Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2015
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2015 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Peter Koven
Page: FP5



Canada's fledgling medical marijuana industry received a boost on 
Wednesday as Health Canada gave licensed producers the go-ahead to 
sell cannabis oils and fresh marijuana buds.

The move allows them to start churning out higher margin products 
that could completely change the complexion of the market.

Up until now, licensed pot producers have only been allowed to sell 
dry products for smoking. But last month, the Supreme Court of Canada 
ruled that medical users should be allowed to consume cannabis in 
other forms, such as oils and edibles.

The illegal marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver have been providing 
these products, and the last thing the federal government wanted was 
for the black market to have an advantage over regulated producers. 
On Wednesday morning, Health Canada convened a conference call with 
the chief executives of all the licensed producers to inform them 
that they could sell cannabis oils and fresh buds through a legal exemption.

"They moved fast. We were anticipating this, but not this quick," 
Marc Wayne, CEO of Bedrocan Cannabis Corp., said in an interview.

Wayne said it would not be difficult to adapt his business in order 
to produce these "derivative" products. In fact, Bedrocan and other 
licensed producers are currently throwing vast quantities of 
marijuana material into the garbage, because they can't use it in 
dried, smokeable products. That material can be used in oils that 
fetch much higher prices, meaning the producers could get both 
greater efficiency and higher margins.

Derivative products such as oils have become extremely popular in 
places like Colorado, where pot has been legalized.

Some industry observers believe these products will ultimately become 
far more prevalent among medical patients than smokable marijuana.

"I think they will overtake the market," Wayne said.

But the Health Canada decision on Wednesday still led to some head 
scratching in medical marijuana circles.

The ruling provides limits on THC concentration in the oils that 
appear to be totally arbitrary, according to Adam Greenblatt, who 
runs a medical marijuana clinic in Montreal.

He is also disappointed that Health Canada seems to only be allowing 
food oils, even though some patients use oils extracted by alcohol.

Another question mark is the sale of fresh marijuana buds. Greenblatt 
said they could get mouldy en route to the customer.

The fresh marijuana could be used in juices, but he said that is an 
ineffective way to take cannabis.

"(The decision) is a good step in the right direction, but it doesn't 
go far enough," Greenblatt said.
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