Cannabiz
August 7, 2021 3:41 PM   Subscribe

What Do You Do With A Billion Grams Of Surplus Weed? Cannabis legalization was supposed to be a licence to print money. Three years on, nobody is turning a profit
posted by hoodrich (63 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I did read the article, and obviously the problem is that Canada is not nearly stoned enough, enough of the time.

Get on it, Canadians! Save your national pot industry!
posted by hippybear at 3:48 PM on August 7, 2021 [12 favorites]


More seriously, this is a peculiar problem to have. I don't think US marijuana markets are having the same problem, but they might be? It certainly seems to be everywhere. The radio ads are quite peculiar to me. No cigarette ads, I don't even think beer ads... but pot shops? Sure!
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on August 7, 2021


My wife and I have done our part.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:59 PM on August 7, 2021 [16 favorites]


I'm doing my part now - mmmmm cookies!
posted by whatevernot at 4:02 PM on August 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


I keep meaning to buy cannabis, but my spouse doesn't partake and there never seems to be the right time -- and also, I wanted it to be a government monopoly like the LCBO (which is awesome*), so I'll only ever buy from the Ontario Cannabis store.

*The government gets lots of money, I get a better selection than any liquor store/off-license that I've ever been at in the US or UK, and the staff are unionised and offer better service because they know their stuff.
posted by jb at 4:11 PM on August 7, 2021 [10 favorites]


Everyone I know in Canada has continued going to local illegal dealers 90% of the time due to price. The rollout (heh) of legalised weed resulted in an overpriced and overpackaged product. There should be an adjustment over time, but it will take a while as unlicensed dealers are still viable and will be as long as Shoppers Drug Mart's prices outweigh the inconvenience of waiting for a guy called 'Turd' with questionable facial hair. In addition, other value add products like edibles are still in a legal grey area in many parts of the country.
posted by gohabsgo at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2021 [14 favorites]


I don't know who believed it was a license to print money. I really hate how the legalization movement is so desperate to get marijuana legalized they're pushing the same lies as any other industry. The entire value of illegal drugs are tied up in their cost of transportation, no one believed marijuana was hard to grow and bring to market. There was a fake appeal that it'd bring in magical tax dollars but everyone i knew who was seriously in the business knew it was an absolute race to the bottom. It is a weed, right there in the name. Yes, I'm well aware of how good strains are hard to cultivate but look at any other produce at the grocery store and look at the price of marijuana. People aren't talking about lettuce propping up tax deficits. 90% of marijuana is going to be tied up in marketing if and when they're allowed to advertise.

Desperate towns with longshots took the bait. My city takes similar longshot initiatives whenever anything technology related comes to town. "We'll be the silicon valley of the midwest if we give them tax breaks!" every time some boring tech company that does like database processing for insurance companies comes to town. I try to explain that technology doesn't flourish in Silicon Valley simply because of tax breaks, they have top universities and a whole host of things you can't replicate ever (great climate, access to outdoor activities, etc.). Even relatively smaller tech centers like Austin didn't get that way without being a place top graduates would want to be. And even if they wanted to bring higher paying jobs to the area, the super rich out of college jobs largely go to a select few in already a select few universities.

But i digress, this feels like the Music Man all over again with legal marijuana ... "a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and dang if he knows how to use it.”
posted by geoff. at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2021 [25 favorites]


Cartoonist Box Brown has been documenting the legalization on his Patreon/
Instagram
and a lot of the business side of things is really eye opening. Monopolies, nepotism, low quality product selling for premium prices, it’s really a mess.
posted by sleeping bear at 4:43 PM on August 7, 2021 [6 favorites]


I get a better selection than any liquor store/off-license that I've ever been at in the US or UK

This may be the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I don't know where you've been in the US, but the places I have visited have considerably better selection than any LCBO I've set foot in.

Hell, last year I was in Vanuatu, one of the smaller countries in the world, and had access to a wider variety of gin than all but one LCBO in Toronto, the largest city in Canada.

For years I'd have to buy quality vermouth and amaro from the back door of restaurants as they would skip the LCBO to import them. The LCBO is absolutely dreadful unless you want the most common brands imaginable.

Regarding pot sales here... I hate the industry. They are seriously messing up the commercial retail market. Every third store is a pot store and they have deep pockets. When I was looking to move my record store a few years ago, I constantly got swooped by them. Landlords asking $1200 would tell me, "We're really sorry, but they offered $4k. We had to take it." This happened repeatedly for more than a year. Then, the stores would go out of business (partly because at the time they were breaking the law), and that property would re-enter the market at 4k. It was absurd.

Without exaggeration there are about 25 pot stores within walking distance of my house. It's ridiculous.
posted by dobbs at 4:51 PM on August 7, 2021 [34 favorites]


But i digress, this feels like the Music Man all over again with legal marijuana ... "a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and dang if he knows how to use it.”

Heh heh. "Mule."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:56 PM on August 7, 2021 [8 favorites]


Then, the stores would go out of business (partly because at the time they were breaking the law), and that property would re-enter the market at 4k. It was absurd.

I was asked to run a string of pot stores in San Diego. The whole thing came about oddly but what they were doing was essentially illegal and they were making hand over first. Advertising in the back of magazines, selling for low prices all in cash and opening/shutting down stores under different names when they got busted. I got the feeling that the pot market was woefully geared towards those willing to operate illegally. Everyone seemed to have a rich dentist type financing the operations and avoiding taxes where they could. So once again getting marginalized people out of the business as they couldn't get traditional loans and leaving it to the petit bourgeois with 300-500k in equity to throw at it.
posted by geoff. at 4:58 PM on August 7, 2021 [5 favorites]


I mean, this reads as if someone just discovered that supply and demand can take time to reach a balance.
posted by dazed_one at 5:08 PM on August 7, 2021 [4 favorites]


Well, one of the towns profiled—Smiths Falls, Ontario—is very close to the US border. I wonder if they were banking on some level of (not especially legal) cross-border trade? Unfortunate timing if they were: first the border was closed for a year due to COVID, and now NYS is on its way to legalization.

Just looking around at some of the Canadian stores that have an online presence, it seems like prices are still quite high. One would expect a product that's so relatively easy to produce (and even cannabis extracts and oils are pretty easy to produce) to be pretty low-margin, basically a commodity item. There's probably a good margin in edibles and other derived products, but my understanding is that Canadian law right now limits edibles to rather low dosages.

Everyone seems to think that they're going to be the ultra-premium, boutique, farm-to-table, celebrity-endorsed product... when there may in reality be very little demand for such things. What the market likely wants is less Pappy Van Winkle, and more Jack Daniels... or Bud Light. Who knows, maybe literally.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:47 PM on August 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


The prices are bullshit. It's all Michael Kors boutiquey bullshit, these stores are a laugh, everyone knows it's a god damn weed that basically grows itself and it should largely be selling at an Old Navy price point.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:59 PM on August 7, 2021 [6 favorites]


I gotta say I never really thought about weed like something you should be able to get at the supermarket with your shredded lettuce but now I can't see it any other way.
posted by bleep at 6:07 PM on August 7, 2021 [9 favorites]


In addition, other value add products like edibles are still in a legal grey area in many parts of the country.

Edibles and other products that don't need to be smoked seem to be a huge part of the business here. Hampering that is definitely going to hurt the legal market.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 PM on August 7, 2021


The answer to the posed question is: turn it in to shatter. Like, yesterday.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:58 PM on August 7, 2021 [5 favorites]


The inevitability of precious weed snobbery, similar to pretentious wine snobs, is sad.
Especially since a lot of folks just want the equivalent of a sixer of Labatt's to enjoy in muskoka chairs by the lake.
posted by bartleby at 7:01 PM on August 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


Since it has become legal I’ve mostly stopped smoking and switched almost exclusively to edibles. It’s nice having five pot shops within a city block, it’s nice not having to deal with an unreliable dealer, it’s nice getting consistent edibles, it’s nice seeing the CEO of a major arts org at the cash register. But weed doesn’t seem to be all the rage and those who got in on it just for the cash are in for a world of hurt.
posted by furtive at 7:04 PM on August 7, 2021 [6 favorites]


The companies themselves are transitioning away from wild-Eyed entrepreneurs and frontmen to the staid money-men talking about quarterlies and loan adjustments.

I can't decide if this frontier got boring too soon or too late. All I know is the timing is peculiar.
posted by LD Feral at 7:28 PM on August 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


Bleep, this ancient comment I made over a decade ago is definitely for you, and it predates full recreational legalization in (I think) all of the US states, but after medical legalization in a couple of states.

Curiously one of my favorite local budget sativa strains right now is called "Where's My Bike?" which I like to enjoy while riding my bike.

Also I'm a big fan of gummies, edibles or other candies. They're really nice for a mellow nap, a nice bike ride, making some art or getting to bed early.

There's also a local soda brand that is something like 10-12 10 mg doses in a single 12 oz bottle. Which is... uh, spicy and a bit much.

The sodas are quite good, like somewhere between a Jarritos and a good Jones.

Last year someone showed up to someone's outdoor birthday party with an assorted six pack of those sodas and placed it on the beverage table, and luckily I managed to intercept it before anyone drank one without reading the label that it was technically 10+ doses and meant to be shared, and told the hosts to put that crazy shit away somewhere safe before someone got way way too stoned on accident.

And someone did get to one first and drink like half of one but thankfully she was an older long term stoner and had a really fine time.

We did try to offer them to people who might be interested but had no takers, so they remained after the party and I ended up with two of the sodas.

Then one fine sunny day after a light shift at work I intentionally and knowingly planned to drink one of them whole and enjoy a lovely 8 mile bike ride home on an off-street trail and just take my time enjoying the flowers and trees.

It was fucking glorious. Stupendous, really. 15-20 minutes after drinking it I was so high I felt like spring water and sunlight and was just wandering around eating berries and birdwatching and smelling flowers. I wasn't impaired or foggy, I was just languid and mellow and in no particular hurry at all to be anywhere but here and now.

And then later that evening I totally demolished a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and some chips and salsa and slept for a solid 10+ hours and woke up feeling like a million bucks.

Anyway, back to the actual topic of the FPP:

Yeah, no. Growing cannabis has basically never been a license to print money, even when/where it was criminalized and prohibited. A long time ago I used to know people who grew for personal use and/or profit both indoors and outdoors.

Most people who used to grow commercially were barely able to cover costs and have some produce left over for personal use or paying rent and bills. Almost all of the actual "street value" money stayed on the streets. For many cannabis farmers it was mostly a very risky hobby and/or a classical farming job with higher input costs and risks.

It was entirely possible to pay the bills and make a stable living from it, but you could also make a similar if not better living by farming artichoke, lettuce, garlic, basil or whatever. You're certainly not going to end up buying supercars and yachts being an independent cannabis farmer, but you might pay off the mortgage on a rural property or house.

Almost any commodity produce you can think of is going to be less costly and technical than growing good top shelf cannabis even before you try to factor in risks.

The only people that made any real fuck off kind of money growing or producing cannabis were vertically integrated cartels that had control of the production and sales from seed to streets and using stolen land and exploitative labor and this was only a function of prohibition and volume marketing.

Also if there's a million kilograms of unwanted weed out there I could do my part and put a dent in at least ten kilograms of it. Maybe a hundred kilos. I bet I could easily give away and consume one hundred kilograms of groomed cannabis in under a fiscal year. Shoot, I might even be able to do a metric ton if I was just giving it away.

Wait, here's an idea. I wonder if my local food bank would be into giving away next to the kale and apples?

That would be highly entertaining.
posted by loquacious at 7:44 PM on August 7, 2021 [18 favorites]


I bet I could easily give away and consume one hundred kilograms of groomed cannabis in under a fiscal year.

Well, that's two hundred kgs taken care of...
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on August 7, 2021


"Hear that Smithers, one billion grams just sitting around like so many phat sacks of potatoes"

"Perhaps a discount could be arranged..."

"What? oh my no good little wine merchant, I'm going to burn it"

"Sir, that's alot of marijuana, the rolling papers alone..."

"...No, no my two-toke denizen, in the power plant, I'll save oodles on pellets."

"But sir the pellets...."

"...for the hamster wheel electric back-up generator farm you dime bag Charlie. I can fudge the green energy numbers and buy more coal"
posted by clavdivs at 8:22 PM on August 7, 2021 [5 favorites]


I work for a commercial landlord, and for both growing and retail spaces — people were just shovelling money at us to secure leases and space (secured leases being necessary to be approved for a licence). Absurd amounts of money, which hey, we’ll take that, sure.

It’s cooled down a bit. Today it seems to have narrowed down to a few key players with reasonable rent expectations, rather than just *anybody* with cash looking to ride the top of the gold rush.

To me, the financials of those gold diggers never made sense — they depended on a massive cultural shift where everybody would start buying cannabis. The talk was that where before people would bring a bottle of wine as a gift to a dinner host, they would now bring weed. I couldn’t see that happening.

In a gold rush, the only ones making money are the ones selling the pans, and we were selling the pans.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:15 PM on August 7, 2021 [7 favorites]


LCBO

No thanks. They build, like, 5 for a city of 100k. All of which close at 9 or 10:00. Half the store is Ontario Beer and Ontario Wine, and the other half resembles the duty free shop at the airport.

Back to weed, it's still in this place where there's nowhere to legally enjoy it in public in most cities. You can't smoke (or vape) indoors, you can't do it on the street or in a park. People still do anyway, but the illegality limits the social aspect of it.

All the weed shops here in Calgary are very similar. Some are big and some are tiny; some are open until 2:00 am, but most close much earlier. But they all have frosted glass at the storefront. I'm not sure if this is due to legislation or if it's because we assume people won't want to be seen in the store. This is something I've never seen at a liquor store, more like something you'd see at an adult toy shop.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:36 PM on August 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


When I can buy a gram of 26% THC weed for $8.50, that's a pretty solid deal. Not sure how it's working elsewhere, and there are a lot of shops that are going to go out of business, due to the ubiquitousness of it, but here in Washington, it's working pretty well in my opinion.
posted by Windopaene at 10:37 PM on August 7, 2021


I had thought it was only police press releases which quoted drug quantities in the smallest possible units for dramatic effect?

(FTR: 1 billion grams = 1100 tons - - or about 27 semi-trailers full)
posted by fairmettle at 12:31 AM on August 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


To me, the saddest part about the whole legalization thing has been the rush to develop ever-more-potent strains in the pursuit of commercial advantage, as if it's axiomatic that stronger = better. Which, if it were indeed a valid general principle, would mean that nobody could conceivably prefer beer to whisky.

More = Better is the fundamental principle of both capitalism and cancer. It's so much worse than Enough = Better.
posted by flabdablet at 2:38 AM on August 8, 2021 [7 favorites]


It's going great in Illinois.

I personally love legally going to the store. It's at the store! You don't have to call the guy and hope he's in a good mood!

I have to assume that profits are on the horizon everywhere...and yeah, the market is probably overburdened. Come on, Canadians! 🇨🇦
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:24 AM on August 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


o me, the saddest part about the whole legalization thing has been the rush to develop ever-more-potent strains in the pursuit of commercial advantage, as if it's axiomatic that stronger = better. Which, if it were indeed a valid general principle, would mean that nobody could conceivably prefer beer to whisky.


This drives me bananapants. I am starting work in this business as a consultant for first time users and other cannabis naive clients, and this constant race to make high THC percentages is ridiculous. Again, it reminds me of high grav beers. Most folks just want relief, not to be greened out. (And I am definitely one of them.) Most cannabis culture is still part of that "get high, do nothing" cliche, so it's really hard to shake that stigma. Also, it's hella male dominated and very dude-centric--why do I keep finding myself in industries where minorities and women are not valued?--which another turn-off for women interested in weed.

Is weed too expensive in Canada? Well, yes and no. But you know what it is? Tested with COAs upon request. Your black market dealer could never. Full country legalization has made it possible to have the product be grown without harmful pesticides--it wouldn't pass Health Canada if it were--or to have your concentrates developed without butane or hexane. In the US, it's a patchwork of laws because federally it's still illegal. So despite the growing pains and annoyances of legal cannabis, I am glad to live in a country where there are regulations for the product.

But the hill I will die on with my beef with legal cannabis is the packaging. THE FUCKING PACKAGING. I am a fairly healthy person but I cannot open their fucking packaging without resorting to a sharp object. If I have relative hand dexterity and cannot do it, how in the sweet fuck can a medical cannabis patient with limited dexterity or arthritis do it? It's wasteful and not at all helpful for those who use this plant for medical reasons.
posted by Kitteh at 5:01 AM on August 8, 2021 [23 favorites]


Also, I am doing my first legal grow this year and I am enchanted at how easily this plant grows. Like, aside from watering and the occasional pruning, Nature is doing all the work. It's gonna be a good harvest, y'all.

(if they don't get nicked of course)
posted by Kitteh at 5:03 AM on August 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think investors thought people like me would try it. I’ve never smoked or eaten weed although I’ve experienced second hand effects from hanging out with friend or going to a Joni Mitchell/Bob Dylan concert with my parents in the now-gone old Maple Leaf Gardens. :)

I sort of thought I’d try edibles post-legalization (my lungs are shot enough), but…I’ve never gotten around to it. As I’ve aged my body’s gotten way more sensitive to things, but also I just don’t have a habit of getting drunk or stoned or enhancing my other activities (as much as I can see the appeal of a magical lakeside bike ride.)

So if I was the market - no one’s really convinced me I need this in my life you know? I supported legalization and have nothing against it but I’m not a consumer.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:09 AM on August 8, 2021 [7 favorites]


This is why I am doing what I do. For folks who are interested but don't know where to start. Heavy use consumers (medical or rec) lament the low dosages for edibles here, but honestly, they're really perfect for new users. Wana has a line of ratio gummies that is just superb for new users. The industry says low and slow for a reason!

I am interested in working in cannabis for women's health (IANAD, obv) for minor issues like stress, sleep, and relaxation. Finding your sweet spot in cannabis and using it for anything like that is better than a glass of wine, IMO. But it does take trial and error, it does take tracking to find what works for you, you know? (This is not me trying to change your mind; it's a general you.) The industry seems to work on the assumption that you are already familiar with the product, and doesn't do much for the peripherally interested. A huge driver in the legal market seems to be 60+ folks who want to find different ways to ease their aches and pains without pharmaceuticals--and yes, that's awesome, but please tell your doctor you're going to do that--but the stigma is hard for them to break. Years of racist prohibition have done an astoundingly good job on the public regarding this plant. When you study the history of it, it's very eye-opening.
posted by Kitteh at 6:29 AM on August 8, 2021 [5 favorites]


I find it funny that Martha Stewart is selling CBD gummies ,oils etc.

Three years on, nobody is turning a profit

I don't know about that.
The Bay street or Wall street weasels should be doing ok.

Canada has a few stock exchanges.
The senior is the TSX (Toronto stock exchange) and it also has the TSX Venture exchange ( basically penny stocks, )

There is also the junior Canadian Securities Exchange , or CSE
As a friend of mine calls, it the Cannabis Securities Exchange.
Over a quarter of their total listings ( 184 of 698 total) are cannabis related stocks.
They even provide a helpful guide to all of them.:
( it's a 53 page pdf)

--
The article mentions Tweed cannabis which is now owned by Canopy Growth.

Canopy growth trades on the TSX under the symbol WEED
Trading at $24 a share , it has a market cap of $ 9 billion dollars
6 months ago it was trading at $ 60 a share.

Over 5 years it keeps bouncing between $60 and $ 20 a share.

So someone is doing quite well.
posted by yyz at 6:59 AM on August 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Back to weed, it's still in this place where there's nowhere to legally enjoy it in public in most cities. You can't smoke (or vape) indoors, you can't do it on the street or in a park. People still do anyway, but the illegality limits the social aspect of it.

I agree, though at least around here there is really selective enforcement. I see people who are white and look "presentable" smoking in the park all the time and I've never seen them get any police attention; it is a different story if you don't fit into that kind of category. (Similar to the selective enforcement of alcohol, where picnickers sharing a nice bottle of red are fine but scruffy guys sharing a bottle aren't.) So some people are able to casually have that public and social use, but it isn't available generally.

A huge driver in the legal market seems to be 60+ folks who want to find different ways to ease their aches and pains without pharmaceuticals

This is apparently very much the case here, along with all the other people who either aren't going to be comfortable buying from a sketchy guy in a gas station parking lot or for whom being able to buy a consistent, branded, and certified product is a big deal.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:19 AM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


(FTR: 1 billion grams = 1100 tons - - or about 27 semi-trailers full)

Fine, I'll take one 40 foot ISO shipping container full. Maybe two. But I want to keep the boxes.

Actually why didn't I think of this before? Hempfest! I'm just imagining the utter pandemonium you could cause at Seattle's Hempfest if you parked a couple of trailers or containers full of weed, opened the doors and just walked away.
posted by loquacious at 7:27 AM on August 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


I cannot now locate it, but there is a great map of Toronto published a few years back. When it was first announced that cannabis was to be legalized federally, our then-government Ontario was confronted with some Very Concerned Citizens who gnashed their teeth and rent their garments because an application had gone in for a dispensary about 1.25 km from a primary school.

In the interest of dealing with the public concerns, the then-premier announced that this would be the lower limit, and that no future retail cannabis stores could open within 1200 metres of a school.

The Toronto Star took a map of the city and overlaid it with a circle of 1200 m radius centred on each primary and secondary school. As one might imagine, that left the possible places to sell as essentially the airport, a few industrial pockets, and the parkland on Toronto island.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:03 AM on August 8, 2021 [8 favorites]


a little like the mule with a spinning wheel.

Well, fuck me sideways.

Anyhow, I have an old friend who lives smack dab in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley. Back in the day, when everything was possible, and most of it was illegal, I grew an 18-foot plant in the backyard, up next to the wall of our duplex. By autumn, I had to prop up some of the branches with a cleverly woven spiderweb of string. The little darling was a Thai-Columbian hybrid, and its branches festooned will colas the size of my thumb and a three-foot crown as big as my forearm. The harvest yielded about five pounds of trimmed buds and a thirty-gallon garbage bag of sun leaves. I believe that plant would have yielded another pound or so. Still, shit happend during the latter stage of the growing season, during backyard barbecues, where we took liberal samples in what amounted to wine-tasting parties that were attended by more friends than I ever knew I had.

TANS: You could see the top of the plant from the road, but it was so big that nobody actually realized what it was. I harvested it in November after the plant shed its sun leaves, and the colas sported red hairs and were frosted with crystals.

[Tip of the day: If you put a handful of trimmed colas into a paper bag, then leave the bag on a sunny window sill, the colas will be ready to smoke in less than four days. I recommend one-toke pipes to rolling papers.]

[Addendum: Dried sun leave go back into the ground after mulching.]

So, flash forward about forty years. I don't smoke anything anymore. I squandered my youth on weed and tobacco, and now my lungs remind me of my inattention to their needs by producing periodic gobs of phlegm. My buddy and his wife came to visit us a few weeks ago. He tells me that growing high-quality weed is like growing tomatoes: you'll always have more that you can use. So he harvests his weed into quart jars and gives them to his friends.

I predict the weed market will eventually stabilize. In my old neighborhood in Oregon, I'm told that illegal grows still exist. You gotta get a permit and know your zones. But the locals have been growing personal weed for decades. As long as garden shops sell peat pots and big plastic buckets, home-grown weed will prevail.

[Fun fact: In 1975, another friend of mine, let's call him Joaquin, left San Francisco to ride out a trial separation from his wife. He stayed with friends in a communal house in Weed, California. He was sitting on the curb near a local 7-11 one night enjoying a pinner of excellent Thai weed and a can of Pepsi Cola, when a passerby, smelling the state of the moment, sat down next to him. So Joaquin passed him the pinner. Then, he decided to share another pinner, his last, with his newfound friend. They toked until the pinner was about half-finished, at which time Joaquin's new friend flashed a badge and hooked Joaquin up, using the pinners roach as evidence at Joaquin's arraignment.
posted by mule98J at 8:09 AM on August 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


Sitting here in the Commonwealth of PA and reading all these comments about neighborhood weed stores and such is like reading dispatches from an alternate universe.
posted by octothorpe at 8:23 AM on August 8, 2021 [6 favorites]


One thing to keep in mind is that, pre-legalization, Americans were the pot-smoking-est people in the world, and we’ve increased that lead in the past decade of rolling (heh) legalization. So some false expectations w/r/t to potential Canadian legal market size may have been created.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:31 AM on August 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


In Ontario the store must be 150 meters away from a school.

The Registrar cannot issue an RSA to a proposed cannabis retail store located less than 150 metres from a school or private school,

And the reason for windows being frosted , covered is it's also regulated:

"You must display your cannabis and accessories in a way that they cannot be seen by a young person, even from outside the store."

It's incredible how many stores there are in Ontario.
Here's a handy map showing them all
posted by yyz at 9:43 AM on August 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


My fantasy for legalization would have meant an absolute ban on indoor growing (if one is chasing THC content, well, that is what shatter is for). It could have become something closer to the wine industry, with aficionados pursuing terroir and other marks of particular outdoor growing. The fact of indoor growing is a hard slap to any environmental sensibility from the new, stupid weed industry (the packaging is a follow up punch).

The other feature of outdoor only is that countries near the equator, y'know, where cannabis comes from, would have an immediate advantage in the cannabis market: countries like Jamaica, Panama, Columbia but also Afghanistan, Nepal and Thailand, countries that could really use some cash from wealthier cannabis users in North American and Europe, could stake out their traditional, previously underground claims to excellent, interesting weed, hash and oils as well as develop new products and markets.

But no. We have this instead. So. Stupid.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:51 AM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


I must live in a relative dry zone in Toronto: there's only one cannabis shop within walking distance. And even the mildest pre-rolls I can find (Pure Sunfarms' Headband) are 17.6% THC: which is basically insta-whitey after one toke. Apart from some spectacularly low-grade dogshit hash in my twenties, I've got no background in cannabis culture. I don't want to be couch-bound, I want the joyful giggliness and as little of the nausea as possible.

One of my former colleagues/friends was a big deal in the first Ontario cannabis startups, and I've spent an awkward morning in the presence of the former Canopy CEO. They're solid Bay Street insiders, very good at scaring up money and confidence from their insider friends. There's also the possibility that — perhaps — Canada doesn't have the most advanced market people. We're used to simple extractive markets, and maintaining quality product and prices doesn't fit well with the junior/cash-out model that's made many people very rich here.
posted by scruss at 10:47 AM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


I don't want to be couch-bound, I want the joyful giggliness and as little of the nausea as possible.

I find for me personally, getting sativa instead of indica avoids the couchlock.
posted by hippybear at 11:25 AM on August 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Sitting here in the Commonwealth of PA and reading all these comments about neighborhood weed stores and such is like reading dispatches from an alternate universe.

That goes both ways -- it's weird to travel from a place where there are weed stores everywhere to a place where it is still illegal. Seeing the billboards and passing the stores is just sort of part of the visual backdrop here now and it only stands out when you see a particularly creative store name.

My buddy and his wife came to visit us a few weeks ago. He tells me that growing high-quality weed is like growing tomatoes: you'll always have more that you can use. So he harvests his weed into quart jars and gives them to his friends.

The hobby growers I know are always trying to give it away, too. Especially if your plants are having a good year, you end up with way more than even a dedicated stoner can use and then you are trying to either sell it or gift it.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:45 AM on August 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


I have neighbors who grow so much weed they literally feed it to their pigs. Makes for fishy tasting bacon though.
posted by stet at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


There's a real impossible triangle here. The government (and I guess the public?) wants to:
  1. Put the illegal growers out of business;
  2. Stop incarcerating people for dealing weed;
  3. Make legal weed expensive and highly regulated.
And there is no way to get all three. As many above have pointed out, weed is extremely easy and cheap to grow, so the actual costs of cultivation will be tiny. So if you want legal weed to be expensive so everyone isn't just high all the time, you have to create a highly regulated monopoly, which means bringing the power of the state to bear against people who are trying to circumvent it. But if we're punishing people for growing weed, why did we legalize it in the first place? And so you can tolerate a grey market, but then your highly regulated monopoly will crash and burn.

My impression of Canada is that they have decided to abandon goal #1 for now, assuming that the legal market will win the day eventually. That's a pretty reasonable choice tbh. If it were me I might abandon goal #3, but that does have real downsides! Not only do you get a lot more car accidents, all those people you promised extra tax revenue to will start to get upset.
posted by goingonit at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2021


Another note: Canadian tobacco production is measured in the millions of kilograms. When stories about legal weed measure it in kg or tons instead of grams, we'll know that the industry has arrived.

(To put it into context: the amount of cannabis destroyed in Canada in 2020 was something like 1% of Ontario's annual tobacco crop)
posted by goingonit at 3:37 PM on August 8, 2021


I bet it's delightful if you have some money laundering to do, though.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:59 PM on August 8, 2021


fishy tasting bacon

Pity about the bacon, but what was the effect on the live pigs? A happy pig is a happy thought but a headachy seeky pig sounds like big trouble.
posted by clew at 7:37 PM on August 8, 2021


Pigs with munchies. Just let that thought sink in.
posted by hippybear at 7:43 PM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


Sitting here in the Commonwealth of PA and reading all these comments about neighborhood weed stores and such is like reading dispatches from an alternate universe.

Try being in Virginia where you can do everything with the plants but sell/buy them ( we've got 3 years to set that up ). So there's no legal way to grow your own.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:55 PM on August 8, 2021


Is weed too expensive in Canada?

What is not too expensive in Canada? Economy there is bizarre.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:47 PM on August 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


Our pigs always had the munchies, as far as we could tell, which was fine with us as we fed them as much as we could to fatten them up as fast as possible.
posted by clew at 11:19 PM on August 8, 2021


Joaquin's new friend flashed a badge and hooked Joaquin up, using the pinners roach as evidence at Joaquin's arraignment

Man, fuck the police.
posted by dazed_one at 12:20 AM on August 9, 2021 [1 favorite]


> He tells me that growing high-quality weed is like growing tomatoes

My inability to grow a literal weed has been further confirmation that I'm the World's Worst Gardener. Last year I managed to harvest one sad plant (the other three died), the bounty from which was a total of nine grams of weak-ass weed.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:42 AM on August 9, 2021


Card Cheat, you must have a blacker thumb than I do! I am surprised mine are still alive! (I also did not reckon with how thirsty they are too.) :)
posted by Kitteh at 6:43 AM on August 9, 2021


I interviewed a C-suite leader at a cannabis company a couple months ago and he told me the only way to make money in the industry today is "picks and shovels," which refers to the idea that during a gold rush you don't risk everything on prospecting but instead opt for a steady profit by selling the tools used by the prospectors. Who tend to go broke.
posted by bassomatic at 6:50 AM on August 9, 2021 [4 favorites]


Last year I managed to harvest one sad plant (the other three died)

Indoors or outdoors?

If indoors, most likely cause is not enough light.
posted by flabdablet at 7:36 AM on August 9, 2021


Dredged in dark flashes, images from a youth who lived in the near past some fifty years ago: A temporary dwelling on the windward flank of Moana Loa, a one-room hut constructed of bamboo and other bits of foliage native to the plot. An unobstructed view of Hilo, a horizonless view, where the Pacific Ocean blends with the sky. Rainbow moons. A solitary life, punctuated by monthly trips into Hilo for simple foodstuff: honey, a can of tobacco, packs of ramen, and vegetables gleaned from plots grown near sea level.

I lived on the 2500-ft contour line and got my water from runnels and lava tubes. I tended a hundred plants, many grown in garbage bags stashed in ways that hid them from the police helicopter that patrolled the area. I nurtured my little darlings with bugass provided by my patron, a Filipino farmer. I kept a poorly hidden sacrificial field of a dozen or so plants and left subtle trails to them as a distraction for the dope hunters who sometimes wandered through the area. My front yard was ten thousand acres of wild orchids, knee-high amber stalks with tiny pale flowers, and my back yard was a complex forest of ferns and native trees. One cannot buy memories such as these; one must purchase them, and the price, as it turns out, is dear.
posted by mule98J at 7:37 AM on August 9, 2021 [10 favorites]


images from a youth who lived in the near past some fifty years ago

I've wound my way through that area many times wondering what lay further back in the foliage - thank you for sharing images that exceed what I'd imagined.
posted by bassomatic at 7:48 AM on August 9, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm sure that over time cannabis producers will be able to build businesses just like breweries, distilleries, or coffee roasters but these stocks were being hyped like they were the next Google or Bitcoin. If the promise of tax revenues was enough to push people into accepting legalization then fine it got the job done but these sky-high valuations were BS from day one. To me this just reads as if the people with money have too much of it and are creating bubbles wherever they decide to put it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:43 PM on August 9, 2021 [3 favorites]


What is not too expensive in Canada? Economy there is bizarre.
posted by Meatbomb 3 days ago [1 favorite +] [!]


Basic healthcare.

Also, for things actually sold in the private market: fruits and vegetables are substantially cheaper than I experienced in the UK, clothing is reasonably priced. And you have to think about costs in terms of how they relate to wages. The American federal minimum wage ($7.25 USD/hour) is about $9 Canadian; Ontario's current minimum wage is $14.25 Canadian/hour, and due to rise to $14.35 in October.

I have lived and worked in the United States (5 years), the UK (2.5 years) and Canada (20+ years for working and paying my own way). There are specific things that I have found to be remarkably expensive in one place (UK: fresh fruit & veg, housing, any kind of internal travel; US: decent bread - the basic stuff is inedible, healthcare; Canada: any telecommunications service). When it comes to the US and Canada, I think region matters more than the country - housing in Toronto (Canada's largest city) is more expensive than where I lived in the US (a small rust-best city), but not more expensive than NYC, though telecommunications is, famously, a complete racket here.
posted by jb at 9:42 AM on August 11, 2021 [2 favorites]


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