Cannabis News Weekly Wrap-Up: May 22-28

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Cannabis News Weekly Wrap-Up: May 22-28

We’re back with a fresh batch of herb-related headlines that have been making waves across the nation. Today we’re getting into some conversational, interesting and even surprising news - some of which may not even originate in Canada. Let’s dive into the latest updates and explore what’s been happening in the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis news.

 


Breath Testing Is Not Yet A Reliable Indicator Of Recent Marijuana Use, Federal Study Finds


A recent study done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has shown that creating a breathalyzer-like device to detect recent marijuana use is challenging. The study found that THC levels in breath samples were inconsistent and unreliable in indicating recent cannabis use. The researchers collected breath and blood samples from 18 weed users, but the THC levels in breath samples before and after use varied greatly, In contrast, blood measurements were more reliable in indicating recent cannabis use. Overall, there is still a lot of research needed to develop a reproducible protocol for breath measurements and to investigate different modes of cannabis consumption. While field sobriety tests for weed are seen as important for combating impaired driving the development of a reliable cannabis breathalyzer device is still a work in progress.
  


British Columbia allowing cannabis stores to have transparent windows 


The province of British Columbia has made an important change for cannabis retailers. They are no longer required to cover their store windows from the outside. This decision was made by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), the agency responsible for issuing cannabis licenses. The goal behind this repeal is to improve safety for everyone involved, including store operators, staff, and customers. The LCRB believes that when cannabis stores have limited visibility from the outside, it puts people at risk. However, it's important to note that this change still aligns with federal regulations that prohibit displaying cannabis products to the public outside the store. British Columbia has already issued 496 Cannabis retail store licenses, and this new flexibility will benefit license holders. High Tide, a major cannabis retailer in Canada, has welcomed this decision because it means they can now showcase their cannabis products and accessories without restrictions. They believe that this change will not only enhance safety but also help combat the illicit market.

 


Unpaid cannabis tax in Canada balloons to almost CA$200 million


Licensed cannabis producers in Canada are struggling to pay their federal excise taxes, resulting in a more than threefold increase in unpaid tax debt from their previous fiscal year. As of March 31, 2023, licensed producers owed the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) CAD 192.7 million, compared to CAD 52.4 million in the previous year. The excise duty imposed on producers’ dried cannabis is either CAD 1 per gram or 10% of the gram’s value. This increase in tax debt indicates the industry’s ability to survive under the current tax policy. The tax burden, based on an inflated wholesale price estimate, has become overwhelming for licensed producers. Additionally, the lower-than-expected wholesale prices have led to unexpectedly high excise taxes. While governments have profited from cannabis sales, licensed producers are struggling, and unpaid taxes and fees are accumulating. The CRA has increased pressure on producers with outstanding payments, and many licensed cannabis businesses are facing financial difficulties, with a growing number accumulating excise debt.  

 

 

Pot Smoking Ban Takes Effect In Amsterdam’s Red Light District


Amsterdam’s Red Light District has initiated a smoking ban for cannabis on its streets as part of an effort to enhance the well-being of residents and workers. The city council proposed the ban to address the negative impacts of mass tourism, substance abuse, and associated nuisances. Those found violating the law will be subject to a $100 fine. Mayor Femke Halsema has been leading various measures to improve the district, including a focus on protecting sex workers, combating crime, and reducing the influence of tourism. The ultimate aim is to reshape the image of the Red Light District and attract visitors who appreciate its unique heritage and cultural aspects rather than its reputation for sex and drugs. Previous initiatives included prohibiting guided tours near sex workers’ windows and exploring the possibility of relocating brothels to a different neighborhood. These efforts reflect a broader goal of revitalizing the district and reducing its negative impact on the community. 

 


Competition Bureau recommends changing THC limits for edibles, easing pot packaging


The Competition Bureau of Canada submitted recommendations to Health Canada and a panel reviewing cannabis legislation, aiming to enhance competition in the cannabis industry. Their proposals include easing restrictions on cannabis packaging, adjusting limits on psychoactive component THC in edible products, and relaxing regulations on promotion and labeling. The bureau believes that these changes would encourage innovation, offer consumers more choices and higher quality products, and ultimately displace the illicit market. Stakeholders have specifically called for increasing the THC limits from 10 mg to 100 mg to make legal products more appealing to consumers who currently rely on illegal sources. The Competition Bureau also suggests streamlining the licensing process and reducing compliance costs to facilitate market entry and expansion. Furthermore, concerns have been raised about the current excise duty framework, which is seen as a significant obstacle to competition due to high duty rates. Canopy Growth Corp., a prominent cannabis company, supports these recommendations, emphasizing the need to provide consumers with diverse product formats and potentices to effectively compete with the illicit market. Switch action is urged to ensure a sustainable and thriving cannabis industry in Canada. 





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