High Park Farms Receives Cannabis Cultivation License From Health Canada

CANADA:  High Park Farms announced that it has received a federal license from Health Canada to cultivate cannabis under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The High Park Farms facility, which is anticipated to represent an investment of up to $30 million, features 13 acres of greenhouse on 100 acres of property in Enniskillen, Ontario.

“This license is a major milestone for High Park as we work to prepare for the anticipated launch of the world’s largest federally legal cannabis market later this year,” said Adine Carter, Chief Marketing Officer of High Park.

High Park Farms will begin cultivating cannabis plants in its greenhouse next week and anticipates its first harvest in June. In accordance with the Cannabis Act introduced in Canadian parliament in April 2017, High Park Farms anticipates that its ACMPR cultivation license will provide the company the ability to supply the adult-use cannabis market in Canada once the legislation is adopted.

High Park launched earlier this month to produce and distribute a broad-based portfolio of cannabis brands and products for the Canadian market in anticipation of adult-use legalization. Based in Toronto and led by a team with deep experience in cannabis and global consumer brands, High Park has secured the exclusive rights to produce and distribute a broad-based portfolio of adult-use cannabis brands and products in Canada, subject to applicable laws and regulations. In addition, High Park has developed new brands and products for the Canadian market. Pending federal legalization of cannabis for adult-use and corresponding provincial legislation, High Park anticipates fulfilling adult-use supply agreements in QuebecManitoba, and Yukon. High Park plans to secure additional supply agreements with crown corporations and private entities in other provinces in the coming months.

Putting Pesticides In Their Place

By Richard Freeman

Pesticide use in the Cannabis industry has received some bad press lately.  In Colorado, producers have recalled several large batches of edibles over the last year due to pesticide contamination. In 2015, consumers in the same state sued a producer for selling organically-labeled products tainted with pesticides. Denver health officials quarantined 60,000 plants from the same producer, and Colorado’s governor has promised a robust regulatory response.  Change is coming.

Of course, farmers have used pesticides in one form or another for well over a century – on food, tobacco, and non-consumables like hemp. That use has sewn controversy for decades, so the basic arguments are well known.  Proponents assert that pesticide use can and does increase production and avert risk of disaster.  The underlying assumption is that the products are safe if used correctly (strictly within guidelines of the label).

Opponents assert that residual pesticides pose health risks to consumers. The case is especially poignant with Cannabis farming, since pesticide companies have yet to test pesticides in marijuana and CBD Cannabis production. (Federal prohibition has thwarted such testing.)  Opponents also assert that through unintended contamination, pesticide use affects people, pets and wildlife, reduces biodiversity of non-target organisms, and ultimately selects for pesticide-resistant pest strains.  From this perspective, unintended contamination is common, and farmers routinely use pesticides outside the label guidelines. (By definition, applying pesticides on Cannabis will violate labels until the Environmental Protection Agency updates them to include use with marijuana and CDB cultivation.)

Aside from their differences, however, both sides will agree that if farmers do use pesticides, they should use them sensibly, effectively and efficiently.  In this regard, any pesticide use should be part of a larger, comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

IPM is a pest management framework that emphasizes maximizing net value (profit) – the spread between expected benefits (income) and expected costs.  When considering pesticide use – or any other cultural practice – the farmer compares the expected costs from pest-induced damage to the expected management costs for labor, equipment and materials – in addition to the risk of decreased product value due to pesticide contamination.  The farmer avoids cultural practices that don’t show a return.

IPM includes a large set of cultural practices – of which pesticide application is only one.  These practices fall into four groups. Environmental/ecological practices create a low-risk growing environment that’s healthy for plants and isn’t vulnerable to pest outbreaks.  Monitoring is key to catching problems early, before serious infection or infestation.  Indirect controls involved adjusting growing environments (lighting, atmosphere and soil) to thwart pests.  Direct controls follow or accompany indirect controls.  Direct controls include mechanical, biological and chemical controls.

In IPM, chemical controls function as a direct control of last resort.  They vary significantly in mode of action and toxicity from product to product, and the intensity and scale of their use depends upon the growth stage of the crop and the type and scope of the pest problem.

IPM offers several benefits to commercial Cannabis cultivation, small-scale as well as large-scale.  Aside from maximizing value, the farmer routinizes pest management, thereby avoiding crisis responses (which are expensive).  Budgeting and scheduling become more reliable and costs are more predictable.

Equally important, IPM benefits the consumer and minimizes costs borne by people and critters who might suffer the effects of pesticide exposure, and farmers get mimimal exposure, as well.  It’s a win-win scenario. The farmer benefits in many ways, and society and the environment benefits.  And, well-designed IPM puts a much better face on our industry than headlines featuring pesticide-caused calamities.


Upscale Marijuana Is Moving Online

CALIFORNIA:  The parking lot at Wonderland Nursery is often full of Ford F-150s belonging to area growers, who have come to pick up clones — stem cuttings of cannabis that have been replanted — and glean advice for their crops. The airy, two-story facility sits on the outskirts of Garberville, Calif., a little hub of civilization and commerce amid the far-spread farms shrouded in the hills.

When I visited, a few nursery workers, in the process of making more clones from plant cuttings, passed around a joint in the unassuming manner workers in a different place of business might gather at the watercooler. Owner Kevin Jodrey says they’re actually not supposed to smoke in the shop, but “you know how it goes from time to time.”

If you want to get wonky about cannabis cultivation, Jodrey’s nursery has a vast genetic library, and he has helped people with everything from arthritis to late-stage leukemia find the right strain and cannabinoid ratio to treat themselves.


Marijuana Farmers Lose Seattle Tax Exemption

WASHINGTON:  The Seattle City Council moved to close a tax loophole that benefits the pot growing business Monday, but it left the loophole alone for all other farmers.

Councilmember Nick Licata said that Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are already paying a business tax, giving the city more than $100,000 a year. And he believes marijuana farmers should be treated the same way. He won a unanimous council vote to change the law so that marijuana farmers will no longer be treated the same as the growers of fruits and vegetables. Marijuana farmers will no longer be able to take the agricultural exemption from the Business and Occupation tax.

“All of these advocates in the marijuana business, growing business agree that they want to pay taxes,” Licata said.

College Of Cannabis Opens In Tampa As Vote On Medical Marijuana Looms

FLORIDA: On the first day of class at cannabis college, the professor gave a quick survey of a long history: from a Chinese emperor’s writings on hemp to the founding of High Times magazine.

But the students gathered in a red-carpeted meeting room of a Residence Inn didn’t perk up until the lecture turned to botany, the foundation for cultivating medical marijuana — and, perhaps, making money. [Read more…]

CalNORML to Challenge Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ruling

CALIFORNIA: In an action supported by California NORML, medical marijuana patient James Maral will file a petition with the California Supreme Court to review the recent Third District Appellate Court decision upholding the city of Live Oak’s ban on medical marijuana cultivation.

San Francisco Attorney Joe Elford will draft and file the petition. “If you ban dispensaries and you ban cultivation, you’re ripping the heart out of California’s medical marijuana laws,” said Elford. “This decision conflicts with the intent of the electorate and Legislature and should not be allowed to stand.”

The announcement comes a day after Fresno county took steps to enact a total cultivation ban on first reading at its Board of Supervisors meeting. A second reading on the ordinance will take place on January 7. [Read more…]