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The High Five

The first full year of legal cannabis is nearly over. We're reflecting on five major stories that will shape the cannabis discussion in the coming year — and beyond.

More brick and mortar

Cannabis stores are spreading throughout the Okanagan — and B.C.

There are now 25 licensed private cannabis stores in the Okanagan, as well as four government stores. (Though not all have opened yet.)

Province-wide, nearly 200 stores are now licensed.

As retail cannabis expands in the Valley, we are seeing job creation and hiring fairs.

Stores are approved in eight Okanagan communities:
  • 8 in Vernon
  • 1 in Enderby
  • 2 in Kelowna
  • 1 in Lake Country
  • 2 in Oliver
  • 1 in Osoyoos
  • 6 in Penticton
  • 4 in West Kelowna

Investors got clobbered

The cannabis bubble burst this year, with investors losing significant value in their portfolios.

Canada’s biggest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, hit a high this year of more than $60 a share; however, it’s closing out 2019 at about $26.

Canopy isn’t alone in its plunge. Kelowna-based Flowr had a high of about $8 this year but will close way down at about $2; Aphria tumbled $14 to $6; and Aurora fell from $12 to $3.

Cannabis stocks in 2019 could be summed up in one word: ouch.

Indigenous questions

There has been confusion over the legality of dispensaries doing business on First Nations land without a provincial licence, selling unregulated cannabis products.

In the Okanagan, a lot of attention has been focused on Indigenous Bloom in Lake Country. So far, it seems there has been no provincial enforcement at the store — though the provincial government has been cracking down across BC. There are numerous stores along 'the Green Mile' on Westside Road.

This year, the Okanagan Indian Band, which owns the land where Indigenous Bloom and other stores operate, passed a moratorium on cannabis stores. However, it seemingly hasn’t had any effect on the stores that are already open.

During a national conference in Kelowna this year focused on indigenous cannabis opportunities, the co-founder of NATIONS cannabis encouraged First Nations companies to go the legal route.

Revelstoke Raid

A national headline that hit too close to home centred around the seizure of three homegrown cannabis plants in Revelstoke.

The couple affected, Anna Minten and Emmanuel Levesque Dupere, had their home raided by police. RCMP officers executed a search warrant granted after the plants were spotted by an off-duty officer during a public charity garden tour days earlier. Police cut down the plants and took them.

Minten was surprised to learn that cannabis plants need to be completely hidden from public view and responded by saying, “Why they didn’t just come to tell us we had crossed a line of the new laws and to be more cautious, I don’t know.”

This led to many others — including oz. staff — feeling anxious about their own plants and frustrated at the limitations of the laws about growing your own.

Cannabis 2.0 arrives

Interest has been growing for edibles, topicals, extracts and other Cannabis 2.0 products since legalization last year. As with everything in this industry, it has been a waiting game. This one is about over with the release of products staggered in waves.

Availability varies from province to province, and don’t expect to see much before the end of the year. Canopy Growth plans to release drinks and chocolates first, followed by vape pens and cartridges over the course of the first few weeks of 2020. National rollout will likely follow a similar pattern.

We did see the first handful of Cannabis 2.0 products drop this week in BC; more on that below.
— David Wylie and Jenny Neufeld
Give a hit to our website

First nibble of edibles online

The BC Cannabis Store stocked its first five Cannabis 2.0 products Thursday — all from Aurora.

They include chocolates, mints, cookies and a disposable vaporizer.

Products will soon be available in Okanagan retail stores. We'll update you on where we find them through our social media channels.

Aside from price, the main concern from cannabis consumers has been whether they’ll have to consume enormous amounts to feel a buzz due to the 10mg limit. However, early reaction is positive.

One Canadian posted to Reddit that he ended up buying more than 40 chocolate bars from Tweed.

“I'm going into this having only tried black market edibles. I wanna see what lab tested edibles feel compared to the black market ones…. I ate two squares and feel extremely stoned. I'm a medical user who smokes daily so 5 mg doing something is really surprising. Feel a strong body/mental high. I want to go to Best Buy to buy a TV but I can’t get up off this chair lol.”

He added that he bought all the chocolates available at Tokyo Smoke in his area, about four dozen.

The province of BC says it will slowly add more products to its stock.

"The addition of edibles, extracts and topicals represents the provincial government's commitment to providing safe, regulated non-medical cannabis products to B.C. consumers," says Blain Lawson, LDB's general manager and CEO.

"A lot of work has gone into procuring these products, and we look forward to working with our suppliers as they continue to introduce new products to market."
Give a hit to our website

Quick hits

Growing in Summerland
A $9-million cannabis facility is ready to roll after the District of Summerland issued a building permit. The 68,000-square-foot facility is owned by Sweet Valley Cannabis Inc.
 
Gov’t store OK’d
A government-owned pot shop has been approved for West Kelowna despite the application coming in after the municipality’s specified cut-off date.
 
Cannabis caroling
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, but do you know Chronic and Que-P and Doobie and Blitzy?

Dad jokes

I bet a butcher $20 that he couldn't reach the meat on the top shelf. He said "Sorry man. The steaks are too high."
 
What's the difference between a snowman and a snowwoman?
Snowballs
 
What kind of doctor is Dr. Pepper?
A fizziscian
 

See you in the new year!

The newsletter returns in 2020
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hello@okanaganz.com

Okanagan Z | the oz.
PO Box 41080 Winfield South | Lake Country BC | V4V 2L9
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