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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:47 pm

Yukon News

Let’s be blunt: Yukon should spurn Ontario’s lead on weed

The land that fun forgot is a poor model for legalization

CHRIS WINDEYERFri Sep 29th, 2017

Legal cannabis is coming. That much we know.

Exactly what the Yukon’s marijuana landscape will look like in July 2018, when legalization arrives, remains largely unknown.

The Yukon government is seeking public input on its marijuana regime until the end of September and promises to make survey results public by mid-November. A task force is already fleshing out a regulatory framework as we speak.

The federal government has opted — wisely, it has to be said — to set baseline rules for legalization and otherwise allow the provinces and territories to figure out the rest. That includes how marijuana will be sold, who may buy it and what sorts of pot products — the grey market already offers everything from hashish to cookies to bath bombs — will be permitted by the new legal regime.

Some provinces have announced their rules and we’re already seeing widely divergent approaches. Ontario’s drab army of bureaucratic drones has never met a vice it couldn’t strangle the fun out of (Exhibit A: The Beer Store, some locations of which retain all the charm of a Soviet bread lineup circa 1956.)

Ontario’s rules, highly abridged, strictly limit the number of retail outlets to 40 at first. This, in a province with some 1,200 liquor stores, is absurd. VICE reports there are 100 dispensaries in Toronto now, despite the fact that the city’s police department keeps raiding them, apparently out of pure spite.

There’s also a ban on cannabis lounges for public vaping or smoking. This is presumably in the name of public health, and yet the federal government is banning edibles, which don’t require inhaling anything and are the next most popular way for people to get high.

“Prohibition is not being lifted,” one dispensary worker told Yukon News alum Sam Riches, writing for Leafly. “They are exchanging prohibition with extreme regulation.”

What’s worse, the Ontario government will be the sole distributor of marijuana. In its rush to throw more candy to the LCBO’s public service union (which lobbied hard for the government monopoly), Ontario has erased one of the main reasons for legalization in the first place, which was undermining a major source of cash for organized crime. Budtenders who know what they’re selling will be replaced with government workers VICE called “people who have been narcs their whole life.”

All these details virtually guarantee the black market supply of marijuana will continue to thrive.

The Government of Ontario is now both Big Brother and a pot dealer. Congratulations, good people of Ontario. Enjoy the sweet smell of freedom.

Manitoba meanwhile, has issued a tender for expressions of interest to gauge the private sector’s appetite to produce, distribute and sell weed. Although Manitoba’s finance minister is one of the heel-draggers who thinks the feds should delay legalization, the Progressive Conservative government has the right idea. There’s no reason why legal marijuana can’t roughly parallel alcohol, where the government sets the rules, takes a healthy cut of the profits, may or may not have a hand in retail, and otherwise leaves plenty of space for industry to give people what they want.

Poll results released this past week appear to back that up: a survey by Oracle Poll found 65 per cent of respondents favoured allowing licensed growers to open their own stores.

For all its flaws, the existing system for regulating tobacco and alcohol is sufficient to handle legal marijuana. The feds are proposing sentences of up to 14 years for providing marijuana to kids. That should be enough to ensure retailers follow the rules.

There will also be stiff new penalties for driving stoned and police are getting $274 million for enforcement, which leads to the conclusion that “regulation” might be a better term for what we’re calling legalization.

And despite piles of evidence that marijuana is less harmful to human health than alcohol and tobacco, and despite the fact that the marijuana industry is already functioning almost as if legalization is already here, our bureaucratic classes cannot seem to help themselves.

As Paul Wells wrote in Maclean’s, Liberal MP Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief, grimly declared the government was legalizing pot so kids would no longer buy from “some gangster in a stairwell.” What this proves is that Bill Blair has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Lord forbid,” Wells wrote elsewhere, “anyone suggest that the point of legalizing marijuana in Canada is to increase the amount of fun anybody might be having.”

The very thought! Police and federal public health officials, who, to be clear, have important roles in legalization, have dominated the rollout almost completely. But these Very Serious People seem incapable of appreciating that millions of people consume cannabis daily, and literally nothing bad happens to them as a result. This is why demand for pot has never abated — indeed it has only grown — no matter how tight governments turned the screws of prohibition.

Which brings us to the Yukon. If you have spent, I don’t know, 60 seconds outside in this territory, you will have caught a whiff of the pungent truth: people here really like weed. They already smoke a lot of it. As Keith Halliday wrote in these pages, Yukoners are already enjoying trips to Skagway’s legal weed store, the Remedy Shoppe.

The store’s employees have said Yukon government representatives already paid a visit to ask questions about Alaska’s approach to legalization. There’s no word whether they sampled the merchandise, but all joking aside, it is good to hear the YG is making use of a real-world case study located so close by.

And hey, you can bet there are plenty of tokers — ranging from the occasional dabblers to the downright chronic — employed by the Yukon government, all the way up to the highest (sorry) levels.

For these reasons, and also because fully-grown adults should be able to make their own decisions, the Yukon government should regulate legal cannabis with as light a touch as possible.
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by papapuff » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:34 pm

Sarnia Observer

Conservative health critic opposes move to legalize marijuana

By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Friday, September 29, 2017

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu says the federal government is making a mistake by rushing to legalize recreational marijuana use by July.

Gladu, the Conservative health critic, said her party opposes the Liberal government’s Cannabis Act, currently making its way through Parliament.

“The bill is really flawed,” she said.

U.S. states that allow marijuana use “saw a huge increase in impaired drug driving, about 32 per cent in Colorado,” Gladu said.

Public awareness and education campaigns are needed to prevent that from happening but Canada isn’t leaving itself with enough time to get campaigns up and running by July, she said.

Gladu said officials in U.S. states have said their biggest mistake was not putting public education campaigns in place before legalizing marijuana.

“This government is really falling behind,” Gladu said about efforts by the Liberals in Ottawa to create a public education program.

“We have 273 days left to go before they intend to take this arbitrary date and force it on the provinces and municipalities,” Gladu said Friday.

“Really, they haven’t even got the public education campaign on the way,” she said.

Gladu said Health Canada has issued a request for proposals to hire a contractor to create the campaign but she expects it will later this year before that work can even begin.

“And, they’re still rushing ahead to implement on July 1, so that’s a huge concern,” she said.

“It’s going to scare us all,” Patricia Hynes-Coates, president of MADD Canada, said about the coming legal use of marijuana in Canada

“There’s no one who’s going to tell you that we feel we’re 100 per cent ready.”

She spoke about the issue while visiting Sarnia to take part in a MADD vigil.

But, Hynes-Coates said MADD does support proposed changes the government is making to the Criminal Code to help police enforce impaired driving laws, and efforts being made to fund additional police training.

“We don’t want the mess and the carnage that is happening down in the States,” she said.

Some states legalized marijuana use but didn’t give police “the tools to screen properly for impaired driving due to marijuana,” she said.

If Canada does provide those tools before the law changes, “then we know we’ll save lives.” Hynes-Coates said.

“Drug impaired driving is a problem on our roadways now” and will increase, she said.

As well as pushing for police to have the tools they need when the law changes, Hynes-Coates said MADD is asking Canadians to help by having “zero tolerance” when it comes to alcohol and drug use while driving.

“Don’t drive at all if you’re impaired by drugs and or alcohol,” she said.

Gladu said she has heard municipalities, provinces, police agencies and indigenous groups all say, “we will not be ready for July 1.”

Gladu pointed to statistics that drug-related traffic fatalities already outpace alcohol-related deaths.

“It’s a problem, and it’s going to be a worse problem,” she said.

The impact on impaired driving is only one of the concerns Gladu said she and her party have with the government’s move to legalize marijuana.

Other issues include what it will mean for international treaties Canada has signed, and what Gladu sees as a lack of protection for children.

“I just think this is a completely botched attempt, and they’re rushing it,” she said.
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by papapuff » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:39 pm

September 29, 2017 3:21 pm

B.C. will meet legal pot deadline: Horgan

By Emily Lazatin and Simon Little

Premier John Horgan says B.C. will meet the federal timeline to implement the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Speaking to municipal leaders assembled at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference, Horgan said B.C. won’t be asking Ottawa to push back its July 2018 goal for pot legalization.

“We’re well advanced on the distribution of marijuana over the years, whether it be through dispensaries, whether it be through the black market. I’m anxious to get the black market out of community.”

Earlier this week the province launched public consultations on marijuana legalization, through a new government website and a random telephone survey.

It also announced plans to hold consultations with stakeholders, including law enforcement, First Nations and health workers.

Horgan said it would be unfair to go to Ottawa to ask for an extension while the province is in the middle of those talks.

“I’m anxious to put in place a regulatory regime that will address distribution and quality and health.”

But opposition MLA Todd Stone said the province needs to do more if it hopes to meet the tight timeline for implementation.

“There is no mention in the speech … with respect to the cannabis legalization plan, the aggressive timeline associated with that, aside from yet another engagement opportunity announced earlier in the week,” he said.

B.C.’s public consultation period is open until Nov. 1.

The federal government is aiming to have pot legalized by July 2018.
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by papapuff » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:19 am

B.C. unions call sale of pot in liquor stores "socially responsible", despite no supporting evidence

Despite task force recommendations against the idea, the BCGEU and Able BC want legal pot to be sold in liquor stores

by Amanda Siebert on September 29th, 2017

Earlier this week as delegates from across the province gathered at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, two B.C. unions quietly announced a campaign that claimed to offer British Columbians a "responsible" option for marijuana retail.

The B.C. Government and Services Employees' Union (BCGEU) and the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (Able BC) teamed up in 2015 to create the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of B.C. and are imploring residents to support their cause by adding their signatures to a document that will call on the province to sell recreational pot at liquor stores.

"Public and private liquor stores in British Columbia have the strongest track record of checking identification, are an age-controlled environment where children are prohibited and contribute substantial tax revenue to our provincial government," reads the alliance's website.

"When marijuana is legalized it needs to be done in the most socially responsible way possible."

Although socially responsible policies need to be part of whatever framework politicians decide on, many are of the mind that these policies also need to be evidence-based—and, frankly, there is no evidence to support the idea that cannabis and alcohol should be sold under the same roof.

In fact, the alliance's suggestion goes directly against federal task force recommendations, which state that co-locating alcohol and cannabis could lead to increased consumption and higher levels of intoxication.

"The fact is, no other jurisdiction co-locates cannabis with alcohol," provincial health officer Perry Kendall told the Straight earlier today, referring to states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon.

Kendall was a member of the federal task force and said that the idea of selling recreational cannabis in liquor stores was one its members discussed thoroughly.

"In the end, the reccommendation of the task force was, 'Don't do co-location'. By all means, use the liquor board to inspect, manage, distribute the product, even warehouse it—but not to co-locate," he said.

With anywhere from 40 to 50 million transactions in public and private liquor stores in the province on an annual basis, Kendall said, adding cannabis into the mix would likely create more harm than good.

Selling cannabis in liquor stores might create unintentional users, while others might believe that since the two substances are sold in conjunction they can be consumed together—something Kendall called "undesirable", especially given the added risk for impaired driving.

"What we're trying to do with cannabis is make it available for adults who want to use it," he said.

Jamie Shaw, government-relations director at dispensary chain MMJ Canada, told the Straight that though it's nice to see unions interested in getting involved in the market and some political interest in having both public and private cannabis retailers, any involvement by the BCGEU or Able BC would be best limited to administrative oversight.

"The question becomes, is it in the liquor stores or under those unions? But when you start talking about liquor stores, particularly in rural communites where there might already be problems with alcohol, it's really not a good idea," she said.

Such a framework, she said, would create problems for non-drinkers and recovering alcoholics who use cannabis. She echoed Kendall's concerns about co-use, especially for indviduals who might be inexperienced with either substance.

In Shaw's eyes, the biggest problem with the alliance's proposed retail model is that it doesn't address the underlying issue of B.C.'s underground economy and existing cannabis industry.

Even if dispensaries are licensed for retail and permitted to sell legal cannabis from Canada's licensed producers, she said, "it wouldn't change anything".
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:35 am

Nova Scotia businesses must prepare for pot: expert

Published October 2, 2017

Nova Scotia businesses may not be ready to capitalize on the recreational market for marijuana that is expected to open wide next July.

Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the territories are the only places in Canada without federally licensed medical pot producers.

The rest of the provinces have at least one, while there are 14 in B.C. and 35 in Ontario, according to a Health Canada map of producers.

A number of companies in Nova Scotia plan to produce medical marijuana, and at least two hope to receive federal approvals by the spring.

But those already in the medical supply business say it takes time to get up and running, and even longer to refine the crop.

OrganiGram, a Moncton medical marijuana producer, is already planning to expand its 36,000-square-foot facility to up to 200,000 square feet in anticipation of the new market July 1.

“We’re ramping up in advance of that because there’s a long lead time on your production facility build-out, and then there’s also a lead time on your growth cycles and your production of plants, which could be three, let’s say four, months in terms of planting and processing,” said Greg Engel, OrganiGram CEO.

No one knows exactly how big the market will be July 1, but estimates put it as high as $8 billion nationally after a year or two, he said.

And Engel said federal officials do not expect Canada will be able to match supply to demand right away.

“Let’s say someone got licensed this month. They’d be able to be in a position to produce at some level, but it would not be significant in terms of meeting the demand when the current launch is (on July 1),” he said.

“They have to be looking more at what they can contribute in year two and year three of the adult recreational program.”

Engel said it took Colorado three-and-a-half years to match supply with demand, so there’s room to grow in the growing business.

OrganiGram now has about 110 employees producing about 5,200 kilograms of product. By next year, the company expects to employ up to 250 and be producing 16,000 kilograms.

Under a recently announced deal with the New Brunswick government, at least one-quarter of that will be available exclusively to customers in that province.

“There will be opportunities for other companies in the future, because the supply of the current producers will not, even with all of the planning and expansion that people are looking at, meet the market demand for at a minimum of two to three years, and it could take four,” he said.

Edwin Jewell of Canada’s Island Garden, Prince Edward Island’s only licensed medical marijuana producer, said he is planning to take his operation from about 10 employees manufacturing 1,200 kilograms of pot in a 24,000-square-foot building, to about 100 employees producing more than 6,000 kilograms in a larger facility next year.

The company began growing cannabis in June 2016 and started selling in February.

He said the federal approval process for new marijuana manufacturers used to be lengthy, but it has apparently been accelerated recently.

Still, it takes time to get up and running, Jewell said.

“When you’re building a building and you’re growing with new technology and lights and computer systems and one thing and another, and perhaps in some cases new genetics, it takes a while to get to know your building and get to know how your varieties react to the environment that you’re growing them in,” he said.

“I just think it’s unreasonable to expect if you plant your first crop that it will be your best one.”

Jewell and Engel said they haven’t based their business plans on supplying the neighbouring market in Nova Scotia, but both expect customers will come from out of province.

“I think that . . . the demand will be strong for the first few years, and we’re hopeful that we can put our company in a position to supply some of that when the time comes,” said Jewell.

“And specifically, does some of that go to Nova Scotia? I suspect some would, and certainly the Maritime provinces, because what I think the end user will want from cannabis is not dissimilar to what they would expect from beer.

“They’re not just going to want one brand of cannabis. They’re probably going to want some of what Canada’s Island Garden produces, and there’ll be people from Nova Scotia who want their local first, of course.”

Dalhousie University is holding a free public forum Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the McInnes Room on whether Nova Scotia is ready for recreational pot legalization.

The Cape Breton Partnership is also hosting a forum of marijuana experts, including OrganiGram’s Engel, on the challenges and opportunities for business Nov. 1-2 at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.

Keith MacDonald, the Partnership’s president and CEO, said the Cape Breton economic development agency has received a number of inquiries from island businesses interested in tapping the coming trade in legal pot, and the session in Membertou is intended to bring in outside experts to provide advice.

“As a province, I do not believe that we’re behind at this time,” he said
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:54 am

680 News

Premiers sit down with Trudeau to share concerns on cannabis, tax reform

Posted Oct 3, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers are meeting Tuesday, and small business tax reform and the tight timeline for legalizing cannabis by next July are atop the agenda.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said since there is already a number of marijuana dispensaries in his province, he thinks the retail infrastructure is already in place for the sale of the drug.

“British Columbia has, I would suggest, a mature market when it comes to cannabis and the challenge for us is going to be trying to contain the enthusiasm within the community,” Horgan said Tuesday on his way into the meeting.

Horgan said what he hopes to impress upon the federal government is the importance of getting the price of pot right, so that it does not allow the black market to thrive: “We want to make sure the price point is right.”

He also said he is confident the existing timeline is long enough, but that he might be proven wrong as he gains more experience in government and discovers the true pace at which things can develop.

“I think reality might smack me in the face in the months ahead, but today I believe that the deadlines are achievable.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she wants some more clarity from the federal government on the burden the provinces will have to bear for regulating the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

“We are learning that there is more and more costs that are going to be incurred by provincial governments, and so we need to make sure that the issue of cost neutrality to the governments that are actually doing the heavy lifting is preserved,” she said.

On the contentious question of proposed Liberal tax reforms, both Horgan and Notley said the plan must strike a balance between making sure the wealthy pay their share and avoiding undue harm to small businesses.

Notley said she wants to ensure the government works to protect such businesses from “unintended consequences that would detract form the work that they do, particularly in Alberta as we are emerging from a recession.”

“We know that the work of small businesses is fundamental to that success.”
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:49 pm


Trudeau Proposes C$1 a Gram Tax on Canada's Recreational Pot

By Greg Quinn and Jen Skerritt
October 3, 2017, 3:02 PM PDT October 3, 2017, 3:41 PM PDT

Total taxes have to be low enough to combat illicit sales

Bulk of revenue should go to provinces: Nova Scotia Premier

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a tax of one dollar a gram on sales of marijuana when it’s legalized next year, his most detailed proposal yet on how he would raise revenue to pay for extra government costs while discouraging illegal sales.

The C$1 (80 U.S. cents) tax could apply to recreational marijuana sold for up to C$10 a gram, Trudeau said after meeting the leaders of Canada’s 10 provinces in Ottawa on Tuesday. For marijuana sold for more than C$10 a gram the tax could be 10 percent, he said. The tax money should be split between the federal and provincial governments, Trudeau said.

Canada is still grappling with how to tax legal pot at a price low enough to squash the black market. The nascent industry has ballooned in value amid optimism over Trudeau’s plans for recreational sales, which Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. said could reach C$6 billion by 2021.

Trudeau needs to negotiate with provincial leaders who by next July must set up a system of retail distribution and train police on roadside checks for impaired drivers. The provinces also share power over some sales taxes with the federal government, and Trudeau said the premiers resisted his proposal because they are seeking more money.

“The burden of legalizing and implementation of this will be borne by provinces, and by doing so we believe the lion’s share of the revenue form the tax should end up with the provinces,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said after Trudeau spoke.

Illicit Sales

Trudeau stressed that the total tax take can’t be so large as to keep the black market alive.
“Nobody’s mindset on this approach is about bringing in tax revenue,” Trudeau said, adding it’s about making sure governments “protect our kids” from illicit sellers.

In order to lure consumers from the black market, the final tax price needs to be at an attractive point, said Neil Closner, chief executive officer of MedReleaf Corp. Companies like MedReleaf are hoping the governments will soon clarify precisely what provincial and federal taxes will be, he said.

“Taxes, both federal and provincial, are an important element of the final sales prices to the consumer,” Closner said by phone.

The federal government is probably taking cues from different U.S. jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana, as a C$1-per-gram tax would still allow companies to be competitive, said Cam Battley, an executive vice president at Aurora Cannabis Inc. Currently, a gram of illicit cannabis sells for around C$8 to C$10 across Canada, he said.

“That sounds to me like a reasonable proposal and not a barrier for Aurora to successfully compete with the black market,” Battley said by phone. “It’s in all of our minds that that’s a critical objective to carve away the black market.”
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:59 pm

Calgary Sun

Province to announce pot plan Wednesday


Alberta companies are eagerly waiting to see whether they can do business under the provincial government's plan for legal marijuana.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley will unveil the NDP government's policy framework for cannabis once the Trudeau government legalizes recreational marijuana on July 1, 2018.

Among the areas expected to be addressed by the government are the legal age for consumption, pricing and how cannabis will be distributed and sold in the province.

That last point is key for a number of businesses in the province.

Jeff Mooij, president and CEO of the 420 Clinic medical cannabis resource centre, which is looking to branch into recreational marijuana, said he expects Alberta will leave legal marijuana retail to the private sector and not follow Ontario's path in setting up government-run stores.

"To provide the safety and security that everybody's looking for and also to create jobs, which it will, the private retail and distribution model is probably the best model for this," said Mooij, whose company runs clinics in Calgary and Lethbridge.

Ontario was the first province to reveal its plans for legal marijuana, with the government announcing plans for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario — the Crown corporation that operates the province's liquor stores — to set up a network of 150 stand-alone pot retail shops.

Mooji noted that without government-run liquor stores in Alberta, there is no existing infrastructure for public sector retail in the province, though he expects the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to play a significant role in distribution.

He said Ontario is also not creating enough stores to meet demand, which will fuel the black market.

The Alberta Liquor Store Association meanwhile has called for the province to use the province's 1,400 existing private liquor stores to sell legal pot. While Ottawa has not ruled that out, the federal task force that studied the issue recommended against the co-location of marijuana and alcohol sales.

Darren Bondar, CEO of Inner Spirit — a Calgary-based company that wants to set up franchised recreational marijuana dispensaries across Canada — believes his company could

He is hopeful the provincial rules will call for stores that specialize in cannabis products.

"There will be competition. I think like anything it's best to let the free market decide who survives and who thrives and who doesn't fit the bill," said Bondar, who is also the founder of the Watch It chain of watch and sunglass stores.

The NDP government has been tight-lipped about its intentions around legal marijuana and has promised further public consultations after it releases its plan.

The federal government did set a minimum age of 18 for cannabis use across the country, though provinces are able to set a higher age if they wish.

Ganley, while not saying what the age for marijuana consumption will be in Alberta, has said that the province will not adjust its current age of 18 for drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, a possibility floated by Alberta Health Services.

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said last week that the legal age for cannabis use should be 18 in Alberta.

“Much as the science would tell us that a higher age for consumption makes sense, this could be problematic when the drinking age is 18,” the Calgary-Elbow MLA said in a news release.

Clark also said the province should allow private retailing of marijuana and "under no circumstances" set up a new Crown corporation.

The new United Conservative Party has not publicly put forward its positions around legal weed.
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:55 pm

Huffington Post Canada

MP Heckles Health Minister’s Pot Answer By Yelling About Brownies

Quite the head-scratcher.


The health minister was wrapping a response to a query about marijuana edibles in question period Tuesday when a voice from across the aisle shouted, "free the brownies, come on!"

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor had been responding to NDP MP Don Davies' concern about the government's decision to exclude edibles from next year planned legalization of recreational marijuana.

"This will deny consumers a safe product and ensure the black market retains control," Davies said. He accused the Liberal government of having "no plan to pardon individuals who are burdened with criminal convictions for simple possession."

Without mention of a specific timeline, the health minister told the House of Commons that creating a system to regulate a market of marijuana-infused edibles is a "complex undertaking."

Her response prompted Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski to proclaim his baked-good command, according to CTV News' Glen McGregor.

Lukiwski is of previous "NDP whore"/"NDP horde" fame, but his apparent request to "free the brownies, come on!" raises some eyebrows because it seemingly goes against his party's stance arguing that legalization will make the drug more accessible to children.

The Saskatchewan MP's history of criticizing the Liberal Party's decision to prioritize marijuana legalization goes back to 2013 when Justin Trudeau first won leadership.

No 'clear answer' for guidance on edibles policy
The Liberals have been grilled for failing to come up with a policy regarding edibles come July 2018 — when the government plans to bring in legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

During a standing committee on health meeting last month, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu raised the challenge how lawmakers can make marijuana-infused products ("cookies, candies, gummies, cakes, milkshakes, suckers, and brownies") less appealing to children.

"That's a very good question," responded Dr. Daniel Vigil during the committee meeting. Vigil is the manager of Colorado's public health department's Marijuana Health Monitoring and Research Program.

"And I don't have a clear answer for you," he said, adding that packaging plays a role.

"Along with education, to not leave cookies lying outside of a package, as that would obviously be appealing," he said."
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:00 pm

Merritt Herald

‘Exploding’ marijuana industry threatens B.C. farmland

By Tom Fletcher on October 3, 2017

Agricultural Minister Lana Popham said legalization was not foreseen when pot allowed on ALR.

While legalization of marijuana has communities worried about under-age sales and impaired driving, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has also had an earful about the threat of food-producing land being converted to feed the recreational cannabis market.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson quizzed Popham on the subject at a natural resources forum at the Union of B.C. Municipalities this week

Jackson said she has fought as councillor and mayor for nearly 40 years to preserve Delta’s prime farmland. Delta has 8,500 ha of Fraser River delta land in cultivation, some of the most productive in a province where only five per cent of the total area is available for agriculture.

“I’m really worried that people are going to be gobbling up our best land for growing marijuana, and we really need all the land we have to grow vegetables and fruits,” Jackson said. “I really don’t want to have to depend on the United States for our food.”

Popham confirmed that several local officials also raised the issue in closed-door meetings, and that growing marijuana is a permitted use in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“I believe that when this was made an allowable use, we could not foresee what was about to happen as far as an industry exploding before our eyes,” Popham said.

She urged Jackson and other local government representatives to write formal letters to her ministry as B.C. negotiates terms of legalization with Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared that recreational marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018.

While marijuana for ingesting wasn’t contemplated by the province or the Agricultural Land Commission, there have been several experiments with growing industrial hemp for biofuel, oils and fibre.

In 2006, a 45-hectare hemp pilot project was approved for the 100 Mile House area by then-agriculture minister Pat Bell. The pilot was increased the following year, following efforts in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to grow hemp for biodiesel and industrial and textile fibre.

Smaller hemp plantings were done at Smithers, on Vancouver Island and at West Moberly near Fort St. John.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:23 am

Government Is Ignoring Its Own Advice On Weed

It appears one branch of the government has as many issues with the policy as we do.

Oct 3 2017

A 20-page document obtained by VICE shows the Ontario government's framework to sell legal weed contradicts what its own Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is saying about enforcement and the black market.

Last month, Ontario revealed that come next year, it will be selling recreational weed through an LCBO-controlled monopoly, with 40 retail stores to start, followed by 80 in 2019 and 150 by 2020. During the announcement, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said illegal pot dispensaries should consider themselves "on notice" and will be shut down through a proactive enforcement strategy. Ontario also opted to ban all public consumption of cannabis except at private residences and to push the legal age for purchasing and consuming weed up to 19, even though the federal government has set the legal age at 18.

However, VICE has obtained an internal briefing titled "Impacts of Cannabis Legalization on Police" that was presented by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) to the Future of Policing Advisory Committee on August 2, 2017. The MCSCS has confirmed the report's authenticity. Many of its points contradict both the policies laid out by Ontario and the federal government.

Dispensaries/organized crime

For all the tough talk from the province, the MCSCS report quite bluntly states "the illegal market will not disappear once cannabis is legalized (e.g. Illegal dispensaries will continue to operate)." In Toronto, the province has said there are 60-80 currently in operation. Many have pointed out that a mere 40 government stores to service a population of 13.6 million is unlikely to make a dent in the black market. It seems the government agrees.

Criminal justice system

One of the federal government's key promises has been to ease the burden of prohibition on the justice system. The federal Liberals' website states that "arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system" and that prohibition "traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses." However, the MCSCS document clearly says, there's an "anticipated increase in enforcement capacity pressures due to cannabis legalization." This is hardly a surprise, considering the federal government has already promised $274 million for policing and border enforcement related to cannabis legalization, but nonetheless it shows the province is fully aware that legalization won't clear up the backlog in criminal justice system.

Minimum age

Ontario has chosen 19 as the minimum age for purchasing and consuming weed and is also prohibiting people under the age of 19 from possessing any weed, even though the federal weed framework says youth could possess up to five grams without being charged with any crime. According to the MCSCS report there are several issues with Ontario's chosen route. It could force youth under 19 to continue to rely on the black market, and it could result in "border hopping" if the minimum ages differ between provinces. To that end, Quebec last week announced that it will go with 18 as the legal age for buying and consuming weed. The report also said creating a separate provincial offence for youth caught with weed will result in "increasing the complexity in enforcing for police officers." In other words, it will create a further burden on the criminal justice system.

Difficulties in enforcement

The MCSCS briefing outlined a number of aspects of legalization that will be tough for cops to enforce including:

Enforcing both the medical cannabis and recreational cannabis regimes. (No specifics were given, however, one can guess there will be challenges in differentiating between the two when it comes to things like possession, growing, and public consumption.)

Issues with "trying to accurately measure 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in public." Thirty grams of possession in public is the legal limit set out by the feds.

"Deciphering when social sharing of cannabis does not constitute the facilitation of a drug transaction." So, how are cops going to distinguish between people sharing drugs versus selling them to each other?

Enforcing the ban on public consumption and impairment "given the different mediums of cannabis that can be consumed (e.g. edibles)." It's pretty easy to eat a gummy bear without attracting the cops' attention.

Public consumption

While the Ontario government has said public consumption will be banned everywhere but at private residences—weed lounges will also be barred—the MCSCS briefing suggests that's not a good idea. "Banning cannabis consumption in public could increase the risk of users turning to other mediums (e.g. edibles) which could lead to stronger impairment/effects," it says.


Under the federal plan, Canadians outside the medical regime will be allowed to grow four plants at home. Possession of more than than four harvesting plants could result in 14 years of jail. The MCSCS report said these plants could be "an additional source for organized crime." It also said it will be difficult to enforce the home grow ops because most police services "lack capacity for the anticipated magnitude of increased enforcement" and because you can't go into people's homes without search warrants. Another issue, the report says, is people could be criminalized for small amounts of overproduction.

Driving impairment

The report says drug screeners only test for presence of the drug, not impairment.

VICE reached out to Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General for an interview, citing contradictions between this report and Ontario's legalization rollout plan. In response, Emilie Smith, a spokeswoman for the MAG sent a statement saying the ministry established a "dedicated secretariat" to coordinate the province's weed rollout that draws from the skills of 16 ministries, including the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

"The Ministry of the Attorney General developed, in close collaboration with partner ministries, a safe and sensible approach that focuses on the promotion of public health and safety, including road safety, the protection of young people, prevention and harm reduction," the statement said.

The MAG declined to take specific questions on this document.

Canada is slated to legalize weed by next July.

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:41 am

The Daily Caller

Trudeau And Canadian Premiers Argue Over Pot Profits

Ottawa Bureau Chief


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to share a 10 percent excise tax on legalized marijuana sales with the provinces and territories. But, Tuesday at a first ministers conference in Ottawa, the premiers said that wouldn’t give them enough money since they are going to pay for most of the costs of selling legal pot to users.

The proposal took the premiers by surprise while one critic of legal marijuana says Trudeau is entirely motivated by “greed.”

Canada is preparing to legalize recreational marijuana use by July 1, 2018. Trudeau is selling the plan as a means of “protecting children” and reducing the influence of organized crime in the sale of the product. He has so far downplayed the potential for large government revenues from taxing marijuana.

But Pamela McColl, spokesperson for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told The Daily Caller Wednesday that Trudeau’s pot strategy is based on growing government revenue and nothing else. “His motivation is greed. First it was political greed by using marijuana legalization to get elected and now it is greed for taxpayers’s dollars.”

McColl called the legalization plan a “national disaster.” She says, “This is a callous, self-serving government that is not putting health first — to their detriment.” She predicted the results of legalizing marijuana “will bring down this government.”

Proceeds from Trudeau’s 10 percent plan will be divided equally between the federal government and the provinces. But many premiers say that’s hardly fair since they are expected to produce an entire sales infrastructure to market the legal weed and then grapple with the consequences of the anticipated increase in impaired driving charges and other related offenses.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who has feuded with Trudeau over health care costs in the past, spoke for his colleagues when he said, “We really don’t know what the ramifications are of this. This is a historic change. We don’t know the real costs. We do know the lion’s share of the work and expenses will be borne by provinces. We might be splitting a cost, not a net proceed.”

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Trudeau acknowledged that “significant new costs going to be associated with bringing in a framework and legalized regime like this.”

Liberal MP Bill Blair, a former Toronto chief of police whom Trudeau has recruited to promote his marijuana policy, tried to move the discussion back to protecting children and fighting organized crime:

“I would like to reassure you. The objective around the table is not to want to make lots of money by legalizing marijuana,” he said.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:22 am

Yukon pot survey territory's 'most successful survey' yet

A full report from the survey results is expected to be released by November

By Jamie McKenzie, CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2017

More than 3,100 surveys were completed about cannabis legalization and regulation in the Yukon.

Back in August, the Yukon government launched a survey asking Yukoners for their priorities when it comes to legalized marijuana.

Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said it's important to get the opinions of Yukoners and to understand what's important to them.

The survey closed on Sept. 30.

Questions about where and how cannabis should be sold, where it can be consumed, concerns about impaired driving and workplace safety and more were included on the survey.

In a statement, the Yukon government said this is the most successful survey they've ever done. They say it's thanks to the role social media played in getting Yukoners to the survey.

Together with their Google and Facebook ads, they brought more than 2,000 people to the survey either online, by submitting a hardcopy or by phone.

In the next few weeks, they will be reviewing the comments and expect to have a full report by the beginning of November.

The federal government has promised to legalize cannabis by the summer of 2018, which has left some provinces and territories scrambling to figure out what the rules will be in their jurisdictions.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:38 pm

October 4, 2017

One-metre plant height restriction dropped from marijuana legalization bill

By Patrick Cain
National Online Journalist, News Global News

A clause in the Liberals’ marijuana legalization bill that would have seen Canadians face prosecution if their marijuana plants grew taller than one metre was dropped by the Commons health committee Tuesday.

The provision had been criticized as arbitrary, and a potential headache for both growers and police.

A leaked report from Ontario’s police and corrections ministry, for example, pointed out that “people could be criminalized for small amounts of overproduction” under the rule.

NDP MP Don Davies called the one-metre rule “very difficult to enforce … Cultivators might break the law simply by providing fertilizer and water and going away for a week’s vacation.”

It would have been worth paying attention — as the law was originally written, people who let their plants get too tall faced up to 14 years in prison, at least on paper.

In testimony over the past few weeks, MPs on the committee had heard that restricting plant height has a limited relationship to restricting the production of usable buds. Growers can favour dense, short plants, or train them to grow sideways.

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu predicted that home grows would become part of a black market production system after legalization.

“Organized crime does get into home grow,” she said. “That’s what happened in Colorado. This is problematical for all the Canadians that don’t want these unintended consequences.”

“You can have up to 600 grams of marijuana hanging around in the house with no provision for lockup. That’s definitely not going to keep it out of the hands of children.”

The Conservatives oppose recreational marijuana legalization.

The amendment was passed on a party-line vote, with the NDP and Liberals in favour and the Conservatives opposed.

As originally written, Canada’s home-grow rules would have been the strictest among North American jurisdictions that allow them. (Washington state allows recreational marijuana but not home grows.)

The version that made it through committee will be essentially the same as Oregon’s. (Colorado allows up to six plants per adult, no more than three mature, and no more than 12 plants overall per household.)

However, Oregon’s four-plant limit has encouraged growers there to cultivate the most immense marijuana plants possible.

Here is a garden in southern Oregon which could really be described as a marijuana orchard:


Outdoor grows on this scale wouldn’t necessarily be allowed in Canada: under Alberta’s rules, announced Wednesday, home grows would have to be indoors or in greenhouses.

Also, Canadians will be limited to 30 grams of dried cannabis per adult, which will limit the amount of bud that could legally be produced or at least dried for consumption, at home.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:46 pm

Trillium Party of Ontario calls on Wynne Government to Abandon Monopoly Scheme for Legalized Marijuana

Trillium Party of Ontario

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2017 /CNW/ - The Wynne Liberals' plan to add thousands of government positions with an LCBO-modeled distribution system for legalized marijuana is an attack on small business and the private sector jobs it creates and should be abandoned, say MPP Jack MacLaren and Ontario Trillium Party Leader Bob Yaciuk.

"The Wynne Liberals are saying that our province's entrepreneurs cannot run a business as well as the government," said Jack MacLaren, MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills. "The reality is that small- and medium-sized private sector businesses are the job creators and backbone of our economy. Small businesses, the entrepreneurs that create them and the employees that work for them have shown time and time again to be more economical, efficient and responsive to consumer's needs than similar government-run enterprises."

"The Wynne Government should not compete against the private sector and stay out of the business of selling and distributing legal marijuana," said Trillium Party Leader Yaciuk. "Instead, they should focus on their core mandate of regulation, enforcement, and keeping all Ontarians safe. The Wynne War against small business and jobs has to end!"

The Trillium Party of Ontario supports selling legal marijuana through regulated independent small business outlets. Such a model will be competitive, effective and efficient, providing consumer choice at no cost to the taxpayer.

The Trillium Party of Ontario was founded in 2014 as an alternative to the mainstream parties at Queen's Park which have increasingly become out-of-touch with Ontario people. Jack MacLaren MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills joined the Ontario Trillium Party on May 26, 2017.

SOURCE Trillium Party of Ontario

For further information: Bob Yaicuk, 289-319-1220,,
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