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Former Coors CEO turned cannabis player says “virtually all“ big alcohol companies aiming at MJ sector — Part 1




(FinancialPress) — A former big alcohol high-level exec has transitioned into the cannabis space. Torsten Kuenzlen has quite the history, having participated in the ranks of Coca-Cola and Molson Coors. His impressive resume and knowledge of the markets make him lean towards one uncomfortable truth: alcohol companies should be cautious about the wave of marijuana legalization.

Kuenzlen believes that legal mj holds an evident competitive advantage over alcoholic beverages: “All alcohol is consumed only as a liquid. Cannabis meets more consumer needs and motivations in the way that it’s consumed.” He also added that it won‘t be long until we see cannabis companies being the ones acquiring alcohol makers.

He was recently appointed as CEO of Sundial Growers, a Canadian cannabis company. His vision is turning the company into “the Coca-Cola of cannabis“.

Kuenzlen was recently interviewed to discuss an array of topics:

On marijuana being a threat to the alcohol industry:

“Clearly there is going to be access to a recreational alternative for adult use. There can be no doubt about it.

When you look at the size of the opportunity, the profit pool for cannabis is as big as the entire alcohol industry in three to five years. “

On the edge cannabis has over alcohol products:

“Interestingly, all alcohol is consumed only as a liquid.

Cannabis has the advantage over alcohol in that it meets more consumer needs and motivations in the way that it’s consumed.

Alcohol companies need to think about how to turn that into an opportunity rather than a threat.

Constellation’s approach was a good one. They made a seed investment (in Canopy Growth) to learn more about cannabis and figure out where there will be synergies – and there’s no doubt there will be synergies between cannabis and alcohol businesses.“

On synergy between the industries:

“There are needs and motivations of consumers that are similar between alcohol and cannabis. But cannabis accesses motivation and needs that alcohol can’t go after.

The synergies are a larger pool of opportunities to meet more consumer needs than alcohol alone can.

They both work with the provincial liquor board (in Canada), so there is potential there.

As we look at the emerging retail landscape, there’s some customers who will be in both the alcohol and cannabis industry. So there’s synergy there to leverage those relationships.a“





Canada, it‘s official: legal cannabis set for October



(FinancialPress) — Canada‘s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has officialized the date for countrywide legalization of marijuana. Starting on October 17th, Canadians legal cannabis will be the norm for commercialization and consumption.

Trudeau‘s revelation ended months of mystery over which would be the specific date in which the new policy would come into effect. Initially slated for July 1, the bill encountered several last-minute oppositions that led to its enactment being delayed further.

He had originally promised 8 to 12 weeks for businesses, provinces and municipalities to set the framework to receive the legalization. The new date gives them 17 weeks.

The polemic Bill C-45, which regulates how legalization of recreational weed will occur, was passed in its final vote this week. While some congressmen declared it a “historic“ event, many others were cautious about all the work left to be done after a major public policy overhaul.

Now, the bill awaits royal assent; which should happen in a few days‘ time at most. However, that will not effectively enact the new policy immediately, but is rather another step in that direction.

What we know

Provinces and territories have full jurisdiction over where and how legal cannabis products can be commercialized. This has led to an array of private, licensed and government-run stores and facilities across the country.

The legal age of purchase and consumption has been set to 19, with the exceptions of Quebec and Alberta where it will be 18. Consumers will also be able to purchase the plant online.

Regulation over where Canadians can consume the drug will be strict, and is still pending announcement.

Legal cannabis products will be sold in plain packaging. Fresh/dried weed, seeds and oils will be commercially available immediately after the set date; edibles, however will take longer to be rolled out – and are not expected in shelves before early 2019.

Canada thus becomes the second nation to roll out countrywide legalization, following Uruguay.


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Judge double OKs sale of smokable medical cannabis in Florida



(FinancialPress) — A ban on smokable medical marijuana was lifted by a Florida judge. The decision opens a massive potential for the Sunshine State‘s medical cannabis market.

Judge Karen Gievers (Leon County Circuit Court) upheld a previous ruling that declared that the Florida Legislature‘s ban on smokable MMJ is inconstitutional.

She added that continuing to delay her ruling would ultimately cause irreparable harm to patients in need of the administration method. The ban will be officially lifted on June 11.

Her original ruling was contested by the state‘s health department – which automatically put her decision on ice.

“First, they cannot legally access the treatment recommended for them,” the ruling said. “Second, they face potential criminal prosecution for possession and use of the medicinal substance.”

During the hearing, Gievers went more in-depth:  “there is no evidence the defendants [the state] will suffer harm if the stay is vacated. Lifting the stay preserves the status quo by returning the law to its previous state as it existed following the 2016 adoption” of the constitutional amendment.

In response, the health department‘s spokesperson, Devin Galetta, said : “The use of medical marijuana is outlined in state law, which was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the Florida legislature. Our focus remains with ensuring that patients have access to medical cannabis, and the Florida Department of Health has made significant progress in making this treatment available. In fact, there are more than 117,000 patients who have access to medical marijuana and over 1,300 doctors are licensed to order this treatment.”

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Senate Committee Requests Delay on Canada‘s Cannabis Legalization



The first committee to oppose immediate sanction is that of Aboriginal Peoples, citing a “lack of meaningful consultation” with First Nations communities. They intend the amends to delay legislation for up to a year if needed.

Educational programs and materials, tax sharing and health issues are some of the changes requested by the committee.

“The Committee strongly desired to proffer an amendment to implement the recommendations put forward by Indigenous organizations, however the Committee understands that the Senate is prevented from making such an amendment, since it would likely result in the appropriation of funds or a new taxation measure. It is imperative that Bill C-45 be delayed until First Nations are consulted and an amendment to the bill is codeveloped to ensure that they receive a share of the excise tax revenues.,” said the committee‘s report.

In an interview with a specialized medium, Dean said that “The federal government, provinces and territories have not done anywhere near an effective job in engaging and considering us within the process.”

The report also requests “preferential licensing system” for indigenous-led endeavors, “to ensure that interested indigenous communities have the appropriate tools to seize economic opportunities as they arise.” Isadore Day, regional chief for the Ontario Assembly of First Nations, spearheads the bill delay request.

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