GrowerIQ, a seed-to-sale software company for cannabis producers, has now secured just over one million dollars in funding from the federal government.
In a press release today, the Ontario-based company announced the completion of its latest funding round, securing CAD $1,080,000. GrowerIQ says the funding, which comes through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), will be used to improve its cannabis tracking system.
Andrew Wilson, CEO of GrowerIQ, says the funding round will help the company continue to grow as not only a Canadian brand but a global one.
“We are thrilled to have secured this funding to accelerate our mission of transforming the cannabis industry,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of GrowerIQ. “This investment will allow us to further develop our cutting-edge technology and expand our global footprint. We are committed to providing cannabis producers with the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.”
“Our goal is to bring together all systems, processes, advisors, and capabilities into one place, to help simplify what can easily spiral into something very complex,” Wilson previously told StratCann about his approach to the service. “We built the seed-to-sale platform from the perspective of the grower, and coded those insights right into the system’s process flows. So, users of GrowerIQ benefit from those decades of agricultural experience just by using the system.”
Cannabis sales in Canada passed the 420 million mark again in June, following a slight decline after the Christmas shopping season.
Total retail sales of cannabis in June 2023 were over $426 million, up from $415 million in the previous month and a peak of $425 million in December 2022.
Like sales in many retail sectors, cannabis sales have dipped in the months following the Christmas shopping seasons over the last three years, before again building on an ongoing, upward trend.
The number of retail stores across Canada also continues to grow, although the pace has slowed considerably compared to the first four years of legalization.
BC: 506 public and private stores as either open or “coming soon”
Federal Cabinet Approves Legalization Measure In Germany
Earlier today members of Germany’s government announced that the nation’s federal cabinet had approved a draft cannabis legalization measure that would serve as the first phase of an ongoing cannabis policy modernization effort largely led by Germany’s Health Minster Karl Lauterbach. The measure now heads to the Bundestag for consideration by members of the legislative body.
The proposal, as it currently stands and subject to further potential changes, would allow adults to legally cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis for personal use in Germany. The measure would also create noncommercial clubs that would provide cannabis to members. Purchasing limits would be involved, as would ‘buffer zones,’ limits on the number of clubs per jurisdiction, and a limit of 500 members per club. Minister Lauterbach made an appearance later in the day, during which he defended his measure:
The German Hemp Association stated the following regarding today’s federal cabinet approval and the transition of the process over to the Bundestag:
The German Hemp Association welcomes the cabinet draft as a milestone on the way to reforming cannabis policy in Germany. With the debate now starting in the Bundestag, the passage of the law is within reach. Hundreds of thousands of consumers have been the subject of criminal proceedings for consumption-related offenses in recent decades. This senseless repression could come to an end at the turn of the year.
The DHV hopes that the participation of the MPs will bring a breath of fresh air to the discussion about the details. Because since the draft bill, no major improvements are discernible. All of the main criticisms of the DHV are still relevant:
The ban on consumption in cannabis cultivation clubs is unrealistic.
The distance regulation will make it unreasonably difficult for clubs to find suitable locations.
The distance regulations for consumption cannot be observed. They violate the principle of certainty of the Basic Law. Neither consumers nor the police can know exactly where consumption is permitted and where it is not.
The threat of penalties and fines for small violations of the already arbitrary limits is completely exaggerated. Possession of 25 grams is perfectly legal, possession of 26 grams carries a prison sentence of up to three years. A fine of up to 100,000 euros can be imposed for consumption within a distance of 199 meters from a school.
A total of three plants for home cultivation is not enough. An upper limit of 25 grams is unrealistic for the storage of home-grown cannabis in your own home.
The DHV is confident that these and many other problems will now be addressed in detail in the parliamentary process. However, the current plans cannot remain the same. A large-scale suppression of the black market is only possible with the nationwide introduction of cannabis specialty shops for adults.
“Today is a good day, above all, because Parliament now has sovereignty over further decisions and no longer Karl Lauterbach,” said DHV spokesman Georg Wurth.
The second phase of Germany’s current cannabis policy modernization effort, if it succeeds in making it through the political labyrinth, will involve the launch of regional cannabis pilot projects. Germany’s pilot projects will be generally similar in principle, but likely not in size and scope, to the pilot projects currently operating in Switzerland.
Due in large part to limitations at the EU level, Germany’s current policy modernization effort does not involve the legalization of large-scale cultivation and national sales. However, that is not to say that those components will never be passed and implemented.
Today’s approval by the federal cabinet is one of the many steps along the way. It’s a significant one to be sure, although, it needs to be seen as a milestone, and not a final destination. Now that the process for approving the phase one bill has been turned over to domestic lawmakers, it will be interesting to see what evolutions the political process may yield.
It’s vital for cannabis observers to consistently keep Germany’s legalization efforts in the proper global context. Germany is trying to modernize its cannabis policies and stand up an adult-use cannabis industry for its population of over 83 million people. By comparison, the combined population of all four current legal nations (Uruguay, Canada, Malta, and Luxembourg) is only roughly half that of Germany’s population.
Furthermore, Germany shares more borders with other countries than any other nation in Europe, and all of those countries currently prohibit adult use. It’s logical that Germany’s cannabis policy modernization effort is taking longer given how ‘heavy the lift is,’ and that is also why German legalization will prove to be more significant than its predecessors. Germany is ushering in the modern cannabis policy era.
Criticisms for larger reform are absolutely valid, but the fight is also not over. A recent study by the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics found that comprehensive legalization in Germany would net the country 4.7 billion euros per year via cannabis taxes, fees, and savings from no longer enforcing failed cannabis prohibition. That is significant, and clearly worth fighting for, in addition to fighting to prevent lives from being needlessly ruined by draconian public policies.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is currently headed to India for a meeting of G-20 health ministers. Given that he just held a press conference today and made international headlines, again, it’s a safe bet that cannabis will be a popular topic of discussion between Minister Lauterbach and his peers.
While it’s unclear how many will be sympathetic to Germany’s efforts, one has to assume that at least some of Minster Lauterbach’s peers will be curious and want to learn more about the topic, and that is a good thing. As a long-time cannabis activist friend used to say in regard to cannabis reform, “If we are talking, we are winning,” and Germany has the whole world talking right now.
When legalization inevitably becomes a reality in Germany, and it inevitably succeeds, other nations are going to surely follow suit and that will, in turn, result in cannabis policies being modernized on a much larger scale globally than they are right now. The legalization process in Germany has been frustrating up until this point to be sure, however, today is a big milestone that is worth celebrating, both within Germany’s borders, and beyond.
California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed into law legislation that allows marijuana to be sold legally at a variety of events.
Assembly Bill 128 allows state regulators to issue licenses for Cannabis Event Organizers, which would be defined by law as “a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction.”
The proposal was signed into law by Governor Newsom on July 10. The measure was passed with overwhelming support in the state legislature, with a 75 to 1 vote in the Assembly and a 40 to 0 vote in the Senate.
According to its legislative summary, “this bill would require the Department of Cannabis Control to submit to the Department of Justice fingerprint images and other related information for criminal history information checks of certain employees, prospective employees, contractors, and subcontractors, as specified. The measure “authorizes the issuance of a state temporary event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction, as specified.”
California legalized recreational marijuana for everyone 21 and older in 2016 via a voter initiative. The first marijuana store opened their doors in 2018.
WATCH: The provincial government is furthering their support for Indigenous cannabis entrepreneurs in B.C., announcing $2 million in funding in an effort to increase opportunities for businesses. Jasmine King reports.
The fund’s goal is to increase Indigenous participation within B.C.’s cannabis industry.
“I commend the province for enhancing its support of First Nations cannabis-related economic development through the ICBF,” said Regional Chief Terry Teegee with the BC Assembly of First Nations.
“This fund is one example of how the BC Assembly of First Nations advocates and works collaboratively to advance First Nations rights and interests in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The funding announcement comes days after the First Nations Leadership Council’s call for the provincial and federal governments to change cannabis legalities to align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and to support First Nations’ fulsome participation in the cannabis economy.
According to the province, the one-time fund will go toward supporting business planning and advisory services, and will help First Nations cover the costs of licensing and permits. It will also serve as capital funds to support the launch or expansion of businesses.
The funds will be provided through the New Relationship Trust, which is responsible for administering ICBF.
“The cannabis sector can be a multifaceted decision for First Nation communities and entrepreneurs,” said Walter Schneider, New Relationship Trust’s chief executive officer.
“The additional funding means unlocking more opportunities for First Nations seeking to advance their own path toward economic development in the regulated cannabis industry.”
WATCH: There’s no doubt the cannabis industry has had a major affect across the country since its legalization 5 years ago. As Victoria Femia reports hundreds of people gathered in Kelowna, on Friday to discuss how to incorporate cannabis into the tourism sector.
Just like wine, British Columbia is also known for its bud.
That was evident during the second annual cannabis summit in Kelowna, B.C., where a new study says there’s a major market for cannabis tourism.
“There is a market for this,” said Susan Dupej, president of the Canadian Cannabis Tourism Alliance, “for new products for people who want to try new products and tourism, hospitality experiences provide this context for people to do that.”
Essentially, the study looked at the potential demand for cannabis tourism in Canada, and what drives people to travel to participate in cannabis-included activities.
Of those activities, edibles were the most desirable method of consumption within the study.
“Eating an infused meal, this is an accessible way for people to try cannabis for the first time or a beverage or an infused edible of some kind,” said Dupej, who is also a researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
The survey revealed that B.C. is the top tourism destination for cannabis, followed by Ontario and Alberta.
While cannabis is one obvious factor, where you can consume it also part of the equation.
“The outdoors, the Okanagan Valley, just look around,” said Dupej.
In related news, the ongoing review of the federal Cannabis Act and the role that Indigenous communities play is up for discussion
“I think First Nations, right from the beginning of cannabis legislation, have wanted more involvement consultations to discuss how First Nation jurisdictional issues and cannabis legislation work together to create an industry for Indigenous participation,” said Darwin Douglas, All Nations CEO.
“There are a lot of amazing ideas that are coming out of our Indigenous partners,” added Jaclynn Pehota, B.C. Cannabis Council executive director.
“And I think the government would be very wise to listen because not having listened in the past has not had a positive outcome for anybody.”
One major concern surrounding cannabis tourism is spaces for consumption, since every part of Canada has different laws regarding consumption.
“There are inconsistencies,” said Dupej. “Not only is that a problem for citizens, but for tourists.
“We don’t want to put tourists at risk. We don’t want to put tourists in danger unknowingly; that’s one of my concerns.”
Friday was the first day of the three-day summit at the Hotel Eldorado in Kelowna. Different topics will be discussed each day.
Today in Germany federal ministers from the nation’s government held a press conference in which they announced components for what will serve as the ‘first phase’ of adult-use cannabis legalization in the European Union’s most populous country.
“In a first step, cultivation in non-profit associations and private cultivation should be made possible nationwide. In a second step, the sale in specialist shops will be implemented as a scientifically designed, regionally limited and time-limited model project. In the model project, the effects of a commercial supply chain on health and youth protection as well as the black market can be scientifically examined in more detail.” Government officials stated in a press release after today’s press conference.
According to details offered up during the press conference, a video of which is embedded at the end of this article, there will be a possession limit of up to 25 grams of cannabis and a cultivation limit of a maximum of three plants. The legal age will be set at 18.
“Cannabis is a common stimulant. It is often offered and used illegally in Germany. This is often a health hazard. Adolescents in particular are impaired in their social and cognitive development by cannabis. Despite this, more and more young people are using the drug. The black market goods are often contaminated and create additional health hazards. We can no longer accept this. That’s why we dare the controlled sale of cannabis to adults within clear limits and push back the black market, flanked by preventive measures for young people. Health protection is the priority. The previous cannabis policy has failed. Now we have to break new ground.” said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach about cannabis policy in Germany.
“The previous restrictive handling of cannabis in Germany has failed. Banning cannabis criminalizes countless people, pushing them into criminal structures and tying up immense resources from law enforcement agencies. It’s time for a new approach that allows more personal responsibility, pushes back the black market and relieves the police and public prosecutor’s offices. We trust people more – without downplaying the dangers that can emanate from cannabis consumption.” added German Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann.
Another key component of the legalization plan’s first phase, which will serve as the foundation for adult-use cannabis access for many consumers in Germany, will be noncommercial associations or clubs. Membership will be capped at 500 consumers per club.
“Membership fees cover the cost price, staggered according to the quantity supplied ( possibly with a basic flat rate and an additional amount per gram supplied). The number of members per association is limited to a maximum of 500 with a minimum age of 18 years and domicile or habitual abode in Germany. The number of associations can be limited by population density.” today’s press release stated.
“The use of cannabis is a social reality. Decades of prohibition policies have turned a blind eye to this and, above all, caused problems: at the expense of our children and young people, the health of consumers and the law enforcement authorities. Now we are creating a coherent and pragmatic cannabis policy from a single source, from cultivation to consumption. Nobody should have to buy from dealers without knowing what they are getting. Through controlled cultivation and distribution within the framework of cannabis clubs, we strengthen youth and health protection. And: We cut the ground for organized crime, which does not even shy away from selling it to children. With a regional model project, we are also exploring the possibilities of a commercial supply chain.” said Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir.
The second phase of the legalization plan announced today, which the Minister of Agriculture touched on in his comments, will involve the launch of regional adult-use commerce pilot projects, somewhat similar to what is in place in Basel, Switzerland. Although, what will likely be implemented in Germany will presumably be on a much larger scale. The following details were released today regarding pilot projects:
The project duration is 5 years from the established supply chain.
There is a spatial restriction to delivery points and adult residents of certain districts/cities in several federal states (opt-in approach).
Within the framework of the law, approval of the sale of edibles is being examined in compliance with strict youth and health protection regulations.
A third phase for legalization, which appeared to only be lightly alluded to today, is the push for nationwide adult-use sales. Leading up to today’s press conference Germany’s Health Minister indicated via comments to the media that the push for nationwide sales is not over. Rather, more time will be needed to lobby the European Union which appears to be willing to allow possession, home cultivation, noncommercial clubs, and regional pilot programs yet is still not willing to approve national sales. Thankfully, German lawmakers are not giving up, albeit moving forward on other legalization components pertaining to personal freedom in the meantime.
“The cornerstones of the 2-pillar model (“ C lub A nbau & Regional -Modell/ CARe ”) have been developed by the Federal Ministry of Health as the leader, as well as the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Foreign Office in accordance with the technical responsibilities. The EU and international law limits were taken into account. On the basis of the key issues paper, the federal government will now present a draft law at short notice.” government officials stated in today’s press release.
“The federal departments are working on all parts of the project within the scope of their respective responsibilities under the overall leadership of the BMG. Both pillars are incorporated into concrete draft laws, with the working draft for pillar 1 being presented in April 2023, followed by the draft law for pillar 2. The results of the scientific report already commissioned on the effects of the legalization of recreational cannabis on health and youth protection in other countries are taken into account for both pillars.” the press release also stated.
“At the same time, the Federal Government is continuing its efforts (particularly through the missions abroad) to promote its approaches to its European partners and is also examining the extent to which a sufficient number of EU Member States can initiate the initiative in order to comply with the relevant EU legal framework in the medium term to be made more flexible and developed further.” the press release concluded.
The B.C. Craft Farmers Co-op has announced that All Nations Mestiyexw will be the title partner at the 2023 B.C. Cannabis Summit in Kelowna.
All Nations is an Indigenous-led cannabis producer that weaves traditional Indigenous practices with innovative cultivation methods.
“At All Nations, we focus on strengthening the connection to Indigenous communities. We strive to make a positive socioeconomic impact with Indigenous communities, always encouraging and inspiring Indigenous participation in this industry,” said All Nations CEO Darwin Douglas. “Our model is recognized by Indigenous communities across the country. It speaks to where Indigenous communities are in their quest for economic sovereignty and their desire to build prosperity – seeking business opportunities within their Nation and on their traditional territories. All Nations is about producing great cannabis, creating hope for communities, bringing the Indigenous people into this industry and creating a future that’s sustainable and creating positive societal impact.”
The three-day summit will be packed with vendors, prizes, and guest speakers including Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth and Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson.
“Now “that we’ve got the public health and safety stuff out of the way, or on the way, I think you’re absolutely right we should absolutely take a closer look at ‘okay, what do we do then to make sure that this is a beneficial industry’?”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
For fiscal year 2019-2020, the CRA assessed $229,697,000 for cannabis duty on dried/fresh cannabis flower and $25,743,000 for cannabis extracts, including edible/ingestible cannabis oil, and $1,182,000 for cannabis edibles, for a total of $256,622,000.
In his response, Trudeau first brought up the government’s historical public-health focussed messaging around legaization, but noted that now that the legal system is established, the government has a need to take a look at ensuring those businesses who “stepped up” in this new industry can survive.
“We didn’t legalize so that there would be growth in jobs and opportunity, we legalized out of a public health concern,” Trudeau told the crowd. “The current situation was not keeping Canadians safe, it was giving kids too-easy access to cannabis. It was fuelling the black market that then turned around and fuelled all sorts of other illegal activities, and we made the decision on a health basis. If we had gone into this saying ‘okay let’s design a burgeoning new industry that we can create success’, we might have made some different choices, but we looked at it from a public health and safety standard.
“Now that we’ve got the public health and safety stuff out of the way, or on the way, I think you’re absolutely right that we should absolutely take a much closer look at ‘okay, what do we do then to make sure that this is a beneficial industry?’
“You can say ‘well it’s a drug’, but boy are we ever proud of our wineries across Canada, are we ever proud of our microbreweries…these are consumption choices… People are evolving, and I can understand that the people who stepped up into the industry in its infancy are being part of the growing pains. And we will try and make sure that we’re capturing your concerns as we look at renewal of the Act, which we knew we were going to need to do.
“There is a little more clarity about how the industry is evolving, and it’s easy to say ten years from now, fifty years from now, it will be great. Right now you’re in the industry, you have payroll you’re trying to make, you’re trying to support people. We want to try and get there for you as well. But this was done not because we were going to create jobs with it—although we knew that would happen. It was done out of a public health and justice approach. But hopefully we’re going to be able to catch up and be supportive of the real positive industry that it has become.”
The Cannabis Act review panel has been engaging with numerous cannabis industry stakeholders, patient groups, and others across Canada since the full panel was announced in late 2022. The group is tasked with then compiling a report for the government based on that feedback, which will be presented in the House of Commons likely in early 2024.
ECO Canadian says their clone sales have been a welcome addition to their farmgate sales, with more than 1,000 plants sold in 2022.
Kevin Clark, the QAP at Eco Canadian Organic, says the provincial regulator first approached them in the fall of 2022 about their plans to offer clones online.
“CNB has been an excellent partner, understanding that the product is a living organism and requires a specific environment for the plant to maintain its health throughout the distribution chain,” explains Clark, adding that ECO delivers the products directly to the stores on a weekly basis.
“Working with CNB has been an educational experience for both parties as we are developing a pilot program not seen before at the retail level, and we are excited about how CNB is taking a proactive approach in contacting other LPs to join in the sale and distribution of clones.”
Emilie Dow, a Communications Specialist with Cannabis NB, says the province has sold more than 200 clones so far. Clones are $25 each. New Brunswick allows residents to grow up to four cannabis plants at home. (editor’s note: This article has been corrected to correct the price of clones.)
“We’re excited about the program, and initial feedback has been positive,” Dow tells StratCann via email. “It’s very new, but we hope to expand it in the future once we’ve had a chance to properly assess customer interest.”
Rob Wilson, the owner of Hidden Harvest, says selling clones through Cannabis NB helps add to the viability of his business, as does his newly-acquired farmgate licence that allows him to sell clones directly to consumers from his facility in Moncton. This makes Hidden Harvest the second farmgate store in New Brunswick offering clones after ECO Canadian Organic.
Although the majority of Hidden Harvest’s business is B2B sales of clones to other commercial growers, every little bit helps.
“The way we look at it, our bread and butter is still the professional market,” says Wilson. “We don’t sell the same product to the professional side as the consumer side, so we look at the farmgate as a different way to bring in some income. But even if we can capture even just a tiny part of the home grow market, I think it can work for us.”
Cannabis clones and seeds across Canada
New Brunswick isn’t the only province that has offered clones to home growers. In the past few years, a few growers and nurseries have offered short-lived pop-ups for clone sales without much fanfare or success. In Newfoundland and Labrador, cannabis producer and retailer Atlantic Canada started selling clones in their own stores in 2022.
In BC, cannabis chain Seed and Stone began selling clones at a few of their stores in March. The cannabis starts are available through a partnership with Herbal Dispatch, which provides them through BC’s direct delivery program. Clones are being sold in-store for $40 each.
Vikram Sachdeva, the founder of Seed and Stone, says they hope to expand their offerings to not only cannabis seeds and clones, but everything a home grower will need.
“Providing these services to our customers is really important. We want to become a one-stop shop where we will offer pots, soil, nutrients, and also be educating our budtenders on educating the customers on how to grow these plants”.
In New Brunswick, ECO Canadian made waves recently by announcing a deal with Greenhouse Seed Co to offer the company’s unique genetics in Canada. New Brunswick currently lists about a dozen seed varieties from a handful of Canadian companies.
New Brunswick currently lists a handful of seeds, as does Cannabis NL in Newfoundland and Labrador. PEI, which initially offered cannabis clone sales via direct delivery, also offers residents a handful of cannabis seeds to choose from.