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Info for the CannaCurious

Part Three: Canadian Cannabis Industry

Part Three: Canadian Cannabis Industry

This is my personal tale on the Canadian Cannabis Industry. Please don’t take what I am about to write as ultimate truth. That is correct, I am hoping you will google the heck out of everything I put forth in this entire little blog series on Cannabis in Canada.

I am NOT an expert,  just someone speaking about Canadian Cannabis.

Warning: This post is going to be long and contain a lot of feelings.

This is the third blog in the the series I have been writing for those curious about the impending Cannabis Legalization in Canada, and written for those that value my personal take on it.  This installment is about the Canadian Cannabis Industry as I have experienced over the last 4 years. It has also been the most challenging blog for me to write, because it is really personal. I have tried to write it for weeks, and hesitated doing so because its a sensitive subject with varying opinions...

Everyone in this industry experiences it in their own unique way. My way is from the perspective of a 40 year old, white female. Heterosexual wife.  Mother of three. “Middle class” (whatever that means). I have been involved as a person interested in the topical application of Cannabis products. I have NOT been growing, or extracting, which seem to be the major areas of interest in this industry to date (that's about to change). <THIS IS MY TAKE ON IT> I will briefly chronicle for you where I went and what I saw, through my lens. So here it goes, Hipbees and the Cannabis Industry:

My first introduction to the Canadian Cannabis industry was in 2014, I went on a dispensary tour in Vancouver. I was SHOCKED that you could walk in off the street and buy "weed” from a store. It was very eye opening and where I first discovered that people were making all sorts of  products with Cannabis in them. Next I went online, and learned as much as I could from Canadian people applying to be Licensed Producers and people that were advocating for the legalization of Cannabis. This was really fun and exhilarating! It was enlightening to see so many knowledgeable people so excited about making this plant accessible to everyone that would stand to benefit from its use.

Fast Forward to early 2016 when things really started to get  exciting! I joined a group in Alberta called “Women Grow” and attended my first of many Cannabis Networking events. It is not what most people would maybe think it was.  It was a group of very smart and interesting people meeting to discuss HOW ON EARTH ARE WE GOING TO LEGALIZE THIS, and what will the industry look like. “Normal” looking folks meeting at a pub to listen to amazing speakers (Terry Booth CEO of Aurora spoke at one of those early meetings). No one was high, and almost no one was belligerent or rude. It was awesome to say the least. I enjoyed this time very much :) Then me vs. the trade shows started…

HempFest in Calgary fall 2016, was my first Cannabis trade show, it was very illuminating. HempFest was VERY relaxed. Lovely vendors, lovely people. Everyone was working together and so friendly and supportive. There was no BIG business yet, and it was not intimidating at all. A similar situation happened in the spring of 2017 at HempFest in Edmonton. Then I attended Lift, a much larger and ‘serious’ trade show, where some of the big players were starting to flex their muscles. What does that mean? It means that the large scale licensed producers were putting together HUGE displays and booths, with loads of marketing materials and giveaways etc. And then I went to Vegas…..

I attended the MJBizCon in the fall of 2017. It was a 6 day American Cannabis conference for all things weed related. It was intense. And this was the place I started to feel REALLY out of place. It really was just so DRAMATICALLY different than anything Canadian. LOADS of money. LOADS of men. LOADS of BIG BUSINESS. At the same time lots of really informed people speaking on the economics of Cannabis. It took three days just to cover the trade room floor, and two days to hear 25% of the speakers. It was a snapshot of what the Canadian Industry will look like (just on a smaller scale). It was glimpse of the future for this gentle plant and I came home feeling scared, unsure, nervous, and not entirely certain this was an industry I even wanted to be a part of. Yet I persisted.

Winter of 2018, Lift Vancouver. A MASSIVE Canadian Cannabis trade show. As I walked around that huge place full of so much BIGNESS and so many people I wanted to just run away. Mostly because I tend to shy away from large crowds with lots of energy and partly because I was overwhelmed at the size and scale of this show and the industry it was flaunting. Pharmaceutical companies were re-branding as Cannabis companies, and while we all know the problem with some big pharma, they bring some very important pieces to the puzzle (this is a debate for another blog).  All the Big Licensed Producers were there; some had DJs or Huge lounge style booths, and tonnes of swag. So much swag. It was daunting and much different than the other trade shows I had been to in Canada, I could tell that the independents that were very much present at all the other ones were almost non-existent there.

Since that Vancouver show it has been much the same for me: seeing lots of money, lots of big flashy booths, lots of men, lots of white people, lots of giveaways. So what I have I learned? That like most great things it starts small and then grows when money is involved. In this particular case it grew SO FAST. And now it is a giant machine. The sweet little networking events in a quiet pub are now big, busy, loud events with tonnes of people, but they are still great - which truly gives me hope. The industry is excited, and pumped up and full steam ahead; to stay grounded I just need to remember to look for the good, and the good people doing honest work.

I have also learned that this industry IS very political, all the decisions ARE being made by government AND big business, that is not a joke, nor is it a conspiracy. What we are seeing played out was planned years and years ago, it has just taken us this long for us to catch up.  If you are reading this blog you are still WAY ahead of most Canadians on understanding what the Cannabis industry is. Because make no mistake it IS an industry, a very very very well funded industry. It is well funded because Canadians are not just participating in this for Canadians, we are also the world's largest exporter of Cannabis and Cannabis Goods.  I will say that again: because we are federally legal Canada is the largest exporter of Cannabis ON EARTH. There is a lot of money involved here, and people that like money like to make a lot of it, and know how to invest so that they will make a lot of it….and guess what? In that process people are left out, and people are hurt. In Canada we are shifting from a medical model of Cannabis access, to a recreational one...and this is what I am talking about when I say: prepare to be dazzled!

The industry leaders have millions and millions of dollars to spend on product development and marketing, and they are about to knock your socks off when they showcase their products.  Most of the Licensed Producers have kept their plans for October 17 tightly under wraps, but they are bursting at the seems to show you what they have prepared for you. It is going to be something to see that is for sure.  I am excited myself to see what is going to happen, BUT I will be watching with an awareness of how they grow, whose toes they stepped on, how much they sacrificed to get their genetics, and the people that have been hurt along the way. Am I cynical and jaded? Not at all, just aware that it is a business industry and in business this type of nasty stuff happens!

There are still lovely Cannabis Conferences that really highlight all the people working so hard to stay true to a more gentle approach, to supporting and nurturing one another, as opposed to upstaging and out performing one another. I do feel we need both/all types of conferences, summits, networking events and educational seminars. This is plant medicine, and the more understanding we have from as many different sources will help determine what is right for each and every person that is interested.  

 

My personal beliefs on this is that as Canadians it is a privilege to have the opportunity to experience the legalization of Cannabis, we are leaders in this arena and need to set the stage for other nations following suit. We need to be aware of WHO is growing our cannabis and how they are doing it. WHERE they are growing it, and how they can reduce the enormous carbon footprint that comes with this industry. WHAT are they treating the plants with and HOW they are processing them. This is an agricultural production so we NEED to take care of our farmers! We need to HONOUR the people that did all the hard work to get us here, and fought for years and years because they believed so strongly in the healing powers of this plant- these people did it out of love and care,  NOT for money and fame. Watch for the women in the industry, and other under-represented groups (so basically anyone not a white male, sorry but its true)...because if they have stuck around in this giant machine they MUST believe in it.

I will most definitely stay a part of this industry, if only to represent the “other side” and prove there is room for everyone. We NEED both male and female energy in this industry, we need the softer side. I will also continue to blog about this industry and relevant topics. I truly hope you keep reading and participating. I am happy to answer any questions and offer any resources I may have: jill@hipbees.com.

 

Here is a video that I love and brings me to tears when I watch it.  It is American, but it might as well be Canadian too, the issues are the very same. We are all in this together, pay close attention and let's do a good job everybody!

 To view video click on link and scroll down a little bit to play :  LADY BUDS

 

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Part Two: Cannabis Legislation in Canada

Part Two: Cannabis Legislation in Canada

Hi friends :)


Disclaimer: This is not a political post. Nor is it a rant. I am also still not high as I write it (if you are finding yourself wondering). 


Also, please don’t take what I am about to write as ultimate truth. That is correct, I am hoping you will google the heck out of everything I put forth in this little blog series on Cannabis in Canada. 

I am NOT an expert,  just someone speaking about Canadian Cannabis issues.

PLEASE for the love of all things holy (including the plant) question everything I say. And EVERYTHING you hear in the news and EVERYTHING the big companies with hoards of cash are about to lay on you (be aware, really really really really conscious of how and what is being SOLD to you).

This particular blog post is for those interested in cannabis legalization and how we got here.  It is a  VERY Brief History of Cannabis legalization in Canada:
It may come as a surprise to some people that Cannabis has been “legal” in Canada for about 17years....YES! That is true. BUT this legalization was for cannabis for medical purposes AND  it pertained to plants patients grew FOR THEMSELVES.
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These beginnings stages of legalization did not happen over night. It took the lobbying of many patients and advocates many years to bring and end to Cannabis prohibition in Canada (if you are interested the world wide web has many detailed accounts all about the history of Cannabis in Canada I encourage you to read more about it :)
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Some major highlights that have happened since I have been a grown up are:
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2001: The Canadian government enacted the first rendition of the country’s medical marijuana law, the Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations(MMAR), allowing licensed patients to grow their own cannabis or access it from licensed growers. Note that this legislation only allowed patients to consume cannabis that they grew themselves. They were definitely not allowed to buy, sell or trade with any other patients (side bar: a lot of the Master Growers you will find in the industry today started this way, and it really is astonishing how they become so well versed in growing by only growing for themselves wink wink). If you want to learn more about the MMAR here is a helpful link:  http://lois-laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/sor-2001-227/page-1.html
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2013: Enter the commercial production of Cannabis for Medical purposes. The government implemented the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which created a commercially licensed industry for the production and distribution of medicinal cannabis. This is when the licensed producers (LPs)  were born. BUT they kinda messed up and made it so patients could no long grow their own plants BOOO. 
To learn more about this legislation here is a helpful link: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2013-119/page-1.html
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TWO VERY IMPORTANT COURT CASES WERE:
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2015: Owen Smith, a cannabis baker, was charged with the possession of cannabis-infused cookies. He appealed the charge, and the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that restricting legal access to only dried cannabis flower violated the constitutional rights of medical patients. Licensed producers were now allowed to produce cannabis oils and patients were allowed to possess and alter different forms of cannabis.
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2016: Neil Allard challenged the MMPR for suspending personal production licenses from patients, requiring patients to access cannabis solely through licensed producers. The Federal Court of Canada ruled in Allard’s favor, and revised the law yet again with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). 
This was a really big deal. Now patients could grow AND buy from licensed producers. Yipee. It also really started to highlight that giant ball rolling toward the legalization of recreational cannabis. 
If you want to read more about the CURRENT LEGISLATION that is in place until October 17, 2017 (Which is Gord Downie’s birthday, coincidence? I think not) here is a helpful link: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-230/index.html
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2017: The Government of Canada proposed the Cannabis Act, which would legalize the possession, use, cultivation, and purchase of limited amounts of cannabis by adults 18 years of age and older. On June 19, 2018 the Senate passed that bill and it went for Royal assent on June 21, 2018.  It will come into affect on October 17, 2019. 
Here are two very helpful links if you to see what will be coming at you this fall:

 

SO now what?

 

Well, you can still get a prescription at one of the many clinics and sign up with a Licensed producer, here is that list of LPs again:

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https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/licensed-producers/authorized-licensed-producers-medical-purposes.html

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Or you can wait a couple months and buy some recreational weed at a Cannabis store in your neighborhood.  Last time I checked Alberta would have the most amount of stores per capita at a whopping 220 stores to service our cannabis needs (Albertans love their weed I guess?)

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Here is what you will be allowed to buy/have (in case you skipped reading those links I provided above):

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Upon coming into force of the Cannabis Act, adults in Canada will be allowed to legally engage in the following activities:

  • Purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from either a provincially or territorially regulated retailer, or where this option is not available, directly from a federally licensed producer;
  • Possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in public;
  • Share up to 30 grams or equivalent of legal cannabis and legal cannabis products with other adults;
  • Cultivate up to 4 plants in their own residence (4 plants total per household); and
  • Alter cannabis at home in order to prepare varying types of cannabis products (e.g., edibles) for personal use provided that no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process.

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And to conclude here is link to a VERY funny video that about sums up the new situation, have a good laugh:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ei9nEWfyU

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Make sure to stay tuned to the next blog in the series about the INDUSTRY, yes that is right...I will talk a bit about the money makers in this big cannabis scene.

*As always: if you spot a typo in this blog please email it to me and  I will send you a promocode ha!

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Part One: What is Cannabis

Part One: What is Cannabis

Hi friends :)


Disclaimer: This is not a political post. Nor is it a rant. I am also not high as I write it (if you are finding yourself wondering). 


Also, please don’t take what I am about to write as ultimate truth. That is correct, I am hoping you will google the heck out of everything I put forth in this little blog series on Cannabis in Canada. 

I am NOT an expert,  just someone speaking to what I have seen over the last three years being immersed in the Canadian Cannabis industry.

PLEASE for the love of all things holy (including the plant) question everything I say. And EVERYTHING you hear in the news and EVERYTHING the big companies with hoards of cash are about to lay on you (be aware, really really really really conscious of how and what is being SOLD to you).

Why am I blogging about this out of no-where? Many people are curious about what is going on and want to know more about cannabis but don't know where to start.....This blog is not paraphrased from any source, if you want to know more I implore you to get on the google, there are literally thousands of articles about this very interesting topic.

What is CANNABIS?!

Have you heard of things like "ganja, marijuana, weed, deew, dope, devil's lettuce, green, mary-jane, blunt, spliff, doobie, etc"? Those are all slang terms for cannabis, and since after all these years weed is actually OKAY now, it is getting a re-brand. Oatmeal has always been oatmeal. But now "steal cut oats" are super groovy and extra good for you. Same mushy goop...just a better glycemic index and new image. Same thing with our old pal Mary Jane.  Same great plant, but a more refined image..she is all grown up and drives a Tesla (metaphorically speaking).

Cannabis is a plant that contains VERY SPECIAL compounds called CANNABINOIDS. Science is saying they have now discovered over 100+ of these unique compounds that are completely unique to the cannabis plant (seriously? YES). Why is this important? Well....

Humans (and other mammals too!) Have what they call an ENDOCANNABINOID system. Like the endocrine system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, this is a WHOLE SYSTEM IN OUR BODIES THAT THEY NEGLECT TO TELL US EXISTS. It is a pretty heavy duty system that regulates both physiological and cognitive systems in our body (kinda like the master system? Yeh). This ENDOCANNABINOID system has some cool receptors that BIND TO THE CANNABINOIDS in the Cannabis plant. 

*NOTE: our body produces its own cannabinoids too...we even give them to our babies through breast milk...so hmmmmm maybe that's how we build immunity? Maybe its milk "high" and not "drunk"...think on that one for a bit...ever seen a baby rage and punch someone after some breast milk? yeh no...they have some smiles, then fall asleep. The endocannabinoids that we produce as humans  bind to the same receptor in our bodies as the cannbinoid THC and is called anandamide or the "Bliss" molecule, NEATO!!

The Endocannabinoid System discovery is pretty new...1964 by an Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam. So in the last few decades the science has REALLY made a lot of discoveries about this system and how it works...also about the intricacies of the Cannabis plant.  Cannabinoids found in this glorious plant vary from strain to strain. THAT IS NO JOKE.  For a long time people have thought of Cannabis as having two strains: Indica (In-da-couch) and Sattiva (happy fun social times). But actually the strain has A LOT to do with Terpenes and the specific blend of cannabinoids and their ratios in each and every plant. This is why one strain can make a HUGE difference in a extremely low functioning autistic child (non-verbal, no eye contact, violent) and another strain will have little to no affect. We are unique as humans and the plant is just as complex and unique. 

The major cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant are:

THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, delta8THC, delta9THC, delta9THCA. And they all bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human body. Look those up...they will each serve a different function in regulating human health.

*NOTE: you cannot die from Cannabis, the reason is:  there are no CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the part of the brain that governs lung and heart function, aka you won't have a heart attack or stop breathing from taking it (which is what happens with opiates).

The big cannabinoid stars of the cannabis show right now are THC and CBD. VERY BRIEFLY: THC is the cannabinoid that makes you HIGH and relieves pain, CBD does not make you high, and relieves the symptoms that are causing you pain (usually from stress and inflammation).  Cannabis contains various ratios of THC:CBD. *sidenote: it is really hard to find a cannabis product in Canada right now that contains only CBD.  That is where hemp enters the cannabinoid picture. THERE IS NO THC IN HEMP.  THERE IS A LOT OF CBD IN HEMP. (Stay tuned in this series to learn more about hemp, the legislation about industrial hemp, and how to get your gosh darn hands on some CBD oil).

Which leads me to: how do I get this glorious product in my body already? You can smoke it or ingest it. Smoking and/or ingesting it can come in MANY forms. For the purposes of this intro to the series, lets just say: if you suffer from anxiety smoking is usually the way to go and if you have pain, ingesting it is usually the way to go. That was a very very simplified statement.  Cannabis consumption is almost as unique as the plant is- really.  If you plan to try it out, or want to know how to start...I would seriously find a good clinic that can educate you about the options (there are clinics in pretty much every city...don't ask your doctor, they don't know. If they are a cannabis doctor they will have been poached from the public health system to work in a cannabis clinic. And don't ask your cousin that smokes a lot of weed, they just know what works for them. Find a reliable clinic or person to help you when you are starting out).

Next obvious question? Where do I even get this Cannabis stuff.  Under current legislation you need to obtain a prescription and purchase from one of our lovely Licensed Producers (LP) OR better yet, grow your own weeeeeee (do that!). THAT'S CORRECT you can only buy direct from a licensed producer until October 17, then there will be stores that carry all sorts of brands that are all OWNED by those same licensed producers ( the brands are owned by the LPs, not the stores...that's another topic). There is also a pretty rampant selection of online dispensaries available to us for a limited time (also more on that in another blog post). All the options available currently are online here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/licensed-producers/authorized-licensed-producers-medical-purposes.html   ....and you can get set up through your clinic with anyone you want. The organic ones supposedly do not irradiate their product (more on that later too). *Note: the clinics are usually sponsored by a big Licensed Producer (LP) and therefore push, I mean "recommend" their products, so you may have to ask specifically for the one you want. I can think of worse things to have to find your favorite of.... teehee. *Warning: if you have bought the weed before (from a dude in a parking lot)...it is WAY more expensive to get the government stuff...but I hear great things.

There are some buzz words you are going to be hearing A LOT:

Entourage Effect: They mean that it is a special plant that has many complex moving parts, and that some of those moving parts get along well with other components of other plants. IE: Cannabis plays well in the sandbox and likes working as a team.

"Start Low and Go Slow": Start with a REALLY low dose of THC and see how you react, slowly increase your dose by 5mg per trial. and WAIT at least TWO HOURS before adding more to the amount you already consumed.

Hemp Based CBD: Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from industrial hemp instead of Cannabis.

Topicals: Lotions etc that you can rub on your body for pain relief or skin issues.

Smokeables: Joints, vapes, pipes, bongs, etc.

Edibles: Cannabis that you take in the form of food or candies.

Oh my goodness there is so much more! I will continue this series with some talk about the legislation in Canada currently, and what to expect in the next little while. *HINT: it is gunna get CRAZY!

I will leave you with this: in all this hubub about Cannabis, try to remember it is a plant.  A magical plant that has been grown and cultivated for thousand of years. Cannabis has been both: highly revered while used in countless religious ceremonies AND persecuted for being a gate-way drug. Right now it is cool to know about weed; everyone thinks they are an expert, and everyone feels they have some claim to the capitalist situation about to explode in Canada. But at the end of the day you need to be really conscious of who you are listening to (including me gosh darn it!) and what is their motivation?, notice how what you are being told is making you feel, and is Cannabis even right for YOU? AND if you choose to try it, know where you are getting your product, who is making it, what their company is like, where does your money go? And always always remember you CAN grow your own :) I will stop there for now, that was getting a tad ranty.  Please feel free to email me any questions: jill@hipbees.com . Until next time....XOXO

*NOTE: if you spot a typo in this blog please email it to me and  I will send you a promocode ha!

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