RCU Partners With the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

RCU (Responsible Cannabis Use) has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) to bring cannabis education in the workplace to the forefront. Developed by RCU, CannEd is a cannabis e-learning course that prioritizes safety and responsibility by promoting cannabis education.

Based on a survey conducted by RCU, 80% of employees want to be educated about the policies of cannabis at work. Take this quiz to test your own awareness of cannabis in the workplace.

This announcement comes just months after RCU became a founding member of the Ontario Cannabis Policy Council. This Council was created by the OCC and Fire & Flower in September 2019, and is composed of industry leaders tackling key issues impacting the recreational cannabis industry.

“The OCC represents businesses in a variety of industries who are navigating how to handle cannabis in the workplace, and there is a demand for better education,” says Daniel Safayeni, Co-Chair of the Ontario Cannabis Policy Council and Director of Policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited to bring CannEd to our membership to help teach businesses how to have informed conversations about safety and impairment in the workplace, underpinned by facts and evidence.”

The partnership between RCU and OCC allows chamber members to access CannEd at an exclusive rate. Visit thercu.org/occ to learn more.

The CannEd course is beneficial to individuals in all industries, whether or not they’re in a safety-sensitive position. “It’s about knowing your rights as an employee and employer. Cannabis is legal and we must prioritize safety while remaining inclusive to those who consume cannabis recreationally or medically,” said Afshin Mousavian, CEO of RCU.

CannEd helps employees by proactively addressing cannabis at work in an inclusive way. Employers that use CannEd can ensure safety while remaining inclusive to those that use cannabis recreationally or medically. CannEd comes with sample workplace impairment policies that employers can use to draft their own policy. “We understand that each organization has unique needs. A combination of our sample policy and the e-learning helps address needs across all industries,” added Mousavian.

CannEd is available to employers across Canada and the U.S. As of June, including courses for the transportation industry, specifically companies governed by the Department of Transportation.

About Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

About RCU (Responsible Cannabis Use)
RCU (Responsible Cannabis Use) is a cannabis education company that brings awareness to cannabis facts, laws, regulations, and research. Through its products: Cann I Know and CannEd, RCU aims to educate all Canadians about responsible cannabis use.

The Ontario Cannabis Policy Council
The Ontario Cannabis Policy Council (OCPC) is comprised of industry leaders and experts whose primary focus is addressing the key issues impacting Ontario’s adult-use cannabis industry. Following the release of the OCC’s report Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry, the Council’s primary focus is advocating for the industry’s growth across the province. The Council is co-chaired by Daniel Safayeni, Director of Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and Trevor Fencott, Chief Executive Officer, Fire & Flower Cannabis Co.

 

Why is cannabis so expensive in some provinces? Don’t ask Statistics Canada

By Michael J. Armstrong, Associate professor of operations research, Goodman School of Business, Brock University

THE CANADIAN PRESS

This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Author: Michael J. Armstrong, Associate professor of operations research, Goodman School of Business, Brock University

To evaluate cannabis legalization’s progress and success, Canadians need good information about legal product sales.

Unfortunately, most provincial cannabis agencies keep results overly secret. And some publicly available estimates lack precision.

One example of cannabis agency secrecy made the news last week. An investigation found cannabis oil prices vary “wildly” between provinces.

Inter-provincial price differences exceeded 50 per cent for half the products surveyed. The report couldn’t explain the “fishy” differences.

Newfoundland and Ontario price higher

But it’s no secret that legal pot costs more in, say, Ontario than Quebec. Ontario’s cannabis agency marks-up prices by triple what Quebec’s more profitable agency does.

We can see this by analyzing their 2018-19 financial statements. Quebec’s retail revenues averaged 23 per cent above what it paid producers. By contrast, Ontario’s markups averaged around 77 per cent.

The corresponding figures were 38 per cent in Prince Edward Island, 55 per cent in New Brunswick and 90 per cent in Newfoundland. Nova Scotia and British Columbia didn’t disclose enough detail to estimate markups. The Prairie provinces don’t have government-owned shops.

To see the markups’ impact, consider a hypothetical cannabis oil product the producer sells to agencies for $20 plus tax. In Quebec, the product might have retailed at $30.41. That includes $4.95 for agency markup, $3.76 for provincial taxes and $1.70 for federal taxes.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the same product could retail for 54 per cent more, at $46.98. That gives $19.35 to the agency, $5.21 to the province and $2.42 to the feds.

Undisclosed provincial priorities

Price differences aren’t inherently wrong. They just indicate different priorities. Higher markups provide more revenue for governments. Lower markups make legal products more competitive with illegal ones.

What’s wrong is that governments aren’t publicizing this key policy decision. Do Newfoundland and Ontario voters know their governments put more emphasis on making money than on taking business away from black-market vendors?

Are Nova Scotia and British Columbia residents curious about their politicians’ undisclosed priorities?

Unfortunately, this is just one example of provincial pot paternalism.

Consider a simple question: How much cannabis does your province sell?

Quebec answers that question best. Its cannabis agency’s quarterly and annual reports are very detailed. New Brunswick is similarly open about its results.

Other provinces are less transparent. They issue brief quarterly announcements or terse year-end summaries. Supposedly “open for business” Ontario hasn’t provided a full quarterly or annual report since March 2018.

Not knowing provinces’ real numbers, we have to use federal approximations.

For example, Statistics Canada recently estimated that national cannabis sales hit $146 million in December, up eight per cent from November. It estimated provincial sales too.

Imprecise federal estimates

Such estimates are never perfect. But for cannabis, the margins of error can be substantial.

Consider total sales during legalization’s first six months. StatCan’s estimate for Prince Edward Island was bang on, coming within two per cent of the actual total.

But it undershot British Columbia’s sales by 50 per cent: $9.3 million estimated versus about $18.8 million actual.

It also underestimated Quebec’s sales by 17 per cent for September to December 2018. And overestimated them by the same amount the next quarter.

The agency has since made changes. It apparently now gets sales data from Health Canada‘s cannabis tracking system, rather than just store surveys.

Unfortunately, some problems remain. StatCan said it had “excellent” data for Nova Scotia’s October to December sales. But its estimate was 25 per cent too low.

StatCan’s estimates are certainly better than nothing. But even on a quarterly basis, they’ve only been accurate to within about plus or minus 35 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

‘Legal’ sources?

StatCan also just compared cannabis usage before and after legalization. Its graphical summary indicates that before legalization, 23 per cent of consumers reported getting some of their cannabis from legal sources, versus 52 per cent after.

However, StatCan’s accompanying report notes the actual authorized cannabis user count before recreational legalization was only one-third of its estimate. And Health Canada‘s website shows the number who actually bought cannabis legally was only one-seventh of the estimate. That’s a big inaccuracy.

Measuring progress

Canada is ahead of countries like the United States and New Zealand on cannabis legalization, but a lot of work remains. Industry must reduce costs and improve quality. Governments must learn from each other’s successes.

But that’s difficult when key numbers are hidden or uncertain. Businesses, governments and voters need good measurements of legalization’s progress to know what changes are needed.

For example, the New Brunswick sales estimate jumped 18 per cent in December. Does that represent clever agency retailing? Improved government policy? Or statistical miscalculation? Currently, we can’t tell.

How can we decide where to go, if we aren’t even sure where we are?

Atlantic Canada struggles with access to medicinal cannabis

By

According to an article published in the Western Star, some residents of Atlantic Canada are having difficulty accessing medical cannabis which is required for their treatment. The article describes the struggles of a Nova Scotia patient Lindsay (last name not disclosed for legal reasons), who requires medical cannabis to alleviate the side effects from her monthly cancer treatment.

As a result of her cancer treatment, Lindsay is regularly left with symptoms including pain, aches, nausea, cramps and upset stomach. However, Lindsay’s medical cannabis provider, CannTrust, placed a hold on its products in July when undergoing a review by Health Canada. Subsequently, Health Canada suspended CannTrust’s licence in September.

“I’m stuck and I know I’m just going to have to work through the pain. Everything is left up to my husband. He’s working 12-hour shifts and then he has to come home and then has to deal with the family on top of everything else and a wife that can’t really do anything.”

Lindsay, medicinal cannabis user

The process of switching medical cannabis providers can be lengthy since Health Canada requires the patient to obtain a new medical document from their health practitioner. Since Lindsay’s prescription is due to be renewed within the next month, she had said she plans to talk to her doctor about changing providers.

Lindsay said other pain medication is not a desirable option due to its unwanted side effects. “They gave me pain medication, like morphine or hydromorphone or something along those lines, and then they told me, ‘You’re in pain? Take more. You’ll be fine,’ and that bothered me,” she said. “I didn’t want to be so oblivious to daily activities by being on pills.”

When Lindsay had first received her prescription for medical cannabis in 2018, she was purchasing cannabis products through an illegal dispensary, since she could not afford products from her medical cannabis provider without insurance covering the costs. However, the police shut down the dispensary, and after that Lindsay had to resort to obtaining her cannabis products from the NSLC.

NSLC spokesperson Beverly Ware told Western Star that customers seeking medical recommendations on products has been one of the biggest problems facing the Crown Corporation since it began selling cannabis in its stores. Although the NSLC was appointed by the provincial government to become Nova Scotia’s recreational cannabis retailer, its employees are not permitted to provide medical advice on its products. According to Ware, individuals seeking medical cannabis should be going through Health Canada, as “it is the only body that can fill a prescription.”

However, Lindsay has said she has nowhere else to turn. “When I go to the NSLC, it’s self-medication and I know I could be arrested because I have a prescription,” she said. “Every time I go to the NSLC for medical reasons, it’s a risk, but it’s what I have to do. I’m not doing it so I can get high. I’m doing it so I can walk.”

Cannabis Exclusion In Home Insurance Policies May Not Be Effective When Tenants’ Grow-Op Causes Loss

Article by Robert Gilroy

Despite the efforts of insurers to exclude coverage in habitational insurance policies for losses caused by cannabis cultivation or production, a recent Alberta case serves as a reminder that coverage may, nevertheless, apply where an insured’s tenant’s grow-op causes a loss.1 This is due to the existence of so-called “innocent insured” provisions in the Insurance Acts of Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

Background

Home insurance policies have traditionally excluded coverage for losses caused by illegal activities. Many have also specifically excluded coverage for losses arising from illegal drug activity. With the Cannabis Act having come into force on October 17, 2018, Canadians may now legally cultivate up to four cannabis plants at a time in their dwelling-house.2 As such, some insurers have amended their policies to exclude losses caused by growing cannabis, regardless of its legality.

However, insurers in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba may still be at risk of cannabis-caused losses even with broad exclusions on the growing or production of cannabis in a dwelling.

The innocent insured provisions

The innocent insured provisions protect insureds who are not responsible for or complicit in intentional acts that cause damage. Specifically, exclusions barring coverage for losses caused by a criminal or intentional act or omission are of no effect vis- à-vis an insured person who does not:

  1. Cause the loss;
  2. Abet or collude in causing the loss; and
  3. Consent to the act or omission while knowing—or having ought to have known—that the act or omission would cause the loss.

The innocent insured provisions of the three provinces are all identical.3 British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba brought their provisions into force in 2011, 2012 and 2014, respectively. Their enactment was a response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) decision in Scott v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. [Scott].4 In Scott, the majority of the SCC held that, upon the insured plaintiff’s son intentionally setting fire to the plaintiff’s house, coverage was not available to the plaintiff, as the policy excluded coverage for loss caused by a criminal or wilful act of the insured.5

Recent cases

While the innocent insured provisions have received relatively little judicial consideration, the recent 2019 Alberta case of Lafferty v. Co-Operators General Insurance Co. [Lafferty] should serve as a reminder that an insurer in Alberta, British Columbia or Manitoba could be on the hook for damage caused by a tenant’s grow-up, notwithstanding a cannabis exclusion.6

In Lafferty, the insured plaintiffs owned a house in which their tenants were growing cannabis. The insureds had no knowledge of this. The grow-op caused damage to the house. After the insurer denied coverage based on an illegal drug operations exclusion, the insured sued for coverage. Ultimately, the Court held the innocent insured provision to be unavailable to these insureds, as the loss occurred in 2010, while the provision came into force in Alberta on July 1, 2012.7

Nevertheless, the Court in Lafferty commented that the innocent insured provision could have prevented the insurer from relying on the drug operations exclusion had the loss occurred after the provision came into force.8

One may contrast the Court’s comments in Lafferty with a recent decision out of Saskatchewan, a province that does not have an innocent insured provision in its provincial Insurance Act. In the 2018 case of Carteri v. Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance Co., the Court dismissed the insured plaintiffs’ claim for coverage after an explosion and fire severely damage their rental property.9 The explosion and fire evidently resulted from the tenants’ attempt to produce cannabis resin.10 The insurance policy contained an exclusion denying coverage for loss caused by the manufacturing of illicit drugs.11 The exclusion functioned to bar coverage, even though the insured property owners were arguably “innocent of any wrongdoing.”12

Rental properties are at a much higher risk

The innocent insured provisions afford protection to property owners when a tenant’s act or omission causes a loss, provided the insured is a natural person (as opposed to a corporation), and does not consent to or collude in such activity. This may prove problematic for insurers writing habitational policies in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

As rental properties already represent a higher risk exposure, insurers will want to underwrite such policies carefully, especially considering the increased likelihood of tenants seeking to grow marijuana plants in their dwellings legally, regardless of whether the property owner forbids it. Given that cannabis exclusions may not protect insurers in this situation, it is even more prudent that insurers require their insureds to conduct regular, periodic inspections of rental dwellings, in an effort to sniff out any cannabis production before it causes a loss.

Source: Mondaq

HUB International Names a Chief Sales Officer for Its Cannabis Insurance and Risk Services

Jay Virdi has been named Chief Sales Officer for HUB’s cannabis insurance and risk services in the U.S. and Canada.

PRESS RELEASE – HUB International (HUB) recently named Jay Virdi Chief Sales Officer for its cannabis insurance and risk services in the U.S. and Canada. Virdi most recently developed and managed the cannabis practice group for a North American specialty risks MGA. He has become a reputable leader in the advocacy for risk management and innovative insurance solutions in cannabis for clients, brokers and insurance providers.

As Chief Sales Officer, Virdi will focus on further developing and perpetuating deep expertise and resources across the U.S. and Canada, to provide medical and recreational cannabis producers, distributors and retailers proper protection and specialized solutions to reduce risks in all aspects of their operations.

Virdi has more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry providing support for sales activities and operations, including the execution of strategic initiatives. He has experience advising on commercial lines insurance solutions and underwriting complex risks and commercial programs. Additionally, Virdi was a global sales consultant where he advised insurance carriers using big data analytics. His insightful recommendations resulted in the creation of innovative new products, identifying areas of opportunity for revenue generation and establishing meaningful key stakeholder engagement.

Virdi is a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) from the Insurance Institute of Canada. He holds an Honors Bachelors of Arts (Hon. BA) degree in Economics and Business Management from the University of Toronto and a Digital Certification in Communications, Culture and Information Technology (CCIT) from Sheridan College.

Mera Signs Cannabis Supply Agreement with German Distributor

Mera Cannabis Corp. (“Mera” or the “Company“), has entered into a binding and non-exclusive supply agreement (the “Supply Agreement“) with HM HerbaMedica GMBH (“HerbaMedica“), situated in Berlin, Germany, pursuant to which HerbaMedica has agreed to purchase up to 600 kg of dried cannabis per year from Mera for a term of two years, subject to certain increase rights.

As part of Mera’s international development strategy, its flagship facility in St. Thomas, Ontario has been designed to adhere to EU-GMP standards. As a result, Mera expects the majority of its outputs from its domestic facilities to be sold to growing international medical markets. With a population of over 83 million and wide-spread statutory health insurance, Germany is poised to be a European powerhouse for medical cannabis.

“With partners like HerbaMedica, Mera has the opportunity to capitalize on its experience and insights acquired through domestic operations and utilize that knowledge in the EU. This agreement marks a significant milestone for both parties and will help bridge the gap between supply and demand in Germany,” says Zubin Jasavala, Chief Executive Officer of Mera.

“We are excited to be one of the few businesses working with Canadian producers to bring Canadian medical cannabis products into Germany. Mera not only provides access to high quality product, but a long-term strategy for growth in the medical market in Germany and across Europe,” David Höhne, Chief Executive Officer of HerbaMedica.

The obligations of the parties pursuant to the Supply Agreement are conditional upon, among other things, each of the parties obtaining all necessary licenses and authorizations, including import/export permits and EU-GMP certification.

About Mera Cannabis Corp.

Mera is focused on producing consumer-driven, high-value cannabis products at its EU-GMP built cultivation and processing facility in St Thomas, Ontario. It has two additional facilities currently under Health Canada licensing review in St. Thomas (processing) and Kingsville, Ontario (up to 1.2M sq. ft. of greenhouse cultivation), where the Company’s efforts are focused on medical cannabis product innovation. Additionally, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mera operates CannaWay Clinic, a national network of clinics specializing in cannabis treatment programs. Mera has also signed a letter of intent with the Maltese economic development agency, Malta Enterprise, to initiate the development of a medical cannabis production facility in Malta as a primary entry point into European medical cannabis markets. For more information about Mera, please visit meracannabis.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation which are based upon the Company’s current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs and views of future events. Forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “expect”, “likely”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “potential”, “proposed”, “estimate” and other similar words, including negative and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions “may”, “would” or “will” happen, or by discussions of strategy. Forward-looking information include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, targets, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact.

Any forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Company to predict all such factors. Such factors (including, an inability of the parties to obtain the necessary authorizations and licenses or to otherwise meet the conditions precedent contained in the Supply Agreement) could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking information.

SOURCE Mera Cannabis Corp.

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