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Cannabis Professional’s daily roundup of industry news. View archive here.

Supreme Cannabis CEO leaves, former Starbucks exec is interim boss

Supreme Cannabis announced Monday that longtime CEO Navdeep Dhaliwal is leaving the Toronto-based licensed cannabis producer, with former Starbucks Canada president and current Supreme board of directors member Colin Moore taking over the top job on an interim basis.

The change is effective immediately.

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“The company is in the process of engaging a leading, nationally recognized search firm to identify and evaluate a new CEO to lead Supreme Cannabis in its next phase of profitable, long-term growth,” Supreme said in a statement, without naming the search firm or providing a timeline for when a permanent leader is expected to be installed.

Mr. Dhaliwal’s departure comes barely two months after John Fowler was dismissed from Supreme. Mr. Fowler was the company’s co-founder, former president and, at the time of his departure late Oct 2019, chief advocacy officer.

When reached Monday morning, Mr. Dhaliwal declined to comment on the circumstances of his departure. He did, however, note that he would continue to serve as a member of the company’s board of directors.

In its own statement, Supreme made no reference to Mr. Dhaliwal continuing to serve on the board, saying only the now-former CEO “has departed the company.”

As of midday Monday, the company’s website did not include Mr. Dhaliwal on its board, though spokesperson Scott Davidson said via email that Mr. Dhaliwal’s removal from the ‘board of directors’ section of the website was “an error on our end.”

- Jameson Berkow

Ontario begins shipping cannabis vapes, edibles to retail stores

Canada’s largest consumer market will be legally offering cannabis-infused foods, vapes and a single beverage product this week.

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Wholesale shipments of so-called 2.0 products to the 27 authorized cannabis retailers across Ontario are set to begin Monday and continue over the course of the week. Stores that receive their shipments on Monday are expected to being selling 2.0 products as early as Tuesday morning. Online sales via the government-owned Ontario Cannabis Store - which has a monopoly on recreational cannabis e commerce in the province - will begin Jan 16.

Initial selection and supplies will be extremely limited, an OCS official told reporters at the agency’s north Toronto office during a Jan. 3 press conference. Almost all of the 2.0 products Ontario will be offering in the initial phase will be vapes, with roughly a dozen edibles and a single beverage product in the form of an infused tea bag.

Noticeably absent from the list of licensed producers with products that will be available this month include Tweed and Edison, the main brands of major LPs Canopy Growth and Organigram, respectively.

OCS officials said other 2.0 products not included in the first phase - including inhalable extracts such as hash or shatter, more beverages and topicals - will slowly make their way onto store shelves starting in early March.

– Jameson Berkow

CES awards Canadian cannabis company, only to demand silence

Kitchener, Ontario-based KEEP Labs has designed a device capable of securely and discreetly storing cannabis in plain sight.

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The device, which resembles an alarm clock (and actually does display the time) but secretly contains several cannabis storage containers accessible via biometric lock, won an Innovation Award from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) parent organization last month. However, with the annual tech showcase set to get underway in Las Vegas this week, the company has been informed that it may only participate in the exhibit if no cannabis is included in signage or marketing materials.

Because the KEEP is purpose-built as a cannabis product, the company has since decided to simply not participate in what is broadly considered the highest-profile annual showcase of new technology globally, despite being singled out as especially innovative by CES organizers.

CES has a history of supporting socially progressive businesses only to rapidly reverse course. In 2019, a female sex tech company won the same award that KEEP won this year, only to have the honour revoked before the product could be exhibited on the CES show floor.

- Jameson Berkow

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