The Bis Weekly News Update – March 10 to 14

Another week is burning to a close and there’s been no shortage of cannabis events spinning up along with it.

Hot Box Cafe’s Abi Roach is bringing a first of its kind POTio to a major festival, HEXO is buying Newstrike, the Donnelly Group is opening up a weed shop in Ottawa and more. The crew at The Bis is here with your weekly news roundup.

HotBox Cafe is bringing a cannabis smoking patio to the Ontario Craft Beer Festival

HotBox Cafe is bringing a cannabis smoking patio to the Ontario Craft Beer Festival

The Ontario Craft Beer Festival announced this week, its intention to include cannabis into its annual celebration of Craft Beer through a collaboration with Kensington Market’s HotBox Cafe. The annual festival is attended by over 10,000 people from across North America, this event will make history as the first time a legal cannabis “consumption” patio is made accessible at a provincial event.

“We want to offer people a place to come down from the beer. You don’t have to consume cannabis to experience our creative, chill, vibrant POTio,” says Abi Roach, owner and operator of HotBox Cafe. “We want to educate people on what cannabis is and how to consume it safely, especially around alcohol.”

“What better way to optimize on a sensory experience than by adding some cannabis to the mix, and who better to help us execute than Abi and the HotBox team?” said Tony Millar, founder of Toronto’s Craft Beer Festival. “Cannabis is finally legal across Canada and we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate it together.”

“I’ve been successfully executing cannabis pop-ups throughout the Greater Toronto Area for the last 20+ years,“ said Ms. Roach. “What makes this one really special — other than our partners — is that it’s now on a provincial level, meaning the government is finally ready to listen to what Canadians actually want.”

Billed as a comfortable break from the beer and noise during the festival, the CNE’s current smokers lounge will get a weekend facelift to accommodate the crowd, and ensure proper safety and health codes are followed while attendees of legal age enjoy an alcohol and tobacco-free experience.

Cannabis producer HEXO buys out Newstrike in $263 million stock deal

Cannabis producer HEXO buys out Newstrike in $263 million stock deal

HEXO Corp, a licenced producer of recreational cannabis, announced today that they will be acquiring Newstrike Brands in an all-stock deal worth an estimated $263 million.

Newstrike is best known for their relation to the surviving members of the Tragically Hip, and a recent partnership with the Neal Brothers line of products to develop quality edible cannabis.

The new deal will add “470,000-sq-ft in production space” to HEXO’s already existing production capabilities, according to a press release. According to HEXO’s website, the company currently has 310,000-sq-ft of production space, with another “1,000,000-sq-ft facility now under construction.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Newstrike team into the HEXO family. Jay Wilgar (CEO of Newstrike) and his team have built incredible relationships, including teaming up with The Tragically Hip,” said Sebastien St-Louis, CEO and co-founder of HEXO, in a press release. “With Newstrike, we’re adding talented employees and infrastructure to take HEXO to the next level on our journey to become one of the largest cannabis companies in the world.”

HEXO hopes this will buoy them to their goal of $400 million in yearly net revenue by July 2020.

Major restaurant group plans to open first of nine Canadian stores in Ottawa

Major restaurant group plans to open first of nine Canadian stores in Ottawa

The Donnelly Group is once again expanding its portfolio in Ontario and British Columbia as they release their plans to open nine cannabis stores in the provinces, beginning in April 2019.

Nine locations of their Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store will be opening in “rapid succession,” starting next month.

“With two decades of consumer hospitality experience and regulatory know-how, Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store felt very natural for Donnelly Group,” says Harrison Stoker, the company’s VP of Brand & Culture, in a press release. “We’re dedicated to creating great gathering places for communities across Canada. Looking forward to the launch of our first nine retail locations in the coming months, our aim is to apply our experience to make the Hobo cannabis experience disarming, compassionate and, fundamentally, human.”

The west coast will receive the majority of the number, as eight of the locations are in BC, including storefronts on Granville Street, Main Street, and Commercial Drive.

However, the very first brick and mortar location will reside in Canada’s capital. The first Hobo location, according to the Donnelly Group, will open in Ottawa, Ontario on April 1, the first day that the 25 lottery-selected private retail cannabis stores are allowed to do business.

Located on Bank Street in Ottawa’s Centretown, the location is a former home of Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture dispensary franchise.

Scientists create yeast that releases some of the chemicals inside cannabis

Scientists create yeast that releases some of the chemicals inside cannabis

As the modern world seems to be taking a sudden interest in medical cannabis, researchers are finding new ways to extract the chemicals called cannabinoids that they feel may hold some value in treating a host of different ailments.

Cannabis production is expensive, time-consuming and requires a massive amount of energy. A means of synthesizing cannabinoids could offer a similar way of gathering them for study.

One team of scientists claims to have found a way to do just that, in a research letter recently published in the journal Nature. The letter, Complete Biosynthesis of Cannabinoids and Their Unnatural Analogues in Yeast, details the method the team took to have yeast produce certain cannabinoids in a lab.

The work is meant to lay a foundation for the laboratory creation (the paper calls it fermentation) of cannabinoids, independent of Cannabis cultivation. It was the authors’ hope that this “will enable the pharmacological study of these highly promising compounds and could ultimately lead to new and better medicines.”

The process itself — to use scientific nomenclature — is f*cking complicated, but we’ll break it down as best we can.

To quote the sound of music, “lets start from the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start).”

The researchers had to initially develop a means to get yeast to produce the precursors to cannabinoids — the compounds in cannabis that mature in nature into cannabinoids.

According to the paper, the team began by “focusing first on the production of olivetolic acid.” This acid is a key ingredient in cannabigerolic acid, a precursor to THC-A, CBD-A and “numerous other cannabinoids.” These are produced from olivetolic acid as it interacts with another compound called geranyl pyrophosphate.

From there, the team chose six cannabis enzymes they believed would be able to be synthesized in the yeast, using previous methods developed by studying the plant. As the next step was the production of CBG-A — the final step on the path to producing scientifically interesting cannabinoids.

Chromatography-mass spectrometry testing confirmed its presence in their yeast — they’re really baking now.

In nature, CBG-A ultimately becomes THC-A and CBD-A — these are not the better-known THC and CBD, rather lesser studied variations with medical potential. Ultimately, the experiment was a success, as the team was able to convert the CBG-A onto its next step.

“We engineered yeast strains capable of producing the major cannabinoids found in Cannabis from galactose,” they write in their summary.

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