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Canadians may soon be able to purchase CBD health and wellness products at their local grocery store after a government scientific advisory panel found CBD ‘safe and tolerable’ as an OTC medication.

Current regulations limit access to CBD products to either doing so by obtaining a doctor’s prescription or making purchases only from cannabis retail shops. After three years of research and deliberation, a scientific advisory panel appointed by Health Canada concluded that CBD is “safe and tolerable for short-term use (a maximum of 30 days) at doses from 20 milligrams per day to a maximum dose of 200 mg/day.” If the changes are approved, grocery stores and other non-cannabis retailers will be able to sell CBD products for human consumption as an OTC medication. *Most legal CBD products are currently manufactured and sold through Canadian licensed cannabis producers.

If the recommendations are approved by Health Canada, the changes would have wide-ranging effects.

  • Growth: In 2020the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) reported that the Canadian CBD market could grow to $2 billion (CAD) with a 7% CAGR if regulations were changed to sell CBD as an OTC health product.
  • Competition: New market entrants will enter the space without the need to be a cannabis LP or pharmaceutical company.
  • Branding: Severe marketing restrictions would be lifted allowing companies to better market their products.
  • Global access: Import and export restrictions on CBD products, virtually non-existent now, would be eased.

After a review of over 100 scientific and medical studies, the panel made four primary recommendations about the OTC sale of CBD products for human consumption:

  • Ask patients to first consult a doctor if they’re also taking other medications
  • Carry statements on potential interactions between CBD and other drugs or alcohol
  • Bear “prominently placed” warnings recommending that CBD should not be used by individuals who are pregnant or nursing, or by people with allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis
  • Carry dosing instructions and warnings of potential side effects, especially at high doses

Approval by Health Canada, an agency US FDA, will come by the end of the year. The panel was composed of nine experts, and they endorsed the recommendations in the report unanimously. Based on the previous history of similar panels, full approval of the recommendations is expected to be implemented nation wide.

The panelists also looked into animal usage of CBD and concluded that CBD is safe for dogs at low doses – (less than 4 milligrams per day for every kilogram of animal weight).

Important challenges remain. Can the liberalization of federal CBD regulations turn Canada into a global CBD leader similar to its role in global cannabis? And will this comprehensive, thoughtful review with the weight of Health Canada behind it serve as a model for the FDA, EU EMA, and other government agencies currently considering how best to regulate CBD and protect consumers? As we’ve seen with cannabis liberalization expect surprises.

*CBD topicals and cosmetics were not in the scope of the panel are already widely available

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New York takes strong steps forward, and this quote by Troy Datcher, CEO of The Parent Company, says it best-: “We appreciate that these first cannabis processors in New York will be providing mentorship to social equity applicants to enable broader participation in the state’s industry. However, as we’ve learned in California, it is critical that we create a policy environment that gives these businesses a chance to succeed.”

While this is a critical first step, it’s important to recognize that it’s not the only step needed. Given the current framework for how the industry operates, it’s extremely challenging for these businesses to get their feet off the ground. We must, as an industry, do more to help them. This is a good first step. Now let’s continue.

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According to Merriam-Webster, the term “normal” means “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern, characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.” For example, normal working hours under normal circumstances would just be considered a normal, average day.

So, normal is basically a social expectation based on a statistical majority. Here are a few normal aspects —that I would assume most would agree with— of being in the workforce:

  • 9-5 working hours or standard business hours.
  • Working in an office.
  • Standard business trends.
  • Essentially, calmness and expected peace in the waves.

Or, as the boomers like to say, “you put your time in for 40 years and work your way up in a company. “

Now, let’s try and figure out normal in relation to Cannabis.

When I think about Cannabis, I truly don’t know what normal is – or what normal is for 8th Revolution.

In my long but short 4.5 years in Cannabis (how can that be short yet feel like longer?) the Farm Bill was a game changer for the space. In my early days, I watched the excitement of the CBD industry literally explode as I sat in on countless project calls where I saw the optimism of farmers and investors who were beyond excited to pivot into the cannabinoid space. The fear of the unknown was practically nonexistent. This was a gold rush, and many started growing acres and acres of CBD. The plan was to scale as big as possible as fast as possible, and sales would take care of themselves. Boy, were they wrong.

I remember my first MJBIZCON in 2018 where everyone was handing out CBD-infused products.

The Farm Bill was early in 8th Revolution’s existence, and a large portion of our business was helping these facilities get up and running. This wasn’t its sole direction, but it was exploding and doing so quickly. Hence, we did what we always do and helped the industry solve problems.

Anyone who has ever started a business understands that it takes time to build traction.

Fast forward a little over 1.5 years, halfway into our business, and we were finally finding our “flow,” or what many like to call “normal.” Then, we experienced a curve ball.

The incoming global pandemic.

This not only changed our business efforts: it disrupted the entire world.

This is what changed in that instant.

Cannabis was deemed essential, and numbers started to wildly increase. The Cannabis industry essentially forever changed again.

The world as we knew it changed completely, and life was no longer as it used to be. Normal was no longer normal, and now, normal became something very different.

This time, the phrase “the new normal” for business meant:

  • Remote work.
  • Digital trade shows.
  • Explosion of Zoom and Peloton use.

Life was completely disrupted, and normal was, well, different. Again.

As we come through the other side of the global pandemic, normal is changing once more.

Life is starting to slowly settle down, but not without its own adjustments, yet again, to what now has been perceived as our even newer “normal”:

  • Inflation
  • Climate issues
  • Ukraine-Russia war
  • Monkey-pox
  • Cannabis businesses are getting re-rated.
  • Businesses are starting to push for in-the-office work.

Life is constantly changing ,so really, what is normal?

One of my favorite phrases is ,“a picture is worth 1,000 words,” so here you have what normal is:

It’s an endless series of ups and downs and adjusting to the changes in life as the world continues to evolve. One of my favorite aspects of the Cannabis industry is knowing that I must bring it every single day to fight against the currents.

It’s also one of my least favorite parts of Cannabis.

It’s hard, the game changes often, and we don’t really have a true “normal.”

We don’t even have banking and people are still in prison for Cannabis-related crimes!

So, here is my takeaway: the speed of change in the Cannabis industry is frustrating. Federal guidance continues to be absent, and how the industry will be played in the future is likely not the same as it is today. Some are in survival mode, and others are looking to figure out how to set themselves up for success.

Be nimble, plan for different scenarios, and recognize that data trends are helpful but not the sole variable when making decisions.

Understand that it will take time —a lot of time— for the Cannabis industry to finally operate like a normal industry. Recognize that the world outside of the Cannabis industry is also fighting the new normal, too.

I leave you with this quote from Karyn Kusma:

“There’s no glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It’s experiencing the climb itself – in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue – that has to be the goal.”

Enjoy the journey.

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Current State of Cannabis

The bottom line is that we’re operating in the most inefficient capital market scenario that we ever will as an industry.[…] so, that’s the good news, and the bad news, is [that] we’re here. The good news is [that] it’s typically not going to be for much longer.

A message for investing in the Cannabis Industry

I would say if you’re committed to the industry and you have some money that you want, put into the capital markets just deploy it, but stop looking at it because the reality is that it’s this way until something happens legislatively.

We’re not too far off from, hopefully, something at the federal level that could be 3, 5, or 7 years away. We think there’s so much value in not only the public companies but even more so in some of these private companies. So we think the best time to be investing in Cannabis is right now.

The first thing Matt would change if he oversaw California’s Cannabis Market

I would immediately say that we’re going to completely redo our tax structure to where we are incentivized as a state to shut down the illicit market in order to generate more revenue than would come in because we’re only converting about 40% of the market right now in the state.

Matt Hawkins, Founder of EEC Capital

I think Gavin Newsome finally come to the, understanding that he can only generate more revenue by going after the carrot that’s just sitting there waiting to be taken, which is the illicit market. But, you have to shut it down first. […] You have to tamp it down, and you have to reduce the tax burden on the legalized operators in order to convert users.

If you get the costs in a similar range, people are going to go to dispensaries. They’re not going to buy it on the street. Look what happened during the pandemic. We had a surge, and we did have a tamping down of the illicit market. Because of that very reason, we had curbside delivery. The Cannabis industry pioneered social distancing and curbside delivery and pickup.

A lessons learned to pass onto the next generation :

Roll up your sleeves and work hard, whether it’s in the Cannabis [industry] or anything else. This is not a get-rich-quick industry. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to build companies in this space.

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The Fyllo Regulatory Database creates unparalleled visibility at every level of government across the United States with access to more than 800,000+ files and entries addressing cannabis regulations. Today’s leading MSOs, SSOs and law firms rely on Fyllo to accelerate research, track licensing opportunities and make better decisions. To learn more or schedule a demo, please visit hellofyllo.com.

A new campaign seeking to place cannabis legalization on the 2024 ballot has been launched by the group Safe & Smart Florida. Representatives of the group believe their initiative will avoid legal challenges, but they are already facing pushback from industry advocates that say the measure will not address social equity. As it stands, the petition’s language favors existing medical cannabis companies and does not guarantee an expanded licensing process. The group will need to collect approximately 900,000 signatures from voters to qualify.

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