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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:13 pm

Cannabis consultations fuel debate over who gets to sell recreational pot

Charlotte County residents weighed in on pot legislation Monday

By Ben Silcox, CBC News Posted: Jul 24, 2017

A community centre in St. Stephen heard conflicting opinions echo through its halls Monday morning on who should be allowed to sell recreational cannabis.

The select committee on cannabis is touring New Brunswick to hear the public's thoughts on how and where to distribute marijuana when it's legalized next July — whether it be privatized, sold through a Crown corporation, or through pharmacies.

"I have over 600 people alone in Charlotte County who are prescribed users," said Stephen Fenity, a Charlotte County resident who is opening a dispensary. "Every single one that I've spoken to on a personal level that are friends of mine don't want to purchase anywhere else but from an independent dispensary."

The committee, composed of eight MLAs, heard conflicting opinions on where rural New Brunswick should be able to get their recreational pot next year. But hearing each side is part of the objective, according to the committee's leader.

"What matters is listening to New Brunswickers, making sure their point of view is heard and it will be considered when it comes to legislation this fall," said Benoit Bourque, head of the committee and Liberal MLA for Kent South.

Going independent

​A report issued in June 2017 by a provincial working group recommended a Crown corporation have the rights to sell and distribute marijuana in New Brunswick for recreational purposes.

Fenity, who said he was opening up his independent marijuana dispensary later Monday, disagreed with the recommendation.

"When you ask what kind of training does someone have in a liquor store in my experience it boils down to how to use a cash register," he said. "I won't hire a person on my staff who doesn't have a prescription. I won't hire a person who hasn't done the budtender's course so they know the difference in the strains."

Denis Brun, coordinator for the union that represents NB Liquor employees, disagreed. He said NB Liquor has the infrastructure to be the Crown corporation that handles the selling of recreational pot.

"We already feel that ANBL can provide these services to New Brunswickers," Brun said.

"It is the best way to ensure that the public health and safety of all the citizens of New Brunswick is prioritized and protected."

Brun said allowing private companies to sell marijuana runs the risk of allowing profit to come before safety. Pharmacies that already carry medical marijuana also present issues when it comes to recreational sale, he said.

"If it were sold in pharmacy, we run the risk of conflating the medical and recreational consumption of cannabis," he said.

Hearing out New Brunswickers

Bourque declined comment on where he falls on the issue, saying the consultations are a time for the public to offer options and ideas, not politicians.

"My job is to really look at all of them and once we take them all, it'll give us a better idea of what's going on in the heads of New Brunswickers," he said.

Bourque said while opinions like Fenity's clashed with provincial recommendations, they are welcome at the hearings, and may still be influential when New Brunswick decides on its policy.

"I think what he brings out is very pertinent in the sense that he's obviously very knowledgeable on medical marijuana," he said. "But of course they are his opinions, and we'll hear varying opinions in the coming days."

St. Stephen was the first in a full week of consultations for the committee, which will include Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton.
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by papapuff » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:24 pm

MLAs hear business pros and cons of legalized marijuana

Irving companies in Saint John seek way to test employees for marijuana use — before the drug becomes legal

By Ben Silcox, CBC News Posted: Jul 25, 2017

A committee of MLAs helping New Brunswick prepare for legal marijuana heard Saint John business concerns Tuesday about employees working while high, and about how the legalization of pot could lead to new jobs.

"There is a real and genuine rush and rising tide in cannabis," Derek Riedle, founder and publisher of Civilized, a marijuana lifestyle magazine based in Saint John.

The select committee on cannabis, made up of Liberal and opposition MLAs, heard both business pros and cons when it stopped in Saint John to gather ideas before the province drafts regulations for recreational marijuana use.

Good business

Riedle said a number of things make New Brunswick attractive to people wanting to start cannabis-related companies after the drug is legalized, likely by July 2018, according to the federal government.

"The cost of doing business here, as opposed to the cost in other spots" is one attraction, Riedle said.

"We also have a workforce that will embrace the types of jobs and prosperity it will bring us. I think we've got a unique opportunity to be the leaders in Canada here in New Brunswick."

Another provincial committee has already recommended a Crown corporation handle the distribution of marijuana in New Brunswick.

Riedle said even if marijuana is primarily sold by a Crown corporation, private businesses will still have a multitude of options in how they cash in on cannabis.

"I think there's untold opportunity in research, transportation, storage," he said. "This rising tide can float those boats."

Riedle also said there will be fertile ground for research and development companies looking at marijuana products, citing Zenabis in Atholville as a New-Brunswick based company that has already clued into this.

"You've something that is going to outpace, well, coffee — a $54 billion industry," he said. "Cannabis is going to be a $130 billion industry. If we're the leaders in cannabis … that ain't bad."

Workplace safety

While Riedle preached the benefits of cannabis on business, Chris MacDonald of a J.D. Irving Limited brought an established company's concerns to the table.

He said for jobs involving heavy machinery or driving, JDI and other employers, including Ellis Don and Air Canada, are part of a group seeking ways to test their employees for marijuana use.

MacDonald said statistics pointed to higher usage of recreational cannabis in Colorado after the state legalized it. He said J.D. Irving is concerned about whether it can monitor workers for intoxication on the job if more employees become marijuana users.

"What is going to happen in the workplace? … How are we going to manage this without the tools we'd like to have before the legalization happens?"

He said the solution would be a standardized test.

"I think what we need is a proper test, that will equate to a breath alcohol test that can be used in the transportation sector," MacDonald said. "Secondly, I think what we really need is a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program, regulatory framework, no different than what the United States has had since 1995. We don't have that."

Crown corporations

Also present at the Saint John consultations was Jamie Agnew, president of CUPE Local 963, which represents NB Liquor Employees.

He said his union is in favour of a model where a Crown corporation, represented by his union, sells marijuana when it is legalized. Gaps in the market, particularly in rural areas, could be filled by private dispensaries.

"That model would ensure any private store would have to buy from NB Liquor and the licence providers," Agnew said. "If we go to a totally private industry, I would be nervous that the black market would get their hands on it."

He said this would require a different set of shops, meaning a bump in available jobs for retail personnel.

"It would be totally separate stores," he said. "You could come into NB Liquor to buy liquor, and wherever the dispensary is to buy marijuana ... maybe any new builds of liquor stores would contain a separate dispensary."

Agnew said he would be happy if recreational marijuana sales were granted to his union.

"Bring on the weed!"
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by papapuff » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:30 am

Pricey pot could fuel black market trade: Regina police chief

Denver police officer said he can't attribute any increase in domestic violence to marijuana

CBC News Posted: Jul 26, 2017

Regina police Chief Evan Bray is concerned the legalization of marijuana in Canada and its potentially high price could drive the country's black market trade.

Speaking to CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition on Wednesday, Bray expanded on comments he made to CBC earlier this week about next year's planned legalization.

One of the unknowns at this point is how much legal pot will cost. Bray says if the price is too high, people will buy the product from illegal dealers.

He also responded to comments made by Denver Police Department Commander James Henning, who said he could not attribute any increase in domestic violence to the legalization of pot, largely due to the lack of data available on the subject.

"We know that that underground [marijuana] market is very volatile, comes with firearms," he added.

Bray said there were hidden costs to the drug's legalization including causing problems in domestic relationships similar to alcohol, and adding extra strain on police and municipal resources.

"Let's just talk about the impaired driving piece — it's expensive, it's tough to train for and so [Denver police] tend to default down there to impaired driving," said Bray.

Henning said more general "impaired driving" charges are often laid rather than charges related to specific substances because there's often more than one substance involved.

Bray agreed but said that situation is not always the case, that sometimes police find drivers impaired by drugs only, which is more difficult than alcohol to test for.

In the case of Canada, Bray said there would have to be specialized training given to officers and proper technology which could administer drug testing in the field.
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:18 pm

Manitoba appears open to private marijuana sales when pot becomes legal

WINNIPEG — The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, Jul. 27, 2017

The Manitoba government appears open to the idea of private sales of marijuana when recreational use of the drug becomes legal next year.

The Progressive Conservative government is asking for input from potential producers and vendors as it weighs its options for how cannabis will be produced and sold.

An expression of interest issued by the province says the government wants to determine marketplace interest for when the federal government changes its marijuana laws next July.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union is opposed to private sales and wants cannabis sold through government-run liquor stores.

The union, which represents liquor-store workers, says its members have experience in selling controlled products in a socially responsible way.

The government is asking for interested producers and sellers to respond by Sept. 8.

"Manitoba intends to develop a local, broad-based, adaptable and ongoing framework for the implementation of legalized recreational cannabis," the document issued Thursday says.

"Key measures of success for the framework include: restricting access to minors; competitive pricing; quality product, variety and knowledge; limits on density and locations of storefronts; accessibility for all Manitobans."

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has called on the federal government to delay marijuana legalization by one year so that provinces can have more time to prepare.

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.
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by papapuff » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

MetroNews Canada

Ontario prepping awareness campaign on danger of marijuana ahead of legalization

The province’s campaign will highlight health and other dangers of pot – particularly to young adults.

By: Staff Torstar News Service Published on Sat Jul 29 2017

Think of it as Reefer Awareness, not Reefer Madness, an over-the-top 1936 film preaching the evils of marijuana.

With less than a year until the federal government legalizes recreational marijuana, Ontario is starting work on a public education campaign to highlight health and other dangers of pot – particularly to young adults.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins wants the effort to hit the airwaves, newspapers and social media well before the new pot law kicks in next July 1 with 19 the likely age of majority in this province.

“There’s strong evidence that the brain continues to develop up until roughly the age of 25 and evidence that cannabis use can negatively impact that,” he says.

That means possible memory problems, struggling with math and reading, general learning difficulties and a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to marijuana the younger someone starts, depending on usage levels, research suggests.

“The key to all of this is very strong public education so that parents and kids understand what the risks are, like with alcohol,” adds Hoskins, a physician himself.

“It’s about informed decision-making.”

The Canadian Medical Association and other health-care groups have been ramping up warnings about the use of cannabis by people under 25 as policies are being developed in Ottawa and provincial capitals.

“Children and youth are especially at risk for marijuana-related harms, given their brain is undergoing rapid, extensive development,” the association wrote in its latest brief to the federal government.

“Our understanding of the health effects of marijuana continues to evolve. Marijuana use is linked to several adverse health outcomes, including addiction, cardiovascular and pulmonary effects (e.g., chronic bronchitis), mental illness, and other problems, including cognitive impairment and reduced educational attainment. There seems to be an increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders, including schizophrenia, in persons with a predisposition to such disorders. The use of high potency products, higher frequency of use and early initiation are predictors of worse health outcomes.”

Pot use in the 15 to 24 age group is double that of the general population, the CMA noted in an earlier submission to the House of Commons, warning “awareness of Canadians to the harms of marijuana is generally low.”

Hoskins promised “a substantial public education campaign” to point out the dangers of pot, and is taking a leaf from policy makers in Colorado, where marijuana is already legal.

“One of the things that they have pointed out is that they wish, in retrospect, they had moved on the public education significantly before it became legal. They didn’t and so I’m taking that principle to heart. We can’t wait until July 1,” he adds.

“It doesn’t necessarily need to be hard-hitting. It needs to be memorable but, again, it’s what is the best way to get information across?”

Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment’s campaign includes online tip sheets with advice for youth, parents, pregnant women and on health impacts in general.

In many cases, the warnings are blunt: “Brain development is not complete until age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use marijuana.”

The tip sheet for parents says “do not allow smoking in your home or around children. Marijuana smoke is not healthy. It has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke.”

Pregnant women and new mothers are cautioned about pot use, given that marijuana can pass into the womb and make it harder for the child to pay attention and learn. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, can also get into breast milk.

Colorado also debunks some myths in its campaign, such as arguments like “since it’s legal, it must be safe” and “since it’s natural, it must be safe.”

While Hoskins has heard the push from some quarters to make the age of majority for marijuana higher than 19 for health reasons, he says that risks leaving a larger black market the federal legislation is intended to quash.

“If it’s too high…that age group is going to continue to find it in the illicit market.”
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:20 pm


Manitoba Looking for Suppliers & Retailers of Marijuana

Kevin KleinPosted: July 31st at 2:00pmFeatured, NEWS, POLITICS, Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MB. – The Manitoba government has issued an expression of interest (EOI) to determine options and possible participants in the new cannabis industry, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson officially announced.

“In anticipation of the legalization of cannabis, we have taken a proactive approach to addressing our primary concern, which is the health and safety of Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “In addition to this focus, we also recognize there are many questions to be answered regarding distribution, regulation and quality control. This EOI will help us source potential solutions to these important questions and further engage Manitobans on an approach to legalization that works best for our province.

”The minister noted the purpose of the EOI is to determine market place interest and capability to provide, full or in part, services for the production, distribution and retail of cannabis that will meet the needs and standards of the cannabis industry in Manitoba.

She added the EOI will seek input from respondents on their understanding of the requirements of the Manitoba cannabis industry, a detailed work plan to fulfil those requirements, proposed costs, commitment to corporate responsibility, economic benefits, method of age verification, status as, or relationship, to a company holding a Health Canada Cannabis Production License and details of any additional services they may provide.

“The federal government has been clear in its intention to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018,” added Stefanson. “Our government is focused on responsibly managing this significant change in public policy. We are concerned about the federal government’s deadline but we will continue the work that needs to be done to implement the legalization of cannabis. As we await further clarity from the federal government, this EOI will help us gather the information necessary to help protect the public health and safety of all Manitobans.

”The EOI is now live on the online Canadian public tendering service, Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 8.

Government of Manitoba
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by papapuff » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:31 am

Cannabis industry to province: Make room for made-in-Manitoba weed

Existing players in legal-cannabis sector urge province to ensure diversity of entrants into new marketplace

By Bartley Kives, CBC News Posted: Aug 02, 2017

Winnipeg's modest legal-cannabis industry wants the Progressive Conservative government to foster a made-in-Manitoba marijuana sector as the clock ticks down toward the legalization of recreational weed.

Cannabis producers and retailers say Brian Pallister's government ought to allow an array of entrants into recreational cannabis production, distribution and retailing in Manitoba — and in a manner that doesn't allow large national players to monopolize the local marketplace after legalization next July.

"I think the worst case for Manitoba here would be to allow for us to import products from other provinces, to retail stores that are run by companies from other provinces, with none of the profits, expertise, etc., really contributing to the Manitoba economy," said John Arbuthnot, vice-president and co-founder of Winnipeg's Delta 9 Bio-Tech, the first licensed cannabis producer in the province and for now, the only licensed distributor, as well.

Last week, Manitoba's PC government invited cannabis-industry players to help the province figure out how to distribute and sell recreational cannabis. Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said while the province is leaning toward the use of the existing Liquor and Gaming Authority as a cannabis regulator, "all options are on the table" for cannabis distribution and retail sales.

That sets the table for one of three cannabis retail-and-distribution options: an entirely private model, a Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries monopoly or a mix of public and private distributors and retailers.

Arbuthnot, whose firm sends mail-order medical marijuana to about 1,800 customers right now and hopes to expand into recreational cannabis storefronts, said he believes a mix of public and private options makes the most sense for the marketplace, provided Liquor & Lotteries wants to participate.

"I'd like to see a broad base of stores, different marketing, branding behind those different storefronts and really allowing for participation across the spectrum from there," he said.

Arbuthnot founded Delta 9 in 2013 as an Asper School of Business project, with help from his banker father and a quality-control expert. The company now employs 45 people at an 80,000-square-foot Transcona warehouse and produces approximately 1,200 kilograms of medical cannabis a year, generating roughly $2 milllion in annual sales, said Arbuthnot.

Delta 9 raised $6 million during its first four years and hopes to raise another $5 million over the next two months, as the company is preparing to list its stock on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Arbuthnot hopes to raise another $25 million in 2018 as legalization ramps up the demand for federally approved cannabis. He said he's not concerned by reports of cannabis-sector stock bubble, as he says there is nowhere near enough of a supply of legal cannabis to serve the impending demand.

"​It's our feeling there will be a short supply in the market for a period of two to three years as producers such as ourselves ramp up capacity to meet demand," he said.

The only other licensed cannabis producer in Manitoba, Bonify, is still awaiting Health Canada approval to sell the crop it's growing in a 320,000-square-foot warehouse in the North End.

Karen Debroni, Bonify's director of business development and administration, said her firm will work within whatever regulatory framework the province deems appropriate for Manitoba. She did, however, say she too hopes Manitoba players will have access to the local market.

Matthew Monasterski, franchise holder for the Weeds Glass & Gifts medical-marijuana supply storefront in the Exchange District, said the provincial regulatory regime must make room for the artisanal cannabis producers who currently serve people with multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy and other medical conditions.

"We should be arranging a legal program to accommodate the craft cannabis people," he said, opining artisanal cannabis operations produce superior medicinal cannabis products and derivatives and patients will continue to seek out these products.

"I think if Manitoba just sits back and waits to watch happens, we're going to hurt ourselves financially."

Both Arbuthnot and Monasterski said Manitoba is well-suited for cannabis production because of the low cost of electricity, the presence of skilled labour, the central location and a climate cold enough to allow easy cooling of indoor growing facilities.

The large-scale grower and the craft-cannabis also agreed another front: the people who sell cannabis in retail stores ought to be intimately acquainted with the psychoactive effects of dozens if not hundreds of different strains, which vary in terms of the content of cannibinoids, terpenes and other chemicals.

"I wouldn't suggest you buy cannabis products from somebody who doesn't have that knowledge," Monatserski said.

"The best advice I ever get at the liquor store is from that staff member who knows their wine intimately and knows how to provide some product background and knowledge behind it. I would love to see the same thing for our cannabis products," said Arbuthnot.

Last week, both PC Justice Minister Heather Stefanson and NDP justice critic Andrew Swan suggested cannabis retailers only need to be educated about their various products as opposed to cannabis consumers. That prompted marijuana advocate Steven Stairs to liken such a cannabis retailer to a car salesman who doesn't have a driver's license.

The Trudeau government plans to legalize recreational cannabis on July 1, 2018, over the objections of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who says there is not sufficient time to prepare.
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by papapuff » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:37 pm

Clearing the smoke: 4 steps to enjoying legal cannabis in Canada

by Bethany Rae on August 4th, 2017

Depending on where you live in Canada, and with legalization on the horizon, it would be easy to think that storefront medicinal cannabis is already legal.

Some cities, like Vancouver and Victoria, have taken measures to license and regulate certain storefronts, (which remain illegal on the federal level), while other dispensaries are open in defiance, with hopes of being grandfathered into the legal market. In many cities now, people can walk into a cannabis dispensary for the first time and walk out with a supply of various cannabis products. They might have to show paperwork proof of a medical condition, or it might be as easy as flashing their ID.

I personally love cannabis dispensaries. It never gets old to me that this plant, persecuted for so many years, now gets beautifully designed retail stores all to itself. The innovation of cannabis products is moving along at a rapid pace and the whole in store experience screams flower and freedom.

For me, dispensaries done well, represent a peek into the future of what full legalization could look like in Canada. Whether I’m getting personalized service at The Village Dispensary, enjoying the open space at Aura Health Studio (both in Vancouver), or visiting, what feels like a parallel universe down in Washington State, Oregon or California, cannabis dispensaries are the heart of access and the personal experience many people need when making purchasing decisions about cannabis.

But waving my hand through the clouds of smoke, I’d like to clear the confusion between dispensaries and licensed producers for anyone looking to understand the legalities before making a buying decision either way. Cannabis storefronts and online dispensaries in Canada are federally illegal until the government announces changes to this in adult use legalization, slated for July 1, 2018.

There are no guarantees that they will be permitted in every province. Until further announcements, the process of obtaining legal cannabis in Canada involves buying flower (dried cannabis), oil, and oil capsules, directly from licensed producers (LP’s).

LP’s are companies that Health Canada has approved through the medical cannabis program. To obtain cannabis through this medicinal system, there are a few extra steps you’ll need to take.

1. Get Prescribed

Get a prescription from a doctor for a gram amount per day

Unfortunately that Skype phone call you might have had with a doctor when signing up at a self-regulating cannabis dispensary most likely does not count. Neither does the handful of cannabis dispensary cards in my wallet.

We are talking about a legal prescription written out for an exact gram amount per day. When I finally got my legal prescription, I was prescribed and therefore approved, to purchase two grams of cannabis per day through an authorized licensed producer.

This decision, made by my doctor, was based on how much cannabis I would need to effectively treat the conditions that I have, and taking into consideration my preference towards trying oil drops and capsules throughout the day.

There is a wide range of medical conditions that Health Canada allows prescription for. If you are human there is a reasonable chance that cannabis could benefit you therapeutically.

Speak with a cannabis educated doctor at a cannabis clinic if yours is uninformed
Not keen on the idea of talking to your family doctor about cannabis? You are not alone. I knew that there was no way my family doctor was going to prescribe me cannabis. I’m pretty sure she even covered her ears with her hands when I brought up the topic.

She was, however, happy to talk about which pharmaceutical drugs I could work with permanently. I don’t blame her for the system that she is in—western medicine is built on a pharmaceutical foundation. So I reached out to a local cannabis clinic for an appointment with their team of cannabis consultants and doctors.

I was excited to finally talk to a doctor about my situation and how I could optimize cannabis therapeutically. I did need my family doctor to refer me to the clinic.

The referral process gave me more anxiety than I had to begin with, but after stating my right to talk to a doctor who was educated on cannabinoids, I was out the door and receiving personalized attention at a specalized clinic.

Many of these cannabis clinics provide doctors appointments via Skype. While some controversially charge a fee for their service, I appreciated being able to talk to a doctor who had taken the time to understand cannabis as medicine and work to understand my personal needs.

2. Sign up

Register with one or more licensed producer of your choice

Once your prescribing doctor has determined an amount of cannabis for you to purchase per day they allocate that prescription to a licensed producer, on your behalf.

You are able to split your prescription and apply it to different licensed producers but that is something to discuss with your doctor. I had researched the different licensed producers approved by Health Canada and chose to have 1g allocated to Tilray and 1g allocated to Aurora.

I would love to try every licenced producer and I can move my prescription but it’s extra paperwork and I am happy with my selections. The doctor or clinic will forward your prescription to the selected licensed producer and you register on that LP’s website.

If you are unfamiliar with the options a cannabis clinic consultant will help you chose. If your family doctor is prescribing for you, it might make it easier to chose a licensed producer in advance and take the paperwork to the doctor’s appointment with you, having them prescribe it directly on the form.

3. Order cannabis

Order online and have it delivered to your door

Once your prescription is received and your registration processed you are clear to legally order from your chosen licensed producer. You must order directly from their website or over the phone and have it shipped to your address.

With a two-gram prescription per day, split between two licensed producers, I am able to order 30 grams per month at each licensed producer. (If not used up, it does not accumulate month over month.)

For me, shopping online with an LP is a fascinating experience as I am able to click on lab reports and understand the active compound profile of each strain or product. Currently, licensed producers are being approved to sell flower strains, oil extracts such as oil drops and capsules, and we are starting to see the first topical products come to the legal market.

Licensed producer products arrive packaged discreetly and require a signature.

4. Enjoy cannabis

Explore cannabis as part of a healthy lifestyle

I will never forget the day that I received my first order of legal cannabis. It had my name, patient number and prescribing doctor on all the packaging. I can fly and travel within Canada with my legal medical cannabis as long as I have it in the original packaging.

For extra peace of mind, I carry the receipt as proof of legal purchase. Cannabis purchased legally this way is a medical tax expense that I am allowed to deduct annually.

When I held the beautifully packaged cannabis in my hand for the first time, it felt surreal that the government had approved me to have it in my possession, and whether I believe that to be their right or not, it’s progress, people.

Bethany Rae is a cannabis educator and creator of Flower and Freedom. Follow Bethany on Facebook and Instagram.
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by papapuff » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:33 am


Tri-Port talks potential legalization of marijuana

by Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette
posted Aug 4, 2017 at 9:30 PM— updated Aug 4, 2017 at 10:00 PM

With the federal government looking at the legalization of marijuana by 2018, the North Island Tri-Port (Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Port Alice) seems to all be on the same page regarding the subject.

Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood has previously gone on record with the Gazette saying he's interested in marijuana from an economic standpoint, and he wants to be "proactive and make sure we implement the requirements that make it a safe and viable operation in the District of Port Hardy."

Bood has put together an Advisory Planning Commission which will be looking at subjects like regulating the zones in which marijuana can be dispensed, dispensaries proximity to other dispensaries, whether dispensaries can be combined with retail, if the dispensaries will be located close to schools, and more.

Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen stated she wouldn't be opposed to someone opening a dispensary in the village if/when legalization happens, but it's not something council is currently looking at making a reality anytime soon. "We have bigger fish to fry," said Allen, as the village is still dealing with the impact from Neucel Specialty Cellulose's production curtailment that has been going on for over two years.

Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland said they are going to wait and see what happens with regards to marijuana legalization. She added she has been supportive of dispensaries in the past, "and anytime you offer opportunities for medical services that help prevent people from accessing illegal substances is a good thing."

Ackland said from her perspective, "I think it's reasonable, and if it were legalized, we could consider a dispensary in Port McNeill, because we have lots of people who need to access different kinds of medical services."

She noted marijuana "isn't just a pleasure thing, it's a really true and realistic option as a medical alternative."

According to an article by Kristy Kirkup from the Canadian Press, adults 18 and older will be able to legally buy and cultivate small amounts of marijuana for personal use, while selling the drug to a minor will become a serious new criminal offence under the federal government's proposed new legal-pot regime.

A suite of legislation would, once passed, establish a "strict legal framework" for the production, sale, distribution and possession of pot, and make it against the law to sell cannabis to youth or use a young person to commit a cannabis-related crime.

New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars.

The new law would allow adults 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public, share up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with other adults and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially regulated retailer.

They would also be permitted to grow up to four plants per residence for personal use, as well as make legal cannabis-containing products at home.

The government says it intends to bring other products, including pot-infused edibles, into the legalized sphere once federal regulations for production and sale are developed and brought into force.

Under the proposed Cannabis Act, it would remain illegal to import cannabis and cannabis products, and to export them without a valid permit.

Permits may be issued for certain purposes, such as medical cannabis and industrial hemp.

It would also be against the law to sell cannabis in a package or with a label that could be construed as appealing to young people, to include testimonials or endorsements, or to depict a person, character or animal.

The government also aims to establish "significant penalties" for those who engage young Canadians in "cannabis-related offences" and a "zero-tolerance approach" to drug-impaired driving, along with a "robust" public awareness campaign.

The RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency plan to work together, along with local police, to uphold laws governing illegal cross-border movement of cannabis.

It would also provide additional investment for licensing, inspection and enforcement challenges.

Provinces, territories and municipalities would be able to tailor rules for their own jurisdictions, enforcing them through mechanisms such as ticketing.

They will also be permitted to set their own licensing, distribution and retail sales rules, establish provincial zoning rules for cannabis businesses and change provincial traffic safety laws as they deem necessary.

Once passed, the bills introduced would make Canada the first member of the G7 to legalize marijuana for recreational use across the country.
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by papapuff » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:50 am

The Province

Legal pot may breathe life into small Canadian towns hit by resource losses

Published: August 05, 2017
Updated: August 06, 2017

DUNCAN, B.C. — In a tree-nestled First Nation community on Vancouver Island, forestry and farming used to be the major industries that kept the economy humming and put food on families' tables.

But members of the Cowichan Tribes, like people from so many small and rural towns in Canada, have seen jobs driven elsewhere through dramatic changes to those sectors.

So when a medical marijuana company moved next door, Chief William Seymour saw an opportunity for his members to get good jobs and stay in the area.

"It's their home. It is hard for any First Nation, doesn't matter where you go, when they grow up in their own community. Having to move is always a huge thing," he said.

Harvest One Cannabis Inc.'s grow facility is located on land owned by the Cowichan Tribes just outside Duncan, B.C. The company hopes to employ members of the First Nation once it completes a $9-million expansion, and the band is offering to pay for training courses to get prospective workers up to speed.

Across Canada, medical marijuana companies have begun ramping up production capacity and staff levels in anticipation of legalization of recreational cannabis on July 1, 2018. The companies need space — and lots of it — to grow thousands of plants, making rural areas or former manufacturing towns a natural fit for their operations.

Canopy Growth Corp., Canada's largest pot producer, transformed a vacant Hershey chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ont., into a grow facility that largely employs locals. In Alberta, suffering since the oil-price crash, Aurora Cannabis Inc. is building a nearly 75,000-square-metre production plant in Leduc, while Invictus MD has moved into the tiny hamlet of Peers.

British Columbia's Cowichan Valley, which includes Duncan, is an example of a region that's been supportive of the cannabis industry, said Graham Whitmarsh, chief operating officer of Harvest One and a former industry consultant who once worked on projects in the province's Interior, including Merritt.

"There's a (type) of community where I think this fits well, especially those that may have historically relied on the logging industry," said Whitmarsh, a former deputy minister in B.C.'s previous Liberal government. "Merritt is a good example. A major sawmill closed down there just a couple of years ago.

"This is an entirely new business. It's going to grow to be something substantial at the end of the day and it's not dependent on the local resources, so the communities are a good fit."

Some laid-off resource workers are looking forward to legalization. Sixty-year-old Arnold Meyer worked at the Tolko mill in Merritt for 40 years before receiving a pink slip last December. Standing outside the shuttered mill in May, as Premier John Horgan made a campaign stop, Meyer said he was still looking for work.

"It's OK, pot's going to be legal soon," Meyer said, adding he's hopeful a large cannabis company will move to the community.

In U.S. jurisdictions that have legalized recreational marijuana, some small towns have reaped the benefits. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported the town of Sedgwick was on the verge of collapse before it allowed cannabis dispensaries to open in 2012, and it has since used the tax revenue to rebuild crumbling infrastructure.

Across the country in Adelanto, Calif., commercial marijuana growing ignited a land rush that prompted home values to skyrocket, LA Weekly reported. And on Friday, marijuana company American Green Inc. announced it planned to buy the entire town of Nipton, Calif., for $5 million and transform it into an "energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination."

But Lewis Koski, a consultant who was formerly director of Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division, advised caution to Canadian municipalities hoping to cash in on legal cannabis.

He said in Colorado, the only tax that's levied on cultivation goes entirely into state coffers and it's not until tax is collected at the retail point of sale that a shareback goes to local jurisdictions. Municipalities may be able to create their own cultivation taxes, but that would harm their competitiveness, he said.

Further, the $500-million in tax and fee revenue collected by the state since 2014 is less than one per cent of the state's budget and most of it has gone back into cannabis enforcement and education, he said.

But he said there has been statewide job growth, with about 30,000 people licensed to work in the cannabis industry. That figure doesn't necessarily include people peripherally employed by the sector, including construction workers, plumbers, electricians, lawyers, accountants and consultants.

Still, some experts remain skeptical.

Prof. Werner Antweiler of the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business said he expects legalization to create few new jobs, but it probably will move some illegal jobs into the legal economy.

"I seriously doubt that small towns in particular would benefit from cannabis legalization," he said.

"The point to keep in mind is that marijuana legalization is not an employment policy. The main focus is on taking this business out of the hands of gangs, regulating and safeguarding supply, and influencing demand in order to reduce negative health outcomes."

— By Laura Kane in Vancouver, with files from The Associated Press.
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by papapuff » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:09 pm

Hay fever or high? Toronto police preparing for legal pot, but can't rely on tests for impaired drivers

Unlike blood-alcohol levels, 'there is no number for drugs and that is the challenge,' says officer

By Malone Mullin, CBC News Posted: Aug 06, 2017

With 200 officers trained to detect inebriated drivers already — and more on the way in time for marijuana's expected legalization next spring — Sgt. Brett Moore of Toronto police's Traffic Services is confident in law enforcement's ability to prevent stoners from getting away with driving high.

But Moore admits the drug presents its share of challenges.

"It is a shift from alcohol," he told CBC's Metro Morning earlier this week.

But testing for cannabis impairment, he says, follows the same principles as testing for alcohol, despite the lack of a handy breath test.

Moore says he's got officers preparing for pot's release on Canadian drivers the only way they can: they're training for "standard field sobriety testing," which checks for red or glassy eyes and the driver's ability to balance.

If suspected impaired drivers don't perform well on those initial exams, says Moore, they're taken in to see an evaluator, who performs a medical exam.

And if that goes poorly, a urine test is requested.

But unlike blood-alcohol levels, which are easily determined, "there is no number for drugs and that is the challenge," Moore said.

"That's what the courts and the legal folks are going to have to figure out," Moore continued. "There's going to have to be some level or degree of concentration in your blood," and, he said, "it's not set yet."

'Subjective opinion,' no test for pot

Paul Burstein, a lawyer with Burstein Bryant Barristers, pointed out the same problem, but says it represents a significant concern with impaired driving offences once pot becomes widely available.

With cannabis, he says, "it's not such a clear-cut standard. With alcohol there's a defined limit."

He points to the Breathalyzer, "a scientifically-reliable test" that provides a standard result. The number that appears on the test can be compared to the legal limit.

Burstein says that for cannabis, which can remain in a person's system long after its effects wear off, an officer may only rely on "a subjective opinion" to determine if someone's too high to drive. "It's really just the famed standard test: stand on one leg, walk the line."

Thus any test that does detect traces of the drug "doesn't prove impairment, it only proves you've consumed it at some point in the past," he said.

"The result is there are many other explanations for all of these apparent symptoms, so it doesn't establish anything."

Move first offenders out of criminal courts?

Burstein believes the legal system should focus on cases "close to the line."

He gives an example of a regular cannabis smoker who has used the plant in the last 24 hours. If their urine tests positive, Burstein says, they're at risk of being falsely accused of impaired driving.

Possible cases like that one should compel legislators to move first offences out of the criminal courts, Burstein said, pointing to British Columbia as an example.

Offenders wouldn't risk jail time or a criminal record, but the threat of licence suspension should be enough of a deterrent, he said.

Until someone develops a reliable test, Burstein adds, it's a stopgap measure to protect Ontario drivers.

Test 'not a magic solution'

Moore says urine, saliva or breath tests aren't a "magic solution" to determining who's impaired.

Officers ultimately rely on the entirety of their arsenal, including witness statements, field tests and diligent notes, to determine if somebody is fit to drive, Moore said.

And legal weed, he added, won't change that.

"The message for the public to know is...we have the skills and abilities to prosecute, to watch, to train, to arrest."

With files from Metro Morning
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by papapuff » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:27 am

Cannabis-ness: Marijuana companies anchoring themselves in Edmonton ahead of legalization

City has fielded around 20 calls, issued 3 licensing permits

By Kyle Muzyka, CBC News Posted: Aug 07, 2017

With marijuana legalization looming, Edmonton is opening up its doors to businesses and inquiries alike — from local establishments to established entrerprises.

Edmonton officials have passed multiple bylaws ahead of the federal government's 2018 target of legalization, including bylaws that prevent existing bars and cannabis paraphernalia stores from transitioning into marijuana lounges.

But Colton Kirsop from the city said that hasn't stopped citizens and businesses from inquiring on and applying to open marijuana-related businesses, including cannabis lounges and production facilities.

"We have heard from a number of citizens and businesses that would like to know more about [marijuana-related businesses]," Kirsop told CBC News.

He said there are "upward of 20 contacts that are interested in cannabis lounges or cannabis storefronts," and three permits for commercial license production have already been issued.

Canopy Growth, Canada's largest publicly traded marijuana company, is one outfit looking to grow in Edmonton. In June, they announced a 160,000 square-foot growing operation in the Morris Industrial Park in the southeast end of the city.

"Alberta is a good place to do business," Mark Zekulin, president of Canopy Growth, told CBC News. "[Edmonton] is certainly well positioned to serve a bunch of areas of the distribution locations."

Canopy Growth supplies medical marijuana products to Canadians across the country, and Zekulin said building a growth facility in Edmonton will make it easier to ship product across western Canada.

The company plans to be up and running "as soon as humanly possible," but still have some hurdles to clear, including securing a license from Health Canada. But with their track record of successful growing operations elsewhere in the country, Zekulin said that will likely not be an issue.

The facility, Zekulin said, will be a huge boost to the local economy, estimating it will create up to 100 jobs. "A facility of this size, with the type of work we do, you're talking tens of millions of dollars of investment," he said.

And licensed medical marijuana growers aren't the only type of cannabis business looking to cash in.

Cannabis consultant

While most prospective cannabis-related business owners look to sell cannabis or products to use it, Matt Durrant took a different approach: he wants to show people how to grow it.

Under the federal legislation, the Liberal government is expected to allow cannabis users to grow four plants per household.

Durrant is the operations manager for MediGrow, which currently helps medical marijuana patients cultivate in their own home. MediGrow sells equipment used to grow medical marijuana to its customers — and will also install the equipment, provide nutrients and solutions as well as ongoing support.

"People wanted to grow their own medicine," Durrant told CBC News. "We really saw a void in that market."

Now, with legalization on the horizon, he's preparing to show anyone who wants to grow cannabis in their home his best practices.

"We're anticipating the recreational market," Durrant said. He said the prices from licensed producers (LPs) are around $10 a gram, which he thinks is too high.

He said the systems he sells — which run from $2,200 to $6,000 — can yield prices of 50 cents per gram.

"We are confident in some of our bigger units that they can pay themselves off… in one grow, and for sure in two," he said. The mid-sized unit, which Durrant said would be ideal for the four-plant count, costs $3,600 (plus an additional $210 for growing materials) and yields 448 grams each grow.

"We can help people grow this on their own, without having to buy from these LPs at these really, really high prices," he said.

The company has expanded to Red Deer and Calgary as well, and with upcoming legalization, Durrant expects a surge in business. They are hoping to expand to other provinces soon.

'We are wasting no time'

Like MediGrow, Zekulin expects Canopy Growth to have success in Edmonton — which could lead to other opportunities in Alberta.

"I wouldn't say we're done in Alberta," Zekulin hinted, though he wouldn't confirm where the company is looking to expand next. "We're certainly looking across the country."

But right now, not even two months after announcing a new facility, Zekulin said the company will focus efforts on getting the operation up and running in Edmonton.

"We are wasting no time," he said. "We are a big player in this space, in Canada and globally, and I think it's exciting for Edmonton that we want to be there."

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by papapuff » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:23 am

Marijuana legalization has Quebec jail guard union worried about inmate violence

Drones being used to drop packages of contraband items to inmates

CBC News Posted: Aug 07, 2017

Quebec's jail guard union is worried violence behind bars could increase with the upcoming legalization of marijuana.

Safety has become a concern for the union, called the Syndicat des agents de la paix en services correctionnels du Québec, which has members in the province's 18 correctional facilities.

According to union president Mathieu Lavoie, any contraband leads to violence — and marijuana could join the list of items which includes tobacco, medications and cell phones.

He said that every day drones are delivering illegal packages to inmates.

"When we talk about banned substances, we could talk about tobacco which sells for three times the price as outside," said Lavoie.

A former inmate who spent 17 years behind bars, Daniel Benson, now works in social reintegration and agrees that contraband can lead to violence.

He's not sure if marijuana legalization will increase how much of the drug gets to inmates, but thinks guards should have more resources to diminish any conflicts which may arise.

"Violence in prison is often linked to debts, whether that's drugs or gambling," Benson said.

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is a member of the legal committee for the legalization of pot.

He thinks smoking weed in prison could be used as a reward for good behaviour.

"If we can just make smoking a privilege and ask people, 'You want to smoke? You have to make some effort in your rehabilitation process,'" Boisvenu said.

Either way, the union hopes to have more resources in place to handle the legalization of marijuana which is set for July 2018.
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by papapuff » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:28 am

Ottawa Citizen

Gregory: Recreational weed – who should set the rules? (Hint: not the feds)

Allan W. Gregory ALLAN W. GREGORY
Published on: August 8, 2017

Marijuana for recreational use will soon become legal under the federal Liberal government’s Bill C-45, but the discussion of how to best regulate what many suspect will be an enormous industry is still ongoing.

The model put forward by Bill C-45 was suggested by the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation and is based on the Tobacco Act. Under it, the federal government oversees the wholesale side (licensing and security for all production in Canada) and the provincial governments and territories are responsible for the retail level (public education, youth protection and distribution).

While the Tobacco Act provides lawmakers with an obvious template for recreational use, a look at the current medical marijuana industry reveals that a model based on alcohol regulation – with minimal federal involvement – is a far more convincing option.

The current federal licensing model for medical marijuana does little to enhance the view that the feds know best. For example, there are no clear guidelines or stated policy objectives as to who gets a licence other than meeting the necessary criteria. The hodgepodge of licences across Canada (52 of them at the time of writing) do not reflect a coordinated supply management system designed to meet population demands. For example, Quebec has been granted only one licence compared to Ontario’s 29. How further licensing would unfold in a recreational setting where demand would increase is anyone’s guess. Bottlenecks and interprovincial trade issues would likely abound.

Provinces and territories will want their own approach to licensing and their own criteria as to the number, size and location of each producer. While there may eventually be interprovincial trade as set out in the recently signed Canadian Free Trade Agreement, the details have yet to be worked out and there is a two-year time frame for its completion. Also, there is an opt-out clause for each province that disagrees with the national compromise.

In the federal oversight environment, information duplication would be sizeable. Licensed producers would report the same information (production, sales, inventory etc.) to both the federal and provincial governments. This additional cost would be borne by the consumers and producers and serve no real purpose. Again, there seems little point to have the feds involved.

Marijuana may share a number of features with tobacco but this connection is being pushed too far. The push to legalize marijuana comes from a variety of forces, not the least of which is personal safe adult enjoyment much more akin to alcohol use. In that setting, provincial government responsibility would outweigh most federal input, including most of the tax-sharing.

Medical marijuana under federal regulation has had mixed reviews. Health is clearly a provincial matter and the provincial governments will want to exercise more control than that demonstrated by Health Canada in the medical market.

At present, Health Canada makes no attempt to verify whether physicians prescribing medical marijuana have valid provincial or territorial medical licences. The patient pays for the forms sent to the licensed producers, but we suspect many patients seek their family physician’s opinion prior to using medical marijuana. There are a number of family health networks at play (rostering of patients) and provincial governments may wish to ensure that patients are not seeking medical marijuana from doctors who are not part of the patient’s regular family doctor network. Provinces will want a tighter relationship between the family physician and their prescribing of medical marijuana than presently offered under Health Canada, particularly once recreational use is legal.

Most of the challenges of marijuana legalization will fall on provincial/territorial purses. Other than legalizing marijuana broadly, how the industry is regulated is best left to each province and territory. Just as with alcohol and gambling laws, provinces will differ in how they prefer to license, tax and educate their citizens on the use of these products.

Allan W. Gregory, a professor of economics at Queen’s University, researches the medical marijuana industry. Read more at:
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by papapuff » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:14 am

Benefits Canada

Have your say: Will high pot prices, regulations push users onto benefits plans?

Staff | August 9, 2017

As the federal government’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana next year moves ahead, there are still many challenges, including how pricing and taxation of the drug will work.

In letters to the governments of Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association has asked those provinces to consider the potential affect on the medical system when creating regulations around the drug. The main concern is that employees may attempt to gain access to marijuana through their group benefits plan without a legitimate medical need, Benefits Canada reported last week.

A memo published by the C.D. Howe Institute in July suggested that if provincial governments are to reach their goal of undercutting the black market for recreational marijuana, prices and applicable taxes will need to be quite low.

It identified the sweet spot at about $9 per gram, a price at which consumers would be most willing to buy recreational marijuana legally. If the base price sits at $7.50 with an added 10 per cent in taxes, more than 90 per cent of the market will be legitimate, according to the memo.

That number is in step with a report from the office of the parliamentary budget officer, which noted in November 2016 that “when legalization occurs, the government may have little fiscal space to apply tax without pushing the price of legal cannabis significantly above the illegal market price. Even with only a sales tax, legal cannabis prices in 2018 will likely be as high as illicit market prices in 2015-16.”

Are you concerned that high prices and excessive regulation of recreational marijuana when the law changes next year will push employees to seek coverage under their group benefits plans? Have your say in our weekly online poll.

Last week’s poll surveyed the sentiment around Saskatchewan’s new six per cent sales tax on insurance premiums. More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents disagreed with the move, saying the tax would be significant enough as to discourage employers from offering benefits. The remaining 24 per cent agreed with the move, saying it’s similar to provisions in other provinces and suggesting the tax would have little impact.
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