Seeds arrive in Ontario Cannabis Store
Planted deep in the inventory of the Ontario Cannabis Store website is a New Year’s gift for those hoping to grow their own cannabis in Canada’s most populous province. Seeds first became available for purchase on the OCS website Wednesday, the first business day of 2019, which the government agency posted on its landing page late Wednesday afternoon, though leaving them out of its “New Arrivals” section. Only two varieties of seeds are available on the site thus far, both from Canopy Growth’s “Tweed” brand, though an OCS spokesperson told Cannabis Professional it “will continue to procure seeds and other products from federally licensed producers to provide customers with a broad variety of legal products.” Despite being legally allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household since the federal Cannabis Act took effect in mid-October, 2018, residents of Ontario and several other provinces have for months lacked any legal means of acquiring seeds. In November, 2018, just two producers in Canada were licensed to sell seeds, but as of Wednesday, virtually all licensed cannabis producers in Canada (133 out of 140) were listed on the Health Canada website as authorized to sell seeds.
More processing power gets green lit
Health Canada issued six new cannabis licenses in the waning days of 2018, with five of them dated Dec. 24. The licenses – granted to Aphria-owned ARA-Avanti, Hollyweed Manufacturing & Extracts, SynFine Research, Toronto Research Chemicals, Zenalytic Laboratories and Auxly-owned Dosecann LD – all share one thing in common: none allow for the actual cultivation of cannabis products. All six new licenses are strictly for processing, authorizing holders to extract oils and concentrates from dried cannabis flowers. Only two companies had previously been licensed to process cannabis but not to actually cultivate the plant. MediPharms Labs received its processing license in March of 2018 and Bedrocan has been a licensed cannabis processor since 2013. The dramatic increase in processing licenses came just days after Health Canada issued draft regulations governing various types of processed cannabis – such as edibles and vape pens – which are expected to become available for sale in late 2019.
More U.S. states move toward legalization
Cannabis Professional has previously reported on several American jurisdictions moving toward cannabis legalization in 2019, but the list continues to grow and dates continue to advance. Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey are all widely expected to introduce legalization measures this year and New York state governor Andrew Cuomo formally endorsed the notion of legalizing recreational cannabis in a speech last month. However, Mr. Cuomo appeared to take even bolder action in another speech on Tuesday, declaring that history would determine “New York led on legalizing recreational marijuana” and is due to provide details on his legalization plan before the end of this month. Lawmakers in Maryland and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have announced plans in recent days to table cannabis legalization measures despite little expectation of the issue being a priority among policymakers in those states.