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‘CBD is becoming kind of an ‘it’ word in cannabis’: Expert says demand for low-potency weed rising – National

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As recreational marijuana legalization looms, some industry insiders are predicting a hot niche in the market for less potent products.

At the centre of the shift is an expected influx of new consumers more interested in dabbling than getting blitzed, creating demand for pot products with lower doses of psychoactive ingredients.


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A report by Deloitte forecasts that legalization on Oct. 17 will bring a consumer into the market who is more risk averse, older and less likely to consume the drug as regularly as existing recreational users.

“Today’s consumer is what we describe as a risk taker. They’re young, typically with a high school or college education. In their quest to live life to the fullest, they’re more likely to put their health or safety at risk, even going so far as to skirt or break the law,” it says.

Newer recreational customers will typically be 35 to 54 years old, and three-quarters of them will have some experience with recreational pot but only 41 per cent will have used it in the last five years, it says.

WATCH: What do kids think about marijuana legalization






“This consumer is more of a conservative experimenter – typically middle-aged, with a university or graduate school education. They don’t tend to put their personal interests before family needs or other responsibilities,” the report says.

It says almost half of current consumers say they would move to the legal market if there were more choices in terms of product potency.

Producers are paying attention.

Andrew Pollock, vice-president of marketing for The Green Organic Dutchman said many consumers are asking for products with higher concentrations of non-psychoactive cannabidiol, also know as CBD, rather than tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the main mind-altering ingredient in the plant.

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“CBD is becoming kind of an ‘it’ word in cannabis. We see a real trend there,” Pollock said.

CBD and THC are some of the most common compounds found in marijuana.

Plants with high CBD give more clear-headed relief to symptoms of anxiety, pain and inflammation. THC gives users a “high,” an appetite and relieves symptoms like pain and nausea, Pollock said.

“What we’re finding is more and more consumers are just looking for something to help them relax, to take away the stress, maybe to help them sleep. What most consumers are looking for in this day and age is calm,” he said.

The Green Organic Dutchman is building 130,000 square metres of cultivation facilities in Ontario, Quebec and Jamaica.

Ali Wasuk, store manager of WestCanna dispensary in Vancouver, says CBD products are already popular among the company’s medical clients, especially older users without recreational experience who are wary “getting high.”

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“That crowd was the main one who kind of wanted to dabble, get their feet wet with the lower dose stuff,” he said. “Generally the medical side of it is mainly lower dose THC.”

South of the border, less potent products have already entered a market once dominated by black market pot that packed a punch.

“Products are now being scored and packaged and marked in low doses,” said Tom Adams, managing director of BDS Analytics in Colorado.

Part of that comes as a result of what industry members refer to as the “Maureen Dowd Effect,” he said. The New York Times columnist wrote a piece detailing her experience sampling a cannabis-infused chocolate from one of Colorado’s newly legal pot shops in 2014 that left her “curled in a hallucinatory state” for eight hours in her Denver hotel room.

Since then, the industry has made a concerted effort to cater lower-dose products to new users and emphasize responsible consumption, especially with edibles.


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“The industry has very much harped on the theme of, ‘Start low, go slow,’ ” Adams said.

There are also regular users in the market who want to take some edge off without getting high.

“(They say) two milligrams or three milligrams just has a mild relaxing effect and doesn’t interfere with you going about your day,” Adams said.

The shift is occurring mostly at the processing level where the plants are used to create concentrates, oils, edibles and other products, he said.

Some companies are banking on recreational consumers having less fluency in dosages or chemical components and who are instead looking for an “experience.”

WATCH: Cannabis connections may hurt Canadians at U.S. border






Adine Carter, chief marketing officer for High Park, based in a Nanaimo, B.C., said the company is highlighting its recreational products’ effects instead of its medicinal components.

In other words, you can buy “Sun” under its Irisa brand if you want energy or “Earth” for balance and focus.

“It’s a very different approach to product development than the medical products that are geared toward having the patient understand exactly what the potency is for their condition,” Carter said.

“We believe that telling them what the products are designed to do will resonate better with them as consumers.”

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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