420 with CNW – A Peek Into Canopy Growth’s Cannabis Manufacturing Facility Just Before Legalization Day

Wednesday (October 17) marked the start of a new era in Canada after recreational cannabis became legal. Canadians waited for this day, but not as eagerly as Canopy Growth, one of the leading cannabis companies in the country.

The President and co-CEO of the firm, Mark Zekulin, said that they pulled all the stops, including using every kind of transportation available in Canada (except dog sleds) to ensure that cannabis supplies were distributed to all the retailers who had placed orders from around the country.

Zekulin added that the company had been preparing for legalization day for years. That statement cannot be conceived as bragging since the company has been operating for years when only medicinal marijuana was legal in Canada.

Those long years of preparation were also revealed when the co-CEO said that the manufacturing plant of the company also has an edibles division even if cannabis edibles are not yet legal in Canada. It is believed that edibles will be legalized after about a year from the date when recreational cannabis hit the retail stores.

The information above was shared as the co-CEO and the VP for Communications took a team from Cheddar TV Network around their Ontario-based manufacturing facility.

The cannabis facility is housed in a building that used to host a Hershey’s chocolate factory in the past. To honor that heritage, Canopy Growth plans to make chocolates with a twist; chocolate infused with marijuana.

Canopy Growth employs more than 800 people at its Ontario headquarters, and those hundreds of employees must have had long shifts scrambling to make October 17 a success despite the logistical challenges of moving so much cannabis within such a short time.

The “vault” at the manufacturing plant had about half a billion dollars’ worth of marijuana and marijuana products at the time the Cheddar Network team toured the facility. That stockpile is only expected to sit on the shelves for a few days before it is all distributed to retailers and medical cannabis dispensaries throughout Canada.

Analysts estimate that the demand for marijuana is likely to hit more than 610 tons yet the existing suppliers can only avail 210 tons of marijuana. It is no wonder that Canopy Growth had to send out an all-hands-on-deck call to its employees in order to hit the ground running on day one of legal recreational cannabis.

American marijuana companies like Marijuana Company of America (OTC: MCOA) and Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) can only watch from a distance hoping that it won’t be long before marijuana becomes legal at the federal level in the homeland.

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420 with CNW – Canada’s Experiment With Legalized Marijuana Begins

The countdown to the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Canada ended yesterday when retail stores opened for the first time to serve adults who wanted to consume this substance that has been wrapped in a lot of controversy for decades. Legalization day also marked the start of one of the biggest “experiments” in public health policy. This is because cannabis was legalized without fully understanding how different categories of people would be affected by its regular consumption.

Of primary interest are teens and young adults. While federal law places the minimum age for those who can legally buy and consume cannabis at 18, provinces and territories imposed their own age limits with several putting it at 19.

Those age limits still give the scientific community the jitters since there is widespread agreement that a person’s brain continues to develop until that individual turns 25. This means that a young adult or an adolescent will have several years within which to consume a substance that could potentially alter the structure of that person’s brain during these crucial formative years.

Public health groups and the scientific community will be watching this age group closely in order to ascertain the actual impact of cannabis consumption upon them both in the short term and the long term.

The second category of people that has scientists worried is those who are predisposed to developing different kinds of psychosis, such as schizophrenia. Cannabis consumption has been linked to triggering episodes of psychosis, but it isn’t clear exactly how the substance affects the brain in order to trigger the condition.

Younger people are at a higher risk of developing psychosis if those individuals are predisposed to it and consume cannabis early in life. Researchers are ready to study this special group and learn more about the way cannabis affects their brains.

Of special concern to the scientific community are the senior citizens who may consume cannabis now that it is legal. This section of the population is usually overshadowed by the focus centered upon teens and young adults, but they also deserve serious attention.

Seniors often have a number of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and weakened body systems. It is not known how cannabis will interact with the different medications those seniors are taking for their health challenges.

Sections of the scientific community will be watching these older members of the community closely given that the sharpest increases in cannabis consumption have been registered in this group.

The fourth group that will be watched closely are the pregnant or nursing mothers. The medical community urges these people to refrain from consuming cannabis in the same way that advice is given to avoid other substances like alcohol and tobacco during this stage.

However, advice (professional or not) can either be accepted or ignored. Researchers will therefore be looking out for the impact that cannabis has on pregnant women or those breastfeeding who go ahead and light a joint every so often.

The eyes of the world are on Canada to see how this experiment with cannabis pans out. The results will either encourage other countries to open up to marijuana, or strengthen their prohibitionist positions. Cannabis industry players like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and GreenBox POS, LLC (OTC: GRBX) have their fingers crossed hoping that Canada’s lead is followed by other countries.

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420 with CNW – FDA Calls for Public Comments on Marijuana

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that members of the public and the scientific community have an opportunity to share their thoughts on several substances, including marijuana. Of specific interest is the medical usefulness, abuse potential and actual abuse of the listed substances (including cannabis).

The FDA action comes at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to meet in November this year to review the scheduling of cannabis. The ECDD (Expert Committee on Drug Dependence) is the body that will decide whether marijuana should stay as a schedule 1 substance or that categorization should be changed.

Schedule 1 substances are substances which are regarded as having no medical value yet they possess a high risk of being abused. The UN and the U.S. currently categorize marijuana as a schedule 1 substance.

The outcome of the ECDD meeting will influence how many of the UN member states regard cannabis going forward. However, the decision arrived at may or may not be disregarded by member states.

For example, Canada went ahead and legalized adult use of marijuana despite its categorization as a schedule 1 substance. Similarly, many countries around the world have legalized medical cannabis even if the UN looks at the substance as having no medical value.

The current count of U.S. states where medical cannabis is legal now stands at 31, and more are expected to vote for decriminalization during the coming mid-term elections.

Marijuana advocates should not start celebrating that the Trump administration is finally willing to listen and act on the views of the stakeholders of the marijuana industry.

The administration is bound by law to collect people’s views, but there is no compulsion for them to pay any attention to the voices which speak up during the hearings.

That notwithstanding, numerous groups, such as the Marijuana Policy Project, have collected and submitted lots of scientific and anecdotal data on the medicinal value of cannabis to the WHO committee. That same information will be forwarded to the FDA which has put an October 31 deadline on the submission of comments.

Of key interest is the matter of teen use of marijuana. The current data suggests that no increase in the number of teenagers using pot has been seen in the states where marijuana use is legal either for recreational or medical reasons. This should allay any fears that public health will be threatened by an explosion of teen stoners.

While marijuana advocates hope for the best from these hearings, they are also aware that a committee was secretly set up by the Trump administration to gather negative data about cannabis. Companies like Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) and Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) keep wishing that regulators and legislators everywhere listen honestly and make decisions based on concrete data instead of relying on preconceived notions when making policy decisions.

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420 with CNW – U.S. Customs Now Says Canadian Cannabis Industry Workers Can Enter the U.S.

The cloud of uncertainty in the minds of Canadians working in the legal marijuana industry may have lifted a little after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Administration (CBP) put up an update on its website stating that cannabis industry workers may be “generally” admissible into the U.S. in case their travel isn’t connected to their work.

This clarification comes several weeks after CBP issued a press release in which it suggested that anyone involved in the cannabis industry would not be allowed to cross into the U.S. That statement left marijuana industry workers contemplating an end to simple things like fulfilling the dreams of their kids by visiting Disneyland or even escaping the harsh Canadian winter by seeking out warmer locations across the border to the south.

The new statement clarified that any person involved in the Canadian cannabis industry may be denied entry in case such a person is coming to the U.S. on matters that are related to their work in the cannabis industry. Legalization in Canada doesn’t alter the prohibition of marijuana by U.S. federal law, the statement added.

However, the CBP statement is silent on what the fate of people who admit that they consume cannabis will be at entry points.

What the statement mentions directly is that those who have been convicted for violating U.S. or other countries’ drugs laws will not be allowed into the U.S.

Legal experts agree that the recent statement by CBP provides a more reasonable approach to handling the matter of Canadian cannabis industry workers who wish to travel to the U.S. However, those experts also point out that several grey areas still exist.

For instance, it wasn’t clear how the border authorities will determine which activities are connected to the industry and those that aren’t. Is traveling to attend a marijuana conference in the U.S. outlawed?

Lawyers who specialize in cross-border matters also think that Customs and Border Protection worded their statement cleverly in order to give their agents wiggle room when determining whether to allow someone into the country or not.

It is expected that the position of the U.S. border authorities will keep evolving in the coming weeks and months as the kinks in their current policy get ironed out. In the meantime, Canadians are advised to be mindful about the existing U.S. laws in order to avoid being found in breach of those laws while traveling to or while in the U.S.

ChineseInvestors.com, Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and Choom Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) must be equally concerned about the grey areas or contradictions in the cannabis laws at different jurisdictional levels.

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420 with CNW – Washington State Marijuana Tracking System Flawed, Says Report

An assessment report released by Gartner Consulting recently has found that Washington State rushed to implement a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system even though the regulator and the system provider knew that the tracking system was flawed.

That rushed implementation cost retailers revenue since many dispensaries were unwilling to buy marijuana from those retailers whose systems hadn’t been integrated with Leaf Date Systems (the tracking platform created by MJ Freeway).

Gartner Consulting is an independent technology and research firm based in Connecticut. Washington State LCB (Liquor and Cannabis Board) contracted Gartner Consulting to assess the tracking system over a period of eight weeks.

The consulting firm noted that the tracking system was unstable and crashed several times during the assessment period.

Gartner Consulting placed the blame for these technical glitches on both LCB and MJ Freeway.

LCB is blamed for making a decision to go live with a system that was flawed and could not pass numerous basic tests for such platforms. The regulator should never have allowed an immature system to be commissioned since that put the entire marijuana value chain tracking system at the risk of a total collapse when so much was at stake.

The consultant also pointed out several issues which put LCB and the developer on the spot. For example, the deployment schedule followed was labeled “impossible” by Gartner Consulting since such projects usually take at least a year to develop and deploy. MJ Freeway should have known better and demanded a reasonable timeframe within which to design a defect-free platform.

The assessment also concluded that the platform designer and the regulator underestimated what would be required to customize the platform for Washington State.

A more stinging criticism for MJ Freeway was that the methods upon which the entire system was developed and implemented didn’t adhere to industry best practices. Consequently, the system raises persistent security concerns.

Gartner Consulting went on to propose ten steps through which the tracking system can be salvaged and improved. For example, the consultant recommends that Washington State hires an experienced firm to provide software integration so that the system can work seamlessly with the software used by other marijuana industry players.

Alternatively, the state could take the radical decision to cancel the project and implement a new one.

Jessica Billingsley, the CEO of MJ Freeway, admitted that though they deployed the system in record time, it had some technical issues which are being addressed to improve it. The company has been taking steps to address all the concerns raised in the Gartner report. TransCanna and VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) must be hoping that they never be at the receiving end of such harsh criticism of their products and services.

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Hemp and CBD Set to Eclipse the THC Marijuana Market

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: As the cannabis market continues to grow, hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) are occupying an increasingly large share of the escalating industry.

  • Hemp, the form of cannabis without psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is an important part of the cannabis market.
  • Hemp is common in many health and wellness products.
  • Total sales of hemp-derived products are expected to exceed $1 billion this year.
  • Some industry experts expect hemp products to soon exceed marijuana for their share of the cannabis industry.

Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) (SGMD Profile) is taking advantage of this shift by making a heavy investment in hemp production. Medical marijuana company Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) bridges the gap between product types through its production of CBD oils. One of the largest cannabis growers in Canada, Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) provides plants used in a wide range of products. GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) has created the first cannabis-derived prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, public acceptance and more positive perception of the cannabis sector are shifting, thanks at least in part to publicity efforts by shifted by cannabis companies such as…

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420 with CNW – Facebook Lifts Ban on Marijuana Searches Ahead of Canadian Cannabis Legalization

While the U.S. customs authorities may be unsure about how to respond once recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada, social media giant Facebook has taken the step to stop preventing search results from showing in case a user is looking for cannabis pages, articles and organizations, among other kinds of related content.

Facebook has been filtering out any search results connected to cannabis for more than a year. This action was in line with the platform’s rules that barred illegal products and substances from being traded or trafficked using the platform.

That is now bound to change as Facebook users from around the globe will now be able to access marijuana-related content using the search feature of the platform.

However, there will be a condition to accessing cannabis information. Only verified pages, personalities and organizations will be listed in the search results.

Facebook currently has two signs of verification, a blue and grey verification mark. The blue mark is reserved for brands, media companies and public figures. Other verified cannabis accounts or pages will have the grey verification mark.

The verification process starts with the marijuana business giving Facebook a phone number which is listed publicly. The social media platform then makes an automated call to that number and the receiver is expected to enter a 4-digit code once he or she is prompted to do so during the phone call.

Previously, government marijuana dispensaries, advocacy agencies and other organizations could not be found on Facebook due to the restrictions designed into the search algorithm of the social media platform.

The changes in the laws of different countries and states has motivated the change of heart at Facebook in order to enable Facebook users to access marijuana content without any undue limitations.

It is worth remembering at this point that marijuana video content could be accessed even when the restrictions on cannabis were in force. The algorithm changes being rolled out will have no effect on access to such video content.

The move by Facebook has been welcomed by cannabis advocacy groups, such as Marijuana Policy Project, who said that it was long overdue for the social media platform to change how it regards marijuana.

Many polls show that the public wants marijuana to be decriminalized, and many jurisdictions have passed laws permitting marijuana use for either medical or recreational purposes. Facebook and other platforms should therefore start looking at marijuana favorably since it is now legal in many countries or jurisdictions. Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) must be pleased by the change made by Facebook.

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420 with CNW – Walmart Canada Considers Selling Cannabis-Based Products

The Canadian branch of Walmart Inc. has revealed that it is thinking about including cannabis-based products on its shelves.

This announcement makes Walmart the first major retailer to express interest in participating in the cannabis industry. Other major companies from the U.S. to show interest in the Canadian cannabis industry were from the beverage and alcohol industry (Coca Cola and Constellation Brands).

Just how free are these companies when it comes to making decisions about getting involved in the cannabis industry? Market sentiment may be forcing their hand as was seen when Pepsi Cola shares dipped on the stock exchange when the company announced that it had no interest in venturing into the cannabis industry. Other mega brands, fearful of suffering a similar fate, may be sending out feelers to identify at what point they can get on the marijuana wave sweeping everything in its wake.

Marijuana or its derivatives has been linked to several medicinal functions, such as helping people deal with chronic pain. Cancer, pediatric epilepsy, PTSD and other conditions are all said to be improved by cannabis ingredients.

Diana Medeiros, the spokeswoman for Walmart confirmed that the company had conducted some preliminary research but they hadn’t made any decision yet to have CBD products in their stores.

The move by Walmart comes just days before the adult-use of marijuana becomes legal in Canada. Canada is the first country with a large economy to decriminalize recreational marijuana. The retail sales of marijuana in Canada are expected to reach C$10.4 billion by 2025.

Canada’s decision and process is likely to be copied in other developed nations since many are already watching the developments in Canada closely. Canada has started exporting medical cannabis products to different countries, and many developed nations will not want to be left out on the revenues that can accrue from this industry that is enjoying wide popularity across all sections of the population.

The interest shown by large corporations is giving the marijuana industry positive publicity, something that is likely to fuel the push for further legalization in jurisdictions where marijuana is still prohibited.

It is that same interest in revenue that is driving decriminalization in several U.S. states. For example, New Hampshire is already calculating the potential tax revenues from the cannabis industry ahead of legalization. Such forces are likely to play a major part in any decision made regarding the legalization of marijuana.

Whether Walmart sells CBD products or not, cannabis industry players like Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) and SinglePoint, Inc. (OTCQB: SING) welcome the buzz that their interest has created around the cannabis industry.

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420 with CNW – Canada May Not Have Enough Cannabis to Meet Demand Upon Legalization

It is just a matter of hours before recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada but researchers are suggesting that the country may not have enough marijuana on the shelves to meet the demand for it.

Researchers based at the University of Waterloo and their counterparts at C.D. Howe Institute warned that many people who may want to celebrate legalization with a joint may be unable to do so due to the limited capacity of cannabis suppliers to meet the expected demand.

The researchers revealed that the current suppliers may only be in position to meet between 30 percent and 60 percent of the demand for recreational cannabis come legalization day (October 17).

According to the researchers, the supply of cannabis from the licensed sources could be approximately 210 tons. This is a small amount when compared to the existing demand estimated to be in excess of 610 tons.

Part of the reason for this supply gap falls squarely on the government since it has been “unnecessarily” slow in vetting and licensing applicants who want to grow and supply cannabis to the retail outlets.

It should be remembered that Canada is just the second country to decriminalize adult use of marijuana after Uruguay. The “slow” rate at which producers are being licensed may be a result of the precautionary approach being used to avoid making needless mistakes so early in the development of the industry.

Government statistics show that approximately 16 percent (4.6 million) of all Canadians have used marijuana at least once this year. The number of people using cannabis is unlikely to rise according to the statistics of the federal government.

However, the insufficient supply of marijuana once adult use becomes legal is likely to hurt at different levels beyond the disappointment of Canadians who may miss out when the retail shelves run out of cannabis. The government will lose tax revenue amounting to about $774 million until the supply gaps are filled.

Legalization at the federal level in Canada also doesn’t mean that citizens will be free to use marijuana as they wish. Reports are already emerging that schools, apartment buildings and other public places may prohibit smoking marijuana within their spaces.

Such prohibitions may be modeled upon the restrictions on smoking tobacco cigarettes in order to protect non-smokers from the hazards associated with secondhand smoking. Pot enthusiasts may therefore have to be careful where they choose to indulge.

All the same, Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and American Premium Water Corp. (OTC: HIPH) would relish the chance to operate in a market where the demand for products far exceeds the supply available.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Poll Shows 62 Percent of Americans Favor Marijuana Decriminalization

A recent poll conducted by Pew Research Center shows that 62 percent of all Americans want cannabis to be legalized. The findings are in line with previous polls which have been showing an increase in the number of citizens who favor marijuana legalization.

A total of 1,754 adults were interviewed by phone and their responses showed the highest support for decriminalization since Pew Research Center started conducting yearly polls about the sentiments of citizens regarding marijuana.

This increased support may have been fueled by the legalization of pot in several states as well as D.C.

However, the rate at which support for cannabis legalization is growing seems to have hit a plateau since the recent polls show modest increases in support. Last year, the figure stood at 61 percent, meaning that support has grown since then by one percentage point in 2018.

Political affiliation seems to play a role in people’s attitudes towards marijuana legalization. The poll discovered that Democrats are more likely to favor decriminalization when compared to Republicans. Roughly 69 percent of the Democrats polled in the study supported legalization, while only 45 percent of the Republicans expressed a similar sentiment.

It isn’t therefore surprising that Trump’s Republican government set up a secret committee to collect negative information about marijuana in order to portray it has a danger to the nation.

However, the tide is also turning among Republicans as well. For example, Republicans in Texas expressed their support for the removal of custodial sentences for adults found in possession of small amounts of marijuana. The nearly five in 10 Republicans who supported marijuana legalization in this study are an increase from the 39 percent who were in favor of legalization in 2015.

The study also revealed that age may be a factor when matters of marijuana legalization arise. For example, nearly three-quarters of all Millennials polled supported legalization while just over half of the Baby Boomers supported decriminalization. Not surprisingly, those aged 76-93 had the least support for marijuana legalization with only 39 percent saying it was time to get cannabis off the list of contraband substances. The older one is, the less likely that person may be to support marijuana legalization.

If these statistics are anything to go by, the federal government is likely to have its hand forced once most states make it legal to use cannabis either for medical or recreational purposes. The process is already underway in several states, so 2019 is likely to see a higher number of states where marijuana is legal. The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) must be waiting for that day when the entire U.S. market will be opened to them.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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