South African Beer Company Brews With Hemp Instead of Hops

A new kind of beer is brewing in South Africa that will include cannabis after lawmakers there recently decriminalized it.

Poison City Brewing makes five different types of beer, including their newest addition, Durban Poison Cannabis lager. It is made with hemp, not hops, which are usually used to flavor beer.

“The easiest route into the market was to go with beer. And an interesting part there is that in beer there’s an ingredient called hops which most people know about and hops is actually part of the same plant group as cannabis,” said Graeme Bird, co-founder of Poison City Brewing.

However, hemp doesn’t have the same psychoactive chemicals that marijuana does.

The Constitutional Court decriminalized using and cultivating cannabis in private last fall. That decision did not include legalizing its trade or distribution. It can be risky to even display cannabis in public.

Officials have two years to make amendments to the country’s cannabis laws, but that isn’t stopping manufacturers like Bird, whose beer is shipped all over South Africa.

“I don’t really get that whole cannabis thing; if you never told me that, I wasn’t gonna think it’s a cannabis beer. So, they must put some more cannabis, maybe like a smell or something, I don’t know,” Johannesburg resident Dakalo Motselele told Reuters.

“I don’t think it’s something that I’ll order again but very interesting. I think the name ‘cannabis’ is what brings your attention to it but besides that I’m not a fan but I like the name,” said Kgomotso Mokgashwe, a Johannesburg resident.

Durban Poison takes its name from a popular strain of marijuana, notorious for its distinct smell and short flowering period.

To read more visit: https://www.insideedition.com/south-african-beer-company-brews-hemp-instead-hops-49935

Cannabis boom brings recruitment challenges for employers

As the cannabis industry rapidly grows, employers in the sector are feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of employees they need to recruit.

A network for human resources professionals in the cannabis industry, called Cannabis at Work, was launched on Friday to meet the need. It aims to provide a forum for employers in the regulated cannabis industry to learn and build relationships.

The sector faces many challenges with new licensed producers entering the market on a regular basis and existing ones expanding their facilities, says Alison McMahon, chief executive officer at Cannabis at Work. The influx of new employees means a greater administrative burden for employers helping candidates settle in to their new roles and enrolling them in their benefits plans, she says.

As well, employers in the sector have to attract and retain highly skilled talent, says McMahon. Specifically, finding people to fill niche roles like cultivating or growing the product, which is challenging, she says. “They would want them to have previous experience growing cannabis within the regulated framework in Canada. There’s only a certain number of people who have held those roles in Canada over the last couple of years, so it’s not a huge pool of people.”

Employers would also want candidates in those roles to have a certain security clearance, a requirement that’s unique to the sector, adds McMahon. “We do find some pockets of roles where it can be challenging.” As for other roles, employees from different industries with transferable skills can fill them, she says.

However, many people are eager to join the growing industry with the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada, so employers have benefited from that, she says. “They’re in a pretty good position to attract employees given that there’s been so much hype around the cannabis sector and the fact that it’s kind of the green rush of our generation instead of the gold rush.”

On the other hand, employers still find some candidates are cautious about entering a sector that carries an illicit history, says McMahon. “I think [certain] people are still potentially concerned that moving into the cannabis sector could be kind of ‘career suicide,’ that if they were to move to the cannabis sector and wanted to go back to a different, more traditional sector, that that might be hard for them to do because of the stigma.”

So what can employers do to incentivize those hesitant to work within the cannabis industry?

First, employers should ensure their human resources practices align with companies from traditional sectors, says McMahon. “I think it’s really about making sure when they’re going through the recruitment process with a potential employee and then going through the offer stage of a process, that they ensure the process is well implemented and meets the best practices that those candidates would expect to experience in any other sector.”

Two surveys conducted by Cannabis at Work found salaries and employee benefits offered by cannabis employers were comparable to those from other sectors, says McMahon.

As well, contrary to societal assumptions, cannabis employers have implemented traditional benefits plans, she says. “The one area we’ve seen a bit more progressive stance is around covering medical cannabis in the industry. That doesn’t mean employers are allowing employees to be impaired at work, but that just means there’s a more progressive stance towards covering medical cannabis and that might be an option for individuals.”

To read more visit: https://www.benefitscanada.com/benefits/other/cannabis-boom-brings-recruitment-challenges-for-employers-124101

Film festival aims to reduce marijuana stigma as New York moves closer to legalization

When the first NYC Cannabis Film Festival was held in 2015, organizers hoped to minimize the stigma surrounding marijuana use in the public’s perception. Now, with recreational pot already legal in 10 states, this year’s festival could be the last before New York becomes the latest state to lift its prohibition on the drug.

“I think this is just the beginning, and I think this is a very exciting time we’re in,” Michael Zaytsev, the founder and CEO of High N.Y., which organizes the annual festival, told CBSN on Saturday. He said the first event was well-received by the cannabis community but the negative stigma associated with marijuana meant some filmmakers were hesitant to attend.

“I think people were excited, but there were still filmmakers [who] were not coming out the way they are now, where I think they think it’s safer and they don’t mind having their name out there attached to this festival,” Zaytsev said.

In December, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his legislative agenda for 2019, which included a push to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana. If recreational pot becomes legal in New York, it could mean a significant shift in cannabis culture, not just for the state, but for the country as a whole.

Zaytsev said he thinks it will still take at least a generation to move past the stigma.

“I think it will change, but I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. I think there is still a ton of education that needs to happen,” Zaytsev said. “Part of the festival’s goal is to undo that and to normalize the cannabis lifestyle.”

He said he thinks the biggest misconception about marijuana is the idea it has no medical value.

“Some people do use it for altering their consciousness, but I think the greatest misconception is how harmful the plant is, when in reality it has so many beneficial uses that we are not making use of today as much as we could be,” he said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently categorizes marijuana as a schedule I drug, defined as substances having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” However, in 2018 the DEA for the first time categorized an anti-seizure medication containing cannabidiol, a chemical extracted from cannabis, as a schedule V drug, the least restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act.

The films appearing at the NYC Cannabis Film Festival are intended to depict a non-stereotypical view of cannabis culture, with some tackling other topics altogether. The film “Bodega” explores how gentrification is changing the role of the ubiquitous corner delis in New York communities, and received an honorable mention for best documentary short at the IMDB Film Festival.

Zaytsev said he chose to show “Bodega” because it underscores the impact of commercialization, a major issue in the cannabis community.

“Just as we are seeing this paradigm shift in cannabis culture, and there are these questions of gentrification of the community and the industry and the commerce of cannabis,” Zaytsev told CBSN. “I think the bodega kind of mirrors that in a way that is interesting to see and I think a lot of the audience would be able to relate to.”

Zaytsev pointed to the work of those that came before him, regardless of whether marijuana becomes legal in New York state.

People have been doing this work for decades. I am standing on the shoulder of giants, and it is a privilege that I am able to be a leader in this community and contribute to something that I care deeply about and that I believe impacts the lives of many New Yorkers,” he said.

The festival is being held Sunday in New York from noon to midnight. You can find more information High NY’s website.

To read more visit: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nyc-cannabis-film-festival-aims-to-reduce-stigma-of-marijuana-use-as-new-york-moves-closer-to-legalization/

Marijuana Marlboro And What Altria’s Purchase Of A Canadian Marijuana Maker Means

The Cannabis market was jolted on December 7th by the announcement that Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, had purchased a 45% stake in Cronos Holdings for $1.8 billion (US). The deal includes a $1.05 billion option to purchase an additional 10% in the future. While Cronos had acknowledged that discussions were in progress on December 3, the stock still shot up 28% when it was confirmed.

In retrospect, it was obvious that Altria was going to make a move into Cannabis at some point. If you look at cigarettes, the company has faced fewer Americans smoking each year since…basically the sixties. Recently, there has been a significant uptick in vaping led by JUUL Labs, another company Altria is negotiating with for a stake. However, that does not change the long-term trends facing the company’s core business in cigarettes. While Altria can lean on traditional smoking to provide high cash flow and pay dividends for a long period to come, the company has been known to look for ways to diversify its product base. By entering the cannabis market, particularly at this early date, Altria can move to take market share, research products, and position itself in new markets as they open. In short, this is a logical proactive move for the company and it should mesh well with their current experience, R&D and product lines. For investors in Altria, it is exciting to imagine a company with the kind of cash flow that exists today combined with growth in cannabis and a high dividend. An appealing combination and one that Altria could not ignore for long. A move into the cannabis space by Altria was inevitable.

Richmond, USA – May 14, 2018: Altria office sign in Virginia capital city tobacco business closeup by road street, parent company of Philip Morris

So that leads us to the next question of why they chose to partner with Cronos Group. I would argue that it is fair to characterize the Canadian cannabis market as an oligopoly led by only a few strong players. The largest is Canopy Growth, a company that is currently 38% owned by Constellation Brands with options to increases the ownership to 51% in the future so they are spoken for. If you look at the remaining players, Cronos Group was the one who best matched Altria’s style and structure in the tobacco market. Cronos preferred to develop new products and brands while focusing on distribution and R&D rather than focusing on growing supply.

 

A SIDE NOTE: It is interesting that early in the growth of many markets, investors and companies focus on metrics that will not matter in the future. In the Internet bubble of 1999, every company focused on-site visits or clicks. For years, Amazon only reported on the growth of Kindle. For cannabis, the focus is on how much cannabis a company can produce. Long term, we would expect few companies to produce their own cannabis, much like few cigarette companies produce their own tobacco.

Cronos Group has worked hard to be at the leading edge of medical marijuana, a space that is much closer to moving towards legalization in global markets compared to recreational. Their partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks is specifically focused on developing innovative products that could prove important to the medical side of the business.

To read more visit: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanwaldrep/2018/12/18/marijuana-marlboro-and-what-altrias-purchase-of-a-canadian-marijuana-maker-means/#61bfc018398e

Budweiser maker teams up with cannabis company to explore pot drinks

NEW YORK (AP) – The maker of Budweiser is partnering with medical cannabis company Tilray in a $100 million deal to research cannabis-infused drinks for the Canadian market.

The alliance announced Wednesday is the latest foray by a major beer company into the cannabis business in Canada, which legalized recreational marijuana in October.

Anheuser-Busch InBev and Tilray Inc. said each would invest $50 million in the project to study non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabidiol, or CBD, which some claim has calming and healing affects, and THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects.

Belgium-based AB InBev, the owner of more than 500 beer brands including Budweiser and Stella Artois, said it will participate in the project through its subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada.

“Labatt is committed to staying ahead of emerging consumer trends,” said Labatt Breweries President Kyle Norrington.

British Columbia-based Tilray has products available in 12 countries and operations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Latin America and Portugal.

Tilray’s shares jumped 15 percent to after-hours training following news of the deal with AB InBev. The company had announced a day earlier that a subsidiary struck a deal with pharmaceutical company Sandoz AG to jointly operate in jurisdictions where cannabis is, or will be, approved for medical purposes.

Shares of AB InBev were little changed.

Canada has emerged as a world leader in the cannabis industry, which is surging as legalization also expands in the United States.

North American consumer spending on legal cannabis is expected to grow from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion in 2027, according to Arcview Market Research, a cannabis-focused investment firm.

Earlier this month, Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. invested $1.8 billion for a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, a Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider.

In August, wine, liquor and beer company Constellation Brands announced a $4 billion investment in Canadian pot producer Canopy Growth Corp.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Guinness brewer Diageo have said they are closely watching the market for cannabis as it evolves.

To read more visit: https://kval.com/news/nation-world/budweiser-maker-teams-up-with-cannabis-company-to-explore-pot-drinks

First Cannabis Clinical Trials All Set In UK

Beckley Canopy Therapeutics, based in Oxford, England has raised ₤7.4 million for the purposes of cannabinoid research and drug development. The new company is a unique partnership established between Canopy Growth Corporation and the Beckley Foundation, a research institute which examines the utilization of psychotropic drugs for the treatment of physical and mental conditions.

Studies focusing on the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of opioid addiction and cancer pain will be conducted in Europe, the UK and the US.

Why Is This Significant?

Here is the first reason: the woman behind it all. Her name is Lady Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March. Born into a landed gentry family at Beckley Park (a Tudor hunting lodge with three towers and three moats) she also has a long history of engaging and supporting scientific endeavours that use stigmatized drugs in the treatment of both intractable disease and mental illness via the use of scientific research.

In 1998, Amanda Feilding set up the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust which initiates, directs and supports neuroscientific and clinical research into the effects of psychoactive substances. She has also co-authored over 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.

The so-called “hidden hand” behind the rebirth of psychedelic science, Fielding’s contribution to global drug policy reform has been widely acknowledged in international drug policy circles. She was named as one of the bravest men and women in the history of science in 2010 by the British Guardian.

And here is the second reason: The foundation is now partnered with Canopy Cannabis, one of the leading cannabis firms in the world, which is also working closely with Spanish opioid manufacturer Alcaliber.

In other words, this coalition is almost the mirror opposite of the approach taken by the American Sackler family, makers of Oxycontin, who have fought cannabinoids as an alternative or even transition drug in multiple state legalization campaigns. Meanwhile the death rates from overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2016, opioid-related drug overdoses killed about 116 people a day (or about 42,249 for the year). It is estimated that about 11 million people in the U.S. are currently misusing or dependent on opioids.

Amanda Fielding
Image credit: Robert Funke

Beyond The Politics of The Opioid-Cannabinoid War

While opioids clearly have a role particularly in chronic pain treatment, the question now at the global scientific table is this: Are cannabinoids a substitute for longer term chronic pain management? It is a fiercely battled scientific debate that has frequently, particularly in the U.S., crossed over into political drug reform questions.

The unique partnership of Beckley and Canopy is well placed both scientifically and culturally to take on a discussion which has languished for too long in the grass of political debate and reform.

Even better, it is taking place in a country where English is the first language, but outside the U.S. and further, in a country where cannabis has now been legally reclassified as a Schedule II drug.

Do not expect, in other words, the same trials and tribulations that faced noted U.S.-based researcher Sue Sisley, to slow down research, trials or findings.

Why Is A Cultural and Scientific Reset Required?

For the past forty years, since the end of the 1970s, cannabis in particular, has been pushed into a strange scientific territory in part, because of the culture surrounding the drug. This in turn, along with the schedule I classification of cannabis, has led to not only a dearth of research, but a reluctance on the part of prescribing doctors to examine its efficacy.

In the present, this means that doctors are still (beyond insurers who demand medical evidence before approving payment) the biggest hurdles in every medical system where cannabis is becoming legal. See the debate in Canada, the UK and of course, Germany, where patients frequently report asking for a drug their doctors refuse to prescribe.

This is exactly the kind of high-placed, societally influential effort in other words, that might finally break the medical taboo at the most important remaining logjam– at the point of prescription and approval for patients.

To read more visit: https://cannabisindustryjournal.com/feature_article/first-cannabis-clinical-trials-all-set-in-uk/

Shoppers Drug Mart granted licence to sell medical marijuana online

Health Canada’s list of authorized cannabis sellers and producers has been updated to reflect that the pharmacy can sell dried and fresh cannabis, as well as plants, seeds and oil.

Health Canada’s list of authorized cannabis sellers and producers has been updated to reflect that the pharmacy can sell dried and fresh cannabis, as well as plants, seeds and oil.

A website has been set up by the company, which says that patients “with a valid medical document will soon be able to purchase a wide selection of medical cannabis products” from Shoppers.

A spokesperson for Shoppers’ parent company Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it’s too soon to say when people will be able to start making orders.

She says the company is still working through a “technical issue” with Health Canada.

The company was granted a medical marijuana producer licence in September, after initially applying in October 2016.

Shoppers has said that it has no interest in producing medical cannabis, but the licence is required in order to sell the product to patients.

Under the current Health Canada regulations for medical pot, the only legal distribution method is by mail order from licensed producers direct to patients.

To read more visit: https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9073706-shoppers-drug-mart-granted-licence-to-sell-medical-marijuana-online/

Marlboro Company Fuses $1.8 Billion Into Cannabis Company Cronos

Big Tobacco Makes First Official Foray Into Cannabis as Tobacco Sales Continue To Fall

Phillip Morris USA’s parent company, Altria, the guys responsible for producing world-famous cigarettes from the Marlboro brand, have officially become the first tobacco company to invest in cannabis.

The investment injected a whopping $1.8 billion for the Canadian cannabis company, Cronos Group, reports CNN. This makes Altria owner of a 45% stake in the cannabinoid company, but and although that isn’t so surprising, what’s even more shocking is the revelation that they will be discontinuing their cigarette vape brands Green Smoke and MarkTen. Altria will also be dropping their oral nicotine, Verve, and are still on the fence about investments in a leading e-cigarette company Juul.

Cigarette sales have steadily been declining, and former cigarette consumers are now turning to other forms of safer recreational products including e-cigarettes as well as cannabis. This change of heart with cannabis consumers is showing that slowly but surely, cannabis is going to topple cigarettes eventually. From one vice to another (safer) vice, although it only makes sense because cannabis has been proven to be healthy while cigarettes have not – and we’ve known this for a long time now.

“The proceeds from Altria’s investment will enable us to more quickly expand our global infrastructure and distribution footprint, while also increasing investments in R&D and brands that resonate with our consumer,” Mike Gorenstein, Cronos CEO, disclosed in a statement. The move also helps “make sure we’re getting in front of regulators,” Gorenstein told CNBC.

“Altria is the ideal partner for Cronos Group, providing the resources and expertise we need to meaningfully accelerate our strategic growth,” he added.

Risky Moves For Altria?

Although this isn’t the first time an American vice company is engaging in long-term romances with Canadian cannabis firms, it’s pretty easy to see why this could be a risky move.

The first was Constellation Brands, parent company of Corona beers, who pumped up their investments in Canopy Growth for a 9.9% stake in the firm. Then within the same month, Hexo, Canadian cannabis producer announced that they were engaging in a joint venture with Molson Coors to create a line of “non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market.” This business, known as Truss, revealed to be a successful JV and they are soon going to be releasing their products in the Canadian market by 2019 once the country legalizes cannabis-infused beverages.

This deal is definitely good news for shareholders of Cronos, because it catapults them to rock star Canadian cannabis company status thanks to the massive investment, with the support of one of the most powerful cigarette producers in the entire world. But what does this mean for Altria, who paid a very steep price for what is now still a mid-size Canadian cannabis producers. Moving forward, Cronos could benefit from Altria’s proficiency in navigating extremely regulated markets. Additionally, it could take Altria another several years to benefit from this deal, so while it initially does seem like a risky move for Altria, it could take a while for this to play out to both sides’ benefits but it isn’t impossible.

Altria’s stock fell by 25% this year so far, but after they announced they would be tying the knot with Cronos, their stocks jumped 2% on Friday after early trading, while it sent Cronos shares soaring around 30%.

“Importantly, Altria shares our vision of driving long-term value through innovation, and we look forward to continuing to differentiate in this area,” Gorenstein says. “As one of the largest holding companies in the adult consumer products sector, Altria has decades of experience in regulatory, government affairs, compliance, product development and brand management that we expect to leverage, particularly as new markets for cannabis open around the world.”

At the end of the day, cannabis remains to be perhaps the most volatile and unpredictable industry. Just look at the supply shortages that are threatening Canada’s industry, while other countries around the world continue to entertain the possibility of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. It will be interesting to see how this deal will pan out in the next 6 months or so, and which “sin company” ties the knot with cannabis next.

To read more visit: https://cannabis.net/blog/news/marlboro-company-fuses-1.8-billion-into-cannabis-company-cronos

The Next Gold Rush Is the $22 Billion CBD Business–and This Florida Company Is Ready to Win

Green Roads is cashing in on the demand for products with cannabidiol while preparing for changes in the law that could soon transform the industry.

Ready, set …

That pretty much describes the status of an entire industry–the makers of products containing cannabidiol, or CBD. The compound, added to everything from skin cream to ice cream, can be derived from hemp or marijuana and has been touted as a treatment for ailments ranging from anxiety to cancer. The catch: “It’s still in a legal gray area,” says Bethany Gomez, director of research for Brightfield Group, which studies the cannabis and CBD industries.

Marijuana is subject to a patchwork of state regulations. But the 2018 farm bill would remove hemp from the list of controlled substances, opening the floodgates for hemp-derived products. “Everyone and their mother is starting a CBD line right now,” says Gomez. “It’s absolutely a gold rush.”

With about 6 percent of the market, Davie, Florida-based Green Roads is the largest private company specializing in hemp-derived CBD, according to Brightfield. The company sells CBD-infused products such as tinctures and balms, online and in 6,000 stores and 2,000 doctors’ offices. Green Roads now has about 100 employees, and co-founder Arby Barroso estimates 2018 revenue at $45 million.

Barroso, 48, became interested in CBD after being introduced to it by a friend in Colorado. He had long taken painkillers for a crushing football injury he sustained when he was 23. When his real estate business collapsed during the financial crisis, he invested in a pain-management clinic. Barroso describes that decision as “the worst thing ever,” as he soon became addicted to opiates. Then his friend suggested he try CBD gummies, which helped him stay clean.

The CBD in Barroso’s gummies was derived from marijuana plants, so it contained another compound, THC, which is illegal in many states. Barosso needed something without THC–he’d been jailed for drug use, and testing positive for THC would violate his parole. In 2012, he approached a compounding pharmacist, Laura Fuentes, about making a hemp-derived CBD product that could alleviate his pain and help keep him off opiates. She came up with an oil.”I could have gotten cleaner quicker if I’d had CBD every day,” he says.

Fuentes and Barosso soon became business partners and the co-founders of Green Roads. Barroso went door-to-door to smoke shops, leaving bottles of CBD oil on consignment. “In the beginning, no one would give us the time of day,” Fuentes says. Then she started hearing that grandmothers were going into vape shops to find CBD. “I was like, we have to do something about this,” she says. “Grandmas are not comfortable in vape stores!”

Green Roads’ CBD Fruit Bites.CREDIT: Courtesy Green Roads

The cost of doing CBD business

Unlike some producers of CBD, Fuentes and Barroso never intended to grow their own hemp, which was outlawed in Florida when they began anyway. At the time, Barroso says, it was almost impossible to buy an oil containing only minimal amounts of THC. It’s easier now, but supply can still be tricky: “We can’t always get 10 55-gallon drums of oil,” he says. Green Roads products use a blend of four to five different cannabinoids, using both oils and isolates (concentrated CBD extract in the form of a powder), designed by Fuentes.

There are other, unexpected, costs. Green Roads lost four banks when their risk-management teams decided that Green Roads wasn’t a business they wanted to be supporting. The company’s Instagram account has likewise been shut down four times, because of legal restrictions on marketing CBD products. Instead of paying standard credit card processing fees of less than 3 percent, Green Roads pays closer to 6 percent.

Fuentes says she has to deal with “tons” of shady people in the industry. She says vendors have offered to sell her extract that contains specified levels of CBD or other compounds. They send her samples, which she sends to her lab. The samples check out fine, so she orders a kilogram–but when she sends a bit of that order to the lab, “it’s not the same thing they sent me as a sample. And there is no recourse.” Green Roads spends $30,000 to $40,000 a month testing their raw materials for pesticides, solvents, and metals, and it requires certificates of origin from their suppliers as well.

Betting on the farm bill

Because CBD currently operates on the boundaries of legality, it’s tricky to figure out how big the industry is and how much bigger it could get. Brightfield pegs the market for hemp-derived CBD products at about $591 million in 2018, growing to $22 billion by 2022. Other analysts, while nowhere near as bullish, are still very positive on the sector. Hemp Business Journal says the market for hemp-derived CBD was about $190 million in 2017, and will grow to $646 million by 2022.

Experts expect the market for CBD to balloon if and when the farm bill passes, which could happen this month. That means the biggest challenge for Green Roads is yet to come. “I’m not worried about the companies that are in the market today, I’m worried about big companies,” Barroso says. “We can’t compete with those guys. I think about it every day.”

So for now, Green Roads, like other private businesses in this market, is girding for the day when it will have to compete–or collaborate–with the larger players they are sure will enter the fray. (Even Coca-Cola is rumored to be developing a CBD product.) Green Roads, for example, is involved in a pilot program with the University of Florida to bring hemp farming back to the state to bolster its profile, connections, and potentially, supply. Another CBD company, Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics, joined together with three manufacturing facilities to create a larger entity that would interest investors; they raised $15 million.

“The day the farm bill passes, the day we’re allowed to spend $50,000 a day on marketing on Facebook, on Google Adwords, on Instagram–I don’t know if there’s enough product in the country” to fulfill demand, Barroso says. “We’re not at our full potential today, not even close.”

To read more visit: https://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/best-industries-2019-green-roads.html

In Canada, you can study marijuana production for college credit

The country is facing a pot labor shortage, now that the sale and cultivation of cannabis is legal.

Beleave Kannabis Corp. wants to grow more than just pot.

The Ontario marijuana company aims to build an empire of plant scientists, regulatory experts and security personnel in a nascent industry with exploding demand. But there’s a shortage of experienced staff members in Canada, which became the first industrialized country to fully decriminalize pot in October, said Beleave’s chief science officer, Roger Ferreira.

So Beleave, like dozens of other licensed producers, is pressing local universities for help.

“I’m going to pillage the top of your class,” Ferreira said. “All your 4.0 GPAs, send them this way.”

Nearly a dozen colleges nationwide are adding or expanding courses designed to train the next generation of marijuana producers, often at the nudging of area employers. Some of the classes count toward two- and four-year degrees. Other schools offer certificates.

Although the use of medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, the rise of recreational toking has fueled a hiring boom as growers rush to scale up production of smokable buds and oils. Openings have tripled over the past year and now represent 34 of every 10,000 job postings, according to Indeed Canada, an employment site.

“The green rush,” Alison McMahon, founder of web recruiter Cannabis At Work, called it.

Educators have seized on the moment, pledging to equip students for greenhouses and laboratories and storefronts.

In January 2020, McGill University in Montreal will offer a graduate degree in cannabis production, open only to students with botany backgrounds or bachelor’s degrees in related fields.

The school’s new focus on marijuana may seem edgy, but studying pot cultivation requires a grasp of hardcore science, said Anja Geitmann, dean of McGill’s faculty of agricultural and environmental sciences.

“Genetics, breeding — there are multiple strains that have a different chemical composition,” she said.

Durham College in Ontario, meanwhile, unrolled its Cannabis Industry Specialization program this fall, promising to launch careers in the “rapidly expanding cannabis sector,” according to its website. GrowWise Health Limited, a private firm nearby, helped design the curriculum.

And Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver now offers a Retail Cannabis Consultant certificate, the school announced this year, which educates future pot sellers on “compliance, customer service, and competence in a complex and evolving industry.”

The need for skilled cannabis labor is expected to further intensify next year once lawmakers authorize the sale of edible products. Marijuana-laced brownies and other mood-altering treats are projected to account for half of the legal industry’s sales, according to Canadian forecasts.

Beleave, which runs three Ontario grow operations and recently acquired the retail chain Medi-Green, plans to open two more greenhouses in 2019. The expansion will practically double its workforce to 120 or so workers, Ferreira said.

He needs people who can nurture different strains of marijuana, masters of soil and light and pest control. He needs scholars of Canada’s health and safety regulations — the government requires producers to keep a record of every individual who comes in contact with the plants. He needs someone to maintain that access log and monitor the cameras.

“These are skill sets that have only recently been well-characterized and defined,” Ferreira said, adding that applicants who have merely grown marijuana in their basement don’t make the cut.

Hearing from employers who struggle to fill vacancies inspired Ontario science professor Bill MacDonald to create Niagara College’s Commercial Cannabis Production program. More than 300 people, he said, applied for this year’s inaugural 24 spots. (People with business, science or agricultural degrees are welcome to take the year-long class.)

“I had licensed producers come to the college and say, ‘We need highly trained personnel,’ ” MacDonald said. “The demand is just huge.”

His students include flower farmers, a former chief information officer and a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. They take field trips to pot laboratories and intern at grow sites. Salaries in Ontario start around the equivalent of $60,000, he said, “but can move up very quickly.”

Producers are scrambling to meet consumer interest, but a lack of ready talent is slowing growth (and sparking concern among some businesses that buyers will turn to illicit sources).

“I’ve heard several times over just the last month: ‘Don’t you have any students? We are looking for qualified people,’ ” said Geitmann, the McGill dean. “They’re happy to have someone with a plant background at all and often train people on-site.”

Students view the new crop of courses as an adventurous career twist or a way to earn more money.

Laurie Zuber, 39, enrolled in Niagara’s cannabis production program two months ago after her mother saw a commercial on television. “She called me like, ‘You should apply for this! Do it!’ ” Zuber said.

Zuber, who has spent the past 16 years as a grower at a plant nursery, figured: Why not? The program was a $10,000 investment — but it could potentially double her earnings.

Zuber doesn’t smoke marijuana. Tending to greenery, she said, is her favorite part of the work.

“They’re my little babies,” she said. “I love watching them from the seeds.”

To read more visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/12/05/canadians-launch-weed-schools-amid-pot-labor-shortage/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f0332e967e04