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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:13 pm

MetroNews Canada



Cannabis users argue Trudeau plan amounts to 'Prohibition 2.0'

Liberal bill fails to destigmatize marijuana use, activists say.

By: Ryan Tumilty Metro Published on Mon Jul 10 2017

Medical marijuana users say the Trudeau government’s plans to legalize marijuana involve too many roadblocks.

Activists and users said during a press conference Monday that the Liberal’s bill, which has yet to pass the House, still marks marijuana as something people need to be ashamed of.

“My Canada includes being marginalized, stigmatized and criminalized for picking a plant over pills,” said Loretta Clark, 58, who said she has been using cannabis since she was 12.

Clark said the contrast between fines for selling alcohol to minors, and lengthy prison terms for selling cannabis to them, shows the government is still treating pot like a dangerous drug.

“If I sell cannabis to a 17-year-old I can go to prison for 14 years,” she said. “Cannabis has never hurt one child.”

Other medical marijuana users at Monday’s press conference argued the recreational market would put pressure on medical users’ supply and that the Liberals rules from home growth were insufficient.

Wayne Robillard, who previously operated an Ottawa marijuana lounge, said the government’s laws could now get bogged down with regulations as both the provinces and municipalities add their own rules about when, where and how cannabis can be consumed.

He said people who use marijuana may not want to do so in their own homes and will need places to go.

“There is going to be a need for open access for people to actually have a safe place to consume.”

He argued that overall the government’s approach is a “Prohibition 2.0” that just barely moves the needle.

“We’re trying to regulate something that shouldn’t even be illegal.”
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:17 pm

Toronto Star



Decriminalize pot and make pardons easier: Editorial

The federal government should immediately decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana. And it needs a plan to make it easier for people convicted under the present drug laws to obtain a pardon and wipe their record clean.

By STAR EDITORIAL BOARD
Mon., July 10, 2017

By this time next year, if all goes to plan, using marijuana for recreational purposes will be legal in Canada.

At the same time, it’s becoming clearer by the week that Ottawa must take two additional steps to make sure we don’t perpetuate the damage done by our outdated drug laws.

First, the federal government should immediately decriminalize the possession and use of small quantities of marijuana. And second, it needs a plan to make it easier for the many thousands of people convicted under the present law to obtain a pardon and wipe their record clean.

Decriminalization should come first. It would prevent even more people from being charged under the existing law and ending up with a criminal record for doing something the government has already said should be legal.

At the moment, the Trudeau government is sending out a contradictory, even incoherent message to the two million-plus Canadians who use pot for non-medical reasons.

On the one hand, it’s only a matter of months now before possessing and using up to 30 grams of cannabis will be legalized. The government has made a persuasive argument that legalization is the best way to take the marijuana trade out of the hands of criminals and make it subject to strict government regulation.

On the other, police can still arrest and charge anyone caught with a joint in their pocket. The courts are still clogged with thousands of petty pot charges and users are still at risk of ending up with a damaging criminal record.

Decriminalizing personal pot use now would end that. Police could hand out tickets and fines rather than having to go through the cumbersome process of arresting users and laying criminal charges.

At the same time, the government must address how it’s going to deal with the enormous backlog of people who have been convicted in past decades for simple possession of marijuana.

They can face a range of problems in obtaining jobs, travelling outside the country, or in future dealings with police – all for doing something the government is now in the process of making as unremarkable as buying and consuming a bottle of wine.

At the moment, a person convicted of simple possession can apply for a pardon (officially called a “record suspension”) after five years. But that can be costly and cumbersome, requiring legal help and hundreds of dollars just for processing fees.

The government should streamline the entire system and consider some form of general amnesty to cover the thousands of people who have past convictions for simple possession.

This is all the more pressing given the clear evidence that current pot laws have penalized Black people disproportionately.

An investigation by Jim Rankin, Sandro Contenta and Andrew Bailey in the Star over the weekend found that Black people with no criminal record have been three times more likely to be arrested by Toronto police for pot possession than have white people with similar backgrounds.

Simply put, while Black people formed 8.4 per cent of Toronto’s population in the 2006 census, they accounted for 25.2 per cent of arrests for possession. White people were arrested almost exactly in proportion to their share of the population.

On the face of it, the figures show that Black people have been singled out for harsher treatment under current drug laws. Even though there’s no evidence they use pot more than anyone else, they have been much more likely to be arrested, charged and subjected to all the penalties that come with a permanent criminal conviction.

All the more reason, then, for the government to make sure that such past injustices are not left untouched once simple possession is legalized by July 1 of next year.

So far the government has been sending out mixed signals. It has said there are no plans for a general amnesty, but its point man on the issue, Toronto MP Bill Blair, has called the disproportionate impact of drug laws on minority communities “one of the greatest injustices in this country.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself has talked about the “fundamental unfairness” of the present system.

Those are fine words. It’s time for the government to back them up with actions that will correct past injustices as well as reforming current laws.
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by papapuff » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:50 pm

CBC.ca



Seven face marijuana charges during traffic stops in Wellington County

Until the law changes marijuana is illegal says OPP Constable

By Joe Pavia, CBC News Posted: Jul 11, 2017

A cyclist was among seven people charged with marijuana drug offences by Wellington County OPP during traffic stops this past weekend.

Joshua Cunningham with Wellington County OPP said police understand the drug will be legal in the coming year, but at the moment it remains an illegal substance.

"Until the government changes the laws, marijuana remains a controlled substance," said Cunningham. "It remains so until parliament changes it and then [officers] will act accordingly."

Chiefs of police across the country are waiting to see what the legislation will exactly look like when it take affect on July 1, 2018.

Those charge ranged in age from 17 to 50 and were stopped along Wellington County OPP patrolled roads in Elora, Puslinch and the Guelph area. Two were charged during a police RIDE check.
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:36 am

CBC.ca



N.W.T. gov't launches online survey as marijuana legalization consultation begins

Survey part of public consultations by territory in advance of legalization on July 1, 2018

By Walter Strong, CBC News Posted: Jul 12, 2017

The government of the Northwest Territories wants to hear from residents on new pot laws for the territory. On Tuesday it launched an online survey to find out how the public wants to see legal marijuana managed.

Mark Aitken, assistant deputy minister, attorney general, for the Department of Justice, said the survey is part of a months-long process to make N.W.T laws that abide with federal law soon to come in force, while respecting the will and concerns of Northern residents.

"I'm very confident that what we learn in this engagement will significantly inform the decision the government makes going forward," said Aitken.

Room to customize

The survey is anonymous and begins with the taker selecting the region he or she lives in. From there, the questionnaire proceeds through a wide range of topics like consumption while operating a vehicle, retailing, youth access and public health.

There is room for the territory to tailor its rules. For example, the territory has the flexibility to decide the legal age for possession, the means of retail distribution of marijuana, legal personal limits, and — possibly — community-based prohibitions or restrictions similar to those already in place for alcohol.

Whatever the results of the survey, the territorial government will have to have new legislation in place by July, 2018. That's when federal legislation kicks in legalizing cannabis.

Yellowknife resident Cullen McLeod told CBC he definitely intends to fill out the survey. He did not describe legalized marijuana as a big issue for himself, but said the government could play an important role when marijuana is legalized next year.

"If the government takes control of it, it'll be safer to partake of it without having to worry about issues of it being contaminated or laced with other things," he said.

The survey runs till Sept. 22. It should take about 15 minutes to fill out. It can be found on the government's website here.

In September the territorial government will begin a series of public meetings in regional centres and some smaller communities — nine all together.

The final itinerary is not written in stone, but Aitken said it's likely town hall style meetings will be held in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Hay River, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Behchoko and Tsiigehtchic.
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:45 am

CTV News


Manitoba to poll residents on marijuana use ahead of legislation

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 4:47AM EDT

WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government plans to poll residents about their marijuana consumption and what kind of rules they would like to see when recreational pot is legalized next year.

The provincial liquor and gaming authority is looking for a company to do 15-minute surveys of at least 1,200 Manitobans in the coming months as it prepares for the new law.

"We don't have a great understanding about cannabis as a substance and how people use it," said Kristianne Dechant, the authority's communications and research manager.

"And this is really unlike with liquor and gambling - which are two products that we currently regulate - where we have a great understanding about the gaps in people's knowledge."

Dechant said the aim is to develop ways to advise people about safe levels of consumption - whether the cannabis be eaten, smoked or otherwise ingested.

"I think Manitobans are really looking to the province to define what responsible use could look like and to provide information about how, if they choose to use it, they could minimize the harm."

Survey results will help shape a "regulatory framework for cannabis that meets public expectations for safety and consumer protection," says the authority's request for proposals issued Tuesday.

The sample must include a reasonable representation across the province, including people between 18 and 24, "as this demographic is notoriously hard to reach, yet of particular interest with respect to cannabis knowledge and choices."

The federal government is setting a minimum age of 18 for pot use, but many of the details are being left to the provinces, including how and where cannabis will be sold when the law takes effect next July.

Manitoba has yet to determine where pot will be available at the retail level and whether the liquor and gaming authority, or some other agency, will regulate it.Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government asked Ottawa last December to delay its plan for legalization.

Premier Brian Pallister said there were many details still to be worked out, including who would pay for increased police resources. He also said a big awareness campaign was needed to convince people of the dangers of driving while using cannabis.
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:41 pm

CBC.ca



Attorney General says marijuana survey will carry 'lots of weight'

Ontario looking for public input

By Chris dela Torre, CBC News Posted: Jul 12, 2017

The provincial government wants Ontarians to fill out an online survey about marijuana.

It will be used to develop a regulatory framework on how marijuana will be distributed and sold in the province.

"[The survey will carry] lots of weight," said Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, in conversation with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.

"We're working on fairly tight timelines, but Ontario is working to develop this balanced regulatory framework. It's important from our perspective to hear directly from Ontarians."

The federal government introduced the Cannabis Act this past April, which, if passed, will legalize marijuana across Canada by next July. The federal plans call on provinces and territories to establish a framework to regulate the distribution, sale and consumption of cannabis.

Keeping pot away from youth, drivers

Naqvi says part of the focus of the survey is about finding a way to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors, and keep Ontarians from using marijuana while driving.

"As an Ontarian, and as a parent, my focus is around how we protect our youth and the vulnerable," Naqvi said.

"I think public education and awareness is an important element, so people understand what harms may be associated with it. And lastly, road safety is important -- to make sure that our roads remain the safest in North America."

In addition to the survey, the Ontario government will also hosting a series of forums with and engagement sessions later this summer.

The government plans to consult with public health experts, youth advocacy, Indigenous communities, and licensed cannabis growers, among others.

To participate in the survey, visit ontario.ca/cannabis before July 31.
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:34 pm

Winnipeg Free Press



Government ignoring buds in marijuana field

Lawmakers should listen to people involved in industry, says advocate

By: Free Press Staff
Posted: 07/12/2017

The Manitoba government is never going to have enough time to study and prepare for the impending legalization of marijuana.

At least, that’s how Canadian cannabis advocate and president of Winnipeg 420’s organizing committee Steven Stairs sees it.

After all, marijuana is already here, he says, and legalization won’t change the fact that for years now people have been buying and selling it, smoking and ingesting it.

"They’re fostering the black market right now," Stairs says of the government’s slow response to the legalization process. "They’re not hindering it, if anything they’re perpetuating it."

Medical marijuana users and recreational users have had access to the drug for years, ordering an assortment of pot strains and cannabis-infused chocolates, honeys and candies off the internet and having them shipped right to their front door.

"Lots of people have been in this community for 10, 15, 20 years even," says Stairs. Businesses have sprung up from nothing but a guy who grows plants accepting email money transfers in exchange for some carefully packaged marijuana express-shipped in one to three days.

"With legalization coming everybody who wants to be involved in cannabis is doing it," he says. "They’re getting involved whether or not that means advocacy, whether that means trying to put together a business… people are already jumping the gun because they want to be on the ground floor."

If you want to smoke, you can pick a strain off the internet based off fellow smokers’ reviews. Do you want the "Nice looking bag for sure, fluffy stinky buds, reeks of UK cheese" strain or the one with the "extremely sedative" high? If you’re more inclined to eat your way to a high, there are chocolate bars and cereal bars, discrete hard candies and lollipops — there are even gluten-free, vegan options.

But so far, the Manitoba government’s approach to legalization has focused less on the business side of things and more on safety concerns. In the spring, it introduced the Cannabis Harm Reduction Act. The act proposes rules around consumption and storage when people are operating vehicles, and would also allow the cops to suspend a person’s driving privileges for 24 hours if they believe them to be under the influence of marijuana.

So far, the government hasn’t seemed to actually want to listen to the people and companies that have been involved in the industry for a while now, Stairs says.

"It’s almost like parents when you were younger saying, ‘Yeah you heard me, but did you actually listen to what I was saying?’ They don’t listen," he says.

But will the government listen to its citizens? The provincial liquor and gaming authority is currently looking for a company to conduct 15-minute surveys with Manitobans about their marijuana usage and what sort of rules they would like to see governing the use of recreational pot when it becomes legalized in 2018.

"We don’t have a great understanding about cannabis as a substance and how people use it," the authority’s communications and research manager Kristianne Dechant told The Canadian Press this week.

"And this is really unlike with liquor and gambling — which are two products that we currently regulate — where we have a great understanding about the gaps in people’s knowledge."

— with files from The Canadian Press
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:26 pm

InsideHalton.com



Oakville wants to work with feds, Province on plans for pot legalization

NEWS Jul 13, 2017 01:38 by Nathan Howes Oakville Beaver

With the federal government proposing to legalize marijuana by July 2018, the Town of Oakville is looking for clear direction from Ottawa and Queen’s Park on local regulation.

Town Council passed a resolution July 10 calling for more engagement with the feds and Province on the development and execution of the marijuana legalization framework.

The Town is asking for guidelines and ongoing communication to address local concerns such as where retail marijuana dispensaries would be located, limits on how many can set up shop and their proximity to schools, daycares and residential neighbourhoods.

Oakville wants regulation of personal production of marijuana and related products, citing safety of producers and the public.

Other areas that need guidelines include enforcement and compliance with health and safety requirements.

The Town also wants compensation for costs it may incur as a result of enforcement.

Bill C-45, an act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Criminal Code and other acts, also known as the Cannabis Act, was introduced in the House of Commons earlier this year and is a legal framework to provide recreational access to cannabis and to control/regulate its production, distribution, sale and possession across Canada.

Marijuana will remain illegal until the bill passes — likely in July 2018.

Council heard from Nadia Chandra, assistant Town Solicitor, that Town staff have reviewed the bill and believe primary consideration should be given to the creation of a provincial enterprise established to manage sale and distribution of marijuana in Ontario.

“Although the federal government has introduced the legislation to legalize access, no details have been provided on how it will be regulated by the various levels of government,” said Chandra.

She said concerns have been raised over storefront operations, or dispensaries, selling marijuana, which aren’t licensed by Health Canada, because of their close proximity to “sensitive land uses and each other.”

“The proposed Cannabis Act does not outline conditions or requirements for provinces as to types of retail outlets, retails model or distribution system,” said Chandra, noting the Province has approximately 12 months to form its own legislation and regulations.

“No decisions have been made by the Province in it considering the full range of options, which may include a provincial control model, private businesses licensed by the Province or a mixed model.”

The Province is working on implementation through ongoing discussions with the AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario).

Representatives from the Town’s Legal Department and Municipal Enforcement Services joined AMO’s Marijuana Task Force.

AMO is calling for municipal licensing of growers and retailers of marijuana to control location, number and proximity of businesses to schools, daycares, and residential neighbourhoods.

Town staff believe AMO’s approach will require significant new municipal resources.

“If municipalities are tasked with regulating storefront marijuana businesses, regulations will need to consider issues such as nuisance from odours affecting neighbouring businesses or other residents, safety of patrons, as well as enforcement staff, security, location and possibly caps on the number of these businesses,” said Chandra.

Revenue-sharing with municipalities could help offset costs, Chandra said, but noted local issues arising from marijuana legalization will involve numerous Town departments.

Public consultation would also be required prior to any change in municipal regulations.

“Staff is concerned the review consultation and approval process required for municipal zoning and licensing regulations would not be possible to implement by July 2018,” said Chandra.
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by papapuff » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:36 am

Montreal Gazette



Jean Charest's daughter to lobby for medical marijuana network


Published on: July 13, 2017

Alexandra Dionne Charest, a daughter of former premier Jean Charest, has been hired by National Access Cannabis to lobby for the company that wants to sell marijuana and prevent the SAQ from having a monopoly over pot sales, according to the Journal de Montréal.

Dionne Charest is a consultant for HATLEY, a communications and strategy company.

National Access Cannabis operates 10 clinics across Canada. The clinics focus on connecting patients to authorized producers and giving information regarding the legal treatment options available to them.

Dionne Charest, according to her mandate, will lobby the Justice, Health, Public Safety and Finance Ministries in connection with the cannabis legislation that is slated to be tabled in the fall after public consultations.

Recreational cannabis is expected to be legalized across the country as of July 1, 2018.

Dionne Charest denies she will get a sympathetic hearing from the government because of her family connection to the former premier.

“I am very proud of my father’s political career. That said, it does not define my career path. At HATLEY, I draw my own path and develop my curriculum,” she told the Journal de Montréal.

The regional director of National Access Cannabis, Jimmy Meliambro, said that the company wants to sell medical marijuana directly to Quebec patients when the drug is legalized next year.
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by papapuff » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:18 pm

Vancouver Sun



Stuart McNish: Anne McLellan on pot's upsides and downsides


STU MCNISH, SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Published on: July 14, 2017


VIDEO

This week’s Conversation That Matters features Anne McLellan, who leads the task force on legalizing marijuana in Canada. She says, “it’s a bold move” because Canada becomes the first G-20 country to make pot legal. In doing so, we contravene three United Nations treaties that control or prohibit access to drugs like marijuana.

There are risks and rewards. On the upside, she says, Canada will set the standard internationally and could become the supplier of choice to a growing international medical market, and the government can collect tax.

McLellan says, “it’s also about safety, right now there are no safeguards, no standards and no inspectors.”

She points out prohibition hasn’t worked for marijuana, in the same way it didn’t work for alcohol.

On the downside, the U.S., China, India and other nations could restrict trade and the movement of Canadians within their countries in response.

Conversations That Matter is a partner program with the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for these important and engaging Conversations shaping our future.

Please become a subscriber and support the production of the program at http://www.conversationsthatmatter.tv
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by papapuff » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:40 am

Winnipeg Sun



Premier wants feds to delay legalizing pot

BY JOYANNE PURSAGA, WINNIPEG SUN
FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

Manitoba’s premier believes legal pot sellers will be forced to compete with gangs and lack a sufficient supply of the drug to do so.

Premier Brian Pallister he expects the “unrealistic” federal timeline that mandates pot sales be legalized by July 2018 will lead to direct competition between legal and illegal sellers. He plans to lobby fellow premiers at a first ministers meeting in Edmonton next week to join his call to delay that date.

“There’s no way that we’re going to supply the demand, except in part. So therefore, we’re moving into a situation where we’re going to compete gradually with gang distribution marijuana. Right there, we’re not in a position to take over the market with legal cannabis distribution systems because we don’t have enough production,” said Pallister.

“(It’s) pretty clearly understood we don’t have enough pot to sell but we’re supposed to be legalizing it in a year,” Pallister added.

Pallister said the imposed timeline to prepare for the change also puts road safety at risk.

“If we see any uptick in the numbers of ... users, that will potentially lead to more accidents, more deaths,” he said.

Pallister said he plans to reveal his strategy for Manitoba’s commercialization of pot in about two weeks but refused to specify his take on where the drug should be sold.

But the communications director for Canada’s health minister said legalized pot will have to compete with the black market before it reaches the ultimate goal of eliminating illegal sales.

“At some point we will need to compete,” said Yves Comeau. “The objective is eventually the black market of cannabis disappears.”

Comeau said Health Canada is now processing 428 applications for those who wish to become licensed marijuana producers and has streamlined the process to ensure regulated pot production can meet demand. He said a public education campaign will soon inform Canadians how much safer regulated pot is, in part because it wouldn’t be tainted with other drugs.

“Illegal producers will strain products that will eventually lead users to take stronger drugs ... Part of the quality supply is to ensure that that doesn’t happen,” said Comeau.

Pallister made his comments while sharing a list of priorities for the first ministers conference, which include boosting inter-provincial trade and securing more federal resources to address the asylum seekers entering Manitoba at unmarked crossings.

The province said those numbers have soared since 2015, when 220 individuals made that journey. That number jumped to 575 in 2016 and has already exceeded 750 this year. The leaves Manitoba on track to reach about 1,500 to 1,800 claims throughout 2017, an immigration spokesman confirmed.

jpursaga@postmedia.com

Twitter: @pursagawpgsun
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:21 am

thespec.com



Canucks like weed, eh? Marijuana frenzy could end very badly in Canada

NEWS Jul 17, 2017 11:11 by Jen Skerritt Hamilton Spectator

There's one bummer question haunting all the marijuana businesses popping up between British Columbia and Newfoundland.

How much do Canucks like weed, eh?

A year before recreational cannabis is expected to become legal in Canada, there's an explosion in companies cultivating the stuff. At least 10 marijuana outfits have new listings this year on the TSX Venture Exchange and Canada Securities Exchange. Some 51 enterprises have gotten the green light to grow pot, and 815 applicants are in the queue. All told, it could be enough to raise the country's raw-weed output more than tenfold.

This is where skeptics see froth. "If you ask people today why they don't use, it's a small percentage who say 'because it's illegal,"' said Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. "In many respects there might be an overestimation of demand."

Long-time users and growers insist he's wrong, but investors aren't so sure. Producer MedReleaf Corp. tumbled as much as 28 percent last month in the worst debut for a Canadian IPO in 16 years amid concern pot stocks are overvalued. Shares of Canopy Growth Corp., the country's first billion dollar marijuana start-up, are down 21 percent in the past three months.

The North American Medical Marijuana Index, which tracks leading cannabis stocks in the U.S. and Canada, has plunged 21 percent since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government in April unveiled its plan to legalize the drug by next July, 16 years after Canada permitted it for medical use.

Of course, some of the decline may be attributed to the situation in the U.S. Many in the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, are no friends to the industry. For Canadian companies, the risk isn't political.

"There seems to be a little bit of investor fatigue," said PI Financial Corp. analyst Jason Zandberg. He said they're having trouble differentiating between the producers, new and old, and what might give them competitive advantages.

That's to be expected, according to marijuana bulls, in a brand-new market that hasn't even arrived yet. Parliament still has to pass the recreational law (though there's little question it'll do so). Then the federal government will have to write rules on taxation, and each province will have to decide how to regulate distribution.

"Nothing is going to be perfect right off the hop," said Jon Bent, a licensed medical marijuana grower who has been cultivating plants on his 11-acre farm outside Winnipeg for five years. "It's baby steps—and the industry is moving quickly."

The question is whether it's going too quickly, considering the variety of estimates about how much recreational weed Canadians will end up regularly ingesting. Some educated guesses are that about 15 percent of Canadians partake now, legally and otherwise. That's around 5.4 million people, roughly the population of Colorado, which gave the nod to recreational marijuana in 2014.

Medical and recreational sales there rose 56 percent last year, to nearly $1 billion, according to Cannabase, operator of the state's largest market.

One projection, from the Canadian Parliamentary Budget Officer, is that 4.6 million people age 15 and over will use cannabis at least once and consume 655,000 kilograms next year, and that 5.2 million will be doing so by 2021. Other reports peg future recreational consumption at 420,000 kilograms a year with sales reaching C$6 billion by 2021, Canaccord Genuity Group said in November. For its part, the government agency Health Canada anticipates a mature medical marijuana market will be around C$1.3 billion.

That could underestimate the number of Canadians who will refuse to buy from corporate weed growers, said Chad Jackett, 38, who runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Squamish, British Columbia, and uses cannabis oil everyday to treat nerve pain. His concern is that new regulations will sideline the independent farmers who advocated for the plant for years, and grow small amounts. "I will definitely not be using anything" from one of the big outfits, Jackett said. "If I don't have enough of my own then I'll be getting it from somebody else whom I trust."

Underscoring how confusing it all is, a few alarms are being sounded that there won't be enough to pass around on Day One. In fact, Colorado faced some shortages of legal supplies in the first year. A similar rush emptied shelves in Nevada, where sales started on July 1.

By 2015, Colorado had the opposite problem, according to Denver-based researcher Marijuana Policy Group, with supplies approximately 51 percent larger than demand. The average price sought by wholesalers for recreational flower has fallen 52 percent since lawful sales began, according to Cannabase.

None of this has dampened enthusiasm in some quarters in Canada. MedReleaf has raised C$100 million, all of which is going toward expanding capacity, said Chief Executive Officer Neil Closner. He said the disappointing IPO was due to a general market slowdown and "not a reflection of demand for our product." Likes others in the business, he is confident Canadians will be keen enough to lawfully imbibe that the blossoming industry will be supported.

Bent, the pot farmer outside Winnipeg, is just as upbeat. Surveying part of his crop, in a room brimming with 30 bushy plants ripening under the glow of hot lamps, he said the oft-misunderstood reefer is definitely going mainstream. Even his cousin, a "religious librarian," became a convert after experimenting in Denver, he said. "These are people who would never, ever try it" if it were illegal.

"It's really gaining popularity and really starting to lose that stigma," Bent said. "I see a lot of money being spent."

Bloomberg
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:27 am

CBC.ca


Medicinal and recreational cannabis should be separate, say researchers

'There's no guarantee with a market that's recreationally driven that that product will be maintained'

By Cassie Williams, Sameer Chhabra, CBC News Posted: Jul 17, 2017

Two Halifax researchers are urging the federal government to keep medicinal and recreational marijuana streams separate once the plant is legalized in Canada.

The op-ed, published in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, was co-authored by Dr. Melanie Kelly, a professor of pharmacology and ophthalmology at Dalhousie University, and Elizabeth Cairns, a PhD candidate studying pharmacology and neuroscience.

Cairns and Kelly support a recommendation, initially proposed by the Liberal government's task force on cannabis legalization and regulation, to keep the two so-called "streams" — medicinal and recreational — separate.

"[Patients] are potentially looking for a totally different product and there's no guarantee with a market that's recreationally driven that that product will be maintained and sold," said Cairns.

CMA recommends 1 stream

Unlike the task force, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recommends just one stream once marijuana is legalized, arguing that more research must be conducted on cannabis before it should be approved for widespread medical use.

"We accept that [people] say they have benefited from using cannabis, but there's no or very little research behind that," said Dr. Granger Avery, president of the CMA.

"Until we have research and the real information behind it, we're not in favour of endorsing it for medical intervention."

There are still many regulations being hashed out as Canada prepares to legalize marijuana for recreational use before July 1 of next year.

"With recreational cannabis, what you're looking for is intoxication — that is not necessarily the case for medicinal cannabis," said Cairns, who points out that cannabis is the preferred, clinical term which includes not only the dried marijuana plant but also any extracts derived from the plant, such as cannabis oil.

Decrease the stigma for patients

The piece from Cairns and Kelly argues that a dual-stream approach would not only decrease the stigma surrounding medical cannabis, but would benefit patients in other ways including:

Protecting the supply of strains of medical cannabis that have desirable effects for patients, such as lower THC strains sometimes used to treat children who suffer from seizures.

Driving clinical research into therapeutic uses for cannabis.

Giving health-care providers the incentive to be up to date on the latest research involving therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

Child's seizures reduced 90%

Before Mandy McKnight's nine-year-old son Liam started taking cannabis oil to treat Dravet syndrome, he was having upwards of 80 seizures a day. Since starting treatment, his seizures have reduced by about 90 per cent.

"Sometimes he can go a week, two weeks, without having any seizures at all," said McKnight, whose family lives in Constance Bay, Ont.

She has many concerns if legalization means there is no distinction between medical and recreational cannabis, not the least of which is where it will be sold.

"I'm not going into an LCBO [liquor store] to buy medicine for my kid," she said.

The task force has recommended that marijuana not be sold alongside liquor, but ultimately distribution plans will be up to individual provinces, the federal government has said.

"Most patients want to have different venues for delivery.… They want to have it looking more like a medicine, they're using it for a specific [medical] purpose," said Kelly.

Out-of-pocket costs for patients

Another problem, said McKnight, is the cost. Since cannabis does not have a Drug Identification Number, it can be difficult to get insurance companies to pay for the medication.

McKnight said her family spends $700 or $800 a month on cannabis oil, out of pocket. Previously, they were spending about $2,500 per month on pharmaceuticals that Liam no longer needs because of his cannabis treatment. She said the cost of ambulance fees and hospital stays is also way down.

'I'm not going into an LCBO to get medicine for my kid.'
- Mandy McKnight


"I know parents who are getting loans and falling behind on their payments, their bill payments because they need to buy this and there's no coverage, whatsoever, there's nothing," said McKnight.

Kelly said this situation underlines the importance of keeping medicinal cannabis separate, so there are more clinical trials into therapeutic cannabis benefits that may make providing a DIN more palatable to those in the pharmaceutical industry.

"We're already seeing a revolution in terms of the industry. I hear quite a lot and I'm seeing very innovative devices to dose-standardize even dried cannabis, recommending different ways of ingesting like vaporization," said Kelly.

A lot to work out

For its part, the Nova Scotia government recognizes the legalization of marijuana is complicated.

"We'll be looking at both models of delivery — and a lot of complexities as we speak, but working through those. We have a short timeline, July of 2018, so a lot of work to do," said Justice Minister Mark Furey, speaking for the province.

The government said though decisions are still being made at the provincial level, physicians will still have the ultimate say over their patients' care.

"Decisions regarding medicinal marijuana for patients, of any age, are made by physicians and that will continue. This is federally regulated and will be ongoing," said Sarah Gillis, speaking for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice.
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:50 am

CBC.ca



Toronto hosts Dragons' Den-style pitch session for pot companies

Investor interest in Canada high in advance of marijuana legalization

By Philip Lee-Shanok, CBC News Posted: Jul 17, 2017

Dozens of companies hoping to cash in on the 'green rush' expected when Canada legalizes recreational marijuana have a chance to enter a high pressure pitch competition in Toronto for those looking to score new money.

Over the next two days, the Arcview Group, which represents hundreds of angel investors, will entertain big ideas from pot entrepreneurs looking for seed capital at a downtown hotel.

"It's tough a competition," says Troy Dayton, chief executive of the California-based cannabis investment firm.

"There is so much opportunity in the cannabis market. Whether it's in agriculture or software systems, new consumption devices and marketing, there is endless opportunity in this space."

And it's not just marijuana producers looking for investment. Possible spin-off industries include grow light manufacturers, fertilizer makers, pipes and vaporizers manufacturers and other lifestyle products.

The company has hosted similar pitch sessions in U.S. cities, but it's only the second time the "Arc Tank" — a reference to the American show Shark Tank — will be held in Toronto.

Last year, Tokyo Smoke won the first Canadian Arcview Pitch Competition. The Toronto-based lifestyle brand seeks to bring the same emotionally charged marketing strategy that coffee companies like Starbucks use to cannabis.

"We built a beautiful cannabis experience and we built it on main street. Toyko Smoke was built in a high traffic area where we can touch a lot of customers," said the brand's chief executive Alan Gertner.

Tokyo Smoke has three Toronto locations and has stores planned across the country and one in the U.S. They have even licensed the Tokyo Smoke brand to U.S. and Canadian marijuana producers to sell using their logos and design.

Since they don't actually sell marijuana from their storefronts, they have not had to deal with police raids like illegal dispensaries have while the current laws remain on the books.

The company has also faced some blow back from the pot community for inventing a bong made of space-age steel that costs $13,000.

Cannabis industry set for explosive growth

As legislation expected to allow cannabis producers and sellers to shift from a black market to a regulated industry evolves, investment opportunities will explode, Dayton says.

"There's going to be some irrational exuberance, there will always be investments that don't make sense," he says. "It's hoped that investors leveraging the wisdom of their peers will avoid that."

Tragically Hip goes into partnership with medical marijuana upstart
Dayton has assembled a network of high-net worth investors who have poured more than $100 million US into cannabis-related startups since 2010.

Arcview Investor Network includes more than 550 accredited investors. To date, members have contributed seed capital to 133 marijuana-related companies.

Projections for revenues from the U.S. marijuana industry are expected to mushroom from $6.7 billion US in 2016 to more than $21 billion US by 2021.

Already, legal cannabis is big business in Canada, where licenced producers can grow and sell medicinal marijuana. But Dayton predicts Canada's recreational pot market — which he estimates at about $1 billion US — could more than triple to $3.6 billion US within three years.

'We already know people love cannabis'

While many compared the investor hype to the dot-com boom, Dayton says it's more like the end of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. in 1933 or other major political social and economic shifts.

"The dot-com was motivated by technology and a change in consumer behaviour. We already know people love cannabis. They love it so much they are willing to break the law to consume it. This is about the changing of a bad law so people can consume something in a legal setting. So in that way it's more like the fall of the Berlin Wall," says Dayton.

While Canadian legislation to regulate and tax pot like alcohol lags behind states like Colorado, Washington and California, U.S. investors foresee a regulatory system that will present less risk than south of the border.

"Investors are very interested in Canada because of impending adult use legalization but also because there isn't the same state-federal conflict you have in the U.S." says Dayton.

Diversified risk

And David Bar, an analyst with Toronto-based Small Cap Power, which publishes regular reports on the marijuana industry, agrees.

"Moving into the states is an extremely poor choice right now because everything is siloed. It's still illegal federally and if you are in one state then you are subject to their laws. There is a lot of risk associated with that."

If things go as expected, Canada will be the first G20 country to legalize recreational marijuana. That national framework will mean benefits for companies and investors, says Bar.

"If one province puts a higher tax on pot, companies can always sell outside that jurisdiction and make a larger margin. If you are selling in a U.S. state and they raise taxes your entire revenue stream is going to take a hit," he says.

"So in Canada the risk is more diversified because it's becoming legalized on a national scale."

The major risk, as Bar sees it, is the legislation has yet to be tabled and the regulatory framework, to be set out by the provinces, is still up in the air.

Bar advises investors to stick to companies with strong management teams with some expertise in dealing with government agencies.
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:42 am

steinbachonline.com



Legalizing Marijuana For Revenue "Just Wrong" Says Finance Minister

Category: Local News
Published: Monday, 17 July 2017 11:09
Written by Steven Sukkau/Dantin Reimer

The Finance Minister of Manitoba says legalizing recreational marijuana to generate revenue is short-sighted.

Cameron Friesen recently returned from the Federal Finance Ministers meeting in Ottawa where the discussion around cannabis legalization "seemed to start and end" around the idea of potential revenue.

"I think that's just wrong," said Cameron Friesen. "Every finance minister wants to maximize revenue, however, we need the right kind of revenue as the economy grows in this province."

Friesen explained making marijuana legal in 2018 is too soon when there are a wide variety of other issues still unresolved.

The first priority is public safety, Friesen said, noting there's no consistent test of sobriety for police to administer to drivers.

"We are becoming more and more aware as a jurisdiction of the link between impaired drivers and the use of marijuana," he said.

Meanwhile, there's still disagreement as to the proper legal age to consume cannabis.

Even in terms of supply and demand, processing and distribution, "we are years behind the black market," Friesen explained.

"It would be naive to think the government could parachute in and somehow replace the black market supply of this."

With a variety of issues still on the table, Friesen would like to see the approval of this legislation delayed.

Earlier this year the Manitoba Government approved Bill 25, which is its Cannabis Harm Prevention Act, a first measure that would at least allow officers to enforce a license suspension.

"Those are the legal tools that are available to us. Obviously many more changes would be necessary as we navigate this very tricky path ahead of us."

Friesen would also like to see legislation rolled out uniformly across the country. If every province taxes tobacco products in different ways, he explained it could create an uneven playing field and opportunity for contraband product coming into more affordable jurisdictions, "that's not the kind of entrepreneur spirit we want."

"We need to think in terms of principles and in terms of what type of society we want to be," Friesen said. "We need to think in terms of long term sustainability... I think a province who sees the legalization of cannabis as the answer to all of their problems is taking a very naive view."
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