Canadian study finds that enzymes in cannabis could treat COVID-19

The study was conducted in April by researchers at the University of Lethbridge

Researchers at the University of Lethbridge recently released results from a study that shows the benefits of CBD as an aid in blocking the cells that enter the body from the novel coronavirus. The study, published in peer journal Preprints, was conducted by the scientists in April, and the results were released in a non-peer-reviewed, preclinical study titled “In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel Anti-Inflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues” earlier this month, according to a release from pharmaceutical research company Pathway RX.

The study is a partnership among the university, Pathway, which works to develop cannabis therapies to treat specific diseases, and cannabinoid-based oral health company Swysh Inc. 

The researchers in Alberta, Canada, conducted a study using artificial 3D models of oral, airway and intestinal tissues coupled with a limited sample of high CBD Cannabis sativa extracts modulate ACE2 gene expression and ACE2 protein levels. The results indicated hemp extracts high in CBD may help block proteins that provide a “gateway” for COVID-19 to enter host cells.

The study results were recently shared publicly, and the research paper was submitted to a scientific journal for peer review, according to Pathway Rx.

Among the 1,000 Cannabis sativa varieties that have been screened by Pathway Rx, only a small number have expressed medicinal properties. The research company is seeking funding to continue its efforts to support scientific initiatives to address COVID-19. 

“The Government of Canada’s latest investment to support the health of Canadians creates a significant opportunity for Pathway Rx to advance our research and accelerate the development of custom therapies and products to help combat COVID-19,” Kovalchuk said in a statement.

The results come as several countries lean upon the science community for answers on how to prevent and treat COVID-19. On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that for at least two weeks he’s explored the drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against the coronavirus. He also shared that frontline workers are taking the drug, which has been found by the FDA to cause serious heart problems.

Controversy continues to surround the medical solutions that have been purported as options to curb the spread of the virus, which, as of May 19, claimed the lives of more than 90,000 Americans and nearly 325,000 people across the globe.

Source: AJC

Cannabis Revenue rises amidst COVID-19

With the COVID crisis hammering county coffers — an estimated $50 million for additional costs and lost revenues combined — cannabis sales remain about the only revenue source where the numbers are going up. Third quarter tax revenues from the county’s cannabis operators — from January through March — totaled $2.6 million, about 60 percent higher than the same time last year. Put another way, the county has now raised more tax revenues from its controversial cannabis industry during the first three quarters of this year than it did in the four quarters of last year. County bean counters are projecting total annual revenues of $9.2 million this year, often delivered to the tax collectors in large satchels bursting with old $20 bills.

The debates that are bound to arise over proposed new land-use restrictions generated by the county’s 113 cannabis operators will certainly be colored by all that money. One of the criticisms of the new industry is that they’ve been allowed to self-report their revenues with no oversight by county tax collectors. Twenty-three don’t file any reports at all; 44 reported zero gross receipts; and 46 reported taxable income. 

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Bernard Melekian, the county administrator charged with bird-dogging the cannabis industry, will be notifying those operators who filed no reports at all for two consecutive quarters that they will be in danger of losing the county letters of authorization upon which their state licenses are based. Melekian said he did that once before and that such letters successfully rattled a few cages. 

In related news, an attorney representing the owners of a downtown cannabis dispensary have sent a stern warning letter to city councilmembers and city administrators should they entertain a proposal from Teddy Cabugos and property owner Ray Mahboob to locate a four-story cannabis emporium — with two levels of indoor cultivation and one level of museum space dedicated to cannabis-related themes — and an outdoor rooftop consumption café at the site now occupied by Forever 21 at the corner of State and Canon Perdido streets.

Cabugos has twice raised the idea at recent council meetings and has been meeting personally with councilmembers. In less stressed times, such an outside-the-box proposal probably would have been dead on arrival, but given the dire COVID-related problems confronting State Street and City Hall’s diminished coffers, some councilmembers had expressed interest in the idea. The time to consider newer and more audacious solutions, some say, is at hand. 

Representing the owners of the Coastal Dispensary located on Chapala Street, attorney Cameron Gharabiklou urged the councilmembers to “reject any attempt to grant approvals for the operation of a cannabis consumption lounge within city limits,” unless other operators had been given a chance to compete for the same concession and all had been thoroughly vetted. 

Coastal Attorney Gharabiklou argued that Cabugos’s proposed cannabis café would still qualify as a dispensary even if none of the product sold was allowed offsite; as such, he argued, it could not be approved without violating the terms of the city’s exhaustive review process, which ultimately allowed only three dispensaries to be opened within city limits. Cabugos and Mahboob have argued that such an emporium would draw new shoppers to downtown, generate foot traffic for nearby businesses, and generate revenues for a city government now looking at a $30 million shortfall over the next two years. Cabugos is still polishing the details of his final proposal and nothing has been officially submitted for City Hall review. It remains to be seen just how chilling the Coastal warning letter will be, but the road ahead for Cabugos definitely tilts more uphill. 

Source: Independent

Cannabis is the future

I’m a recent transplant from a Northern California agricultural community. I lived in Lompoc last year and just moved to Santa Maria. Although I have no friends or family in the area, I moved here in 2019 for an amazing job offer in cannabis. Let me count the reasons why I say amazing:

  1. Cannabis plants are incredible medicine
  2. Working in cannabis aligns with my values of working for a values-driven company in an industry that has the power to heal
  3. Working for a Jewish female and Latino owned business is both inspiring and empowering
  4. My job pays a living wage which allows me to live in one of the most expensive counties in the State
  5. Cannabis companies are economic drivers contributing to the growth of our local and state economies evidenced through high-paying jobs and payment of ancillary services and taxes
  6. The company owners are thoughtful, giving leaders providing cannabis education, advocacy and community involvement

My principal reason for writing today is to show my support to the county of Santa Barbara for their thoroughness and due diligence in crafting and implementing the cannabis ordinance. Staff has unequivocally done their job in ensuring CEQA compliance, local constituents overwhelmingly voted in favor of cannabis and public comment periods were exhaustive. We have a solid ordinance, clear rules to follow and a queue of conscientious cannabis entrepreneurs awaiting approval. We can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Cannabis is the future whether the opponents want it or not.

The S.B. Coalition for Responsible Cannabis CEQA lawsuit filed against the county is a frivolous drain on limited resources that will not be won. Once again, I’m here to support the county in their fight to defend their highly defensible CEQA work outputs.

Source: Independent

Cannabis stores in Ontario are reopening

Offer curbside pickup seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time.
Offer home cannabis deliveries seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time.
When stores may reopen

As part of the province’s plan to reopen the economy in stages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis stores are among the businesses allowed to open to foot traffic starting May 19 – under certain conditions.

The first stage of Ontario’s reopening includes retail services “that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot,” according to the province’s announcement.

Cannabis stores have been closed since April 4.

The Hunny Pot spokesman Cameron Brown said the company is taking a cautious approach, opening three stores under a “hybrid” model.

“It’s more of curbside pickup inside the reception area,” he said. “We’re making sure everything is done safely, making sure staff and customers feel safe.”

Canvas also said it opened both of its locations to customers.

The store is restricting the number of people allowed inside at one time to ensure physical distancing requirements are met.

When construction may resume

Effective May 19, Ontario lifted essential workplace limits on construction, meaning work may resume on cannabis store build-outs that began before April 4.

The province had ordered a halt to nonessential construction as part of its new coronavirus measures, forcing many stores to postpone store build-outs.

Farrell Miller, head of compliance for Erbn Green, said lifting the building ban will allow the cannabis retailer to “to move full speed ahead” on completing the build-out of its flagship store in downtown Toronto.

Curbside payment
An emergency provision temporarily allowing privately owned cannabis stores in Ontario to offer home delivery and curbside pickup has again been extended by the provincial government, and retailers are now allowed to open their doors under certain stipulations.

The emergency order – set to expire May 19 – was extended to May 29.

Licensed cannabis stores in the province may continue to:
Last week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) started allowing stores to accept payment at the time of the curbside pick up.

The AGCO said licensees must comply with government directives on social distancing:

“The AGCO encourages licensees to continue practicing physical distancing and to make efforts to promote a safe distance between customers in curbside lineups and safe transactions during curbside payments.”

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.


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