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From the Best in the Legacy Market to the best in the Legal Market, Ghost Drops is On the Way

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How do you go from underground champion to legal market darling? The transition isn’t for the faint of heart, but iconic legacy market cannabis brand Ghost Drops is making its play.

Holding nothing back, the brand is putting all of its considerable resources into the effort. That means trotting out a genetics catalogue that’s not only an exclusive resource, but one that’s easily among the best around. There are also the partnerships that the brand has established with some of the most creative geneticists and cultivators to be found. Add in the sheer energy that the brand is known for and you have a potent recipe for success.

It’s not all business as usual while entering a different market. Ghost Drops is also making changes that position the company to make a successful leap. One of them involves hiring  Gene Bernaudo as the new CEO. He’ll also be functioning as the interim COO. Known for his former work as President of Ignite, Bernaudo is a double threat. Along with an impressive history of  global market experience, he also knows what it takes to build cannabis brands in Canada. His excitement about what Ghost Drops can become is infectious.

His outlook for the endeavour is bright, even while acknowledging the strategy has caught some off guard. “The news we’re transitioning to the legal market might come as a shock to some of our fan base, but we actually believe the news will be received well,” says Bernaudo. “Ultimately, everything we do, we do for our ‘Ghostfam’ community.” He adds the move will be a good thing for the current base, since the products will be easier to obtain.

The Ghost Drops fan base – its Ghostfam – is nothing to take lightly. It includes over 80,000 site subscribers as well as a healthy 78% recurring customer rate. Social media is also something that indicates the brand’s community is a solid one; there are more than 20,000 Ghost Drops followers on Instagram alone.

What’s the plan? As Bernaudo outlines it, Ghost Drops aims to engage in a mass conversion of its loyal legacy base to the legal market. Up to now, that’s something no other company has been able to accomplish. While some things will change, Bernaudo emphasizes that the core values of the company and the focus on innovation and quality will remain in the forefront.

Bernaudo does see the effort as a means of shifting away from the current status quo and working toward something bigger and better. He also sees it as a battle that must be won, given the current state of the legal market..

“This play is part of our fight for the people – for our customers and future customers, our geneticists and cultivators, our industry, and for everyone who wants to see a different future for cannabis,” says Bernaudo. “We’re fighting to change the system: to dismantle stigmas and stereotypes, to elevate cannabis culture and give voice to our community.”

The timeline for the launch is a short one. Currently, the goal is to have Ghost Drops firmly active in the legal market before the end of 2021. To do that, the company will lead off with a product that’s already proven to be a fan favourite: First Class Funk. Bernaudo sees this move as confirmation the brand isn’t going to compromise on quality in order to enter the legal market. Instead, it will put its best foot forward from the very beginning.

Other products are being prepared as well and will appear in the market according to the new strategy. Those releases will continue to exhibit the same energy and drive that long-time fans have come to know.

Bernaudo has made it clear that Ghost Drops will continue crafting the best cannabis products, creating new communities, and taking on the naysayers with the same passion and verve as in the past. He assures past customers that what they’re used to will still be there even as the company looks to expand its reach.

In short, the legal market isn’t going to change Ghost Drops. The plans being launched by  Gene Bernaudo and his team indicate that Ghost Drops will be the instrument for changing the legal market for the better. The Ghost Drops plan, he says, is to finally make the legal market what it was supposed to be in the first place.

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Taiwan blasts China for Pacific trade pact threats

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China is an “arch-criminal” intent on bullying Taiwan and has no right to oppose or comment on its bid to join a pan-Pacific trade pact, Taiwan’s government said in an escalating war of words over Taipei and Beijing’s decision to apply.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan said on Wednesday it had formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), less than a week after China submitted its application.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it opposed Taiwan “entering into any official treaty or organization”, and on Thursday Taiwan said China sent 24 military aircraft into the island’s air defence zone, part of what Taipei says is an almost daily pattern of harassment.

In a statement late on Thursday, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said China had “no right to speak” about Taiwan’s bid.

“The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and is the arch-criminal in increased hostility across the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

China is not a member of the CPTPP and its trade system has been widely questioned globally for not meeting the high standards of the bloc, the ministry added.

China sent its air force to menace Taiwan shortly after the application announcement, it said.

“This pattern of behaviour could only come from China,” it said.

In a statement also issued late Thursday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said China’s entry into the CPTPP would benefit the post-pandemic global economic recovery.

China opposes Taiwan using trade to push its “international space” or engage in independent activities, it added.

“We hope relevant countries appropriately handle Taiwan-related matters and not give convenience or provide a platform for Taiwan independence activities,” it said.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s growing influence.

But the TPP was thrown into limbo in early 2017 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States.

The grouping, which was renamed the CPTPP, links Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

 

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Canada's costly election: Could $600M have been spent elsewhere? – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
With an estimated record-setting price tag of $610 million, the 2021 election is the most expensive in Canadian history — at a cost of about $100 million more than the 2019 election.

After all of that spending resulted in little change politically, many are asking whether it was worth the money and where else those hundreds of millions of dollars could have been directed.

Indigenous organizations have criticized the election as being “unnecessary,” suggesting the money could have been better spent on clean drinking water initiatives, reconciliation projects, and mental health initiatives.

Child-care advocates have similarly suggested that the funds could have been used to propel the Liberals’ $10-a-day child-care promise. And many Canadians have spoken out, wishing the money had instead been spent on pandemic recovery.

Experts say that it’s not quite that clear-cut, as governments don’t have a set amount of money in their pot each year – and some say you can’t put a price on democracy, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Ian Lee, associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says it’s important to first understand that government budgets don’t operate like your run-of-the-mill household budget.

“Governments don’t have a ‘fixed, rigidly financed, precise’ amount of money in their pot each year. They roughly know revenues come in and expenditures go out. Sometimes they’re a little short and they just have a deficit, and then they print the money because that’s what governments do,” Lee told CTVNews.ca by phone Thursday.

“Budgeting, unlike for the average consumer, is not a zero-sum game – consumers, if they don’t have the money for something, you’re just out of luck. You don’t buy it. Governments don’t face that dilemma, especially the federal government.”

In other words, just because a certain amount of money million was spent on the election, that doesn’t mean there is the same amount less to spend on something else.

But as for the principle of calling a pricey election during the fourth wave of a pandemic, experts are split.

“For me – it is true that anytime the government spends money it could be spent elsewhere and the point of elections is to judge the government on how they spent money and the decisions they made,” Michael Johns, visiting professor in the Department of Politics at York University, told CTVNews.ca by email Thursday.

“There are far too many examples of things that could be funded and are not and other things that are spent that are problems.”

But Johns says he is uncomfortable with the idea that spending money on an election should be considered an issue, suggesting that those upset with the timing of the election should have reflected such in their ballot.

“There would have been an election a year ago if the opposition had been successful in voting out the government on a matter of confidence; there would have been one in probably a year if it had not been triggered now due to the nature of minority governments,” he explained

“Either way the act of voting and having our preferences registered matters and costs money. People could judge the government on its timing and vote accordingly but we should be very careful when we start making decisions about holding elections based on their cost.”

Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, a non-profit citizen group advocating democratic reform, has a different view, saying the money spent on the election could have been spent on “anything else.”

“The prime minister decided to hold an election even though 327 MPs voted against holding the election at the end of May,” Conacher told CTVNews.ca by phone Thursday.

“And he knew in calling an election that Elections Canada would have a right to spend any money it needed to run it, which ended up being more than usual because of the costs of, for example, buying one pencil for everybody.”

As for what that money could have been spent on instead, Conacher says the government should make those decisions based on what the large majority of the country needs – like health-care solutions during a pandemic.

“In terms of where the $600 million could be spent, there’s many areas where the health of Canadians is at risk or where Canadians want money spent – pharmacare, child care – the polls show the large majority want those in place,” he said.

Lee disagrees that it has to be one or the other, saying that “you cannot make the argument that because they spend $600 million on the election, that therefore some other spending item will be cut by $600 million.”

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Billionaire countries: Canada jumps up the list – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Canada added seven billionaires in 2020, increasing its total to 53, tied for 12th-most in the world, up from 14th the previous year, according to a new global report.

The combined wealth of Canadian billionaires also tops US$100 billion, an increase of 4.5 per cent from last year.

In its latest billionaire census, Wealth-X, an ultra-high net worth (UHNW) data company, stated the number of billionaires in the world surpassed 3,000 (up to 3,204) for the first time in 2020, after an additional 670 individuals entered the billionaire class. The combined wealth of this group is now approximately US$10 trillion.

The share of wealth held by billionaires among the UHNW class, which is defined as those with a net worth of US$30 million or more, has also increased to 28 per cent, despite billionaires making up just one per cent of the UHNW population.

Seven of the top 15 billionaires in the world made their fortunes in the technology sector.

These are the top five billionaires by net worth as listed by Wealth-X:

  1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon, US$201.2 billion
  2. Elon Musk, Tesla, US$181.1 billion
  3. Bernard Arnault, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, US$154.4 billion
  4. Bill Gates, Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, US$142.4 billion
  5. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, US$137.4 billion, Facebook

Here’s a breakdown of the top 15 countries ranked by billionaire population and their combined wealth.

  1. U.S., 927, US$3.709 trillion
  2. China, 410, US$1.303 trillion
  3. Germany, 174, US$515 billion
  4. Russia, 120, US$397 billion
  5. U.K., 119, US$225 billion
  6. Hong Kong, 111, US$282 billion
  7. Switzerland, 107, US$318 billion
  8. India, 104, US$316 billion
  9. Saudia Arabia, 64, US$144 billion
  10.  France, 64, US$238 billion
  11.  Italy, 60, US$169 billion
  12.  Brazil, 53, US$151 billion
  13.  Canada 53, US$100 billion
  14.  United Arab Emirates, 50, US$151 billion
  15.  Singapore, 50, US$86 billion 

Wealth-X lists Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous, special administrative region of China.

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