OTTAWA – A Senate committee has voted to amend the federal government's cannabis legalization bill to allow provinces and territories to ban home-grown marijuana. But it has refused to accept an amendment that would have prohibited home cultivation outright.
Professional football player Mike James will participate in the “Surprise Speaker Series” at the 5th Annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition in New York, May 30 – June 2, at the Javits Center.

Following a season-ending injury at the height of his football career as a running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, James began to research natural forms of effective relief for his chronic pain when traditional rehabilitation and training had failed.
Aphria Inc. says it has reached a deal that will see Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits become its exclusive distributor of recreational cannabis products in Canada.

The Leamington, Ont.-based cannabis producer says Southern Glazer's new Canadian subsidiary Great North Distributors, which will focus specifically on cannabis products, will represent the company when recreational use is legalized.

Aphria says the deal with Southern Glazer's, one of North America's largest wine and spirits distributors, will give it coverage of all cannabis retailers across Canada on the first day of legal adult-use sales.

The deal comes as cannabis producers have been looking to strike agreements with distributors and firm up space with retailers as legalization in Canada approaches.

Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced in February it would buy a 20 per cent stake in retailer Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd., which changed its name last week to Alcanna Inc. to reflect it now has alcohol and canabis divisions.

Canopy Growth Corp. reached a deal last fall with Constellation Brands that saw the alcohol supplier invest $245 million for a 10 per cent stake in Canopy, and the two partner on marketing and product development.
MARKHAM – MedReleaf announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Niagara College to foster the development of cannabis production expertise in Canada through its Graduate Certificate program in Commercial Cannabis Production – Canada's first postsecondary credential in this emerging field.
VANCOUVER – Not enough companies have comprehensive substance-use policies and those that provide them offer inadequate measures to help struggling employees, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says in a report aimed at bringing awareness to workplace practices before marijuana is legalized this summer.
When Niagara College kicks off its Commercial Cannabis Production Program for graduate students this fall, Canopy Growth will be offering co-op placements at their Tweed Farms growing facility in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The Co-op and internship placements will be available to students in the Commeical Cannabis Production, Horticulture Technician, and Greenhouse Technician and Business programs.

Canopy Growth President Mark Zekulin said he looks forward to the partnership producing a high volume of quality cannabis professionals.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Mayor Pat Darte said that the deal will both bolster the local economy by creating jobs, and will attract a younger demographic to the Niagara-on-the-Lake community.

(Read the full story: Canopy Growth, Niagara College ink education partnership)
Demand for highly skilled workforce will rise significantly as the Canadian cannabis industry continues to expand. This is according to proponents of a new educational initiative that will create experience-based learning and applied research opportunities for commercial cannabis growth and production.
The Yukon Liquor Corporation has signed an agreement with Tilray Canada to supply the territory with an array of non-medical cannabis products in light of the anticipated legalization of recreational use later this year.
EDMONTON – In a press release, Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced the successful delivery of the first ever batch of privately exported medical cannabis from Canada to the Italian government through its wholly-owned German subsidiary Pedanios.
TORONTO – Second Cup wants to serve up a different kind of buzz by converting some of its coffee shops into cannabis dispensaries and, when legal, pot lounges.
With the Canadian cannabis industry continuing to expand as legalization looms, the opportunities for women to get involved in this market is increasing as well, an advocate for gender diversity in the cannabis industry said.
TORONTO – Tickets are now on sale for the Lift Expo Toronto, Canada’s premier cannabis event, taking place May 25 to 27, 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 
CALGARY – NewLeaf Cannabis, an Alberta-owned company of Calgary-based operators, announced their submission of 22 retail cannabis store license applications for locations across Alberta; including CalgaryEdmontonRed DeerSt. AlbertAirdrieLethbridge and Medicine Hat.

NewLeaf Cannabis' name speaks to 'turning over a new leaf', and changing negative attitudes towards cannabis and its retailers with services focused on education and appropriate-fit product recommendations.

NewLeaf's CAO Angus Taylor believes their educational approach and commitment to safety, proactive communication and community engagement will position their convenient, suburban-focused locations for success. 

"The future is friendly for those committed to responsible cannabis retail store management," says Angus Taylor

"Legal cannabis has the potential to help a lot of people, and we're committed to ushering a new, more accurate narrative into the mainstream; leading by example with products and business practices that are beyond reproach; operating in the open, where responsible Albertans can include purchasing cannabis as part of their regular shopping routine". 

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to NewLeaf's location selections. However, Angus Taylor does acknowledge that they will be submitting additional location applications in the coming weeks.  

Angus explains, "We have been engaging landlords and signing leases since last summer, and there are more coming every day it seems! We're just Albertans that see an opportunity to create strong cannabis businesses here in our Province. We hope to employ over 200 staff by the end of summer!"

In the meantime, two proposed NewLeaf locations have begun construction to provide complete proof-of-concept stores for review, by both the interested public and approving authorities, before the end of April.

NewLeaf Cannabis is committed to being stewards of authentic relationships through diligent education and contribution to the communities they serve, and welcomes anyone that has questions about their approach to contact them directly. 

*This story has been updated from it's original version*

$650,000 was the price tag attached to the LCBO’s recently unveiled Ontario Cannabis Store, which will serve as the brand identity for all of the cannabis retail stores in Ontario when the drug is legalized this summer.

On their public information website, the LCBO said "the name is designed to convey a safe, simple, and approachable environment for consumers, and agency employees, in a clear and easily understod manner."

The design of the cannabis brand by Leo Burnett is minimalist and safe, but the email statement from the LCBO with the bill total didn’t say how the quote was reached; it stated that the development of the brand followed “the government priorities of restricting access to youth, protecting public health and addressing the illegal market.”

Tweets displayed in coverage by the CBC, Global, and CTV show mixed to poor reviews and confusion about the final product and its cost. Some aggregate news platforms like BlogTO have openly mocked it.


Matt Maurer, Chair of Canada Cannabis Legal at Minden Gross LLP said he isn’t surprised at the simplicity of the new designs.

“It doesn’t get any more basic than this,” he said. “They have a monopoly so they don’t need to entice people, and they don’t want to.”

Still, he thinks $650,000 is a steep price for a brand that simply describes exactly what the store is.

Maurer said that while he understands the LCBO’s position on the OCS, he’d like it if they were more transparent with Ontarians about how and where the money was spent.

But if there’s one thing that was certain, it’s that designing a cannabis brand for the provincial government of Ontario was not going to be easy.

Bridget Hoffer, Partner and Head of Brand Strategy at Cannabis Communications and Marigold PR , defended the work.

She said she thinks that what the government paid is relevant to what a major corporation would spend on brand development.

“Fees and costs are allocated for a revision process as well,” she said. “There’s probably 2-4 creative concepts initially presented, and they’ll lock down on a couple, develop those further then land on one and started refining it."

“Most large companies will designate anywhere between 10 and 25 per cent of their annual budget on marketing,” she said.

This will be especially true for the fledgling cannabis industry, wherein the marketing must indirectly attract and show discretion at the same time.

The Ontario Cannabis Store is intended to convey a very simple, clear service that sits comfortably with the Ontario directives, and communicates that it is the official source.

And while simplicity has certainly been established, it still remains to be seen whether or not it will actually reduce let alone eliminate black and grey market cannabis sales.

At the time of writing, Leo Burnett Toronto could not provide any comment.

Health Canada sets clear packaging rules

On Friday, Health Canada announced that cannabis products must have “tamper-evident, child resistant and plain packaging provisions, as well as warning labels that clearly outline potential health risks associated with cannabis use.”

The Canadian Medical Association made similar recommendations in a submission earlier this year.

In a statement, CMA President Laurent Marcoux said that while the government is making strides in the right direction, the CMA still has concerns over a dual system approach in respect to medical and medicinal cannabis regulations.

“The use of cannabis presents the same health risks regardless of how it may be acquired; this means that cannabis for medicinal purposes should face the same scrutiny and include the same health warning messages as non-medicinal cannabis,” he said.
Newly elected Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford says he promises a government that won't meddle with people's lives when it comes to taxes, sex education and cannabis — and that he's not in favour of government-run pot stores.

"I don't believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate," he told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Tuesday.


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