Cannabis Prospect Magazine
VOLUME 5 ISSUE 2 APRIL 2023
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Retailers have access to ordering more than 2,000 products depending on the province they reside in, stemming from hundreds of brands. It can be overwhelming for retailers to determine what products to order, and how to optimize their inventory assortment.
VOLUME 5 ISSUE 2 APRIL 2023
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There is incredible value in connecting with local communities, and that’s how GoodVibes Cannabis expanded to open their third cannabis retail store, in less than a year, on March 1, 2023. In this issue we take a look at this burgeoning Alberta retailer.
Retailers have access to ordering more than 2,000 products depending on the province they reside in, stemming from hundreds of brands. It can be overwhelming for retailers to determine what products to order, and how to optimize their inventory assortment.
While discussions continue with respect to the legislative review of The Cannabis Act, the hope is that there will be some relief for the cannabis sector. In the meantime, good news may be coming soon from another corner of government, namely Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).
If you’ve decided venture capital is the right route to grow your business, here are five tips to help you prepare to secure the investment.
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April 2023 | Cannabis Prospect Magazine 3 Table of Contents/April 2023
FINANCING AGRICULTURAL GUIDELINES 4 From the Editor 6 Events 8 News 16 Product Showcase 22 Product Spotlight 26 Provincial Updates 28 Appointments 28 List of Advertisers 14 24 16 12
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Call of Duties
By David Halpert
With 4/20 just around the corner and tax season now in the rear-view mirror, it seems that the issue of taxes always appears omniprescent in the cannabis industry, specifically the total duty of excise taxes on cannabis products to federal and provincial governments. A recent article in MJBiz noted that since 2018, a minimum of $1.02 billion of total duty has been brought in for recreational cannabis. While the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has yet to disclose figures as of the time of this writing, years of duty collected by the federal government and shared with provinces and territories are as follows: $91.6 million in 2018-2019, $256.7 million in 2019-20, and $514 million in 2020-2021. While total duty assessed on cannabis products by the federal government has increased in tandem with increased sales, according to the CRA, the total amount of cannabis levies for 2020-2021 totalled $514 million. It should be noted that of that total, $403.3 million represents “cannabis excise duty that the federal government agreed to share with provinces and territories from recreational marijuana sales in their respective jurisdictions.”
While the amount of percentage the government takes in taxes has increased over the years, for many it’s also an issue of fairness. In recent years, the federal government decided not to implement a proposed regulatory fee of $65 million on the tobacco industry in consideration of its price sensitivity in the fight against the illicit tobacco market. Meantime, the cannabis sector that faces excise taxes around 50% higher than tobacco had its regulatory fee silently renewed by Health Canada for three more years.
So is there help on the horizon?
On February 6 and 15, C3 leadership and licence holder CEOs held meetings with all of the key departments that have a hand in the fate of our sector on Parliament Hill. The Finance and Health Ministers as well as the Prime Minister’s Office and ISED were distinctly alerted to the demand for urgent action to address the financial viability of the cannabis sector and to preserve the noteworthy gains of cannabis legalization in all corners of Canada. For those interested, I suggest you go to the Cannabis Council of Canada’s website and read its Budget 2023 Submission for a more extensive breakdown of its recommendations.
Also, it should be noted that there are changes happening at the provincial level. In mid-February, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) announced its plans to transition to a fixed mark-up pricing model, along with reductions in its margins, to help enable a vibrant cannabis marketplace. With this change, it’s estimated that OCS margin reductions will contribute approximately $35 million into the marketplace in 2023-24, with a full fiscal year reduction in 2024-25 estimated at approximately $60 million and compounding annually in years thereafter as the market grows. Will it? Only time will tell.
As with everything in cannabis, it looks as though we’ll have to adopt a wait-and-see mindset when it comes to greater reductions in excise taxes.
4 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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Atlas Global Signs Exclusive Partnership with Snoop Dogg to Launch Cannabis Brands Internationally
Atlas Global Brands Inc., a cannabis company with expertise across the value chain, is pleased to announce that on February 28, 2023, the company entered into an exclusive international licensing agreement with Calvin Broadus Jr. a.k.a “Snoop Dogg”. The agreement, which lasts up to five years, grants Atlas Global the exclusive right to use the artist’s name, likeness, logos, trademarks or other approved intellectual property to produce, package, manufacture, distribute, sell, advertise, promote and market cannabis flowers, pre-rolls, concentrates, oils and edibles, and personal vaporizers for medical purposes in Germany, Israel, and Australia and recreational purposes in Canada.
The Blinc Group Emerges Triumphant in ITC Investigation Brought by Chinese CCELL® Manufacturer
The Blinc Group, Inc. (Blinc), a leading innovator in the cannabis vaporizer industry, is pleased to announce that Judge Cheney, Chief Administrative Judge of the International Trade Commission (ITC), has rejected the allegations that Shenzhen Smoore Technology Limited (Smoore) made against Blinc in an investigation that Smoore initiated with the ITC. The investigation, which Smoore filed on October 8, 2021, alleged that Blinc imported and sold vaporization products that infringed two of Smoore’s patents. After a thorough review of the evidence and arguments by both sides, Chief Judge Cheney determined that Blinc’s products did not infringe Smoore’s patents, and found no violation, clearing the company of any alleged wrongdoing. In a decision dated February 1, 2023 (the Decision), Chief Judge Cheney found that Smoore had utterly failed to present adequate arguments
High Tide Enters New Vertical in the United States With Launch of Cannabis Seeds
High Tide Inc., a retail-focused cannabis company with brickand-mortar as well as global e-commerce assets, has begun selling cannabis seeds in the U.S., initially through its wholly owned subsidiaries Grasscity and Smoke Cartel. The company plans to expand seed sales to additional online retail platforms within its portfolio in 2023. This launch comes on the heels of the American Drug Enforcement Agency’s recent official determination that cannabis seeds fall under the legal definition of hemp and can therefore be sold openly in the U.S. “With our entry into this new and exciting complementary vertical, we continue to extend and strengthen our integrated value chain, providing our customers with a complete cannabis experience, in addition to the opportunity to further enhance our consolidated gross margin profile. This new business venture will greatly expand our U.S. customer base,” said Raj Grover, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide.
for infringement, resulting in waiver, found multiple points of non-infringement for each patent, and found that Smoore, a Chinese company, did not have the requisite domestic industry for an ITC investigation. The Decision also found that Smoore’s U.S. Patent No. 10,357,623 is invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112 and unenforceable due to inequitable conduct that occurred in the prosecution of the patent family. The Decision is subject to review by the full ITC.
Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) Announces Upcoming Changes to Pricing Structure
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) announced its plans to transition to a fixed mark-up pricing model, along with reductions in its margins, to help enable a vibrant cannabis marketplace. After completing a detailed review of its pricing structure, the OCS will move to a fixed mark-up pricing model that will create greater transparency and consistency for licensed producers. Reduced margin levels are expected to help enable a vibrant marketplace so that it is better positioned to compete with illegal operators. With this change, it is estimated that OCS margin reductions will contribute approximately $35 million into the marketplace in 2023-24, with a full fiscal year reduction in 2024-25 estimated at approximately $60 million and compounding annually in years thereafter as the market grows. Pricing changes will be implemented for September 2023, allowing adequate time for OCS to work with licensed producers to consider changes to existing products and products scheduled to launch in upcoming 2023 releases.
market forecasts. Global legal cannabis spending grew 5.2% to $32 billion in 2022 and forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% from 2022 to 2027, resulting in a market size of $59.6 billion by 2027. Despite economic uncertainty and rising inflation, BDSA expects legal U.S. cannabis sales to grow 14% by the end of 2023. Globally, cannabis markets beyond the U.S. and Canada are forecast to grow to ~$9.5 billion in 2027, up from $1.8 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 40%. BDSA forecasts the Canadian market will see 12% overall growth this year, becoming a $5.7 billion market by 2027 at a CAGR of 6.3%. New adult-use markets and Germany and Mexico are the primary drivers of global growth, and current limited medical cannabis programs are expected to expand, primarily within the European Union and Latin America.
PeakBirch Commerce Execution of Definitive Agreement Regarding Acquisition of VAPED
PeakBirch Commerce Inc. (formerly PeakBirch Logic Inc.) has signed an asset purchase agreement dated February 23, 2023 (the “APA”) with Kiaro Brands Inc. (“KBI”) and Kiaro Digital Ltd., pursuant to which, the company will acquire the assets used in connection with the e-commerce herbal vaporizers and accessories retail business (the “Business”) operated by KBI indirectly through 8651159 Canada Inc. (formerly Sculthorp SEO Inc.) and Kiaro Australia Pty Ltd.
Reports Global Legal Cannabis Sales to Reach $59.6 Billion in 2027 BDSA, the leading provider of market intelligence for the cannabis industry, released its updated five-year global legal cannabis
8 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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Cannabis Testing: A High Potency Conundrum
By Christina Michael
The cannabis industry is riddled with complexities that often confuse and confound industry professionals and consumers daily. It is a mammoth undertaking to operate in an industry that requires not only a high level of understanding on how to navigate regulations, but also to be able to build trust with licensed retailers and be creative enough to achieve brand awareness and loyalty with such stringent restrictions on marketing and advertising for cannabis currently in effect. One, if not the most vital, step before a cannabis product option is available for purchase by a provincially-licenced retailer is that a batch sample must be sent to a Health Canada approved lab. Health Canada states; “analytical testing activities may include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following testing processes: chemical contaminants, microbial contaminants, cannabinoid content, dissolution or disintegration, sterility, stability testing and/or pesticides, including ensuring requirements are met by licence holders bound by the mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients requirements.”
The outcome of these tests is available on a Certificate of Analysis (COA), otherwise known as “test results” document, confirming the cannabis product batch is compliant and safe for consumption, and can be traced back to the original batch in the event of contamination and recall according to regulations defined by Health Canada and the government’s Pest Control Products Act and The Cannabis Act Once a product sample “passes”, it would be reasonable to conclude the product batch is safe for consumption and consumers can be assured of product quality.
Considering the importance of COA results and the litany of regulatory and compliance checkmarks required to sell regulated cannabis to the end-consumer for safe consumption, one would think Health Canada approved labs to not only pass a rigorous licensing process but also comply with standardized testing methods, not to be confused with standard reference materials (SRMs) to ensure all lab results are equal and results would be within a percent or two from lab to lab. To be fair, all labs must apply and successfully pass the application process to become a holder of a licence for analytical testing under The Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations. To remain accredited labs, they must also perform annual proficiency tests for services provided to maintain their approved license status. However, standardized testing methods are not part of this governance process. So, it is understood that cannabis testing requirements are meant to ensure cannabis products are safe for consumption, but no standardized testing methods exist to date, and nowhere does it state that high THC levels are a mandatory part of the testing process and/or a requirement for product submission.
While we can agree that conducting safe consumption tests on all consumables is important to the health and safety of Canadians, it is equally important to acknowledge a lack of standardized testing results in potential lack of trust and confidence in end results. Herein lies the high potency conundrum, as emphasis on high THC products has become one of the most prominent features required for a successful listing and consumer purchase decisions. To be clear, high THC does not guarantee quality cannabis nor does it mean the end consumer is getting the best bang for their buck.
We know cannabis flower, like humans, is inherently different, which is also what makes cannabis and people unique. We also know every person will respond to cannabis differently, therefore it would also seem not only reasonable, but also proactive to standardize testing methods and advance the industry with consumer education and a diverse product selection with a healthy range of THC potency products, cannabinoid and terpene profiles in order to to build trust in safe, quality and value for cannabis products available for purchase; not to mention, allow for a wider selection of products for licensed retailers to differentiate their stores and curate product menus that appeal to their target demographic, loyal and new patrons. In the spirit of industry advancement, reducing the stigma and creating consumer trust, it’s high time we standardize.
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TECHNOLOGY, COMMUNITY AND GOOD VIBES BRING SUCCESS
TO CANADIAN CANNABIS RETAIL IN RURAL ALBERTA
By Lisa Martyn, Head of Marketing, Greenline, a BLAZE® company
There is incredible value in connecting with local communities, and that’s how GoodVibes Cannabis expanded to open its third cannabis retail store in less than a year on March 1, 2023. GoodVibes Cannabis built a diverse and successful community-driven brand in Three Hills (as the first and only cannabis operator in the area, just northeast of Calgary), the village of Vilna (home of the world’s largest mushroom sculpture) and the town of Crossfield, all of which reside in Alberta.
Akshthal Kalia, owner of GoodVibes Cannabis, is driven by his curiosity and inquisitiveness, which speaks to his ability to successfully engage with the community. He is authentic in his approach to building a brand the community can trust, by learning every facet of his demographic, educating the people about cannabis, and spreading his good vibes message. Akshthal did his research and met with the mayor of Three Hills to see how he could make cannabis retail work for the community.
Three Hills is a small town with the highest per capita of churches in the region. Akshthal started his journey to help destigmatize the cannabis plant by visiting all the churches, having conversations with pastors, and educating them on his mission to do cannabis responsibly, with a focus on the benefits and safe usage. He then went on to visit indigenous reserves, politicians, farmers and local businesses, where his innovative ideas were well-received and even led to commissioning local artists to design murals for his stores. To further spread the destigmatization of the cannabis plant, he features the work of local artists in the store from indigenous reserves, such as the Cree Nation, all the way to Vilna’s Ukrainian community, where customers can get to know their resident artists.
SPREADING GOOD VIBES
Community, conversation and connecting with people are key to opening the door to making an impact. Akshthal lives by the positive energy he exudes, sharing his life motto everywhere he goes – ‘be in good vibes, do in good vibes, and stay hydrated.’
“Once you can be in good vibes, then whatever you do automatically converts into good vibes - that’s the journey - how to be in good vibes.” In an impressive effort to drive positive economic
and social change, Akshthal garners support by working to address three major issues surrounding housing, clean water and mobility. For housing, he’s able to provide tenancy for those with poor credit, single mothers or those in recovery. For mobility, he’s focused on improving transit options for indigenous people that live on reserves. For clean water, he’s setting up a water refill program with the local grocery store for GoodVibes Cannabis members.
CANNABIS EDUCATION IN SMALL COMMUNITIES
Cannabis education is critical, especially when you’re the first retailer in the region. Motivated to make a positive impact, Akshthal knew he had to bring cannabis education to the people, so he went to the provincial regulator, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC). AGLC’s CannabisSense was formed to educate Albertans on cannabis use, outline possible risks and contribute to informed choices. By developing a very strong and positive relationship with AGLC, Akshthal collaborated on the first ever, retailer-hosted, cannabis public education event with AGLC, four months after opening GoodVibes Cannabis in Three Hills on April 7, 2022.
INNOVATIVE SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY
Akshthal’s magnetism and good vibes energy attract a diverse set of people, form the basis of his innovative ideas and help him promote conversation by providing space for cannabis education, art, technology and strong, community-focused involvement.
Successful cannabis retailers need to align their operations with innovative technology. GoodVibes Cannabis was able to scale to three stores in less than a year using Greenline, a BLAZE® company, for its POS, inventory control, and compliance reporting.
“Greenline is definitely a catalyst in the whole business process, I haven’t even completed a year of operation and I’m on my third store already. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have the convenience.”
Akshthal chose Greenline after talking to a lot of people, but what intrigued him the most was the vision. “Greenline was formed by techies who knew the Canadian cannabis space and I thought, this is the kind of brand I need to align myself with. I’m not a person who comes from a canna-
bis background, so the decision to go ahead with Greenline was a very positive transition. Sales and onboarding have so much personalism and support me with everything. Support is very quick and compliance reporting is easy. All in all, it’s pretty effortless.”
Now that he has multiple locations, Greenline’s multi-dashboard tool enables Akshthal to manage all of his stores from one place. Akshthal says, “I love it. When it comes to decision-making, there are so many parameters to think about. When you’re empowered with data, and have access to it right away, it helps a lot. I invested in Greenline technology so I could use my life energy and direct it into other things. Simply put, it’s amazing use of technology in terms of getting ahead.”
E-commerce and delivery are areas where retailers need to make sure it makes sense for their business as it may not be profitable, even now that the AGLC removed its own online cannabis sales platform. With the addition of Greenline’s new BLAZE ECOM™, cannabis retailers now have the flexibility to manage their operations seamlessly, all from one place. For Akshthal, e-commerce doesn’t make sense just yet, so he will continue to focus on people in the community, engaging in conversation and inspiring new interactive ideas for his GoodVibes brand.
DESTIGMATIZATION + DEMOCRATIZATION
Great results have been achieved with cannabis destigmatization since legalization in Canada, and the continued advancements around the democratization of cannabis are helpful, but now it’s time for more serious change with respect to decentralization of cannabis. Akshthal envisions a future where decentralization can exist, where regulations can change to include purchasing cannabis from local farmers, having local testing facility options, and most importantly, where he can continue his journey building a powerful lifestyle brand out of cannabis. Akshthal spreads his peaceful good vibes in a positive way to everyone he encounters by saying, “Actual, truthful purpose is good vibes, so be in good vibes, do in good vibes, and stay hydrated.”
12 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023 18 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | June 2021
RETAIL PROFILE 12 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
Left: Mural by Wade Stamp at the GoodVibes Vilna location. Right: GoodVibes owner Akshthal Kalia serves tea for cannabis public education event in Three Hills, Alberta. Mural in background painted by Taryn Kahler.
n t o T
r o n t o
l i f t e x p o . c a s c a n f o r i n f o & t i c k e t s
INVENTORY OPTIMIZATION & HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
By Chris Jones, Founder & President of CANNABIS XPRESS
CANNABIS XPRESS is a chain of cannabis retail stores with 14 locations in Ontario and three locations opening in New Brunswick, making it the largest private retailer in the province. It is in the top 5% of retailers based on store count and in the top 1% of licensed cannabis companies that are profitable in Canada, priding itself on offering its customers a quick, easy, hassle-free cannabis shopping experience. It is built a unique quick-service retail store that gets customers in and out in no time, without sacrificing quality in the products it offers or the education it provides.
Retailers have access to ordering more than 2,000 products depending on the province they reside in, stemming from hundreds of brands. It can be overwhelming for a retailer to determine what products to order, and how to optimize their inventory assortment. Inventory management for any retail business involves controlling and overseeing purchases, receiving and storing products, and displaying/organizing them on your sales floor or back-room. I will be explaining a few easy ways for any retailer to reduce costs, earn additional revenue and save time.
CREATE AND REFINE YOUR STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPS)
Many procedures are not documented, especially for smaller businesses. Most of this knowledge is in someone’s head and not written down, and if he/she leaves the company, then all of that knowledge is lost. This process will allow for new employees and seasoned ones to quickly understand what needs to be done and when, and it all starts with documenting each step for important processes done on a regular basis within the business. These procedures can include doing bi-weekly inventory counts of all products in the store and identifying any discrepancies. If errors are found, they typically are explained either through a miss-sell, where one product gets accidently sold to a customer instead of another (more common with flower), or products being damaged, lost, stolen or if there was an error with when the inventory was originally received. Other important SOPs involve how to receive inventory and the correct way to label/organize it on your retail floor or storage area, analyzing sales to see what your top and bottom performing items are and getting older products sold before newer ones.
ANALYZE YOUR DATA
All the answers you need to manage your inventory come from your sales data. By analyzing this, you will be able to not only determine how much product you should be ordering, but what product as well. To break this down, I’ve seen some stores order way more inventory than they are selling, so each week their total inventory on hand value increases and increases. This leads to your cash being tied up in product, and also the age of the product increasing, which will make it harder to sell in the future. Typically, 80% of sales come from 20% of the products, so you need to figure out what is selling the most and least, and then stop ordering the bottom-tier products.
Having less inventory on hand will also make it easier for staff to conduct inventory counts, find product for customer and provide you with more flexibility and physical room within your retail store. Once you determine the optimal products to order and how much, you will reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocks as well. Most of this information you will be able to download from your point-of-sale service provider. There are also external factors that lead to some products selling faster or slower than others, which could be a special holiday or a week of bad weather and customers decide to stay home and not shop. There can also be spikes or declines due to seasonality, discounts, new stores opening and regulatory changes. By looking at your inventory aging report, you can see which products are the oldest and then you know where to focus your next sale. Then, after you have several months of sales data, you will be able to forecast how much inventory you need on hand at any given time. This will allow you to order more or less products at a time.
For the most part, our CX stores carry the same products across all locations, but depending on a certain area, you will need to carry different products depending on the preferences of the local customer base. For example, we have certain stores that sell a significant amount more pre-rolls than others, and some stores that sell a lot more topicals and oils. Generally, the easiest way to get started is by looking at city-wide data or provincial-wide data regarding the general product assortment or sales across different categories. For example, in Ontario, the bulk of sales in store comes from the flower category, and the least from topicals. With that information, combined with a general idea of how many items you want in a store, you can determine how many products you have space for in each category. For a medium-sized store, generally you will have around 250-350 unique items, and our smaller format CX stores have around 120 per store. I would also leave room for season products that come and go, especially during summer months when the sale of beverages may increase as well. Product selection is both an art and a science. You need to determine what the local customers want, and also make sure your staff are well trained enough to ask questions in order to determine that you are selling them what they want.
Cannabis businesses across Canada are facing significant challenges, especially retail stores. In order to survive, you need to have a strong understanding of your inventory, and be able to analyze your data to gain insights into your customers, as well as how to optimize your assortment and then you can order the right products that your customers want.
14 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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By Frank Massong
While discussions continue with respect to the legislative review of The Cannabis Act, the hope is that there will be some relief for the cannabis sector with respect to the burden of excise taxes, inspection and license fees, and the inherent cost of servicing highly-prescriptive operational requirements. Unfortunately, many of these will take years for positive and reasonable change to benefit a struggling and nascent sector moving toward a higher state of viability and profitability.
In the meantime, good news may be coming soon from another corner of government, namely Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).
Most cannabis licensed producers are familiar with Health Canada as the ministry involved in the control of cannabis through The Cannabis Act, policies, licensing and inspecting facilities to ensure the health and safety of Canadians. However, Health Canada’s mandate does not actively promote the sustainable growth of the cannabis production or manufacturing, innovation, sustainability and competitiveness. To be fair, these factors are considered by Health Canada in shaping its work but are not within its primary mandate unlike AAFC. The parallel is clearly demonstrated in the food sector where Health Canada is dominant and AAFC carries out functions above and beyond public health and safety.
First, just a few words about AAFC and what it does for Canadian agriculture and food sectors in its ongoing function and in targeted-funding programs.
For its ongoing work and mandate, AAFC supports innovation, sustainability, competitiveness and market access for the Canadian agriculture and food industry both domestically and globally. Its strong focus on innovation helps drive profitable, productive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sectors while also addressing labour resources, climate-resiliency, food security and cutting agriculture’s environmental footprint. It does this by working with provinces and territories as well as industry leaders to support these common objectives.
Furthermore, AAFC conducts market research and development both domestically and internationally to grow market opportunities, it
diversifies trade opportunities and has 20 research centres across the country, discovering new and more efficient ways to boost productivity, while reducing agriculture’s environmental impact. To support the sector’s interests abroad and facilitate export growth, AAFC works in collaboration with other organizations like the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Global Affairs Canada. This allows the advancement of market access priorities as well as delivers market development programs and services to bolster the Canadian agricultural sector’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.
As a developing industry, the medicinal cannabis and recreational-use sectors have only recently been recognized by AAFC as an agricultural product just as it did for industrial hemp. Like other agricultural products, cannabis can be sold as a singular product or become an ingredient in value-added products like cannabis edibles. AAFC’s reach is broad, going from primary production (e.g., farms and growing operations) to manufacturing and throughout the supply chain all the way to buyers and consumers. The question remains, when will this recognition evolve to recreational and medicinal cannabis in a broader sense? Optimistically speaking, AAFC will connect with the “cannabis strategy table” led by the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) that is seeking to support an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in the cannabis sector to hear from industry leaders and identify ways to grow the legal cannabis sector in Canada.
The above is encouraging, but what is extremely exciting is the next Agriculture Policy Framework (APF) as led by AAFC in consultation with the provinces to commit billions of dollars in federal-provincial-territorial funding from 2023-2028. The previous APF was intended to position Canada as a world leader in sustainable agricultural production, and ensure an inclusive, innovative and resilient future for farmers, manufacturers and their service industries. In November 2021, the Guelph Statement (https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/department/ initiatives/meetings-ministers/guelph-statement) announced what would be the priorities for sectoral funding in the next generation of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (2023-2028), or CAP2.
DEVELOPING THE CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL PARTNERSHIP (2023-2028) OR CAP2
On funding, the current APF and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (2018-23) or CAP1, is a five-year, $3 billion investment set to expire on March 31, 2023. CAP2 is estimated to be $3.3 billion to include both federal-only funding programs, as well as programs cost-shared between federal and provincial/territorial governments designed to address specific agricultural needs in each jurisdiction. Together, these programs will advance the overall and jointly agreed-upon priorities under CAP2 such as growing trade and expanding markets; continued innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; as well as supporting diversity in a dynamic, evolving sector. Check out above link to Canadian Agricultural Partnership (2018-23) for a flavour of what could be available to the cannabis sector.
Undoubtedly, the cannabis sector could use its fair share of funding to address priority areas. These include climate change and the environment; science, research and innovation; market development and trade; building sector capacity, growth and competitiveness; and resiliency and public trust. Also, like other agricultural and agri-food sectors, CAP2 can make business risk management programs more accessible to the cannabis sector. This would support producers that experience a large-margin decline, increase cashflow to help income declines, disaster relief to help with the extraordinary costs of activities and federal loan guarantees for agricultural producers to access low-interest cash advances. (see https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/programs/business-risk-management/reliable-tools).
From the experience of CAP1, the identification and application for funding at either the federal or provincial level is not easy. This may require hiring a consultant who specializes in this function and support the applicant later. This is especially true for smaller operators. However, the agri-food and agricultural products sector have accessed and greatly benefitted under the previous CAP1 and are looking forward to the soon to be announced CAP2.
18 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | June 2021
Frank Massong is the Regulatory and Government Affairs Specialist for Purity-IQ.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING 16 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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Flyte 2-Gram Cartridge and
One of Canada’s original cannabis brands, Flyte, is headed back to market this February, under new ownership and with new direction. The first product, a 2-gram lowprofile vaporizer cartridge, will launch in Ontario (shown above).
Flyte CBG presents 660 mg, 660 mg CBD and 340 mg CBG for an energising experience. The strain is Ekto Citrus, a nod to the OG fruit strains of the brand’s legacy heyday. Unlike other cartridges that are more than 1 gram, the Flyte CBG 2-gram mates and functions with most reputable pen-style batteries. The Village Supply partners are also behind Hycycle vapes, Hyroller pre-rolls, Buddy Homburg Modern Infused Cannagars, and Transit High-Potency Alleviating Oil. The group is also launching a line of infused pre-rolls under the Flyte brand called Joysticks. As with the cartridge, the terpene profile of the first offering will be Ekto Citrus, with others to follow.
Jublee Fruit Bites
Gayonica Inc., specialists in innovative cannabis product development and cannabinoid extraction, announced the first launch of two of its edible products in Ontario. The cannabinoid-enriched fruit bites are sold under the Jublee brand. After a strong launch in Quebec, this development is a testament to Gayonica’s emergence as an innovative company that integrates well-dosed products and local ingredients into the world of edible cannabis. Each ingredient is carefully selected to play very specific roles in these unique fruit bites. The edible cannabis market is dominated by gummies and chocolate. Jublee’s fruit bites offer a different approach to the consumption of cannabinoids. These products, geared toward specific effects, are named after the two featured ingredients that sign each of their identities. For more information about Gayonica Inc. and its brands, please visit our website at www.gayonica.ca
Partake Cannabis announced its entry into the Manitoba market in February. With this expansion, the company aims to bring its premium cannabis products to a new audience, while providing innovative and responsible consumption options to its customers. Partake Cannabis has partnered with local retailers and distributors in Manitoba to offer its products at select retail locations throughout the province. The company’s products, including flowers and pre-rolls, are crafted with the highest quality ingredients and designed to meet consumers’ needs and preferences. As part of its entry into the Manitoba market, Partake Cannabis will also be launching a series of educational initiatives to help customers learn more about the benefits and responsible use of cannabis. These initiatives include online resources, educational materials, and in-store consultations to help customers make informed choices about their cannabis consumption. For more information, visit www. partakecannabis.ca
Medical Flower Product, Valour
Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced the launch of Valour, a new cannabis cultivar designed for veterans, by veterans. Five percent of net profits from the sale of Valour products will be used to support veteran organizations across Canada. Sold under the MedReleaf brand, Valour, aptly named by Canadian veterans, was developed alongside its veteran community to embody their most desired aroma, flavour and appearance traits. An original cultivar bred by Occo, Aurora’s leading science and genetics business, Valour, is derived from Chemdawg, OG18 and Skunk genetics and features notes of forest pine, sweet citrus and pungent gas. A premium indica, Valour contains 20-26% THC and is available in 5g and 15g dried flower, as well as pre-rolls that are exclusive to veteran Aurora medical patients.
18 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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Partake Cannabis Enters Manitoba
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New Food Grade Lubrication Guide
Renewable Lubricants has recently published a 16-page, full-colour, Food Grade Lubrication Guide. With more than 25 years’ experience manufacturing sustainable formulations, high-performing Renewable Lubricants products meet or exceed the specifications of petroleum-based products and are proven in a wide range of industries and applications. These petroleum free products are safer for both the environment and for the employees working with them. Renewable Lubricants offers the only full line of environmentally friendly food-grade products that are EPA Vessel General Permit (VGP) compliant. This comprehensive guide includes detailed information on the company’s broad range of food grade products including Hydraulic fluids, gear oils, oven lubricants, cleaners, greases, penetrants, cutting oils, compressor oil, and general-purpose lubricants. Copies of the guide are available upon request or can be downloaded from the website at https:// renewablelube.com/assets/files/ Food-Grade-Book-Final2.pdf
High-Precision Cannabis Automatic Weigher Receives NTEP Certification
Canapa by Paxiom’s PrimoCombi weigh filling system has been awarded the NTEP Certificate of Conformance from the National Conference on Weights and Measures. After rigorous, repetitive testing both inhouse, in the field and in a temperature-controlled chamber, the PrimoCombi Multi-head weighing system has received NCWM’s Accuracy Class II certification, used for laboratory weighing of products ranging from cannabis to precious metals. Engineered to accurately weigh and dispense cannabis flower, the PrimoCombi is the industry’s leading choice weigh filling. Features include 14 head weigh filling system, semi-automatic zero setting mechanism (SAZSM), stainless steel construction, liquid crystal display, touch screen, Windows interface, free online support via digital camera, embedded production reporting and Category 3 event logger.
To learn more about the NTEP approved cannabis the PrimoCombi weigh filling machine, visit: https:// www.canapasolutions.com/weighfilling-cannabis/
Luna Technologies’ 1.2-ton Biomass Packer is a gamechanging technology that can quickly compress frozen or dry cannabis flower into an eight-inch puck, providing a more efficient and less labor-intensive method for preparing cannabis flowers for hydrocarbon extraction. The packer can be customized to fit specific requirements, and it offers up to 60% greater compression effectiveness compared to handpacking, resulting in high-quality oil. Additionally, the packer’s noise-reducing mufflers and safety features make it a sound investment for growers and extractors. Luna Technologies aims to set the industry standard for the cannabis extraction equipment market by focusing on safety, quality, and ease of use. Visit www.lunatechequipment.com for more information.
UniFlow FM Floor Mounted Walk-In Hoods
UniFlow FM Fume Hoods by HEMCO are designed for synthesis, distillation and other reactor or rack-type operations where tall apparatus is used or large-diameter equipment is rolled into the work area. Full 70” viewing height for ease of access and unobstructed view of fume chamber. Chamber sizes include 48”, 60”, 72”, 96”, & 120” and depths of 30”, 36”, and 48”. Fume hood features a double wall construction with an angled picture frame opening with either double vertical side sashes or horizontal sliding glass doors, depending on the size. A removable upper front panel allows access to ducting connections and electrical services from a single point electrical box, 115V60Hz AC operation. The varaflow baffle system maintains a uniform airflow to the bell-shaped exhaust collar. Vapour proof or explosion proof lighting and a wide selection of plumbing and electrical services are available. UniFlow Walk-In hoods are available in standard or special sizes to meet various applications. Modular construction can be shipped disassembled for on-site assembly.
22 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023
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5 Practical Tips to Prepare for a Successful Venture Capital Financing
By Robb Baird & Sophia Mapara
If you’ve decided venture capital is the right route to grow your business, here are five tips to help you prepare to secure the investment.
1. ENSURE YOUR RECORDS ARE UP-TO-DATE
Present your company and its management in the best light to prospective investors. Ensure that:
» Your minute book is in order. A virtual minute book isn’t mandatory, but it’s helpful because it can be viewed from anywhere.
» You’ve made all annual corporate and tax filings, and haven’t, for example, overlooked filing an annual return.
» The company is in good standing with applicable regulators.
» All shareholder records and capitalization tables accurately reflect the company’s current position.
» The list of directors and officers is current.
» Any material corporate actions (typically, those requiring board or shareholder approval) have been recorded through resolutions of the directors and shareholders, as applicable.
» If the company has a stock option plan, it has properly recorded and granted stock options. Stock option grants should be accompanied by a stock option plan, director resolutions approving the grants, signed option agreements and noted in any capitalization table or option register.
2. PREPARE YOUR DATA ROOM
Prepare for the due diligence process by having all the information investors will ask for at your fingertips. This makes your company and its management look organized, efficient and professional, and saves time and money during the due-diligence process. An effective way to do this is to set up a data room (or have your legal counsel do so) housing all your company’s pertinent information, including:
» A list of all issued and outstanding shares, options, convertible securities, warrants or share purchase rights, and details about any ownership or control (directly
or indirectly) over any other corporation, partnership, trust, joint venture, limited liability company, association or other business entity.
» All consents, approvals, orders or authorizations, and any registrations and qualifications, required by any federal or provincial governmental authority for the company to enter into the investment agreement.
» Your intellectual property (IP) could be very attractive to potential investors, so have your IP house in order. Prepare a list of all owned and licensed IP, domain names and registration details, and whether there are any pending or threatened actions, proceedings, contract defaults or infringements, respecting such IP. Include the company’s standard form of IP licence to third parties, and a list of all employees that had access to confidential or proprietary information who haven’t signed an Employee IP Agreement. Investors will also want to know whether there’s any open source software (OSS) creating obligations for the company to disclose its owned IP in source code form, license it to make derivative works, or redistribute it at no charge.
» Whether the company is violating any instruments (for example, articles of Incorporation, bylaws, judgments, notes, mortgages, leases, material agreements, contracts or purchase orders, or regulations), and whether entering into the investment agreement will put the company in conflict with any existing agreements or create any liens on any of its assets.
» A list of any company obligations in excess of an amount material to its operations, any licenses, patents or rights the company has granted that might limit its exclusive right to develop, market or sell its products, and any indemnifications the company has granted.
» Details of any dividend payments or
distributions, indebtedness for money borrowed or incurred liabilities (other than in the ordinary course of business), loans or advances the company has made to any individual or entity, assets or rights the company sold or disposed of, and whether the company is a guarantor or indemnitor of any indebtedness of any individual or entity.
» Whether the company has, in the past 12 months, engaged in any discussions with any person about the sale or exclusive license of substantially all the company’s assets.
» Lists of any agreements, proposals or understandings between the company and any of its officers, directors, consultants, key employees or affiliates.
» Lists of the company’s property and assets, including details of any mortgages, loans, encumbrances and leases.
» The company’s recent financial statements, including its balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows, any material liabilities or obligations not set out in the financial statements, any changes in the company’s assets, liabilities, financial condition and operating results from what’s set out in its financial statements.
» A list of all full-time and part-time employees and any consultants and independent contractors the company has engaged. Prepare a list of any employee conflicts, such as employees who might be obligated under a commitment or other agreement, or subject to a judgment, that could conflict with the company’s business. Compile details about whether the company owes money or is in arrears of payments to its employees or contractors, and details about any key employees who might not continue their service with the company, and details about any terminated employees and their severance packages. Investors will also want to know details about employee benefit plans, labour unions, tax returns and payments,
Prepare for the due diligence process by having all the information investors will ask for at
supportive they will be to a financing so it doesn’t surprise them and interrupt the process later on.
4. NEGOTIATE THE TERM SHEET
If you’ve been presented with a Term Sheet setting out the basic terms and conditions of a proposed investment, consult with legal counsel experienced in VC financings. They can walk you through what terms typically are, and are not, negotiable, and advise whether the proposal is up to par with current market practice. It might entail some expense up front but you’ll benefit from having someone navigate the deal with you.
5. BE FLEXIBLE & REALISTIC
insurance plans, confidentiality and nonsolicitation agreements, and so on.
» Lists of all permits and licenses the company might need, its corporate documents, whether the company complies with applicable environmental, safety and privacy laws.
3. IDENTIFY GAPS, RISKS & REQUIRED CONSENTS
You might be required to obtain another’s consent before entering into an investment agreement. Common examples are Shareholders’ Agreements, previous government grants or loans and by-laws. Other agreements might require you to disclose the nature of the investment agreement, or limit what you can do with your assets. For example, open-source software (OSS) will be covered by a licence, not all of which is commercially reasonable; if not careful, you might be required to provide any modifications to the OSS back to the licensor. It’s also helpful to proactively check in with existing shareholders to get a feel for how
Familiarize yourself and be prepared for the changes to the company, its structure and shareholder rights that are about to happen. Investors will likely want some degree of control over major company decisions, board representation, and will likely require certain investor protections such as anti-dilution rights and rights of first refusal. Existing shareholders might be required to enter into an amended and restated shareholders agreement. The company and certain existing shareholders might be required to enter into an Investors’ Rights Agreement, a Voting Agreement, or other agreements.
Be realistic and flexible based on the market conditions at the time, and the amount of energy you’ll put into finalizing the investment deal. It’s a good idea to start the process at least seven to eight months before you plan to raise funds, ensuring you have enough runway capital to get you past the finish line, and enough time to devote to the investor curation and due diligence process, while simultaneously running your business.
Robb Baird & Sophia Mapara are Startup and Corporate Finance & Securities Lawyers at McInnes Cooper.
This article is information only; it is not legal advice. McInnes Cooper excludes all liability for anything contained in or any use of this article. © McInnes Cooper, 2022. All rights reserved.
your fingertips. This makes your company and its management look organized, efficient and professional, and saves time and money during the due-diligence process. An effective way to do this is to set up a data room (or have your legal counsel do so) housing all your company’s pertinent information
April 2023 | Cannabis Prospect Magazine 25
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) announced in mid-February its plans to transition to a fixed mark-up pricing model, along with reductions in its margins, to help enable a vibrant cannabis marketplace. With this change, it is estimated that OCS margin reductions will contribute approximately $35 million into the marketplace in 2023-24, with a full fiscal year reduction in 2024-25 estimated at approximately $60 million and compounding annually in years thereafter as the market grows. Pricing changes will be implemented for September 2023, allowing adequate time for OCS to work with licensed producers to consider changes to existing products and products scheduled to launch in upcoming 2023 releases.
DELTA 9 CANNABIS INC. has completed the installation and implementation of its new fully-automated pre-roll manufacturing equipment at its Winnipeg, Manitoba facilities. The initiative was funded in partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Partnership AG Action Manitoba program, through a Contribution Agreement for $175,000, or 25% of the overall project cost.
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., a leading cannabis consumer retail and technology platform announced the opening of its new cannabis retail store in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba bringing its local stores to five in Winnipeg and eight in Manitoba as of mid-march.
According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba’s recreational cannabis sales grew to $18.3 million, leading the country with an increase of +21.7% from November to December.
During its third quarter, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) recorded overall net income of $32.2 million. Added to this is tax revenue related to its operation in the form of consumption tax and excise tax estimated at $54.4 million, including $38.4 million to the Quebec government. A total of $86.6 million is therefore earmarked for governments, including $70.6 million for the Quebec state.
MADD Canada has partnered with the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) to launch a new video education program aimed at preventing impaired driving among the youth. The program, which is set to be delivered to middle and high school students across the province, includes a fictional story titled “Final Play” that recounts the experience of four friends who decide to drink and smoke cannabis before driving to a party.
According to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan recreational cannabis sales grew to $17 million, an increase of +10% from November to December
Alberta British Columbia
A recent new report from Statistics Canada has revealed that Albertans almost lead the country when it comes to sales of recreational cannabis. Yukon had the highest per-person cannabis sales ($291), followed by Alberta ($210) and Saskatchewan ($185), while Quebec had the lowest ($89), followed by Manitoba ($107) and Nova Scotia ($125).
According to a recent Calgary Herald article last year alone, 68 cannabis retailers cancelled or didn’t renew their licenses compared with just 19 stores in 2021 as of Feburary 2023.
According to Statistics, Canada British Columbia recreational cannabis sales grew to $63.1 million, an increase of 13.3% from November to December.
26 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023 Provincial Updates/
According to the 2022 Annual Report released by the PEI Cannabis Management Corporation, total net sales revenues were $21.89 million, a 14.5% increase over last year. Of those sales 62% ($13.57 million) were dried flower, 22% pre-rolls ($4.81 million), 5% extracts ($1.1 million), 4% ($0.875 million) edibles 1% ($0.21 million) beverages, and 5% ($1.1 million) concentrates across its four stores and online. Similarly 650 different SKUs were sold with a customer count of 544,976 visits.
In mid-February, the NSLC released its third-quarter financial results (October 3, 2022 – January 1, 2023). Total sales for the quarter were up 6.1% to $228.1 million, with a 9.2% increase in cannabis sales to $27.6 million. The NSLC continued to improve access to cannabis with the opening of a new cannabis store in Inverness for a total of 46 cannabis stores across the province. It also reduced the average price per gram a further 1.1% to $6.30 compared with the same time last year as it works to impact illicit sales in the province.
Prince Edward Island Newfoundland & Labrador New Brunswick
In early March, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. (NLC) reported cannabis sales through licensed cannabis retailers totalled $18.6 million in the third quarter, an increase of 31.9% over the same period the previous year. Total retail cannabis sales in the third quarter, including online sales, were $18.7 million. Following a three-year review of the cannabis industry recently completed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, in consultation with NLC, the decision was made last September to approve cannabis vapourizers (commonly referred to as “vapes”) and associated products. The first cannabis vapour products hit shelves in October, and cannabis vape products’ sales were $1.6 million in the third quarter, amounting to 9% of total cannabis sales.
Yukon / Northwest Territories / Nunavut
In early February, Cannabis NB released its unaudited results for the third quarter ended January 1, 2023. Total product sales for the quarter were $21.6 million, an increase of 5.0% compared to the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $4.8 million, 21.5 per cent above prior year’s third quarter net income of $3.9 million., Key product sales trends for the third quarter (October 3rd, 2022 to January 1st, 2023) compared with the third quarter last year were: sales of dried flower decreased 8.0%, down $0.9 million, extracts sales decreased 10.6%, down $0.1 million, sales of accessories increased 11.2%, up $0.1 million, sales of edibles increased 24.8%, up $0.4 million, sales of topicals increased 21.0%, up $26,100 and, concentrates sales increased 30.3%, up $1.6 million
In late March, the Government of Canada awarded funds to help address harms related to substance use in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. These included the Yellowknife, NWT $2,162,051 over 15 months to provide care to street-involved individuals and improve access to supports for vulnerable individuals with substance use disorders, by providing prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services, as well as the Selkirk First Nation Traditional Healing Program, which was awarded $1,749,111 over 26 months to address the serious issues of addiction and mental health challenges resulting from intergenerational Indian Residential School trauma in the remote and isolated Selkirk First Nation Traditional Territory, Yukon. / Yukon sales were $966,000 (an increase +13.4%), Statistics Canada did not present sales figures for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
April 2023 | Cannabis Prospect Magazine 27
Atlas Global Brands Inc., a cannabis company with expertise across the cannabis value chain, announced Bernie Yeung as CEO. Bernie is an accomplished sales and market executive, with almost 20 years of experience in cannabis, alcohol and consumer packaged goods industries. Bernie has held senior executive roles in cannabis, including leadership positions with multiple publicly traded licensed producers. Bernie is the former Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Aphria and the newly merged Tilray. Previously, Bernie was the head of marketing for Brown Forman (parent company of Jack Daniel’s).
Corné Melissen is the Interim CEO of Phoena. In March 2021, Corné founded Kenzoll, a Netherlands-based investment firm. Kenzoll in 2022 acquired a 90% equity interest in Phoena Holdings. Corné has been in the private equity industry since 1991 when he started working for Dutch private-equity firm Alpinvest. In parallel to his business career, he served as a reserve-officer in the Netherlands Army. He was mobilized as active-duty officer in various domestic and overseas deployments. Since 2006, until 2021 he was a partner at Dutch private equity firm Ramphastos Investments. In 2021, Kenzoll carved out part of the Ramphastos portfolio (mostly energy and technology assets) in a buy-out.
Atlas Global Brands Inc., a cannabis company with expertise across the cannabis value chain, announced Jason Cervi as CFO. Jason has more than 20 years of experience working in large global publicly traded organizations with market capitalizations in excess of US$10 billion, across several highly regulated industries including health care, medical devices, aerospace and defense. Jason has deep technical and operational knowledge and expertise in M&A and business integrations. Jason is a Chartered Professional Account and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a minor in Economics from DeGroote school of business at McMaster University.
Haventree Bank announced the appointment of accomplished executive Fern Glowinsky as President and CEO. Since 2018, Fern has been the President and CEO of Merrco Payments, which she built into the market-leading payments company in the cannabis sector. Prior to that, Fern led companies in the non-prime lending sector, and spent 15 years as a senior executive at Moneris, a joint venture of RBC and BMO. Throughout her career, Fern has demonstrated the ability to unite teams around a common vision, lead successful digital transformations and develop strong and lasting partnerships. Fern holds an MBA/JD degree from Schulich and Osgoode, has a BA in Economics from Western and is a graduate of Directors Education Program.
34 Street Seed Co./ANC Cannabis.........................................................................17 Ayurcann...................................................................................................................2 Budbrain.................................................................................................................19 Canadian Distributors Inc........................................................................................9 Cannabis Council of Canada..................................................................................18 Fanshawe College...................................................................................................11 Great White North Growers...................................................................................16 Greenline POS.........................................................................................................5 Greentank Technologies...........................................................................................7 Grow Up Conference..............................................................................................23 High North Labs......................................................................................................4 IRCC......................................................................................................................11 Lift & Co................................................................................................................13 Origins Pot Soil......................................................................................................30 PurCann Pharma.....................................................................................................15 West Coast Gifts..................................................................................................1,19 Advertiser Index 28 Cannabis Prospect Magazine | April 2023 APPOINTMENTS
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