Lawyer John Conroy, representing those who grew their own cannabis under the old MMAR program, (31) recently won an injunction against the government’s plans to shut down personal cultivation in order to (according to the government’s lawyer in the case) help the LPs grow their business more easily. The government’s lawyer claimed – in court – that the LPs would “need a captive market to get established”. (32) Of course they didn’t call it a “captive market” in the press when they first rolled out their new program – they called it a “free market” (33) – the opposite of a “captive market”.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s point person on legalizing recreational pot was the prize guest at a Liberal Party fundraiser attended by a marijuana lobbying group at a Toronto law office that advises clients in the cannabis business. The event last spring, which featured Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to the Justice Minister, appears to violate Liberal Party rules on political fundraisers and Mr. Trudeau’s ethics guidelines that direct cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries to avoid an “appearance of preferential access.”
Smoking In The Lobby
As well as having a massive incentive to lobby the government, which they can certainly afford, they have a very big budget earmarked to eliminate their competition.
Early this month, Canopy Growth Corp., the largest legal marijuana producer in the Canadian market, announced it was buying competitor Mettrum for $430 million.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that the LPs have been lobbying hard for dispensaries to be shut down.
“Canopy Growth has been working since December with lobbyists from Ensight Canada to persuade the government to start the production of recreational marijuana along the same lines as medical marijuana.”
More than half of the slightly over 31 licensed marijuana producers in Canada are members of a lobby group called Cannabis Canada. Members of Cannabis Canada have been vocal in their opposition to illegal marijuana dispensaries, like the ones raided at the end of May in Toronto. The group talked to city authorities months before the police crackdown, warning them of the rapidly growing number of pot shops operating outside the law.
“… Aaron Salz, an analyst at Interward Asset Management, estimated dispensaries are doing more than $500 million sales a year. By comparison, he said the legal medical market is worth perhaps $130 to $140 million. He said dispensaries are currently the biggest threat to the legal medical industry.”
Last year the LP market was about 1/8 the size of the dispensary market: “Some estimates suggest that dispensaries serve around 300,000 Canadians who categorize their cannabis use as medical, while the MMPR only serves around 40,000.”
LP’s have been attacking their competition – both the dispensaries AND home growers – from the beginning.
MediJean’s website also features quotes from a lawyer and some cops claiming that “people normally don’t produce their own medicine”, (12) that “three pounds of dope” is way too much cannabis to be for a legitimate medical need, (13) and that “there’s a lot of over-growing” from “organized crime” in the old program (14) – without citing any evidence to support these opinions. … Lawyer John Conroy, representing those who grew their own cannabis under the old MMAR program, (31) recently won an injunction against the government’s plans to shut down personal cultivation in order to (according to the government’s lawyer in the case) help the LPs grow their business more easily. The government’s lawyer claimed – in court – that the LPs would “need a captive market to get established”. (32)
The LPs are in direct competition with the dispensaries – and the dispensaries have advantages.
1) You can inspect and smell the pot before you buy.
2) You can ask the bud-tenders unlimited questions (and they have smoked it all, so they can give you good information) and
3) There’s less bullshit. Some dispensaries (like CC) just ask for ID and nothing else. Plus the mail can be slow and sometimes things go missing. LPs have no storefronts. They are “mail only”.
The LPs often argue that their product is cleaner than the dispensary cannabis, but this has been proven false repeatedly. In the only head-to-head comparison of LP and dispensary cannabis quality that this author knows of, dispensary cannabis came out much cleaner.
Health Canada has demonstrated it has not been doing its job when it comes to testing LP cannabis for pesticides.
The LP’s are also lobbying hard for home growing to be shut down.
A former high-ranking colleague and friend of MP Bill Blair, the Liberal government’s point man on marijuana legalization, will lobby the ex-Toronto police chief in hopes of ensuring a tightly controlled system in which only licensed firms are allowed to grow the lucrative drug.
Kim Derry, a deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service under Mr. Blair, is a promoter of marijuana facility THC Meds Ontario Inc., along with George Smitherman, a former Ontario Liberal deputy premier. Mr. Blair, put in charge of the marijuana file last week, will play a key role in determining who gets to grow the product once it is legalized.
‘Why don’t the dispensaries just apply to become licensed producers?’ I hear some people say. The answer is simple. It’s a game designed to exclude non-millionaires. Even the government’s own estimates indicate that the accounting and security features required to become a Licensed Producer alone run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
CALEB MCMILLAN NOVEMBER 10, 2017
It’s a little odd the Licensed Producers would use a press release about cannabis advertising and branding to slam dispensaries and cannabis farmers.
Why? Why use this press release to refer to “Canada’s thriving illicit market” in a negative connotation?
I reached out to the licensed producer association, but have yet to receive an adequate response.
I have one simple question — what do they mean by illegal?
Are they referring to biker gangs and people connected with organized crime or are they lumping in an entire community of, basically, paper criminals?
The people who grow, sell and consume cannabis without the “proper” authority? (The same authority that first criminalized God’s medicinal herb only to turn around and legalize it according to their crony-capitalist standards.)
They might be illegal, but they aren’t violent. And all of them have expressed their interest in being part of the legal, regulated regime.
So when the LP press release says the proposed guidelines will ensure the “Licensed Producers can compete effectively with Canada’s thriving illicit market,” do they mean the violent gang-related market or are they including the people currently operating dispensaries and growing cannabis?
This isn’t an industry run by biker gangs, as a Simon Fraser University study has shown, 95% of the people in the illicit cannabis market aren’t connected with organized crime.
Judge Phelan, when ruling on the constitutionality of medical cannabis home-grows, said dispensaries are at the “heart of cannabis access.” He found no evidence of biker gangs or other violent, organized crime.
It’s pretty insulting to the entire BC Bud industry to label them illegal when they’re trying their best to be part of the legal, regulated market without bankrupting themselves as LPs.
The LP scheme isn’t without its flaws or criticisms. There are many reasons illicit cannabis producers and vendors are wary of putting all their time, money and energy into Health Canada’s application process.
And what about the recalls? Not all LP cannabis has been proven to be safe.
The press release says, “[T]he recommended guidelines allow legal, Licensed Producers of cannabis – small, medium, or large – to explain to adult consumers why the products they develop are better and safer than those offered by the illicit market.”
Suggesting that dispensaries are by definition unsafe because they don’t have federal regulations in place?
Could not the same be said about independent farmer’s markets across the nation?
Don’t touch that tomato! A federal bureaucrat from Health Canada hasn’t given the okay yet!
I’m honestly surprised they even went there, considering their problems with tainted medicine.
The association wants to “work to develop an appropriate marketing and branding regime that allows for producers to differentiate their products,” according to Rewak’s registration summary. The consultant’s registration, active since January 31, came just two weeks before leaders in Senate reached a deal on a timeline for the legalization of marijuana that will likely push the start of retail sales to around early August.
Cannabis Canada Association also has Bruce Hartley of Prospectus Associates registered to lobby on its behalf to “arrange meetings with the federal government regarding legislation and regulation of the legalization and sale of medical and recreational marijuana.”
The marijuana industry could be worth $5 billion a year in Canada. Are craft growers being shut out?
OTTAWA, April 23, 2018 /CNW/ – The Cannabis Canada Association (CCA), Canadian Medical Cannabis Council (CMCC), as well as Canopy Growth Corporation, have joined together to create a single national industry association for the sector, to be called the Cannabis Canada Council (“Cannabis Canada” or “C3”).