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Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower powers up for home delivery in the GTA

Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower Holdings is now offering home delivery in the greater Toronto area.

Fire & Flower, an independent adult-use cannabis retailer that owns (directly or indirectly) cannabis retail store licences in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and the Yukon.

Through its strategic investment with Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian company has set its sights on the global expansion as new cannabis markets emerge.

In addition to the curbside pickup and home delivery offered in Ottawa and Kingston, the technology powering home delivery in Toronto is enabled through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics Platform. Customers can order via www.fireandflower.com for free next day home delivery on orders over $50.00.

“Fire & Flower welcomes this opportunity to demonstrate how private cannabis retail can showcase fully-compliant best-in-class services such as e-commerce, home delivery and curbside pickup to our customers. It is essential that private retail is able to compete on a level playing field with government-run e-commerce and home delivery cannabis services,” CEO Trevor Fencott said in a release. “Through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics platform, we are well positioned should other methods of servicing customers open across Canadian provinces.”

Under the current shutdown of non-essential businesses, cannabis retail stores are permitted to operate through online, curbside pickup and home delivery services for the duration of the emergency order on business closures in relation to COVID-19.


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Canopy Growth lays off 200 workers in third cut made since March

UnknownCanopy Growth Corp. says it will be cutting 200 workers in its third round of cuts in the last two months.

The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based cannabis business says the employees impacted are working in several departments and located in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

Chief executive David Klein says in a statement to The Canadian Press that the decision will allow the company to better focus its resources and ensure it is delivering high quality products to every market.

He says Canopy prioritized being first for a long time, but going forward it will be focused on doing things the best and in the product formats that show the greatest promise.

In mid-April, Canopy laid off 85 full-time workers, closed a handful of facilities and ceased operations in several countries as it tried to optimize its production and better balance supply and demand.

In early March, it cut 500 workers, took a writedown between $700 million and $800 million, closed two greenhouses in Aldergrove and Delta, B.C. and cancelled plans to operate a third in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


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Tilray misses analyst expectations in Q4, following February layoffs

UnknownTilray Inc. has revealed the company hit a rough patch in its latest quarter, just weeks after announcing it was laying off 10% of its staff to help better achieve profitability.

The Nanaimo-based cannabis company said that its revenues had dropped and its net loss increased in its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

Even its recent acquisition of hemp foodmaker Manitoba Harvest and growth in international medical cannabis markets were not enough to save the company from reporting revenues of US$46.9 million, a roughly 8% drop from the US$51 million it announced the quarter before. Financial markets data firm Refinitiv said analysts had expected Tilray, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, to report a revenue of $55.4 million.

Meanwhile, the company’s net loss for the quarter was $219.1 million or $2.14 per share compared with a loss of $31 million or $0.33 per share for the same quarter of the year prior.

But on an earnings call with analysts, Tilray chief executive Brendan Kennedy did not appear to be letting such numbers get him down.

“The challenges in the Canadian market have been well-documented over the past few quarters. Primarily, the legal cannabis market has been slower than expected in taking share from the elicit market due to lack of points of distribution and product availability, but we are encouraged by recent announcements and actions taken by provincial governments to increase the pace of retail licensing,” he said.

“The market has been volatile over the last 12 months, but I remain extremely bullish on the long-term opportunity in Canada.”

Looking forward, Kennedy said Tilray would be focusing on investing in its facilities that manufacture products linked to Cannabis 2.0- a term used to describe a second wave of products like edibles, extracts and topicals that hit the market earlier this year.

Tilray has partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, to introduce cannabis-infused drinks to the Canadian market.

Its subsidiary High Park Holdings Ltd. runs confectionery brand Chowie Wowie, which makes cannabis-infused chocolates and gummies, and has beverages brand Rmdy, which makes non-alcoholic, ready-to-brew teas and sparkling beverages with all natural flavours.

The company is making a lot of new items for the first time and that is never done efficiently the first time, said Kennedy.

“The first time you make a chocolate bar, the first time we made a beverage and canned it, it’s not as efficient as the 10th time or the 100th time you operate that particular facility, so we’ll optimize our footprint, optimize our yield, optimize our unit costs throughout the course of this year.”

While many companies announced edibles they were researching and developing long ago, many have yet to launch in stores. Those that have hit the market have sold out quickly as consumer demand outweighs supply.

Kennedy said Tilray was “surprised” by the demand, but also by the lack of “competition” generated by licensed producers.

“We’re racing at this point to increase our supply of vape, edibles and beverage products and so we’re expanding our manufacturing lines and increasing our shifts, so that we can get more of those products to market,” he said.

Kennedy’s remarks came as Tilray said the company’s average net selling price per gram increased to $8.78 from $7.52 in the prior year and as it recorded non-cash charges of $112.1 million related to a revenue-sharing agreement it signed with Authentic Brands Group LLC, which is behind the Juicy Couture, Frye and Aeropostale brands.

 

 


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Canopy Growth to lay off 500, close two greenhouses

In early January, the company delayed the debut of its cannabis beverages

Canopy Growth Corp. is orchestrating a massive overhaul involving a layoff of 500 workers, a multimillion-dollar writedown, the closure of two greenhouses and the cancellation of plans to operate a third.

The Smiths Falls, Ont., cannabis company revealed the moves Wednesday in a press release that attributed the cuts to the Canadian recreational pot market developing “slower than anticipated” and “profitability challenges across the industry.”

The company, which is behind the Tweed, Spectrum Therapeutics, Tokyo Smoke and CraftGrow brands, said the actions will “align supply and demand while improving production efficiencies over time.” (In February 2019, Couche-Tard entered into a multi-year agreement with Canopy that involved the opening of one of its Tweed-branded store in London, Ont.)

“When I joined Canopy Growth earlier this year, I committed to focusing the business and aligning its resources to meet the needs of our consumers,” David Klein, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

“Today’s decision moves us in this direction, and although the decision to close these facilities was not taken lightly, we know this is a necessary step to ensure that we maintain our leadership position for the long-term.”

Canopy estimated that the pre-tax charge it will record in its next quarter, ending Mar. 31, will be between $700 million and $800 million.

It deemed the facilities it will scrap – greenhouses in Aldergrove and Delta, B.C. – “no longer essential to its cultivation footprint.”

Those greenhouses account for about 278,709 square metres (3-million sq. ft.) of licensed production space that was put to use in February 2018, after retrofitting was done to prepare the company to supply the new adult-use cannabis market in Canada.

The company, however, struggled to create working capital, the cannabis market did not mature as fast as it anticipated and federal regulations permitting outdoor cultivation were introduced long after Canopy had begun investing in their greenhouses.

Canopy now operates an outdoor production site that’s made cultivation more cost-effective. It believes that site will play an important role in meeting demand for products necessitating cannabis extracts.

The company also said it will no longer pursue plans to operate a third greenhouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Such decisions are the latest in a string of troubles for Canopy and the industry. It announced in early January that the debut of its cannabis drinks – it has 13 planned – will now be delayed because it requires more time to develop its beverage facility and “the scaling process is not complete.”

In February, it recorded a $124.17-million loss in its third quarter of 2020.

Canopy’s cuts come nearly a month after Aurora Cannabis Inc. slashed 500 jobs, took roughly $800 million in goodwill writedowns and announced the departure of Terry Booth, the Edmonton-based company’s chief executive officer.

Aurora’s news was preceded by Tilray Inc. saying it would lay off 10% of its workforce in a bid to cut costs, Sundial Growers axing some of its workforce and Zenabis Global Inc. laying off about 40 staff, mostly in head office roles in Vancouver.


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Life after the lottery: Cannabis retailers share challenges faced since opening

cannabis_packages_frLisa Bigioni was awoken last September in the middle of the night by a call from an alarm company that’s been seared in her memory ever since.

The 1:30 a.m. alert was linked to her Niagara Falls, Ont. cannabis store, where two men had been caught on camera getting out of their car, smashing the shop window and then driving away. It was enough to send Bigioni, who had been fast asleep, scrambling to meet police at the store.

Luckily, no staff had been on site, but it was “terrifying” for Bigioni, who started wondering if this would become a routine part of the business.

“It was like uh-oh, is this what is going to happen now?” she recalled. “Is this what this kind of store brings?”

The window-smashing happened just four months after her store opened in June, but is part of an array of challenges cannabis retailers across the country have faced since first welcoming customers.

Between inventory levels, security and staffing, the stress of trying to figure out a new industry has been demanding for business owners.

Bigioni expected there would be challenges. Legalization, after all, thrust cannabis store ownership into the hands of hundreds of people across the country, many with limited business or pot store experience under their belts.

She had been working as a director at the University of Toronto when she won a licence to open one of Ontario’s first 25 cannabis stores through a lottery held in Jan. 2019.

That prompted a move to Niagara Falls and a resignation from her job.

“I couldn’t sustain doing both because it was that super stressful time,” she said.

Getting the store ready, which she runs in partnership with B.C. cannabis firm Choom Cannabis Co., within a short window was the most tense time for Bigioni, but the months since haven’t been without their struggles.

On top of the break-in and a few quibbles with their point-of-sale system, Bigioni said the store has been grappling with cannabis supply issues.

“Supply by and large is available, but not necessarily in the specific strains that people are looking for or have bought or want to buy consistently,” she said. “There are strains that came out, were really popular, got really great reviews, and then they’ve been difficult to get since.”

She finds that anything with a low price and a high quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol – the main psychoactive component in cannabis – is always in demand and sells out quickly.

But fluctuating THC content in different batches creates problems.

“One week something could be a high THC product at a low price and the next batch could come in at a 5 per cent lower THC, which doesn’t necessarily meet what the customer’s looking for,” she said.

Over at the Nova Cannabis store in Toronto, supply is also a challenge – particularly when it comes to edibles.

“We thought we were going to have more selection than what we had,” said Heather Conlon, the owner of a lock-and-safe business, who partnered with Edmonton-based licensed producer Alcanna Inc. for her store.

Consumers have been scooping up edibles so quickly that it has been hard to keep any on shelves and licensed producers are still in the process of increasing their output.

The OCS said they are shipping products out as quickly as possible and anticipate the supply of edibles will be become “much more steady” in the coming months as producers capacity expands.

Conlon’s first edibles shipment from the Ontario Cannabis Store, the province’s pot distributor, was mostly vapes, chocolates and cookies. The latter two were sold out within hours.

Nova’s deliveries have recently begun to include teas, gummies, soft chews and mints, but even with more selection, products still sell out within a few days.

It’s always a week until more arrives and when it does, there is not always enough to satiate consumers since licensed producers are still ramping up edibles production.

Shoppers aren’t just clamouring for the treats available either. They’re also constantly asking about other items cannabis brands have announced but have yet to ship.

“We’re just mainly waiting now for beverages and topicals. Those are the main two things that people are still looking for,” said Conlon.

She still counts herself lucky because her store hasn’t faced vandalism like Bigioni’s.

Aleafia Health Inc. had a shipment of “packaged, finished” cannabis products stolen in late December from a truck the cannabis company had hired to deliver the items to provincial wholesale facilities.

YSS Corp., the Calgary-based business behind 17 cannabis stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan, was also targeted that month, said chief executive Theo Zunich.

“Two suspects entered the store and robbed the store at gunpoint,” he said. “It was pretty quick and they did make out with cannabis and cash.”

An employee at the Edmonton-Northwest Landing store was assaulted in the process.

The incident made the company think about safety more than it already did.

“We do daily huddles with all of the staff and reinforce certain aspects of various policies, so we definitely prioritize the staff-related ones in times when those rashes happen,” he said.

The incidents have challenged YSS and made them think about how to abide by regulations.

In Alberta, cannabis and related accessories must be kept out of sight of minors.

Many have resorted to covering their windows completely to abide with regulations, but Zunich said stores can use other visual barriers or position products in other areas of their shop.

“It’s incredibly difficult to do that though. Our frustration is you’ve made the packaging child-safe so is the window covering really necessary? I would argue let’s remove the window coverings to make the store safer,” he said.

“We are not there yet, but we are hopeful.”


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Ontarians gobble up cannabis edibles

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Ontario cannabis shoppers scooped up thousands of edibles and vape products within an hour of them going on sale for the first time on the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website.

The online retailer experienced 2,000 transactions on Thursday in the hour after 70 products–cannabis-infused chocolates, cookies, soft chews, mints, tea and vapes–were made available at 9 a.m. local time.

Some products sold out within a half-hour, said the cannabis distributor’s spokesperson Daffyd Roderick.

“At 8:59 a.m., we had 3,000 people in the lobby hitting refresh, waiting to get online, so there was obviously some excitement in the marketplace,” he said.

“We were sold out of soft chew products within 25 minutes.”

The rollout is part of Cannabis 2.0, where the country is allowing a second wave of products like edibles, extracts and topicals to hit the market following the October 2018 legalization of cannabis in Canada. The frenzied pace of sales online Thursday comes after the products first appeared on store shelves last week. Such items were approved for sale in Canada in mid-December, but several provinces, including Ontario, delayed their rollout.

When the OCS website was first launched and the first round of cannabis products went on sale in 2018, Roderick said the site experienced “high demand,” causing online deliveries to take as long as five days to arrive. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in the first 24 hours the OCS processed 38,000 orders.

Roderick said the online debut of the edible and vape products went well, but acknowledged that there were “a few bumps.”

“Because there were so many people simultaneously refreshing, their page would drop and then they would hit refresh a couple times and they would get back,” he said.

When shoppers Thursday did make it through to the site, which was down between 12:01 a.m. and 9 a.m. to prepare for the launch, Roderick said they were most interested in soft chews.

Several packs were priced for between $6.65 and $12.35 and came in flavours such as raspberry vanilla, peach mango, pineapple orange, apple green tea and grapefruit hibiscus.

Roderick figured there popularity stemmed from soft chews having a “convenience factor” and because “not everybody loves chocolate.”

There were only three kinds of chocolate left for shoppers by noon, when The Canadian Press reviewed the website.

Roderick would not share when more stock would arrive or how much of each product was available for sale, but said its allotment is equal to physical stores and the distributor has a limited supply it has been provided with by licensed producers.

“We know that they’re doing their best to ramp up their production capacity and like everyone else, we’re waiting and watching for when those products are going to come,” he said. “The producers are very interested in getting these products to market, so they’re working as quickly as they can.”

The OCS expects cannabis topicals, concentrates and beverages to be sold in the coming months.


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Edibles, vapes and other cannabis products on sale in Ontario but hard to find

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Ontario cannabis store shoppers with a hankering for edibles were out of luck Monday.

Most of the province’s licensed retailers had yet to receive their first shipments of 59 products including soft chews, cookies and chocolates that were slated to start appearing in stores that day.

But the Ontario Cannabis Store, the province’s pot distributor, said products are on their way and likely already in some shoppers’ hands.

“Some stores outside the GTA have received products,” spokesperson Daffyd Roderick said.

Roderick said he could not name which stores have received shipments of edibles for security reasons, but said they were all outside the GTA.

Those that have placed orders are guaranteed to get them on the regular delivery dates that their other cannabis products usually arrive on, he said.

The OCS had previously warned that the supply of edibles could be tight and sell out quickly. It vowed to rapidly replenish supplies and roll out more products in the coming months as they receive regulatory approvals.

Alcanna Inc.’s Nova Cannabis store on Queen Street West in Toronto was among the locations without cannabis stock on Monday, but handfuls of shoppers there and at the Hunny Pot store down the street told The Canadian Press they were either uninterested in cannabis edibles or unaware they were scheduled to hit shelves this week.

Dave Crapper, the Alberta company’s senior vice president of communications, wasn’t surprised to hear there was no wave of disappointed customers clamouring for products because he is expecting most of the interest in edibles to come from people who have yet to dabble with cannabis but who want to “begin nibbling.”

“They are not on pins and needles about when the product will be available,” he said. “We are not antsy about any of this. It’s a new industry. It is going to have growing pains.”

Dan McKay, a 23-year-old business student who visited Nova on Monday to pick up dried flower, said he plans to try edibles when they’re available.

He wasn’t aware that they were slated to be sold in the province this week, but said he wasn’t surprised some customers are having to wait a little bit longer for them.

“It took us what seemed like forever to get cannabis in stores in the first place,” he said. “It would be silly to think edibles will be any quicker.”

He didn’t hear anyone asking about edibles at the store, but said he expected people who were interested in the product either anticipated a delay or made their purchases through the black market.

Crapper is “optimistic” that Nova will have some edibles in stock this week, but was unsure what day anything will arrive.

Once the company gets its delivery, all eyes will be on what customers grab and how that can be used to inform future ordering decisions.

“It is going to be a bit of a trial and error process on everyone’s part,” says Crapper.

The company has decided to “err on the side of more availability” and stock a wide variety of items until it can better predict what will satiate shoppers.

Prices for legally sold edibles will range from $7 to $14, beverages are set to cost between $4 and $10, and vapes will be priced anywhere from $25 to $125.


Quebec raising legal age for cannabis to 21, the strictest in the country

cannabis_packages_frQuebecers under the age of 21 won’t be able to buy or possess recreational cannabis as of Wednesday, ushering in the toughest age restrictions in the country since pot was legalized 14 months ago.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec government passed legislation in the fall that upped the legal age for accessing cannabis from 18, citing the impact of cannabis on young minds in deciding to act.

But policy experts suggest restricting legal access to the drug for the segment of the population most likely to use the drug will not have the intended effect.

Daniel Weinstock, director of the institute for health and social policy at McGill University, said it’s clear where the Quebec government is coming from, citing research that shows a risk factor for developing brains.

“The problem is the amount of cannabis that’s already present in the illegal market. We have to think long and hard about our ability to effectively enforce prohibition,” Weinstock said. “And if we can’t – and I strongly suspect we won’t be able to – … we risk finding ourselves in the worst of all possible situations.”

That situation would see 18 to 21 year olds _ armed with no information about the potency of what they’re consuming _ buying from illegal dealers and using contaminated, unregulated product.

A Universite de Montreal addictions researcher said perhaps a small minority of youth – those already deemed not at risk – might put off using cannabis because of the measure.

But Jean-Sebastien Fallu notes that when it was illegal, nearly half of Quebecers had tried cannabis once in their lifetime by 17.

“You have 50% who’d used once in their lifetime, despite the threat of criminalized prohibition,” Fallu said. “So I don’t think this (new rule) is going to have any significant impact on underage, minor or adolescent use.”

Weinstock said policy makers should understand a ban isn’t always the right choice, even if most parties agree the goal should be to moderate young people’s consumption.

“We really have to think about the second-best (option) – to give them access to a safe product,” he said.

The province’s junior health minister, Lionel Carmant, declined a request for an interview through his spokesperson. Carmant has said previously the stricter age rules were adopted with the idea of protecting the developing minds of young adults from cannabis.

But Fallu said he’s also concerned youth will be consuming illegal cannabis with no quality-control standards for levels of THC – the drug’s main psychoactive component.

The Quebec Cannabis Industry Association, which represents more than 25 of the province’s licensed growers, has raised concerns that the stricter rules go against the reasoning behind the federal government’s move toward legalization – improving public safety and getting rid of the black market.

While the federal law sets the minimum age at 18, it leaves it to the provinces and territories to establish their own rules. The legal age for consumption is 19 in every other province except Alberta, where it’s 18.

Given the legal age for drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco in Quebec remain at 18, the Quebec Bar Association has warned there could be constitutional challenges around the issue of age discrimination.

One constitutional lawyer called the law a “form of paternalism that is entirely unjustifiable in our society.”

“I think it’s absurd and I think it’s contrary to the charter, I think it’s discrimination as to age,” said Julius Grey. “It seems to me that it’s perfectly absurd to say that alcohol – which kills many more people than cannabis – is safe at 18, but cannabis is only at 21.”

Grey said it’s a strange situation whereby adulthood comes at 18, where one can be considered fully responsible for one’s acts, yet can’t access a legal product.

“Differential ages are not reasonable – you have to have an age of majority,” Grey said. “Once you become a full adult and you have the full responsibility for what you do, you should have free choice.”

Recreational marijuana use became legal across Canada on Oct. 17, 2018, but Quebec quickly adopted tougher provincial measures.

The province is one of two jurisdictions where home cultivation is forbidden, along with Manitoba. The province has announced it will appeal a provincial court decision that invalidated that provision after a judge ruled it infringed upon the jurisdiction of the federal government.

When Quebec passed its age restriction this year, it also banned public consumption of cannabis. It has also introduced the toughest restrictions for edibles, which are being phased into the market elsewhere in the country, by targeting anything that might appeal to children.

Weinstock said the approach may change, given legal cannabis remains relatively new.

“My hope is that as time goes by, the drug becomes normalized, we’ll be able to go to a series of evidence-based policies, rather than ones that are driven by fear and panic,” Weinstock said.

 


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Brisk early sales of weed edibles at Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. outlet

Stocking stuffers with a kick moved briskly off the shelves at Nova Scotia’s government-operated cannabis shops and at other Canadian vendors that managed to bring in a supply during the leadup to Christmas.

In showing off the early offerings of various “edibles” at a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlet on Christmas Eve, spokeswoman Bev Ware noted quite a few cupboards were already bare.

“Judging by conversations I heard in the lineups on Monday, it seems people are buying them as stocking stuffers and some for their own enjoyment on Christmas Eve,” she said.

Ware said lineups of customers filled the store on December 23rd, and all of the chocolate, mint and chewable types of marijuana products were sold out by day’s end.

Customers doing last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve had to content themselves with various infused teas and vaping products at the Clyde Street location in downtown Halifax.

Ware laid out a few samples, such as CBD-infused vanilla rooibos tea bags that were going for just under $8 each.

Regulations governing next-generation cannabis products such as edibles, beverages, vapes and topical forms of cannabis came into effect on Oct. 17 – exactly one year after Canada legalized recreational pot.

Due to the mandatory 60-day notice period companies must provide to Health Canada before selling these products, the earliest they could legally go on sale was mid-December.

Companies have been unveiling details of products ranging from spring water to mints that contain CBD and THC, the two active ingredients found in cannabis.

These cannabis-derived products are subject to strict regulations, including a cap on the level of active ingredients and rules around packaging.

In the Nova Scotia stores, there’s a quantity limit of 30 grams or its equivalent per customer for marijuana edibles, extracts and topicals.

“It can be difficult for people to figure out, so our employees will help them do the equivalents,” said Ware.

PEI Cannabis was also selling edibles on Christmas Eve, with some products available since last Thursday, a saleswoman at the Charlottetown shop said Tuesday. A spokesperson wasn’t available to indicate how sales were going.

The British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch said in an email that it has registered more than 260 individual products that fall within the new categories of edibles, extracts and topicals.

“The first shipments of the new classes of legal products were received last Wednesday and shipped out to retailers Thursday,” wrote Viviana Zanocco.

Zanocco said the wholesale website sold out in 30 minutes, as did the online store.

“Customers can expect to see them on shelves of legal retail stores shortly – that depends on each store’s shipping schedule,” she added.

However, in Alberta and Ontario, consumers will have to wait until 2020 for offerings.

Heather Holmen, communications manager for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, said in an emailed statement that her province’s 380 private retailers won’t have the products until next month.

“Once product is ordered, shipped to us, received and put into inventory, retailers will be able to place their orders,” she wrote.

“Factor in order processing and shipping time to retailers, that brings us to mid-January before consumers will be able to find product on store shelves.”

The AGLC is still in discussions with licensed producers to determine the types of products will be offered from about half of the 42 producers who will be participating, Holmen said.

In Ontario, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Cannabis Store said stores would begin selling on Jan. 6.

Joanna Hui, communications manager for OCS, said the agency has been receiving “a very small amount of cannabis edibles and vapes from producers that were ready to deliver these products at the earliest legal opportunity.”

“Our licensed producer partners are aware of consumer interest in these new product types and are working around the clock to begin delivering these products to Ontario.”

It’s expected the selection will be “limited” initially, but will grow through January and February, said Hui.

Sales are also only expected to start in Quebec beginning on Jan. 1, according to published reports earlier in December. A spokesman was unavailable for further comment.

Vaping products have come under particular scrutiny after more than 1,400 related lung illnesses in the U.S. have been reported _ many of them involving THC-containing products – as well as recently diagnosed cases in several provinces.

Health Canada said in an emailed statement that it is not delaying the legalization of pot vapes, but is actively monitoring the situation on both sides of the border.

It “will take additional action, if warranted and as appropriate, to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” the government agency has said.


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Canopy says new generation of cannabis products won’t be on shelves until January

Canopy Growth Corp. says its new generation of cannabis-infused food and beverage products won’t be on store shelves until January in most markets.

The Ontario-based company says it was not allowed to sell its new product formats into distribution channels until Dec. 16 and it is rolling out products in a staged fashion from then to ensure a smooth rollout.

Canopy has been describing this phase of Canada’s legalization of marijuana products as Cannabis 2.0.

It has previously warned that it was unlikely to deliver on its previously announced sales targets for its financial fourth quarter due to difficulties with distribution in Ontario, the country’s biggest provincial market.

It now says that its Cannabis 2.0 products, beginning with its first chocolate bars and beverages, should be in stores in early January. It says its new line vape pens and cartridges should launch in late January.

Based in Smiths Falls, Ont., Canopy has been a pioneer of Canada’s commercial cannabis industry but has seen its stock price decline from a peak in April due to difficulties in the first year of legal non-medical product sales.

In October, Canopy purchased a majority stake in BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc.