The Rotation: Vol. 23
Cannabis Distribution Resumes in BC, Superette Up For Sale and the Psychedelic Hype Bubble
B.C General Employee’s Union Pauses Job Action
The BCGEU announced that it is ending its current job action and standing down picket lines at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch locations, per StratCann.
- The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) said that they expect to have their employees returning to work beginning Wednesday, August 31, 2022.
- The public sector union says this decision was made in “good faith” after making significant progress at the negotiation table.
- The two sides will continue to meet throughout the week, with both attempting to finalize a tentative agreement.
- Despite the return, retailers are still concerned that the massive backlog of orders will continue to cause issues and will take several weeks to return to normal.
We are sure that retailers in B.C. are breathing a sigh of relief that things are starting to look up and distribution will resume. However, the strike has highlighted some of the inherent issues in a government monopoly controlling the supply chain for legal cannabis products that makes retailers extremely vulnerable to labour action. Advocates have argued that the government should have a contingency plan in place in the event of further job action and move towards diversifying the supply chain. On a positive note, the direct delivery program in B.C has also resumed, and the strike has potentially forced the program into the forefront, with some retailers already taking on delivery costs and logistics.
Are the Potential of Psychedelics Being Exaggerated?
An article by Wired highlights some of the issues surrounding the unbridled excitement around the medicinal potential of psychedelics.
- There are growing concerns amongst scientists and even researchers within the field of psychedelics that misinformation surrounding their medicinal benefits are being circulated and there has been a general lack of openness from certain psychedelic researchers towards criticism.
- Despite psychedelics being vilified for decades, the pendulum has swung completely the other direction over the last year, leading to Rosalind Watts, a former clinical lead on psychedelic trials stating that she feels though she “unknowingly contributed to a simplistic and potentially dangerous narrative around psychedelics” that she is now trying to correct.
- Psychedelic research, for all its promise, is still at the embryonic stage and trials so far have been small, and while some results have shown promise, findings don’t necessarily support some of the more outlandish claims being made.
- Some researchers that are critical about the hype surrounding psychedelics hope that the field will settle down again, with less public and corporate interest and more time for the boring—but necessary—rigorous research.
We agree that the hype surrounding the medicinal potential of psychedelics risks putting psychedelic research back where it started and undermining the progress that has been made so far. As Philip Corlett, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine points out, “Science is meant to be somewhat adversarial. It’s not meant to be presided over by a single group of people. I’m still open and excited about the possibilities, but I think this kind of breathless rush to translation and to a conclusion is really dangerous”. Furthermore, the article points out how some criminal actions are being glossed over and going unchecked, with the recent cases of sexual abuse during psychedelic therapy coming to light in recent years, a topic that we will be exploring further on the Psychedelic Therapy: Harm-Reduction, Risks and Ethical Concerns panel at the Cannabis 360 Conference.
Superette to be Acquired by SNDL
SNDL, formerly known as Sundial, has entered into a bid agreement to purchase Superette’s 6 remaining stores for 6.9M.
- Superette appears to be in creditor protection and based on court filings have been struggling to turn a profit since they opened.
- Superette also recently closed down its Summerhill location in Toronto.
- SNDL is one of Canada’s largest cannabis and liquor retail conglomerate, whose cannabis retail brands include Value Buds and Spiritleaf.
- SNDL is also licensed cannabis producer that whose cannabis brand portfolio includes Top Leaf, Sundial Cannabis, Palmetto, Spiritleaf Selects, and Grasslands.
Despite being what many considered the quintessential example of experiential cannabis retail done well boasting a thoughtful, well-curated and unique design, Superette appears to be struggling as of late and may not be the success story that many originally thought it was. When the curtain is peeled back, it’s clear that rapid expansion, expensive buildouts, and poor lease agreements may have had a detrimental impact on the viability of the business. Despite some industry experts suggesting that 6.9M is a steal given the brands unique locations and aesthetic, it will be interesting to see what’s in store for Superette under this new ownership.