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'To be expected': Patience urged over limited supply of cannabis edibles – Calgary Herald

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Adam Chammorry displays some of the edibles available at Queen of Bud in Calgary on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020.



Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Cannabis retailers say the appetite for pot-infused edibles is outstripping the supply — and the provincial distributor can’t say when that will change.

It’s a replay of what occurred a year ago when logistical and regulatory hurdles created a shortage of cannabis in stores, a bottleneck that led to a six-month halt on new pot shops being approved by regulator-wholesaler Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.

“This was definitely to be expected in a brand new industry,” said AGLC spokeswoman Heather Holmen.

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She noted 406 cannabis stores have now been approved by the AGLC — by far the most of any province — that share the limited supply.

“I can’t confirm that it will further strain the supply, as Alberta is one of the leading jurisdictions with the most LPs (licensed producers) providing for our market,” said Holmen.

“We are confident that variety and quantity will increase as LPs receive their licences to manufacture 2.0 products.”

The provincial regulator has now signed up 45 licensed producers to supply the Alberta market, with more than half of them expected to add to the edibles supply sometime this year, said Holmen.

She said the AGLC has yet to receive cannabis-infused beverages and coffee/tea packets from licensed producers.

“Anything we can get our hands on, we’ll put into the inventory system,” said Holmen, adding that’s dependent on how quickly licensed producers make them available.

Retailers say some of the edible products they receive from the AGLC are far less than they order, one saying it’s just over 50 per cent.

The most popular items — chewable candies — are quickly sold out, say store operators.

“Edibles are selling very well but there’s definitely been some challenges with the regulatory system,” said Nathan Mison, chairman of the Alberta Cannabis Council, which represents retailers and producers.

“The challenges we’ve seen in legalization 1.0 are the same as 2.0.”

He said Health Canada approvals of edibles processors has been slow, while the large number of stores in Alberta has limited what’s available.

“Everybody’s fighting over the good products everybody wants, and the AGLC is struggling to fill our orders due to all the competitors in the market,” said Mison.

The looser regulatory regime in Saskatchewan, he said, had retailers selling edibles and vaping products there on Dec. 18, four weeks before most of those products appeared on Alberta shelves.

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That supply squeeze is due to a smaller number of edibles producers than there were bud growers at the start of legalization in late 2018, said Ryan Hellard, chief marketing and products officer for Olds-based Sundial Growers.

But he said Health Canada’s relaxation of regulations governing edibles producers should ease that.

“They no longer have to do any cultivation . . . there are a lot of people either getting their processing licences or close to it, so the supply should increase in the next few months,” said Hellard.

For now, Sundial is focused on producing cannabis vape cartridges it supplies to several other provinces.

The provincial government has delayed the addition of cannabis vape cartridges into the Alberta market pending a review of their safety, a move retailers and producers have decried.

The AGLC’s Holmen said she expects a decision on those products to come in a few weeks.

There are a number of Alberta businesses that hope to fill any supply gap with their offering once they’ve either been granted a processing licence from Health Canada or have their production line going.


Canopy Growth unveiled the company’s edible offerings including these vape products at Hotel Arts in Calgary on Monday, December 9, 2019.

Darren Makowichuk /

Postmedia

Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis said the response to their new products “has been positive.”

“We are working closely with provinces and retailers as these new categories develop,” company spokeswoman Michelle Lefler said in a statement.

Calgary firm Choklat expects to add its chocolate bars, drinks and cannabis-infused sugar packets to the Alberta market in March and is hiring up to 25 new staff to ensure it.

Edmonton-area craft grower Freedom Cannabis is also positioning itself to feed the province’s appetite for pot treats.

“We’re encouraged by the demand for them and we’re in the process of buying land and building a lab,” said owner Troy Dezwart.

“We plan on expanding and hiring new people.”

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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Keystone pipeline temporarily closed following Kansas oil spill – Al Jazeera English

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The energy company in charge of the pipeline has not said what caused the spill or how much oil was released.

The Keystone pipeline has halted operations following an oil spill into a creek in the United States state of Kansas. The pipeline carries more than 600,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast each day.

Canada-based TC Energy said in a press release that it shut down the pipeline on Wednesday night in response to a drop in pipeline pressure. The company has yet to offer information on the scale and cause of the spill.

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“The system remains shut down as our crews actively respond and work to contain and recover the oil,” the release said.

The spill resulted in oil leaking into a creek in northeastern Kansas and the company has said they were using machinery to prevent the oil from moving further downstream. Pipelines have long spurred concerns about the destructive potential of oil spills.

Another pipeline previously proposed by TC, the Keystone XL pipeline, would have been 1,930 kilometres (1,200 miles) long and cut across US states such as Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

That proposal spurred strong opposition from advocates who said it would increase the chance of spills, undermine the rights of Indigenous communities and worsen climate change.

Former President Donald Trump approved a permit for the contentious project in 2017 but a court halted construction in 2018 before the permit was cancelled by President Joe Biden’s administration last year.

TC finally abandoned the effort in June 2021 but has since filed a claim seeking remuneration for losses it says it faced because of the cancellation.

The spill on Wednesday occurred several years after the Keystone pipeline leaked about 1.4m litres (383,000 gallons) of oil in eastern North Dakota in 2019.

As word of the shutdown spread on Wednesday, oil prices ticked upwards by about five percent.

“It’s something to keep an eye on, but not necessarily an immediate impact for now,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, which tracks gasoline prices, according to the Associated Press. “It could eventually impact oil supplies to refiners, which could be severe if it lasts more than a few days.”

In their statement, Keystone said their primary focus was the “health and safety of onsite staff and personnel, the surrounding community, and mitigating risk to the environment through the deployment of booms downstream as we work to contain and prevent further migration of the release”.

Previous Keystone spills have resulted in stoppages that lasted up to two weeks. However, analysts have noted that the current stoppage could possibly last longer because it involves a body of water.

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Bank of Canada policy will ‘hit home’ in 2023: David Rosenberg

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The Bank of Canada may be signalling a possible end to its months-long aggressive interest-rate hike cycle, but economist David Rosenberg said next year will see the lagging impact of 2022’s monetary policy “hit home” for Canadians.

“Next year is the payback,” Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research and Associates Inc., said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.

“2022 was the year of the sharp run-up in rates, 2023 will be the year where the policy lags from those rising rates hit home.”

He made the comments Thursday, a day after the Bank of Canada raised its overnight lending rate by 50 basis points to 4.25 per cent, as the central bank continued with its approach to bringing down inflation.

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Rosenberg predicted a “severe recession” for Canada next year based on the rate hike cycle, calling for a “triple whammy” with economic impacts compounded by high levels of household debt, a housing bubble and ripples in the global economy.

Possible spillover effects from the interest rate cycle could be felt, Rosenberg said, as banks may constrain the availability of credit and spending drops across various sectors.

Based on the latest rate increase, Rosenberg said he predicts at potentially one more rate hike from the bank before a pause. Once inflation starts to come down, Rosenberg said he thinks the central bank may start to cut rates, possibly in the second half of 2023.

“The next stage is going to be waiting for the inflation to come down, which I think it will, and the recession is going to catch a lot of people by surprise,” he said.

A similar pattern may play out in the U.S., but Rosenberg said Canadians are more exposed to higher interest rates through variable-rate mortgages and because more consumer credit is tied to short-term interest rates.

“As bad as it’s going to be in the U.S., and believe me, it’s not going to be a pretty picture there, I think the Canadian situation in the next year is going to be clouded at best,” he said.

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CRTC rejects Telus’ request to charge credit card processing fee for some services

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled Thursday that Telus is not able to charge a credit card processing fee for regulated home telephone services.

This ruling applies to Alberta and B.C. services that are regulated by the CRTC, which are generally home telephone services in certain smaller communities.

Since Oct. 6, most Canadian businesses, except in Quebec, can charge their customers a fee for credit card transactions, following a class-action lawsuit filed by retailers against Visa, MasterCard and card-issuing banks.

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Quebec is not included in this decision due to the province’s Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits the application of such surcharges.

On Aug. 8, Telus filed an application with the CRTC to introduce a credit card processing fee of 1.5 per cent, plus taxes, for payments made with a credit card.

On. Oct. 17, Telus began to charge the fee to clients paying by credit card in areas where services are not regulated by the CRTC, which includes its wireless and internet customers outside of Quebec.

Telus does not need to ask for the CRTC’s approval to add the surcharge to its unregulated services but the organization said it is “very concerned” about this practice as it goes against affordability and consumer interest.

“We heard Canadians loud and clear: close to 4,000 of you told us that you should not be subjected to an additional fee based on the method you choose to pay your bill,” Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, said in a statement. “We expect the telecommunications industry to treat Canadians with respect and do better.”

The CRTC said, with this ruling, it is sending a “clear message” to Telus and other telecommunications service providers that are thinking of imposing a fee like this one on their customers.

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