close its stores for an undetermined period of time at 5 p.m. local.  It is also closing its visitors centre located at its headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ont. 

“We have a responsibility to our employees, their families, and our communities to do our part to ‘flatten the curve’ by limiting social interactions. For us, that means shifting our focus from retail to e-commerce," said David Klein, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth, in a statement. 


Canada: Medical marijuana user refused alcohol sale at Loblaw after cashier smells Cannabis

A medical marijuana user was turned away from an Ottawa Loblaw store, after a cashier refused to sell her beer, because the cashier said the customer smelled like cannabis.

Christie Southward uses marijuana for back pain and anxiety, but she had not been using when she went shopping at the McArthur Avenue Loblaw this week.

“At first I thought he was joking and he was very serious”, Southward told CTV Ottawa.

 “I was getting my groceries, and when it came to my alcohol, the cashier stopped and said he will not sell it to me because I smelled like pot”, she said.

Southward says she had not used marijuana that day, and believes the cashier smelled it on her jacket.


Ontario will scrap lottery system, move to expand retail cannabis market in 2020

The provincial government says that it is scrapping the lottery system for cannabis shop permits and will begin issuing dozens of new retail permits in the spring as part of efforts to open up the weed market.

In its recent fiscal update, the province said that it would move to do away with the lottery system, which has faced criticism.

On Thursday, the province unveiled a timeline for issuing new retail cannabis permits, saying that applications for prospective owners will open on Jan. 6, with the first new licenses to be distributed in April.

Speaking with CP24 Thursday evening, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said the government wanted to go to an open market model from the start, but needed time to manage the changes and ensure adequate supply.  


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