Cannabis businesses rally behind banking lawsuit

The Canadian cannabis industry is reacting to a recent lawsuit filed against several Canadian lending institutions.

Following the announcement of the lawsuit on February 10, people operating different businesses within the Canadian cannabis industry have been sharing their own frustrations about working with banks in Canada.

The biggest challengesays Paul Hakimi, owner of The Hash Guild, a micro processor in Ontariois not only being refused by banks, but also being accepted only to have the rug pulled out from under them sometime later. 

“When we first started The Hash Guild in 2019, the banks, and RBC in particular, were very supportive in setting up our accounts,” explains Hakimi. “Now in 2023, with all of our federal licensing as well as overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, banks have withdrawn their support and even closed our accounts.”

Although he has been able to find other banks willing to work with his business, he says they tend to charge very high rates for cannabis businesses. 

“Other financial institutions are now charging exorbitant rates to licensed producers while black market producers are finding ways to grow with these same institutions. As a federally licensed producer, our hands are tied with the banks. It is our hope that the government, which created this industry five years ago, will step in and mandate that the discrimination against our market stops.”

John Karroll, CEO of Trichome Consulting Services Inc., which has assisted different cannabis businesses through the licensing process, says he’s seen these same challenges arise again and again for new cannabis companies trying to find a bank to work with. 

Karroll says his company has helped more than 200 companies through the commercial licensing process and estimates that around 60% have run into challenges finding or keeping a bank account. 

“This issue is significant and widespread across Canada. It impacts many legally registered cannabis companies, from retail to micro & standard licenses, and creates financial hardship for these companies. In addition, the majority of companies that are in the application process with Health Canada are also victims to this banking issue, as they cannot open accounts if they state openly to the bank they are in the cannabis industry”.  

“These companies are spending thousands of dollars to be part of this industry and meet all regulatory requirements, municipal, provincial and federal,” he adds. “They are compliant and go through the stringent licensing requirements. Yet they have to process these operational funds through personal bank accounts or other companies that are not listed as cannabis operations.”

Karroll says he suspects some of the challenges could be related to banks and other lending institutions that also do business in places like the United States, where cannabis remains federally illegal. 

However, Joshua Reynolds, President of CapitalNow Cannabis, a small financing company focused exclusively on small-to-medium-sized licensed operators in the Canadian cannabis sector, tells StratCann he thinks this may often be an easy excuse some banks use when they simply don’t want to work with cannabis companies.

“I think they have conveniently been able to blame those rules, but I don’t think they would jump into it. I think they see it as too risky still, that it’s not mature enough. I think they would be concerned about the business acumen, and a few other things.”   

Highlighting how widespread the issue is, following the announcement of the class action lawsuit against Desjardins Federation, National Bank, Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, Royal Bank (RBC), and CIBC, numerous cannabis companies also left comments online mirroring similar experiences across Canada. Here are just a few:

February 22, 2023 | Staff | Business, Cannabis News, Government

Few if any harms associated with moderate cannabis use and lung function

Researchers in Australia say they have found no consistent association between cannabis use and measures of lung function. 

A recent study published in the medical journal Respiratory Medicine looked at whether cigarette smoking or cannabis use and co-use with tobacco are associated with changes in lung function in a population sample of young adults.

Although researchers found evidence suggesting impairments in lung function associated with cigarette smoking, it found few if any harms associated with relatively low levels of cannabis use.

It also found that the co-use of tobacco and cannabis appears to have no additional risk to lung function than those associated with only tobacco use.

The data is from a cohort study of cigarette smoking, cannabis use, and co-use at 21 and 30 years of age and lung function. Subjects were several thousands of now-adult children of pregnant women who were recruited into the cohort study over the period of 1981 to 1983 in Australia.

“Our findings regarding cannabis use are suggestive of few if any harms associated with relatively low levels of cannabis use evident in a young adult sample. The combined (co-use) of tobacco smoking and cannabis use does not appear to be associated with harms that are greater than the use of tobacco smoking alone.”

While cigarette smoking was associated with reduced airflow in the lungs, researchers found no consistent association between cannabis use and measures of lung function, even after years of use.

Researchers specifically wanted to look at any possible increased risk with the co-use of cannabis and tobacco, something that has not as of yet been studied in depth.

Although they found no increased risk to lung airflow related to co-use of cannabis with tobacco, or of stand-alone cannabis use, researchers still noted other health concerns with cannabis use.

Lung function was assessed by a trained interviewer at the two different follow-up stages, 21 and 30 years of age. The interviewers were trained by a clinician who was an investigator in the study, using a spirometer to measure lung airflow.

At the 21 and 30 year data collections, respondents were asked how many cigarettes they smoked in the past week and how often they had used cannabis in the last month.

At 30 years, respondents were also asked whether they had used cannabis in the last 12 months and how much cannabis they generally used on the days they were consuming it. 

Cigarette smoking at 21 or 30 years was associated with a reduction in airflow from the lungs. In contrast, researchers found that cannabis use at 21 or 30 years was not significantly associated with reduced lung function and that those who co-used cannabis and tobacco had the same reduced lung function as tobacco-only smokers. Those who only smoked cannabis and not tobacco had similar lung function as those who didn’t use cannabis or tobacco. 

With tobacco users who were still smoking at the age of thirty, the negative impacts on lung function were increased, while those who continued to use cannabis did not have such associated negative effects. 

Researchers also noted that those who used cannabis, even those who also smoked tobacco, used it with less frequency and in less volume than they did tobacco. It also noted that those who were smoking tobacco by 21 years of age but had quit by 30 had better lung function than those who continued to smoke tobacco. 

In acknowledging possible limitations, researchers note that the bronchodilator effects of cannabis on the lungs could have contributed to the strength of respiration recorded via spirometry, and that the study only covers two specific age demographics over a nine-year period. It also references past studies that have suggested that heavy lifetime use of cannabis impacts lung function.

| Staff | Cannabis News

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medical cannabis products

In recent years, there have been several studies and surveys – most of them anecdotal — suggesting that cannabis reduces the need for opioid pain medication. A large new study takes that research a step further, finding direct evidence that chronic pain patients, including those on high doses, significantly reduced their opioid use once they started using medical cannabis.

Researchers with the New York State Department of Health and University of Albany School of Public Health followed over 8,100 patients on long-term opioid therapy (LOT) after they began using medical cannabis. All of the patients had been on opioids for at least 120 days, including some on relatively high daily doses of 90 or more morphine milligram equivalents (MME).

Researchers found that average daily doses declined significantly over time, especially for patients on high opioid doses. After eight months of using medical cannabis (MC), patients taking over 90 MME saw their daily doses fall by nearly 70 percent, compared to a 29% reduction in those getting 50 to 90 MME and a 15% reduction in those on 50 MME or less.

“This cohort study found that receiving MC for longer was associated with opioid dosage reductions. The reductions were larger among individuals who were prescribed higher dosages of opioids at baseline. These findings contribute robust evidence for clinicians regarding the potential benefits of MC in reducing the opioid burden for patients receiving LOT and possibly reduce their risk for overdose,” researchers reported in JAMA Network Open.

The study has some weaknesses. Researchers did not track the pain levels of patients or the types of pain conditions they suffered from. Also unknown is the dose or types of cannabis products they consumed.   

Although the study was conducted at a time when patients nationwide were losing access to opioids or having their doses reduced, researchers say it is “highly unlikely” that impacted their findings because the dosage decline for their patients didn’t begin until they started consuming cannabis.  

Marijuana advocates cheered the study findings.  

“The relationship between cannabis and opioid use is among of the best-documented aspects of marijuana policy,” Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, said in a statement. “In short, the science demonstrates that marijuana is a relatively safe and effective pain reliever — and that patients with legal access to it consistently reduce their use of prescription opioid medications.” 

A similar study of over 500 chronic pain patients being treated at medical cannabis clinics found a significant decline in their pain levels. And 85% of patients reported they either reduced or stopped using opioids.

  By Pat Anson, PNN Editor


Cannabis Mitigates Symptoms in Patients with Treatment-Resistant Post-Traumatic Stress

Tel Aviv, Israel: The use of cannabis prior to bedtime is associated with improved sleep in patients with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress (PTS), according to data published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry

Israeli researchers evaluated cannabis use in a cohort of 14 subjects with combat-related traumatic stress. Subjects had previously tried various conventional treatments without success. All of the patients were naïve to cannabis prior to enrolling in the study. Study participants consumed cannabis in the evenings in an outpatient setting for a period of at least six-months. 

Investigators reported: “After treatment with cannabis, total sleep score, subjective sleep quality, and sleep duration significantly improved. … Total PTSD symptom score and its subdomains (intrusiveness, avoidance, and alertness) showed [also] improvement.” By contrast, cannabis treatment was not associated with reducing patients’ frequency of nightmares. 

None of the patients reported any side-effects from cannabis, nor did any elect to cease using cannabis prior to the end of the study period. 

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published study examining long-term cannabis efficacy in chronic combat treatment-resistant PTSD patients,” authors concluded. “The study’s findings show an overall improvement in sleep quality and duration, as well as a decrease in PTSD symptoms. … Future research should clarify the long-term effects of cannabis on different groups of patients suffering from PTSD.”

Israelis suffering from post-traumatic stress have been legally able to access cannabis since 2014. Currently, about 10 percent of all Israelis authorized to access medical cannabis use it to treat symptoms of PTS. 

Other studies have similarly reported improvements in sleep duration and in insomnia in patients with and without PTS. The enactment of adult-use marijuana legalization has also been correlated with a decrease in the sale of over-the-counter sleep aid medications.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis treatment for treatment-resistant combat PTSD,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Additional information on cannabis and post-traumatic stress is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Additional information on cannabis and insomnia is available from NORML.

Lawsuit alleges banks in Canada are discriminating against cannabis industry

The lawsuit—brought by Groupe SGF, a group of cannabis legal advisors and consultants—is suing on behalf of Gabriel Bélanger, the founder of Origami Extraction, a micro processor in Quebec. The suit names the Desjardins Federation, National Bank, Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, Royal Bank (RBC), and CIBC. 

The class action includes all individuals or corporations that, directly or indirectly, do business with any of the defendant banks and who have been involved in the legal cannabis industry since October 17th, 2018.

Maxime Guérin, a lawyer with Groupe SGF who is representing the case, says the issue of banks treating legal cannabis businesses unfairly has been damaging to the development of the legal industry. 

“For far too long, Canadian banks have treated the cannabis industry like pariahs, as if it was still completely illegal,” says Guérin. “By doing so, they are depriving the Canadian—but especially the local—economy of developing a promising market.”

“It was necessary, almost 5 years after legalization and discussions between the industry and the banks, that we took this step. Enough is enough, the legal cannabis industry and its players are 100% legal and should not be treated as criminals anymore, especially in a corporate environment such as a bank.”

The lawsuit contends that these lending institutions have taken “reprehensible and discriminatory actions” towards numerous individuals and businesses who have been operating within Canada’s legal, regulated cannabis market.

This class action covers anyone that has a relation with legal cannabis. It covers anyone that is directly or indirectly part of the industry, either it be the bud tender in Ontario, the LP in Saskatchewan, or the hydroponic shop in Québec that sells fertilizers.”
Maxime Guérin, a lawyer with Groupe SGF

The lawsuit contends that prior to October 18, 2018, the legal medical cannabis industry still faced numerous challenges to accessing banks, but options remained available. This changed, it continues, after cannabis was fully legalized in 2018, though with no clear policy and many banks often refusing to open bank accounts, supply loans, or do any kind of business with some cannabis business owners while continuing to do business with others.

In the instance of Gabriel Bélanger, the micro processor who is pursuing this issue, he opened a bank account registered to his own cannabis consulting agency in 2020 with the National Bank of Canada.

Then, in 2022, after Bélanger incorporated his company Origami Extraction Inc, he received a letter from National Bank telling him that the account of Origami Extraction would be closed on October 11, 2022. Bélanger contends he only discovered his accounts had been closed when he checked his bank account. 

Over time, Bélanger then says he was also refused by Desjardins and CIBC, and not provided a clear explanation of why. 

Then, on December 2, 2022, the lawsuit says a National Bank account manager told Bélanger that his two bank accounts, as well as any linked credit cards, were closed simply because the businesses were connected to the cannabis industry. 

Bélanger was initially able to open a bank account with the Royal Bank of Canada between October and November 2022, but was then informed in December that the accounts were closed due to an “internal policy”.

Bélanger says he also attempted to open an account with Desjardins in 2020 connected to another cannabis company in Quebec but was refused.

This inability to secure permanent banking caused Bélanger undue hardship, contends the lawsuit, and forced him to use his personal account for business, further putting himself at financial risk. With his micro processing licence, he says he has a minimum annual turnover rate of one million dollars, highlighting the challenge of operating this kind of business without a bank account. 

The lawsuit seeks compensation not only for Bélanger, but any others who have had similar experiences in Canada, says Guérin.

“This class action covers anyone that has a relation with legal cannabis. It covers anyone that is directly or indirectly part of the industry, either it be the budtender in Ontario, the LP in Saskatchewan or the hydroponic shop in Québec that sells fertilizers.” 

More information on the class action can be found here

Many cannabis companies in Canada have long found it difficult to find and keep a bank or other lending institution, or even to maintain an account

Challenges with cannabis businesses in Canada getting and keeping relationships with lending institutions are well known, with many banks unwilling to do business with what they see as an uncertain industry. 

Some have turned to smaller lending institutions like credit unions, some of which have leaned into the gap left by larger banks.

| David Brown | Business, Cannabis News

Smoking Cannabis Not Associated With Impaired Lung Functioning
Smoking cannabis was not associated with impaired lung functioning for young adults in a new longitudinal study published in Respiratory Medicine. In contrast to another recent study suggesting that smoking cannabis is more likely to cause emphysema than smoking tobacco, researchers in this study found that smoking cannabis alone was not tied to reduced airflow or impaired lung functioning. Still limitations in both studies suggest that we still don’t have a clear picture of smoked cannabis’ effect on our lungs.
This new study, from researchers at University of Queensland in Australia, examined whether chronic cannabis smoking was associated with damaging effects on the lungs of young adults, specifically. “Cannabis use is increasingly legalized and use is becoming normalized.” Lead author Professor Jake Najman explains. “In this context, understanding more about the harms associated with long-term cannabis use is important.”
To investigate this, researchers followed a cohort of 1173 young adults from age 21 to age 30, testing their lung function using a spirometry assessment at the beginning and end of the 9 year period. Spirometry tests are commonly used to help diagnose lung conditions, like asthma and COPD, by measuring the amount of air someone can breathe out in one forced breath. This is done with a device called a spirometer, which has a mouthpiece the patient can breathe into.
Researchers also tracked whether the members of the cohort smoked cannabis, tobacco, both or nothing over the 9 years. This was done using questionnaires at age 21 and 30, when the lung function tests were performed. Afterwards researchers analyzed the data to see whether cannabis smoking over 9 years had reduced lung function.

The results showed the expected association between tobacco smokers and reduced airflow. Those who smoked cigarettes alone, or cigarettes with cannabis, had reductions in their airflow over the 9 year period. Cannabis did not add to these reductions, over and above what was already found for tobacco only smokers. But perhaps surprisingly, in light of the recent findings on cannabis and emphysema, smoking cannabis alone did not reduce airflow or seem to impact lung functioning. Even after 9 years of use, cannabis smoke exposure did not seem to impact the lungs.

The authors concluded that “cannabis does not appear to be related to lung function, even after years of use.” They also concluded that using cannabis with tobacco doesn’t seem to add any additional risk to the lungs, beyond the harms already associated with smoking tobacco.

This is in stark contrast to the recent study in the journal Radiology suggesting smoking cannabis is more likely to cause emphysema than tobacco. In that study, chest CT scans revealed higher levels of emphysema in smokers who used cannabis and tobacco together, than those who used tobacco only. It’s important to note, however, that the Radiology study was limited by the fact that it did not look at any smokers who used cannabis alone. Thus the results suggesting higher rates of emphysema should be understood as relevant to the use of cannabis and tobacco together – not necessarily cannabis alone. There may be combinatory effects from mixing these two substances that aren’t present with either one alone. This doesn’t mean we can rule out cannabis as a potential cause of emphysema, but it does mean we need more research to confirm that these results hold for those using cannabis only.

In contrast, the Respiratory Medicine study did study cannabis-only smokers, and found no differences in lung functioning from the non-smoking control group.

The study in Radiology also used a relatively small sample size of only 146 patients, which can be compared to the 1173 respondents in the study that found no effects on lung function from smoking cannabis. That said, it’s important to note some other differences between these two studies that could partly explain their seemingly conflicting results.

First, the study in Radiology was on mostly older individuals, who have had more time to damage their lungs. It’s very possible that cannabis users would show more noticeable damage after more years of smoking than the 9 year period studied here. This study does not rule that out, it just shows no evidence of harm in the first 9 years.

It’s also important to note that the study in Radiology used CT scans to diagnose lung problems, while the recent study in Respiratory Medicine used spirometry. Different tests can produce different results. And in fact, some researchers suggest that spirometry tests, in particular, can miss conditions like emphysema in their early stages. So it may simply be that the damage being done isn’t being picked up by this test – the way it might be with the CT scan.

Given these research limitations, the question is still open on whether smoking cannabis can cause lung impairment and damage the way that tobacco more clearly does. We need more studies looking at the impacts of heavy cannabis smoking alone, throughout someone’s lifespan, before we can really come to a strong scientific conclusion.


Emily Earlenbaugh – Contributor
Emily covers cannabis’ intersection with science, culture, and wellness.


Magic Mushroom shops

The shop is one of three locations the company has in Ontario, and there are plans to expand further.

“We are operating a medical protest,” James, who would only give his first name as what he and the others who work at Shroomyz are doing is illegal, told CTV National News.

“We are here to give the public easier access than having to go to street dealers,” James said. “It’s a safer alternative.”

Magic mushroom dispensaries are popping up in cities across Canada, with customers ranging from those looking for treatment for depression or PTSD to people wanting to “micro-dose” a small amount of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms.

A Shroomyz locations was raided by Toronto police on Nov. 13, 2022, a couple of months after it opened. Two men were arrested and charged with drug and trafficking related offences. The store re-opened two days later.

“We all know the risk that’s here,” James said. “It’s all fighting for the cause, to legalize it.”

While the situation is in some ways reminiscent of when cannabis retailers set up shop before marijuana was legalized in 2018, Health Canada says there are no plans to legalize or decriminalize psilocybin products.

“Health Canada is aware of increasing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin,” the federal agency wrote in a statement, adding “there are no approved therapeutic products containing magic mushrooms or psilocybin in Canada or elsewhere.”

While legislative and regulatory changes are not planned, there also appears to be little effort to stop people from opening dispensaries and selling products containing psilocybin.

It’s a frustrating situation for Thomas Hartle, who has Stage 4 cancer that’s terminal. In 2020, the Saskatoon man became the first person in Canada to legally gain access to psilocybin-assisted therapy to help deal with his end-of-life anxiety.

“I don’t really know when the end is going to come for me,” Hartle told CTV National News. “And there isn’t really anything I can do about that. The looming nature of that gives me really bad anxiety, as you might imagine.”

Hartle says traditional medication helped take “the peaks” off the anxiety, but they also numbed him to other emotions like joy and love, things he wants to experience with his family as much as possible. For him, psilocybin-assisted therapy helped ease his anxiety without compromising other emotions.

But his legal exemption for psilocybin expired more than a year ago, and Health Canada has not responded to his renewal application. As he waits for a legal way to obtain psilocybin he’s watching an illegal market grow.

“It seems a push in the wrong direction, to be encouraging Canadians to do something illegal,” he said.

Hartle and six others are taking the federal government to court, challenging the constitutionality of the current controlled substance status of psilocybin, calling it a roadblock to health care. Hartle says he could access doctor-assisted death in a matter of weeks, yet is being prevented from accessing a drug that could improve the life he wants to keep living.

“It has taken 400 or 500 days to try to get access to a therapy that will improve my quality of life,” he said.

Health Canada says the best way to access psilocybin is through a clinical trial, of which a number are being conducted. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto just began a three year clinical trial looking at whether psilocybin can be an effective treatment for mental health issues like depression without the psychedelic effect.

While other studies have shown some promising results, CAMH clinician scientist and psychiatrist Dr. Ishrat Husain says much more “robust science” is needed to determine the safety of psilocybin.

“I’m concerned about the increase in access to psilocybin and other psychedelics,” Dr. Husain told CTV National News. “We don’t know who it’s helpful for, who it’s safe to use in. And you often don’t know what you’re getting when you’re getting it from these dispensaries.”

Some argue legalizing psilocybin would lead to more regulation and a safer drug supply, pointing to the legalization of cannabis as a roadmap. But Dr. Husain says there are key differences, especially given the psychedelic nature of psilocybin.

“I don’t see it becoming a product that would be suitable for personal consumption,” he said. “My view is that it will be hopefully a treatment option because we definitely need more, but it will probably be delivered at places like CAMH with the proper support.”

But with thousands of Canadians experimenting with “micro-dosing,” the shops and websites supplying them magic mushrooms have no plans to stop.

“We are trying to give accessibility to the people who need it,” said James.

German Health Minister Confirms report.

Over the weekend a potentially significant report surfaced regarding cannabis legalization in Germany. To quickly recap how we got to where we are now, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented an adult-use legalization plan to the federal cabinet back in October. Since that time, Lauterbach has lobbied the European Union for its permission to proceed with formally introducing the plan for consideration by German lawmakers. According to the report, Lauterbach is ‘certain’ that the European Union will grant its approval and that a formal introduction of the legalization measure will occur ‘in the first quarter of this year.’ Minister Lauterbach added, according to the report, that he ‘has no reason to doubt this schedule.’

Given that the better part of January 2023 is already in the history books, that means that if Minster Lauterbach’s schedule indeed proves to be accurate then Germany’s lawmakers could be considering a national adult-use legalization measure by the end of March (or sooner). Looking at it from a perspective beyond Germany’s borders, if Lauterbach is going to proceed with a formal introduction of a legalization measure with the EU’s blessing, then that logically means that other nations will presumably be able to do the same. If so, we could see the opening of the European legalization floodgates with other nations copying Germany’s model.

What Will Be Legalized In Germany?

The plan that Minister Lauterbach presented to the federal cabinet in Germany back in October was not the first version of the plan. In the days leading up to the formal presentation a reported previous version was leaked, and due to various provisions contained in the leaked plan, public outcry was swift. The outcry was largely directed at the initial possession limit (20 grams), an age-tiered THC percentage cap (10-15% depending on age), and the initial cultivation limit (2 plants).

What was ultimately presented to the federal cabinet involved somewhat vague language, in that the possession limit was raised to ’20-30 grams’ and that there would be ‘further examination’ as to whether there would at least be THC percentage caps for consumers 18-20 years old. The home cultivation limit was raised in the federal cabinet presentation compared to the leaked version of the plan, from 2 plants up to 3 plants per adult household.

One of the most significant components of the plan presented to the federal cabinet was the intention to launch a legal national adult-use cannabis industry in Germany. Right now, the only country that permits sales of non-THC capped cannabis products nationwide to anyone of legal age, including nonresidents, is Canada. Uruguay allows sales to residents, and Malta is in the process of setting up regulated non-profit clubs. No other country permits legal sales of non-THC capped cannabis products nationwide, and given how much larger Germany’s population, economy, and level of tourism is compared to Canada’s, the launch of a regulated national adult-use market in Germany will be a very big deal.

Limitations Of Germany’s Model

Germany’s legalization model is not perfect for various reasons, not the least of which is that it is yet to be approved, codified, and implemented. After all, politics can be full of twists and turns, and until a legalization measure becomes the law of the land in Germany there’s always the possibility that provisions could be changed and/or that the process itself could stall. We have already witnessed Lauterbach’s legalization plan evolve, and technically he has yet to reveal what, if any, changes were made as part of gaining approval from the European Union.

Part of the report that surfaced over the weekend described Minister Lauterbach as planning to present a ‘very good solution’ for German lawmakers to consider. Obviously, that is not the same as saying outright that the European Union didn’t demand any changes to Germany’s previously presented approach. If the changes are seen as regressive to some lawmakers in Germany, it’s virtually guaranteed that there will be pushback.

One huge limitation that seems to already be agreed upon by Minister Lauterbach and the EU is that all cannabis for Germany’s eventual adult-use market has to be produced domestically in order for Germany to be in compliance with treaties. While we will all have to wait and see how it plays out, I am of the opinion that supply shortages are going to be common due to this limitation. I have no doubt that German cultivators will do their best to produce as much cannabis as legally possible, however, they won’t just be supplying Germany. People from all over the world are going to flock to Germany to partake in the new freedoms. How great the demand for legal cannabis will be in Germany once sales are permitted is tough to say, but I think it’s a safe bet that it’s going to be enormous, and that may create issues.


indigenous cannabis producers

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An Indigenous-owned and -operated cannabis producer in British Columbia has its sights set on domestic and international expansion.

In an interview with MJBizDaily, All Nations executives said one of their big advantages is the company’s story.

“We’re giving people (consumers) all of the things they look for when they want to buy into something; it’s good product, has a good story, and consumers are ethically paying into something they know is going to help the economy and development,” said Stacey Duffy, the company’s director of retail.

CEO Darwin Douglas added that “we’ve focused on the production of quality cannabis. That’s our foundation. That’s our bedrock – to grow premium and ultra-premium cannabis.

“That’s the sweet spot – to be successful in business and also support positive social change in the communities where we work.”

All Nations, which is majority-owned by the Shxwhá:y Village Indigenous community near the city of Chilliwack, is one of a handful of licensed producers located on a reserve in Canada.

“Connecting people with Indigenous culture through our cannabis and products is a competitive advantage,” Douglas said.

“We’re also about connections, telling our story and the stories of Indigenous people,” Douglas said.

Shxwhá:y Village and the province recently entered a government-to-government agreement to support cannabis-related economic development under Section 119 of B.C.’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

Douglas said the agreement allows the company to own eight stores and supply up to half the products on the shelves.

Soon, he wants to bring his Indigenous brand to the rest of the world.

“There’s not a lot of Indigenous businesses that are involved in international trade, so it’s new ground for us and we’re happy to be part of that work,” he said.

MJBizDaily spoke with Douglas, Duffy and All Nations Director of Cultivation Todd Scarlett about the company’s strategy, hurdles and opportunities.

What trends are you seeing in the Canadian industry?

Stacey Duffy

Stacey Duffy, director of retail: We’re finding a lot of people are wanting to learn more about the brands and products they’re consuming.

We’re starting to find that the consumer is coming in with a little bit more of a sophisticated concept of what they want.

Years ago, it was “give me the cheapest ounce.”

Now we’re seeing more people who are wanting better quality and want to know where products are coming from.

One of the trends we’re seeing is people wanting to understand more of who’s producing their product; who’s behind it; is it hang-dried, hand-trimmed.

One of the things we’re seeing is local “BC bud” is the best-moving product on our shelves.


How do international cannabis markets, so far very small, play into your strategy?

Darwin Douglas, CEO: We want to produce (medical) cannabis here on Indigenous lands and export it to countries around the world.

Right now, we’re in discussions with countries with (federally regulated) medical markets.

As new countries come online with legalization and regulation, we’ll be looking to those markets and where we can supply, and hopefully where we can have our Indigenous brand represented.

Why is Indigenous participation relatively low in Canada’s adult-use cannabis industry?

Douglas: Adequate and meaningful consultation (with Indigenous communities) did not take place when the legislation was rolled out.

We talk about “reconciliation,” but it hasn’t happened yet. There was an opportunity with the cannabis legislation, but it didn’t happen.

I think it goes back to the fundamental issues that still exist in our country related to the recognition of Indigenous inherent rights and title and treaty rights.

These have been continuously overlooked in many areas.

Do you have any advice for other businesses looking to follow in your footsteps? 

Douglas: For other Indigenous groups, come and talk to us. We’re happy to help, even if it’s advice and not in a consulting fashion.

Seeking advice from other producers who have gone through the process successfully is very important, because we’ve made some mistakes, been through the ups and downs, and we’re happy to share those experiences with other Indigenous groups.

Can you share any of those hurdles and how you overcame them? 

Douglas: There were big challenges in getting Shxwhá:y its Section 119 deal for retail with the province (of British Columbia). That was a long process. It took years.

My advice is, don’t give up. Keep working toward your vision. A lot of willpower, work and resources will make it happen.

Can you share any innovative ways you save money?

Todd Scarlett, director of cultivation: From a cultivation standpoint, what may be relevant to us compared to most other shops is we maintain our own mother (plants) and take all of our own cuttings.

We don’t do any out-of-house propagation.

You can’t not be efficient in this business. You won’t make it.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Matt Lamers can be reached at

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Legalized Cannabis Market: –

  • Complete overview of the global Legalized Cannabis Market

  • The global Legalized Cannabis market size was valued at USD 23297.34 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 11.97% during the forecast period, reaching USD 45922.43 million by 2028.

  • Top Country data and analysis for United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, China, Japan, Korea, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, etc. It also throws light on the progress of key regional Legalized Cannabis Markets such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and Middle East and Africa

  • Description and analysis of Legalized Cannabis market potential by type, Deep Dive, disruption, application capacity, end use industry

  • impact evaluation of most important drivers and restraints, and dynamics of the global Legalized Cannabis Market and current trends in the enterprise

  • Detailed profiles of the Top major players in the industry, including. Canopy Growth Corporation,HEXO Corp,VIVO Cannabis Inc,Cannabis Science, Inc,Tikun Olam Ltd.,The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd,Medical Marijuana, Inc,OrganiGram Holding Inc,Aphria, Inc.,CV Sciences,Aurora Cannabis Inc,Cronos Group Inc.,Maricann Group, Inc,Stenocare A/S,Tilray, Inc.,Terra Tech Corp

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