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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:33 am

Montreal Gazette



Duncan: Where should cannabis be sold legally in the Off-Island?

GREG DUNCAN, SPECIAL TO THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
Published on: July 18, 2017

By this time next summer cannabis may be legal in Canada as proposed by Ottawa.

Having conducted and completed consultations with the public, the federal government now seeks to create and implement the legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, possession and sale of pot. Meanwhile, provincial premiers will meet this week to discuss their respective provincial readiness in anticipation of the July 2018 federal deadline.

A number of issues remain unresolved as legalization approaches, namely the locations where cannabis products will be sold. Currently, Quebec has yet to officially announce regulated outlets that will do so.

Bearing this in mind, and on a local level in the Off-Island and West Island, where do you think cannabis should be made available for purchase? Did you input on the public consultations previously? Can you make a prediction as to which officially licensed retailers the province might name?

Under a regulated and controlled access model, adults who are legally over the age of 18 will be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form and share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults.

Adults will be able to purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a government licensed retailer. In those provinces that have not yet or choose not to put in place a regulated retail framework, individuals would be able to purchase cannabis online from a federally licensed producer. Adults will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants, up to a maximum height of 100 cm, per residence for personal use from licensed seed or seedlings as well as be able make cannabis products, such as food and drinks at home, provided that organic solvents are not used. Other products, such as edibles, would be made available for purchase once appropriate rules for their production and sale are developed.

In case you are under an assumption that the impending legalization of cannabis next year means a softening of the current laws, or an increased tolerance by authorities, make no mistake. Under current laws and regulations, cannabis remains illegal. Despite this fact, an increase in sightings of usage in public usage is occurring and being reported Canada-wide. Have you noticed more people smoking marijuana in public? Do you smell pot more frequently in public locations?

You can consult the Government of Canada website for more information on the matter here https://www.canada.ca/en/services/healt ... facts.html

Weigh on how you think cannabis legalization will affect or impact our area.
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by papapuff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:48 am

Toronto Sun


Tory eyes possible pot taxes to help with legalization costs

BY SHAWN JEFFORDS, POLITICAL BUREAU CHIEF
FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 18, 2017

TORONTO - John Tory wants to talk pot taxes with Kathleen Wynne.

In a letter to the premier released Tuesday, Toronto’s mayor asks her to sit down with the city and hammer out an agreement to share any tax revenue generated by legal pot sales. Tory says that federal legalization, which is expected next July, will cost the city money to enforce.

“Whatever decisions are made, I have no doubt the result will be increased costs for the City of Toronto,” Tory says in the letter. “As a consequence, we would want to discuss with you what the magnitude of those costs might be and reach agreement with you on both increased public health funding and a dedicated share of increased provincial revenues attributable to the sale of marijuana.”

Tory said the discussions might also include the possibility of a “special levy” on marijuana sales. He points to similar taxes used in some U.S. cities to offset increased costs to municipalities.

sjeffords@postmedia.com
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by papapuff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:19 pm

Toronto Star



Canada’s premiers discuss delaying the legalization of marijuana

Details such as traffic safety, age of majority and health impacts need to be better understood, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says.

By ROB FERGUSONQueen's Park Bureau
Tues., July 18, 2017

EDMONTON—It’s time to take a deep breath and put pot on the back burner for an extra year, says Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.

He’s trying to persuade his provincial and territorial counterparts at their annual conference to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay the legalization of cannabis 12 months to July 1, 2019.

That would increase the chances of avoiding the “hodge-podge” of different provincial ages of majority and regulations now seen with beer, wine and spirits, Pallister said Tuesday.

“I would hope we could learn from that and not re-create that for cannabis,” he added, acknowledging age of majority and regulations such as where pot will be sold are under provincial jurisdiction.

Pallister also raised concerns about public and traffic safety, health impacts and more, including ways of measuring cannabis impairment for drivers.

“There are too many unanswered questions, too many issues that have not been addressed for us to rush into what is an historic change.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said his province is working toward the deadline of Canada Day next year but wouldn’t mind an extension because there are “a lot of moving parts” in legalizing cannabis.

“Could we have greater continuity in this? It would be desirable but hard to pull off in a short period of time,” Wall told reporters.

“We don’t have continuity….in terms of liquor laws obviously every province is a different place. Just consider the age piece.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said the small size of the Maritime provinces makes it important for them to be on the same page, although his administration believes it can meet the July 1 deadline next year.

“In Atlantic Canada, there needs to be a uniform age, there needs to be uniform regulations across our respective provinces. I believe that could potentially lead to, perhaps, across the country.”

McNeil said 19 “makes sense” as the age of majority for buying marijuana — the same age his province has set for alcohol.

Ontario isn’t counting on an extension as it conducts public consultations on cannabis in advance of next July’s deadline.

But Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted work is still being done to develop policies on public and traffic safety and protecting the health of youth with legalized cannabis — along with where it will be sold.

“Those questions have not been answered. That’s the work that we have to do now in conjunction with the federal government.”

Speaking for Quebec, Premier Philippe Couillard said a delay would be “fine” but he isn’t expecting one.

“We’ve heard the prime minister say he was very firm on July 1… so we’re working under the assumption that this will be the date. A lot of work needs to be done.”

Pallister said some of that work involves stronger campaigns to make driving under the influence of cannabis as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving has become.

“Attitudes have to change. Attitudes take time to change and it takes a strong, focused campaign for young people to help them understand the dangers. And not exclusively young people,” he added.

“I don’t think it has been properly or fully addressed.”
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:45 am

CBC.ca



Premiers set to tackle clogged courts and legal cannabis

Countdown is on for leaders to figure out where marijuana will be sold and legal smoking age

By Kathleen Harris, CBC News Posted: Jul 19, 2017

Coping with new pot rules, court delays and an escalating opioid crisis are some of the pressing issues premiers will tackle on the final day of their meeting in Edmonton today.

As the Council of the Federation turns its focus from trade and economic issues to criminal justice, one premier is proposing a collective demand that the federal government postpone legalizing marijuana for one year.

Manitoba's Brian Pallister made the pitch Tuesday, arguing there's not enough time for provinces and territories to get regulations, road safety provisions and public awareness in place to meet the federal government's target of July 2018 for legal pot.

"I'm not suggesting we go back and fight the battle around the legalization debate, I'm only suggesting that we should, in a clear-headed fashion, consider the timing of the introduction," he said.

Rushing to legalize pot could not only endanger lives, it could jeopardize business relations with the U.S., where many states have strict rules around marijuana, Pallister said. Premiers should use their time and efforts focusing on NAFTA right now and allow more time for public awareness and policy formation around cannabis, he said.

Other premiers in Edmonton for the annual summer meeting did not want to wade too far into the debate before today's group chat.

Meeting target will be a 'challenge'

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her province is working hard to meet the federal target, but conceded it would be a challenge. She did not rule out asking for an extension.

But New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said that once those tricky issues of production, sales and distribution are worked out, legalized cannabis could be an "economic opportunity" for the provinces.

Heading into Wednesday's session, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said extra time would help the provinces prepare, but he isn't holding out hope the federal government will bend on its timeline.

"If the federal government were to announce that they want to push it by a few months, that would probably lead to a better work preparation on our part, but we cannot take the risk of not being present and ready in time for the July 1 deadline, so we're working on that basis," he said.

Marijuana legalization activist Jodie Emery warned that the Liberal bill as proposed will not address the criminal black market problems caused by prohibition, but she condemned any plan to delay legalization.

"It's absurd, costly and harmful to society to wait yet another year for legalization, and to continue criminalizing millions of Canadians who use cannabis in the meantime," she said.

Time needed for public awareness

MADD Canada chief executive officer Andy Murie said he has no problem with the current deadline as long as the accompanying legislation on impaired driving passes by December 2017. That would deliver a six-month notice to drivers prior to legalization, he said.

"It also gives six months for police and public education messaging," he said.

The issue of age of access to marijuana will also be a hot topic for premiers. The federal government has set a minimum age of 18, but some premiers say it should be higher and standardized across the country.

Murie said he expects most provinces will establish zero-tolerance restrictions for using marijuana for drivers 22 and under.

Premiers are also expected to discuss the opioid crisis in communities across the country, as well as the fallout from the Supreme Court's controversial Jordan decision.

That ruling set timelines for criminal trials, at 18 months for lower courts and 30 months for cases in superior courts. The ruling from July 2016 left provinces and territories scrambling to find ways to speed up court systems to avoid cases being thrown out due to unreasonable delays.

Joint projects planned

Before sitting down to discuss criminal justice issues, Couillard and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced an agreement to explore joint projects for interprovincial cooperation that would promote economic development that straddle the shared border.

Two projects targeted are the development of the Labrador Trough and the extension of Highway 138 on the lower north shore of Quebec.

"We see there's some room there to share services. It could be things like geotechnical as an example, training, broadband. All these are great examples where we see provinces come together and strengthen the ongoing relationships we have," Ball said during a morning news conference. "We see there's some economic benefits for our residents, Canadians and indeed businesses as well."
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:57 am

CTV News



Mayor calls for study on pot legalization costs to city

Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:07AM CST

Mayor Brian Bowman wants to know how much pot legalization will cost Winnipeg.

The mayor tabled a motion at council Wednesday calling on city staff to study the implication of the federal law that comes into effect a year from now.

Bowman said on top of policing, there could be other costs associated with oversight and regulation.

The mayor added he hopes tax revenue from the sale of pot will be used to help cover the related costs.

Premier Brian Pallister is urging the Trudeau government to delay implementation until a lot of these issues are worked out.

Bowman also tabled a second motion, asking the city to consult with the province on how revenues from a future carbon tax could be shared with Winnipeg.
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:32 pm

montrealgazette.com




More police training will be needed once marijuana is legalized: police chief

Published on: July 19, 2017

Organized crime won’t step back from the marijuana market after it’s legalized, warned Mario Harel, the director of the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police, at their national conference on Wednesday in Montreal. He said it’s imperative to keep measures in place to fight black market criminals.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government tabled a bill to legalize the drug as of July 2018. The bill is expected to pass, thanks to the majority government.

The police chiefs are looking into various impacts of the legalization. They said officers will need training to ensure they’re fully aware of the provisions of the new law. They’re also demanding the financing and equipment necessary to complete their work.

Harel explained that money will be required for drug recognition experts — officers who are trained to detect drivers under the influence of drugs. The training is expensive as it is conducted in the United States, he said.

He estimates that Canada will need about 2,000 experts once marijuana is legalized. There are only about 600 currently working in Canada.
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:45 pm

CBC.ca



Government pot survey sparks record response in N.W.T.

710 people submitted responses in a week, making it the most popular public engagement ever, says gov't

By Rignam Wangkhang, CBC News Posted: Jul 20, 2017

An online survey on marijuana legalization is receiving a record response in the Northwest Territories, garnering 710 submissions in just eight days — making it the most popular public engagement ever.

"Our response to the cannabis online engagement has been pretty outstanding to this point," said Mark Aitken, the assistant deputy minister (attorney general) for the territory's Department of Justice.

The territorial government-issued survey is gauging citizen opinion on a variety of pot-related issues, as federal legislation gives local governments leeway to create its own rules and regulations around pot.

The survey is anonymous, and whatever its results, the territorial government will have to have a new legislation in place by July, 2018.

Questions on minimum age, access in communities

Thoughts vary on what pot policy should look like in the North.

The survey includes concerns about road safety and the minimum age of pot consumption — which cannot be under 18, according to the federal government.

It also asks questions on whether remote communities should have the option to restrict access.

On the retail side, the survey offers two options: restricting sales of marijuana through a liquor commission or taking a hands-off approach and allowing sales to be treated like tobacco.

"I would certainly be happy with regulated storefronts, educated sellers," said Kim MacNearney, a medical marijuana advocate in Yellowknife who jumped at the chance to fill out the survey.

MacNearney said she hopes the government will distinguish between medical and recreational users with regard to usage in the workplace and impaired driving.

Community advocate Lydia Bardak offers a third retail alternative.

"Maybe through pharmacies would be better control then, because they're already controlling narcotics," Bardak said.

Bardak acknowledges the economic opportunity that marijuana can bring to the territory, but is concerned about early substance abuse in teenagers.

The territorial government told CBC News that there will be a mail order or fly in option for any community, no matter what retail model is chosen. But it will respect communities that decide to go down a prohibition path.

The online survey will run until Sept. 22, followed by a public report.

The government is sending 80 letters to Indigenous and community leaders this week asking for feedback. Nine community meetings are planned for the fall.
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:26 pm

Toronto Star



Ontario on track to setting 19 as minimum legal age for recreational pot

Premier Kathleen Wynne says it’s impractical for the province to have a higher legal age for consuming cannabis than for alcohol.

EDMONTON—Ontario is on track to set the legal age for recreational marijuana at 19, says Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne told the Star that the age of majority should be the same for pot as it is for booze once the federal government legalizes cannabis next July 1.

“I have a hard time imagining Ontario will have a lower age for pot than we do for alcohol,” she said in an interview at the close of the annual premiers’ conference here.

The legal age for drinking beer, wine and spirits has been set at 19 in Ontario since 1978.

It’s impractical for the province to have a higher legal age for consuming cannabis than for alcohol, the premier added.

“I think that would be a challenge,” Wynne said as a smoky haze from British Columbia forest fires blanketed Alberta’s capital.

Her comments came as Ontario holds online consultations at Ontario.ca/cannabis , where citizens can fill out a survey until July 31, and through public hearings as the province develops its strategy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged the federal government will legalize recreational marijuana products by July 1, 2018. Medical marijuana is already legal.

As other provinces have, Ontario must decide where cannabis will be sold and where it can be used; set an age of majority, and protect both road safety and public health.

The online survey asks participants a number of questions: if they support 19 as the age of majority for marijuana; if landlords and condo boards should be able to restrict pot smoking on their premises; whether cannabis should be sold through government or private retailers or a mixture of both, and whether stronger penalties are needed for drug-impaired driving.

Wynne said she is keeping a close eye on what standards Quebec will set, given that the two provinces share a boundary easily crossed by thousands of people every day, particularly in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

“We need to be on the same page on this,” she added, noting Ontario and Quebec have set up a working group to keep track of each other’s progress.

“It must be the case,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said at the premiers’ conference when asked if the Ontario and his province should establish the same age of majority for cannabis.

Couillard quipped “imagine the traffic” imagining the circumstances if the ages were different, in light of the fact that several bridges connect the nation’s capital to Quebec across the Ottawa River.

Quebec’s legal drinking age is now set at 18, a year lower than Ontario’s and that of most other provinces. Alberta and Manitoba have also set 18 as their age of majority for alcohol.

Ontario has established a Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat, which includes officials from a dozen ministries to co-ordinate the province’s approach.

It will host a series of public meetings later this summer as Ontario prepares for next summer’s deadline.

Provincial premiers warned Trudeau that they may ask that he delay the legalization, unless the federal government delay the legalization unless Ottawa provides clear answers on a number of public policy and safety questions.

They said more clarity is needed on taxation of cannabis; on the impact on traffic safety; on enforcement, and on how public education campaigns will take shape.

“We’ll work to the deadline, but, as things stand right now, there is work that also needs to be done by the federal government in order to meet it,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who hosted the annual conference.

A federal task force last year recommended 18 as the minimum legal age for recreational cannabis product and said Ontario and other provinces may want to set the age to 19 to match its age of majority for alcohol.

The Canadian Medical Association called for a minimum age of 21 for legal consumption of marijuana, saying its use at younger ages can damage teenagers’ brains.
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by papapuff » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:56 am

Winnipeg Free Press



Feds won't extend July 1 marijuana deadline: Philpott

By: Nick Martin
Posted: 07/20/2017

Despite the laments of Premier Brian Pallister and other premiers, Ottawa is firm on its deadline: Canadians will be able to legally use recreational marijuana on July 1.

Health Minister Jane Philpott said in Winnipeg on Thursday that civil servants across Canada are already preparing for legalization and there will not be an extension, as requested by Pallister. He has been adamant that the deadline will come before Manitoba can be ready to cover all the health, justice, safety, sale and production issues that need to be met.

"It was a campaign commitment of our government," Philpott said. "We are always interested in collaboration.

"At the officials' level, there's a tremendous amount of background work being done."

Asked about Manitoba's refusal to sign to the federal health accord, Philpott said she has given the order to direct hundreds of millions of dollars to Canada's provinces and territories for improved home care and mental health services --- to everywhere but Manitoba.

However, she said she has not given Manitoba a deadline to join the accord or risk losing this year's share of $11 billion in funding for mental health and home care over the next 10 years.

Philpott met Thursday with Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen --- but not with Premier Brian Pallister, who said recently he can "go forever" without signing what he contends is a bad health-care deal for Manitobans.

While she wouldn't detail what aspects of legalizing marijuana she discussed with Goertzen, she said Ottawa is concerned about "keeping cannabis out of the hands of kids and the profits out of the hands of criminals."

On Wednesday, premiers from across Canada laid out five issues for the federal government to clarify, such as enforcement and taxes, in order for provinces to stick to the July 1 deadline to legalize marijuana. Pallister had led the charge for an extension.

The federal Conservatives said Thursday that the premiers were right to push for more time, because the Liberals hadn't laid out a specific pot plan in their election platform.

"We now have legal questions from our premiers, we have implementation questions, and the Liberals refuse to even entertain any of those discussions," said federal Tory leader Andrew Scheer. "It's just another troubling sign that they're not actually working in a collaborative manner; that they're not working in partnership with different levels of government."

Scheer also agreed with Pallister's comments Wednesday, that legalizing marijuana amid NAFTA renegotiations could threaten the trade deal.

"I think it's fair to say that anything could become an issue," Scheer said. "They don't have a plan to make sure that that doesn't affect the negotiations."

Speaking about the health-care accord, Philpott said she has already signed off on distributing the money "in very short order" everywhere in Canada other than Manitoba.

"We've very recently come to a common understanding with all of the other provinces and territories on how ... the framework around the types of projects in mental health and home care they're going to be doing, and we have proceeded with instructions for how this money is to begin to flow," Philpott said.

"We are always open to good conversations, and I had a great conversation with Minister Goertzen that touched on this, and we will continue to have a dialogue, and always keep the health needs of Manitobans and all Canadians at the forefront," Philpott told reporters.

"We did not speak about any deadlines," Philpott said.

Philpott said that she and Goertzen talked about diabetes and opioid issues here, but would not say whether she offered funding Thursday as an incentive to get Manitoba to sign the accord.

"We didn't discuss any specifics," she said.

Goertzen told the Free Press that he met with Philpott for 45 minutes, but won't disclose what he characterized as private talks.

Manitoba is the last holdout to sign what Ottawa calls a health accord --- Pallister won't use the word "accord" because he says no negotiations have taken place.

"I'm not signing on to it because it's dangerous for health care, dangerous for Manitobans," the premier told reporters at the end of June. "We can go forever because it's a bad deal, a dangerous deal."

Earlier this spring, Pallister said he was prepared to sign on to the accord if Ottawa gave Manitoba additional money for Indigenous health care, particularly to combat diabetes and kidney disease, and if the federal government guaranteed it would proceed with the "factory of the future" research facility in Winnipeg.

Pallister later said he also wanted additional federal money to deal with the opioid crisis.

Even if Pallister won't sign, Manitoba will still receive its share of a three per cent increase in federal health transfer payments. Pallister says Manitoba needs double that from Ottawa to meet Manitobans' health care needs.

--- with files from Larry Kusch, Dylan Robertson

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca
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by papapuff » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:18 pm

theglobeandmail.com



Sixteen marijuana companies enlist help to develop marketing guidelines

ALEXANDRA POSADZKI
TORONTO — The Canadian Press
Published Friday, Jul. 21, 2017

Sixteen of Canada’s licensed marijuana producers have enlisted the help of Advertising Standards Canada to develop guidelines on how the drug should be branded and promoted before its recreational use becomes legal next year.

The marijuana sector has been lobbying Ottawa for the right to brand their products, arguing that not being able to promote in stores or on packaging will prevent them from being able to effectively compete with the black market.

Last year, a federal task force issued a report recommending that cannabis products require plain packaging that would allow only certain kinds of information to be listed, such as company name, strain and price. It said advertising restrictions should be similar to those placed on the tobacco industry.

Health advocates have argued that such restrictions are necessary to ensure that users are aware of health risks associated with the substance.

They also claim that allowing marijuana companies to market their products could lead to widespread use of the drug, similar to what happened with alcohol and tobacco in the past.

However, Cameron Bishop, director of government affairs at Privateer Holdings — the owner of Nanaimo, B.C.-based producer Tilray — says that isn’t the industry’s intention.

“We have to be able to differentiate ourselves from individual illegal marketers who are out there right now, that are branded to the hilt in these illegal dispensaries and aren’t going to abide by federal rules,” he said.

“We don’t want to be flashy. We’re not talking about massive billboards or anything like that.”

Bishop says he hopes the guidelines developed by the Advertising Standards Canada in conjunction with the industry could serve as a baseline for the government’s consultations.

The 16 marijuana companies involved include some of the country’s biggest, such as Aphria Inc., Aurora Cannabis Inc., Canopy Growth Corp. and Tilray.

Cam Battley, executive vice-president of Aurora Cannabis, says Canada already has a comprehensive regime of advertising guidelines and restrictions for beer, wine and liquor that could be applied to marijuana.

“The federal government has been clear and consistent in emphasizing that a key policy objective is to replace the illegal market with a safer, legal, regulated and restricted market,” Battley said in an email.

“To achieve that objective, it’s vital that we bring market forces to bear, and allow legal companies to compete with the black market through adult-focused branding and promotion consistent with Canadian alcohol guidelines.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a goal of legalizing marijuana by next July, which some premiers say may be too ambitious given the number of issues that still need to be resolved.

This week, some premiers called on the federal government to provide more guidance on taxation, road safety, and training on distribution, among other matters. They said otherwise, they will need more time before they’ll be able to meet the July 1 deadline.

Trudeau has said his government is working with the provinces, adding that it’s important to ensure young people don’t have access to the drug when they shouldn’t.
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by papapuff » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:43 pm

CBC.ca



Where will you buy legal pot in Saskatchewan?

Pharmacies or liquor stores? Independent shops or convenience stores? Where will legal pot be sold in Sask.?

By Charles Hamilton, CBC News Posted: Jul 21, 2017

Mail order or store front? Liquor stores, pharmacies or small independent dispensaries?

We still don't know how exactly Saskatchewan will decide to retail legal pot.

One industry insider says the nuts and bolts of a flourishing industry already exist and there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

"We want to legitimise the industry as it's already in place here in Canada. We want to legitimise it. We are hoping they will regulate and license so that we can have reputable shops and reputable people in the industry and not having fly-by-night operations starting up," said Pat Warnecke, who runs two medical marijuana dispensaries — BBS in Saskatoon and Better Buds Society in Regina.

Future still uncertain

Saskatchewan's marijuana future is still a little hazy. While the federal government has mandated that recreational marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018, there's been pushback from the province. This week Premier Brad Wall joined calls to delay that date.

The provincial government has a working group that "will consider the various aspects of the federal legislation, such as the implementation of necessary provincial legislation and regulations, and the creation of an effective model for distribution and taxation," according a written statement provided this week.

But there are no timelines regarding when and how the province will announce its plans to regulate and sell pot.

Feds laid out options

The federal government's task force on legal pot that was released earlier this year did lay out some options.

It said some people surveyed preferred a centralized, government monopoly — the way the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority currently regulates alcohol sales. The SLGA could become a wholesaler, seller or simply a regulator.

Others prefer "a private-enterprise model" where pot-specific stores would sell legal marijuana from a storefront.

Count Warnecke among that second group.

He says if liquor stores are responsible for selling it, a large section of marijuana users would be alienated.

"I think keeping it separate would be the obvious choice. It's worked in every place in the US and every place in Canada that has embraced cannabis it seems to be the way it's working. The private sales, the private stores," he said.

Of course, that might not happen.

Ontario, Manitoba and B.C are all floating the idea that pot be sold in liquor stores — public sector unions say their members should be the ones selling pot.

Even before legal pot was announced, however, Premier Wall said Saskatchewan is not thinking about selling it in provincial liquor stores.

That, of course, was before legal weed became a impending reality.

Then there's the idea of pharmacies wanting in on marijuana sales. Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaChoice have both announced their intention to get into the medical marijuana market. There is so far no firm indication, however, that big drug stores or even smaller family pharmacies want to sell recreational marijuana.

U.S states mostly have independent store model

Colorado and other U.S states that have legalized recreational marijuana have mostly opted for the route of private, regulated store fronts.

Some of them, like Oregon, already have an extensive network of medical marijuana dispensaries in place — legal recreational use just meant a new kind of license that would allow those dispensaries to sell to anyone over a certain age.

Warnecke says a similar system should be set up here. There are, after all, already dispensaries that are providing access to cannabis for medical patients. All it would take, he says, would be to regulate and tax those businesses.

"The amount of people that people that are already in the cannabis industry illegally that would convert and would be coming to legal industry and paying taxes and so on would be well worth it," he said.

Not only is there a market for retail, but production as well, he said. Given this province's climate and potash production, he says, Saskatchewan could be a powerhouse marijuana producer.

The worst case scenario, according to Warnecke, is if Saskatchewan gets left behind and the government is out of step with the rest of the country.

"We're hoping they do it right and the do it right in the first place. That they promote cannabis in Saskatchewan and don't chase us out of the province," he said.

Wall and his government say they are working to meet the deadline mandated by the feds. But Wall is in favour of delaying the entire thing, citing concerns over things like marijuana-impaired driving.

In the written statement, the government said it "continues to review the proposed legislation to identify areas of concern and potential options and solutions to address those concerns, within the tight timelines provided."

Warnecke says the government and politicians are "fear mongering." He is urging what he describes as "common-sense approach" to marijuana legalization.

He says so far that's not happening.

"Right now it's looking pretty abysmal," he said.
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by papapuff » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:36 am

CBC.ca



Toronto's potential marijuana tax wouldn't pay for big ticket items, mayor says

Insider expects Tory will get what he wants, but at least one councillor is criticizing lack of debate

By John Rieti, CBC News Posted: Jul 22, 2017

Mayor John Tory doesn't expect a "special levy" on legal marijuana sales will allow Toronto to smoke its way to paying for subways or social housing repairs, but he's still pursuing one.

And while one insider expects Tory will get what he wants, at least one councillor has criticized the move, suggesting the city should be doing more consultation work before getting into conversations with the province.

Earlier this week, Tory wrote a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling for a levy to help pay for city costs he's predicting will increase once weed becomes legal next summer — spanning everything from law enforcement to public health to property zoning work.

Tory says he expects that if the province takes in money — perhaps by applying HST to pot sales — the city will get a cut. He calls it "a matter of fairness."

The federal government plans to legalize marijuana by next Canada Day, if not before. But it will be up to the province to determine who can buy it, and how and where the drug is sold.

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi's office is holding public consultations about what the legal weed landscape should look like, including whether or not it should be sold at LCBO outlets.

Tory says he wants the city to have a "seat at the table" in those discussions.

However, given the province's rejection of road tolls and, in a closer parallel, its refusal to allow Toronto to charge a local alcohol tax, he says he's not expecting marijuana's legalization to be a windfall for the city.

"I don't look to marijuana or anything else as an answer for our other problems at this point in time," he told reporters following a tour of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant this week.

Councillor blasts lack of debate on city's pot plans

Coun. Jim Karygiannis says the city should be consulting with Torontonians about their concerns around marijuana rather than jumping into talks with the province.

Karygiannis says there should be a line drawn, for example, between medical marijuana use and recreational use.

"What about people that are suffering with PTSD?" he said, adding residents in his ward have already reached out with questions about the potential tax.

"This was not even thought about."

While he supports Toronto getting a cut of whatever the province makes, Karygiannis says Tory should have discussed the idea with council.

"There was no engagement on a big decision like this."

'Downstream' costs coming to city

Omar Khan, a former chief of staff with the provincial Liberals who now advises the marijuana industry, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning he thinks Wynne will likely be open to Tory's request.

Because the province and city both pay for things like policing, Khan says, they'll both have "downstream" costs as a result of marijuana legalization.

However, Khan says he expects any taxation to be moderate as the government tries to stamp out black market operations.

"This is probably one of the most complex policy and regulatory decisions of our time," he said.

"I think it's absolutely legitimate for the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of all cities to want to be involved."
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by papapuff » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:47 am

Brandon Sun



Province's stance on legalization frustrates marijuana advocates in Brandon

By: Tyler Clarke
Posted: 07/22/2017

While Brandon’s political representatives encourage the delay of the legalization of marijuana, local advocates of the plant are saying the day couldn’t come soon enough.

Picking up related paraphernalia at Growers N’ Smokers on Friday, veteran Michael Gibson said that his "disrespect" for Premier Brian Pallister is "huge, right now."

This week, Pallister publicly requested that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delay legalization for an extra year beyond the proposed date of July 1, 2018.

With too many questions that still need answering, we’re just not ready for legalization, Brandon East Progressive Conservative MLA Len Isleifson said, sharing in some of Pallister’s concerns about marijuana, more accurately called cannabis.

"I’ve talked to a number of people, where we just don’t have a lot of answers for them," Isleifson said, citing several areas in which the federal government has yet to clarify either the legalities of cannabis or how it might handle some concerns, such as how to determine whether drivers are inebriated.

The federal government has put forward the idea that growing four plants would be legal, but how does one count them? Isleifson asked. Do you count plants that have been taken down to dry, or only those being grown? What if more than one person lives in a housing unit or building? Do they each get four plants?

"It’s not a matter of delaying, it’s a matter of getting things right," he said. "I think for the sake of Manitobans’ safety we need to make sure things are in place before we move forward."

Brandon West Progressive Conservative MLA Reg Helwer is on a provincial caucus working group, whose members, he said, have their hands full seeking answers to these and other concerns that have been brought forward.

While legalization is intended to take the criminal element out of cannabis sales, he said that Health Canada-approved growers aren’t set up to supply enough product to accommodate recreational sales, meaning the criminal element would remain.

"We only have one chance to get it right," Helwer said.

Dismissing similar concerns brought forward by Pallister as being delay tactics, Gibson said that he has found a benefit to medical cannabis that he wants to see more people

have the opportunity to experience without the risk of prosecution.

Gibson received a medical marijuana prescription approximately two months ago, though Growers N’ Smokers owner Rick Macl said that not everyone’s fortunate to have a doctor wiling to offer one.

Chronic back, knee and ankle pain resulted in Gibson receiving a recent medical discharge from the Canadian military, capping his nine-year career in what he considers a haze of prescription medicine.

Prescribed Percocet, he said that as his tolerance level increased, he began taking more and more of it.

"More than I should have, " he said. "I was almost taking fentanyl."

With encouragement from Macl, Gibson asked his doctor for a cannabis prescription, which he was granted.

Since then, he said he has regained the ability to sleep at night, adding, "Most days, I can get through the day" —a vast improvement from his previously overly medicated state.

Receiving a prescription isn’t the easiest nut to crack for some people in Brandon, with Macl linking those unable to secure a willing physician with others throughout the nation who are able to offer the service over the internet.

Although there are a handful of physicians in Brandon who prescribe cannabis, he said they don’t want their names out there out of fear they’ll be overrun by those seeking prescriptions.

With these legal barriers currently in place between those who might benefit from cannabis with what he has labeled a medicine, Macl has strong words against Pallister’s request that legalization be delayed.

"What’s (Pallister’s) problem?" he asked. "What are they sitting there still thinking about? Do these guys actually think that they know more than those who are already doing this?"

Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire plans on hosting public meetings this summer, at which he said he would strive to "allow everyday Westman residents to make their voices heard and to provide amendments, suggestions and ideas" on legalization.

Macl said he’s eager to attend these meetings, for which details are still being hashed out.

Like the city’s MLAs, Maguire has a number of questions and concerns that he wants to see the Liberals answer and resolve before legalization takes place.

Costs to policing are a big issue, which includes the means of measuring one’s THC levels —an ingredient in cannabis that can linger in one’s system for days, making its attribution toward impairment difficult to determine.

Maguire also questions whether four plants is the right number, what kind of public education campaign should accompany legalization and how it might be taxed, among other things.

Since he opened Growers N’ Smokers earlier this year, Macl said he has seen business boom with a wide swath of the population, but primarily with an older crowd, with his median customer approximately 60 years of age.

He’s still eager to begin selling cannabis as soon as legally possible and has expanded his business into a neighbouring property to accommodate the anticipated effort.

Whether recreational use becomes legal or otherwise, he said that his speciality would remain medical in nature because helping those trying to kick prescription drugs is where his passion lies.

There’s much to know that many doctors aren’t relaying to their patients, Macl said, adding that a simple "cannabis" prescription is meaningless if you don’t know what strain to ingest.

Providing an example, he said "Sativa is like the devil for PTSD patients because it makes your mind active."

Further to that, he said that although his business’s name is "Growers N’ Smokers," smoking isn’t actually the preferred means of absorbing cannabis, citing vaping and baked goods as the best means of doing so.

» tclarke@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:00 am

CBC.ca



Pot charges drop in 2016, Statistics Canada reports

Police lay fewer criminal charges for possession as Liberal government moves to legalize drug

By Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 24, 2017

The number of cannabis-related offences reported to police declined for the fifth straight year, Statistics Canada said Monday as it released its annual report on police-reported crime.

There were about 55,000 offences related to marijuana reported to police in 2016, about 6,000 fewer than reported the year before, despite the percentage of Canadians consuming the drug on the rise.

The agency said police charged 17,733 people with the possession of pot last year, a drop of about 3,600 from 2015.

The Liberal government has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana by next summer, but won't decriminalize simple possession in the face of NDP requests to do so in the interim.

Statistics Canada said the combined rate of drug-related offences for substances other than cannabis and cocaine, which has also been on the decline, has been increasing since 2010.

That included a seven-per-cent increase in the number of police-reported offences related to the possession of drugs such as prescription drugs, including opioids such as fentanyl, LSD and so-called "date rape" drugs in 2016.

Meanwhile, the national crime rate did not change in 2016. The national crime rate has been on a downward trend since the early 1990s, although there were increases reported in both 2003 and 2015.

Statistics Canada said there were nearly 1.9 million Criminal Code incidents — excluding traffic offences — reported by police in 2016, about 27,700 more than in 2015.

Severity of crimes on rise

However, the severity of the crimes increased slightly for the second year in a row.

The agency said the one-per-cent increase in its crime severity index in 2016 was largely driven by a continued increase in the rate of police-reported fraud, which was up by 14 per cent over the previous year. That includes identity fraud, which was up by 16 per cent, and identity theft, which was up by 21 per cent.

Rebecca Kong, chief of the policing services program at Statistics Canada, said growing awareness could have led to the higher number of fraud crimes reported to police.

"There have been a number of the Canada Revenue Agency-themed scams that have been reported to police," Kong said Monday.

"It could be also just an increase in awareness among victims and an increase in encouraging of reporting also," she said.

Violent crimes up

There were also reported increases in the rate of some violent crimes.

Among them was a 30-per-cent increase in police-reported incidents of sexual violations against children, which Statistics Canada said is likely due to harsher penalties that can contribute to an increase in official statistics.

Statistics Canada said there was also a large increase in the rate of police-reported non-consensual distribution of intimate images, with 815 reported incidents in 2016 compared to 340 the previous year.

The agency noted it is a relatively new crime, so the increase is likely due to 2016 being the first full year of data available, but also growing awareness and use by the police.

Statistics Canada also said the number of police-reported sexual assaults was 15-per-cent lower than a decade earlier, despite the self-reported sexual assault rate unchanged over roughly the same period.

"This demonstrates that, due to a range of factors, police-reported data can underestimate the nature and extent of sexual assault," the agency said Monday.

'Unfounded' sexual assault reports

Statistics Canada also mentioned how an investigation by the Globe and Mail revealed a wide variation in how police forces across the country record sexual assault allegations to be unfounded, which could also impact official statistics.

The agency noted it will again collect and release data on unfounded cases where police don't believe a crime has been committed, including sexual assaults, in July 2018.

Police reported 611 homicides in 2016, which is two more than the previous year, but because the size of the population grew, the rate actually decreased by one per cent to 1.68 homicides per 100,000 people.

The city with the highest homicide rate was in Thunder Bay, Ont., followed by Edmonton and Regina.
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:22 am

Globalnews.ca


July 24, 2017 6:46 am

Ahead of legalization, N.B. doctors release education program on marijuana health risks

By Alexander Quon
Online Producer/Reporter

New Brunswick needs to learn about the dangers of marijuana, the province’s medical society said on Monday.

They’re launching a new public awareness campaign ahead of federal legalization that is set to come down next year.

“The legalization of marijuana doesn’t make it safe. It is important for people in New Brunswick to understand the risks,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, in a press release on Monday.

“The health risks inherent with the use of marijuana are clear, particularly for younger people. Like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana use can lead to negative health impacts.”

The society has created a website, http://www.LegalNotSafe.ca, that is supposed to provide New Brunswickers with a better understanding of the health risks associated with using marijuana.

Some of the information on the medical society’s website includes; that marijuana can cause “depression and anxiety in adolescents and adults,” and that smoking marijuana creates the “same toxins and cancer-causing chemicals as smoking cigarettes.”

A specially selected committee is conducting hearings throughout New Brunswick, ahead of the province finalizing its regulatory scheme.

“We are concerned that the health risks inherent with marijuana are being lost in the face of anticipation of new tax revenues for the provincial government,” said Murphy-Kaulbeck.

Earlier this year, the society released a list of recommendations on what they believe would minimize harm to the public.

They asked the government to set the legal age to buy marijuana at 21 — although they had hoped to set the limit at 25 before recognizing that it was an unrealistic goal.

An interim report released last month revealed that New Brunswick is considering setting the minimum age to buy pot at 19, regulating and selling cannabis through a crown corporation and setting the personal possession limit at 30 grams.
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