The ‘Bis weekly news update – June 2 to 8, 2018

A pretty monumental week has just passed in Canadian Cannabis news.

While legalization is still kicking around the various bodies of the federal government, a senate vote last night has brought us one step closer. Besides just that we have new funding for addiction studies, extraction facilities being developed, and so much more.

Here are the top Canadian Cannabis stories for June 2 to 8, 2018.

Senate vote on Cannabis Act passes

Canada has taken one step closer to finally legalizing recreation pot nationwide. The Cannabis Act has returned to the House of Commons after passing its third reading in the Senate with a late-night vote of 56 to 30 with one abstention.

MPs will now have to decide which of the amendments made to Bill C-45 they will keep, reject, or modify. After this the bill will be returned to the Senate for final approval, before being given royal ascension by the Governor General and becoming law.

The past weeks have seen over 40 amendments added by the senate including giving provinces the ability to ban home cultivation, increasingly strict restrictions placed on advertising, and making “social sharing” a summary or ticketed offence, depending on the age difference between the individuals.

Provinces will be given a grace period to transition into the new law, pegging the earliest date for legal sales around September.

Opioid overdoses the focus of new UBC professorship funded by Canopy growth

Canopy Growth and the University of British Columbia has announced the creation of a new professorship and research program designed to help combat the rising opioid overdose epidemic.

Canopy growth will be donating $2.5 million to the UBC and BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) to fund research into the potential of cannabis in addressing the overdose crisis. The funds, provided over a two-year period, will establish the Canopy Growth Professorship in Cannabis Science.

“We are working across government and across all sectors to find new, evidence-based ways to save more lives from opioid overdose and help more people find a pathway to hope and healing,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “It’s encouraging to see private industry step forward to support our efforts to turn the tide on this unprecedented crisis.”

Early research into the subject suggests that medical cannabis could help serve to slow down or even end the crisis. However, medical cannabis’ impact on substance abuse has rarely been evaluated in controlled trials.

Canopy’s program wants to explore the befits of cannabis as a “legitimate therapeutic treatment.”

In 2017, an estimated 4,000 Canadians died of an opioid overdose; more than 1,400 were British Columbians. The province declared a public health emergency in response.

Aurora Cannabis Donates $20,000 to Combat Impaired Driving 

With the Montreal Grand Prix taking place this weekend, Aurora Cannabis has teamed up with Regroupement Conduite Responsible Canada (RCRC), a non-profit organization that brings together companies to promote road safety in Canada will be offering visitors to this year’s Grand Prix Crescent Street Festival an opportunity to gain greater understanding of how cannabis can affect one’s judgement and response time.

Aurora has donated $20,000 to the RCRC to host an interactive kiosk during the annual Crescent Street Festival which takes place June 7-9, 2018 and encourages visitors to test their specially-designed goggles which simulate the effects of cannabis.

Participants will be asked to perform a series of tasks organized in a game-based format both with and without the cannabis goggles. The exercise is designed to demonstrate the impact cannabis can have not only on vision, but on thinking and reaction timing.

“We approached Aurora Cannabis with our project because they are committed to ensuring that medical cannabis users, and ultimately recreational cannabis users, understand that cannabis containing THC should not be consumed prior to operating a motor vehicle,” said Stéphane Maurais, spokesperson for RCRC.

TerrAscend and Cistron Launch Ascendant Laboratories

TerrAscend has announced a new joint venture with Cistron as they launch Ascendant Laboratories, a science and innovation company dedicated to the advancement plant sciences and biology related to cannabis.

As part of the deal, Cistron has agreed to grant to Ascendant Laboratories exclusive license over intellectual property rights and trade secrets relating to cannabis plant and cannabinoid research.

For its part, TerrAscend has agreed to contribute up to C$1,250,000 in return for a combination of shares and warrants, representing approximately 75% of Ascendant Laboratories on a fully-diluted basis. The transaction is valued at approximately C$1.7 million.

“TerrAscend is thrilled to be partnering with Cistron and its team of accomplished scientists. As a company with a major research and development mandate, TerrAscend is looking forward to adding substantial depth to our science team through this partnership with Cistron and its principals,” said Michael Nashat, TerrAscend’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Ascendant Laboratories will be leveraging the knowledge and experience that Cistron has developed in plant sciences and applying it to improve plant yield, add diversity, promote immunity, and modify the physical and chemical traits of cannabinoid expressing plants.”

Aphria to build state-of-the-art “Extraction Centre of Excellence”

While no one will accuse them of being too humble, Aphria has announced a $55 million capital project to build a state-of-the-art “Extraction Centre of Excellence” in Leamington, ON.

The custom designed facility will house two Class extraction rooms as well as production and packaging facilities. Allowing them to create extracts and prepare them for market all in one place.

According to the company, the facility will have the capacity to process more than 200,000 kgs of cannabis annually.

The facility will be equipped to conduct a wide range of cannabis extractions, including C02, butane and ethanol, and produce high-grade concentrates. Construction of the new Extraction Centre of Excellence is expected to begin immediately and the facility is scheduled to release its first concentrates by March 2019.


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