Canada: Six marijuana companies announce deals to supply Quebec with cannabis

Province expects to open 15 marijuana stores across the province this summer and will control sales online.

Six companies announced they have signed letters of intent with Quebec’s liquor board to supply cannabis and related products.

The companies individually announced the deals with the Crown corporation, which is overseeing marijuana sales in the province through a subsidiary when it becomes legal later this year.

The Hydropothecary Corp., which is based in Quebec, will provide 20,000 kilograms of cannabis products in the first year of legalized recreational cannabis use through a full range of products.


Is Quebec missing out on the marijuana boom?

The numbers are striking: Health Canada has issued 43 licences in Ontario to produce medical marijuana, versus two in Quebec.

Quebec is lagging far behind its neighbour to the west when it comes to preparing to capitalize on the coming legalization of marijuana, set for July 2018.

As the province holds hearings at the National Assembly this week on its proposed legislation regulating the sale and production of marijuana, entrepreneurs are looking for ways to cash in. 

Estimates of the Canadian market for pot vary widely, from a high of $22.6 billion a year by the accounting firm Deloitte to a mere $10 billion by a senior economist at CIBC World Markets.

Even more conservative estimates suggest a major opportunity.


Lawyers expect legalizing cannabis will lead to more arrests and criminal cases

McGill University law professor Daniel Weinstock says he heartily recommends his students take up criminal law in order to take advantage of the country's new, strict cannabis laws.

"There is going to be a steady stream of customers," Weinstock said, referring to the influx of people he estimates will be moving through the justice system.

The professor's comments were partly made in jest but serve to illustrate a larger point: upcoming federal and provincial marijuana laws -- in response to domestic and U.S. politics -- will be a boon for lawyers.

Zero-tolerance policies will increase the incentive to contest charges, further clogging the justice system, lawyers say.


The Quebec government wants the province to go more marijuana

Not wanting to fall behind on the marijuana growing game, the provincial government is pushing for more licensed pot-growers in Quebec. 

Members of the Couillard government are expected to make the case to federal politicians for expedited licensed marijuana producer certifications granted to Quebec-based companies, reports JDM. 

A licensed producer is a fully-approved marijuana grower. Licenses for legally growing marijuana (at a large scale/for commercial or medical purposes) are granted by Health Canada.  

As it stands right now, there are only two licensed producers operating out of Quebec. 


Quebec unveils zero-tolerance marijuana plan: No home-grown cannabis allowed

Quebec will have zero tolerance for driving while high and grow-your-own marijuana under a plan for the use and sale of cannabis that highlights the provincial government's discomfort with legalization.

Under draft legislation introduced on Thursday, the province's Liberal government would authorize police to test saliva samples from drivers and allow police to immediately suspend the licence of anyone driving with a trace of cannabis or illicit drugs for 90 days.

The measure goes a step further than Ontario's plan, which has proposed stiffer penalties for commercial drivers and those under 21 years of age who drive while under the influence of cannabis.


Why recreational marijuana is blocked while medical is being embraced

On the night of the 2012 presidential elections, the story of Barack Obama's re-election ran head-to-head with news of the groundbreaking legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Memes abounded, most featuring a cloud of smoke over the city of Denver bearing the caption, "Meanwhile in Colorado..." 

But America quickly realized, to the chagrin of many pot connoisseurs, that the prospect of walking through smoke-filled cities and browsing joint menus at dinner was likely still out of reach. The same thing has been happening this week in Massachusetts, California and other states, where attempts to legalize recreational pot use are being blocked because of opposition from politicians and residents, and overall confusion about how to regulate it.


Quebec calls for one year delay on legal marijuana

The Quebec government moved to harsh Ottawa’s buzz on Wednesday, asking that the federal government postpone its marijuana legalization plan by a year.

A motion introduced by the Coalition Avenir Quebec and supported by the Liberals and the PQ called for the date of legalization to be moved to July 1, 2019.

“We're asking for a delay of one year. Right now, we're not ready. We're not ready for such an important change in our society,” said CAQ leader Francois Legault.


Quebec Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois reiterated her stance that the federal legalization bill, which was introduced in April, is forcing the provinces to move too fast.


Imperial Tobacco wants the government to treat cigarettes and cannabis equally

Can I get "false equivalency" for $1,000, Alex?

In a move that will surely have cannabis consumers fuming, Imperial Tobacco Canada is speaking out against the way Bill C-45 regulates the branding of cannabis products—by boldly comparing tobacco to weed.

The corporation is seeking the attention of lawmakers in Ottawa with an advertisement it ran in the Hill Times on Monday, one that accuses the government of taking a "contradictory" approach to its intention of keeping harmful substances out of the hands of children.


For neuropathic pain, marijuana yields modest benefits

As medical marijuana penetrates mainstream medical practice in the United States and elsewhere, awareness of the potential benefits, potential risks, local laws governing its use for treatment or chronic pain gain importance, according to a specialist reviewing available data at Pain Care for Primary Care.

For many specific types of chronic pain more data are needed to judge the benefit-to-risk ratio of marijuana relative to other options, but there are reasonable data suggesting both acceptable safety and meaningful efficacy of this analgesic in neuropathic pain, according to the associate professor in the departments of anesthesia and family medicine, McGill University, Montreal.


Canada's marijuana industry banks on BMO and TD

Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank are emerging as the banks of choice for Canada's burgeoning marijuana industry, even as some lenders shun the sector.

With less than a year to go before Canada plans to legalize recreational cannabis, and 16 years after making it legal for medical use, Bank of Montreal and TD are providing business accounts to at least 21 cannabis companies, according to interviews with 45 firms tied to the drug. Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd. is top among co-operative lenders.


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