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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:05 am

Western Investor

B.C. marijuana growers hope to bloom on ALR farmland

Cannabis producers cleared to set up on B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve as Ottawa prepares to legalize pot

Nelson Bennett Business in Vancouver
October 19, 2017

Will cornfields and greenhouses that now grow tomatoes and cucumbers give way to marijuana crops on farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in Delta?

This is among questions the B.C. government needs to answer by July 2018, when new federal legislation makes recreational marijuana use legal.

In an attempt to get some kind of public consensus on key regulatory issues, like taxation, distribution and retailing, the B.C. government is asking the public for input.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced an online consultation campaign at the recent Union of BC Municipalities annual conference.

“Collaboration is key to getting it right here in British Columbia,” Farnworth said.

Dan Sutton, founder and managing director for Tantalus Labs, a licensed medical marijuana grower, welcomes the government’s plans to consult the public. He thinks B.C. is uniquely positioned to turn cannabis into a major new industry.

“This will be one of the largest industries in B.C. – certainly one of the top five industries – if it’s executed effectively,” he said.

Growers like Tantalus, which is licensed to supply the medical marijuana market, are hoping they will also be able to capture the recreational marijuana space.

Farnworth added that he hopes to see provinces set “uniform” levels of taxation on marijuana sales so that provinces are not competing against each other.

A big question, however, will be whether marijuana growers should be allowed to use farmland in the ALR or be relegated to industrial zones and warehouses.

Lower taxes in ALR

“I really don’t want to be the pot capital of Canada,” Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said.

She said 35 companies have already made inquiries about growing marijuana on Delta ALR land. That’s not surprising, given that ALR land is taxed at a much lower rate than industrial land.

“I think we’re going to have to address the question: Are we going to allow, or should we allow, all of our agricultural lands to be used for growing of marijuana – and our greenhouses – or are we going to grow our own vegetables?” Jackson said.

Sukhbir Manhas, a lawyer with Young Anderson, said the provincial government has already addressed that question with respect to medical marijuana: municipalities cannot prevent medical marijuana growers from setting up on ALR land.

It’s not clear whether municipalities like Delta would have the authority to prohibit ALR land from being used to grow marijuana for recreational use.

“Certainly, if we want to have some teeth vis-a-vis ALR land, we’re going to have to see that regulation amended,” Manhas said.

Sutton said it would make no sense to relegate marijuana growing to warehouses because the energy inputs for growing indoors are enormous.

“Cannabis is agriculture,” Sutton said. “It makes zero agricultural, economic or environmental sense to cultivate any flowering plant in a warehouse environment. It absolutely belongs in greenhouses on the ALR.”

While the federal government is responsible for regulating production, provincial governments are responsible for things like sales taxes, distribution and retail.

Municipal governments, meanwhile, are responsible for policing, zoning and business permitting. Trying to regulate a grey market for medical marijuana dispensaries has already proven to be a big headache for the City of Vancouver, where more than 120 illegal pot shops have cropped up in just a few years, said Coun. Kerry Jang.

Rather than use municipal police to shut them down, Vancouver has used its zoning and business bylaws to try to at least regulate where and how they operate. Dispensaries pay $30,000 for business licences and are restricted from being close to schools.

Jang said about a dozen such businesses have complied with the new rules and gone through the process of becoming properly licensed.

Presumably, most, if not all, of the existing pot shops would have to shut down if the provincial government decides to go with an Ontario model of government-controlled distribution and retail.

Experienced growers

B.C. has long been known for its cannabis culture. Growers have developed skills that, although honed illegally, are transferable to a legal industry.

Jonathan Page, president and chief scientific officer for Anandia Labs, which provides clinical testing of medical marijuana, hopes to see the province try to capitalize on that knowledge base.

“The province needs to have a role in figuring out how that whole illicit industry is transitioned,” Page said. “B.C. has been a big producer of cannabis, and there’s a way to do that under a legal system as well.”
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:03 pm

When banks offer advice on pot: RBC says users could pay 40 percent more for life, health insurance

by Amanda Siebert on October 19th, 2017

One of Canada's biggest banks has a message for cannabis users who might be tempted to lie about their habit for insurance purposes.

"Smoke pot? Do I tell tell my insurer?" reads a headline on an article in the Royal Bank of Canada's (RBC) insurance website.

According to RBC, the "high stakes" of applying for various types of insurance might compel cannabis users to lie in policy applications because they're afraid they'll be denied.

As Canada gets closer to the legalization of cannabis, insurers have a vested interest in tweaking their policies to be more inclusive of cannabis users, but not all have done so.

While RBC reports that some insurers have made changes based on studies that have shown cannabis use to be "relatively" safe, others still charge cannabs users higher rates, which are often reflective of surcharges applied to cigarette smokers.

"If you find an insurer who doesn't have a marijuana surcharge — you won't have to pay extra for your insurance because of your usage," it says.

But RBC reports that frequent users insured with companies that do apply surcharges for marijuana use will pay up to 40 percent more, depending on which prodivder they might be using.

Addressing the risks associated with lying about use, the institution says falsifying information isn't the way to go: in the event that an insurer requires an applicant to take a blood or urine test and the results of that test counter the information provided in an application, the policy could be voided.

Policies can also be contested or rescinded if an insurer thinks an applicant is being dishonest, which can result in a denial of claims.

All this is to say, honesty seems to be the best policy.
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:02 pm

October 20,2017

Health ministers to talk cannabis in Edmonton

NEWS 09:01 AM

EDMONTON — It's cannabis day today at the meeting of federal, provincial and territorial health ministers in Edmonton.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is to deliver an update on progress to have marijuana legalized as of July 1.

Ottawa is in charge of the overall rules on health and the Criminal Code on the cannabis project, but the provinces have the responsibility to sell it, enforce the rules, and keep the roads safe.

The premiers and some police agencies have said the timeline is far too ambitious and that Canada won't be ready by next summer.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins says a public awareness campaign is critical to protect the health of young Canadians.

The federal government has set the minimum legal age to consume at 18, but the provinces can set it higher if they want to.

By The Canadian Press
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:07 pm

Business in Vancouver

North Van District debates where and how to sell cannabis

Sales of legalized marijuana through government-run stores would be better than the “dispensary” model, most councillors say

By Jane Seyd, North Shore News | Oct. 20, 2017

Most District of North Vancouver councillors say they’d rather see legalized marijuana sold out of government-run stores than the current “dispensary” model.

One councillor doesn’t see why the government needs to be involved.

But regardless of whether sales are public or private, council members definitely want a say about where marijuana is sold.

Those were some of the thoughts that came from a council workshop Tuesday where councillors provided input that will go to the province as part of a wider public consultation into marijuana legalization.

The federal government has set July 2018 as the date for legalizing recreational marijuana. But many of the details around that – including how and where cannabis can be sold, rules around public consumption of pot, and road safety laws – will be up to the province to regulate.

Coun. Jim Hanson said distributing marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol makes the most sense to him. “It’s like the bureau of sin or whatever,” he said. “Let’s have one set of rules.”

Hanson acknowledged not everyone agrees with him. “I said this at (the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention) and I was set upon by a lot of critics,” he said. “Their view is the people who are currently (in the marijuana business) are in a position to become lawful and regulated.”

But, he added, “I don’t think we owe the people who are currently operating illegally a great deference.”

Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn agreed.

Coun. Robin Hicks said he doesn’t know why the government has to be involved in either marijuana or alcohol distribution and sales, noting plenty of products with the potential to be bad for people are left to the private sector.

All council members agreed; however, they’d like a say in where shops selling marijuana are allowed.

MacKay-Dunn recalled how residents reacted when a pot shop tried to open near a school in Deep Cove. “The community went ballistic,” he said.

Dan Milburn, manager of planning and permits for the district, said the possibilities for regulating marijuana stores are likely similar to approaches municipalities have in place for liquor stores. Some communities allow liquor stores in any commercial zones, while others only allow them on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors like proximity to schools and other stores nearby.

Currently, marijuana dispensaries are illegal throughout North Vancouver. Despite that, five shops currently operate in the City of North Vancouver. One shop that opened in the district last year on Marine Drive was shuttered after the municipality went to court to get an injunction. Since then another pot shop, the MMJ dispensary, has opened on Pemberton Avenue. Earlier this month, district council voted to direct lawyers to go after that shop through the courts as well.

Besides sales and distribution of marijuana, the province will also have to consider issues like whether public consumption of pot will be allowed, said Milburn.

“I have to say I’ve seen people drunk and I’ve seen people stoned, and drunks are a lot more obnoxious,” said Mayor Richard Walton.

Under the proposed federal law, households will be able to grow up to four pot plants for personal use and individuals will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana – equivalent to about 30 joints – for personal use, said Milburn.

“I wouldn’t want plants to be visible from the street,” said MacKay-Dunn. “That’s an invitation for a break-in.”

Councillors also pondered the possibility of people using community garden plots to grow marijuana.

Walton said he doubted that would be an issue. “If someone wanted to fill up their plot at a community garden it would be hit the first night and there would be nothing left,” he said. Hicks wondered aloud whether legalization is likely to significantly increase the number of people who use marijuana. Milburn said data from states that have already legalized pot is mixed.

A joint provincial-local government committee will begin meeting this week to discuss many of the same issues around marijuana regulation.

The public can also weigh in directly on the issues until Nov. 1 at
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:10 pm

A group of Richmond residents is trying to postpone cannabis legalization

by Amanda Siebert on October 20th, 2017

It appears not everyone in the Lower Mainland is excited by the idea of legalization.

Yesterday, the Richmond News reported that a group of residents in the Vancouver suburb have launched a working group to try and delay the Liberal government's plan to legalize cannabis.

Led by Richmond city councillor Chak Au, the "2018 Marijuana Legalization Concern Group" wants to see a suspension placed on the July 2018 deadline.

At a press conference held on October 13, Au told the media, "Once the gate of legalization is opened, it cannot be reverted back."

He added that members of the community needed to "work together to prevent the social problems that may be caused by legalization later".

The group has come up with a list of more than 20 recommendations for each level of government, including suggestions like increasing the minimum age to 21, banning edibles, prohibiting home growing, and giving landlords the right to ban the consumption or cultivation of marijuana at rental properties.

Au told the News his primary concerns with edibles and at-home cultivation had to do with children "consuming it [cannabis] by mistake".

The Straight has contacted Au for comment and will update this story if new information is made available.
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:01 am

Edmonton Sun

AUPE members to argue public vs. private marijuana distribution Saturday


Members at the 41st annual Alberta Union of Provincial Employees convention plan to vote Saturday on whether to support selling marijuana in publicly operated dispensaries, or if they would rather leave the issue to the private sector.

AUPE members filled the hall at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton on Friday for the three-day conference, hearing year-end reports from 14 standing committees, reviewing financial records and voting on various issues including the annual budget.

Members voted late Friday to debate the issue of who should sell legal marijuana Saturday, as AUPE president Guy Smith predicted a lengthy discussion on the topic.

The federal government approved the legalization and regulated recreational use of marijuana across Canada beginning on July 1, 2018. Members of the AUPE are debating whether retail dispensaries should be publicly or privately owned.

Though the Alberta government is expected to conclude their consultations on the matter by Oct. 28, the AUPE has yet to take a formal position on the issue.

The AUPE is Alberta’s largest union, with more than 90,000 members employed by the provincial government in health care, education and local government agencies.
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:11 am

Feds say police cannabis testing ongoing, rules on edibles in place in one year

Dean Bennett
Saturday, October 21st, 2017

EDMONTON — Canada’s health minister says pilot projects have begun on roadside police testing for marijuana, and the plan is to have rules in place for edible cannabis around July 2019.

“Our priority right now is to ensure that we can legalize cannabis by July 2018,” Ginette Petitpas Taylor said Friday.

“There’s no specific date (for edibles to be available), but I would say if you look a year after the legalization, that is the window that we’re giving ourselves.”

Petitpas Taylor made the comments to reporters after briefing her provincial and territorial counterparts on Ottawa’s progress toward legalizing marijuana.

Ottawa will not allow edible cannabis in the marketplace until it has put in place the rules surrounding packaging, potency and health warnings.

The federal government is toughening up Criminal Code rules and will handle the overall health regime for cannabis, while the provinces will be in charge of distributing and selling the weed.

Police will be administering roadside saliva tests to check for drug-impaired driving.

The federal government has announced it will spend $161 million over the next five years to help train and equip the officers.

Petitpas Taylor said pilot tests for these checks have begun across the country with municipal police forces and the RCMP.

She said her department is also working on public education by setting up partnerships with non-profit outreach agencies such as Drug-Free Kids.

“What we learned from the lessons of the United States when they started their rollout ? was really to ensure that the prevention was rolled out before the actual legalization date became a reality,” she said.

Eight states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Provinces, territories and some police agencies have cautioned that having Canada’s regime in place by next July 1 is too ambitious.

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said while they’re still consulting on their plans “we’re working forward with that deadline in mind and we expect we will be able to achieve it.”

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said the public awareness campaign of marijuana’s health impacts is key.

“An awareness campaign most of the time will take time to have a positive effect,” said Barrette.

“We need to have that as soon as possible and I think Minister Petitpas Taylor is working in that direction.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduce the legalization legislation in the spring aimed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of youngsters and denying profits to black marketers.

The minimum age to buy and consume cannabis will be 18, but provinces are free to set it higher.

Some provinces have already announced their plans.

Ontario will set the minimum age at 19 and retail marijuana through government-run outlets. New Brunswick has said it will use a Crown corporation model, and a legislature committee has recommended the minimum age at 19.

Alberta unveiled its tentative plan two weeks ago, setting the minimum age at 18 to align with the legal age for drinking. It has not decided if it will allow marijuana to be sold through government-run or private outlets.

There are other issues still to be determined, including setting a tax on cannabis that is not so high it pushes customers to the black market.

Canada is also signatory to three United Nations drug control treaties that criminalize the production and possession of non-medical cannabis.
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by papapuff » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:32 pm

Alberta Party says public cannabis stores too pricey for a debt-laden province

Published on: October 23, 2017

The Alberta Party says a network of publicly-owned cannabis stores will cost at least $168 million, a price it says is too steep to pay when the private sector is lined up to serve the market when recreational marijuana is legalized next year.

The NDP government has mandated that legal weed be sold in stand-alone stores but has not yet decided whether to set up government-owned and operated stores or allow private retailers.

In a news release Monday, Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark pegged the cost of a public system at $168.4 million.

That figure is based on an estimate of 372 stores in the province, matching the number of stores per capita in Colorado, where marijuana has been legal since 2014. Based on estimations of demand for legal pot, the Alberta Party figures each store would have upfront capital and inventory costs of $452,805.

“Our very conservative estimate shows the folly of creating a brand-new government bureaucracy to do something the private sector is better suited to,” said Clark. “And while the costs are substantial, our estimate doesn’t include ongoing administrative costs related to expanding Alberta’s bureaucracy to run the retail system.

“Alberta can’t afford another $168 million in debt, especially when there’s a better option.”

Government consultations are slated to run to Oct. 27, with the province expected to make a decision on public versus private stores during the fall sitting of the legislature, which starts next week and runs into December.

The Notley government says a private retail system for cannabis likely would be more flexible in meeting consumer demand and would provide more economic opportunities for small business.

On the other hand, the province says government-owned stores would provide a greater level of oversight of marijuana being bought and sold and would likely generate more government revenue in the long run. A public system would require significant upfront costs for the cash-strapped government, however, potentially putting taxpayer dollars at risk.

On the weekend, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees passed a resolution backing government-run stores.
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:11 am

City of Richmond council unanimous in their opposition to cannabis legalization

With warnings of gateway drugs and transformation of agricultural land, city to send letter outlining concerns

By Justin McElroy, CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2017

While some municipalities in British Columbia are hoping to benefit from the legalization of cannabis that takes effect in July 2018, the City of Richmond is taking the opposite approach.

It's the largest city in the province without a marijuana dispensary in operation. Mayor Malcolm Brodie has labelled Vancouver's regulatory approach to the issue, which includes 41 legal permits for marijuana-related businesses, as "complacent".

And Monday night, city council voted unanimously to send a letter to the provincial and federal governments outlining their opposition to legalization.

They're also asking for widespread jurisdiction in regulating cannabis in the city should it become legalized, including being able to impose stricter rules, and the ability of strata councils and landlords to bar use in their buildings.

"We want the federal government to be aware of our position on the matter, but we're really looking for regulation on the provincial level," said Brodie after the motion passed.

Province-wide engagement ends Nov. 1

It comes as municipalities and businesses scramble to give their feedback to the provincial government before a window for public engagements ends on Nov. 1 — a timeline necessary for the government to put forward legislation in next year's spring session of the legislature.

When announcing the consultation, which had 20,000 responses at its midway point earlier this month, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said there could be different retail models for different parts of B.C.

"Vancouver has one particular model, and some people are happy with that, others are not necessarily happy with that," he said.

But when asked specifically if the government would allow a retail and regulatory model that could allow a municipality to completely ban cannabis from being sold, the ministry hedged.

"Farnworth has said that local government will be on the frontline and instrumental in the delivery of new policies and laws associated with the legalization of non-medical cannabis and he welcomes the UBCM input," the ministry said in a statement.

"The key priorities for government are protecting young people, the health and safety of British Columbians, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe through education and enforcement."

'This is a suburb'

While several B.C. municipalities have expressed concerns over the timeline for legalization, or the risk of agricultural land being lost, none has been as forthright in their opposition as Richmond.

But opposition from councillors was not focused on any one specific issue: some focused on safety, some focused on agricultural land and some on culture.

"This is a suburb. We're not the heavy duty nightlife of Downtown Vancouver and the action-packed thrill of adventure of Surrey. In Richmond, we tend to live a more conservative lifestyle," said Coun. Carol Day.

"We've been front runners in limiting people's behaviours that may be less healthy, and towards creating a healthy environment," said Coun. Alex Loo.

"Richmond was one of the first places to have non-smoking in municipal and commercial buildings. I remember as a young adult, growing up, and then travelling to Europe and being shocked the people were smoking in a bank as they were working."

Others espoused anti-cannabis arguments among more traditional lines.

"We're of the generation that had the Furry Freak Brothers and Cheech and Chong, who made it look like it was entertaining. But over prolonged use, it does effect the person's ability to think lucidly and react in a proper way," said Coun. Derek Dang, who expressed concerns cannabis could be a gateway drug to dying of a fentanyl overdose.

But all hoped that by expressing their stance in a strong letter, Richmond could have a greater level of control over what legalization looks like in their city of 220,000 people.

"The federal government is going to do what they're going to do," said Day.

"But we as a city must be allowed to control where and how those products are being sold."
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:37 am

Organized crime will get edge on legalized pot, Manitoba premier says

The federal government is legalizing cannabis by July 2018, but Brian Pallister says Manitoba isn't ready

CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2017

Premier Brian Pallister thinks gangs and organized crime will get the upper hand on controlling sales of pot once marijuana is legalized for recreational use next year.

That's because the federal government is requiring provinces to lay bare all of their plans by publicly outlining how they plan to sell and regulate pot.

"The business plan's going to be laid out for the whole country, in front of the gangs and organized crime who are your principal competitors," the Manitoba premier said.

"They're going to know your entire business plan and you're not ready. It doesn't make sense, but we're moving ahead as best we can to get ready."

The federal government is leaving it up to the provincial and territorial governments to implement their own laws once legalization occurs in 2018.

Pallister has repeatedly stated, and did so again Monday, that the process is moving forward too quickly, leaving Manitoba without enough time to prepare for the federal deadline.

"I've been very clear about my view on the imposition of those deadlines," he said. "I think it's dangerous to impose those deadlines.

"This is a multi-faceted issue, it hits almost every department of government. It's complex and this is, in part, the reason that I've suggested we shouldn't be rushing into it."

Pallister also cites concerns about the expected increase in people driving while high, pointing to recent data from cities in the United States where medicinal marijuana has been legalized.

According to a report from The Denver Post, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado who tested positive for marijuana has more than doubled since 2013.

"They're shocking [and] Washington has similar results, so that really concerns me," Pallister said. "It concerns me that lives will be lost unnecessarily because we haven't really adequately prepared."

He plans to release some preliminary results on Wednesday from the public budget consultations, including a section that deals with the sale of legalized pot.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:21 am

MetroNews Canada

New Brunswick unveils plans for Crown-run marijuana stores, plus home delivery

By: Kevin Bissett The Canadian Press Published on Wed Oct 25 2017

FREDERICTON — New Brunswickers will buy their legal marijuana at a subsidiary of the province's liquor commission — and have sommelier-like staff to guide them.

The province also announced Wednesday the stores will be more tightly controlled than liquor outlets, but home delivery will be available.

"No one under the legal age will be allowed inside the premises. That will happen at the reception area, after which people will be able to enter the retail environment," NB Liquor president Brian Harriman told a news conference.

"The product will be displayed under glass cases and it will be a one-on-one shopping experience ... We will ensure our retail staff are highly trained and able to educate and help people who want to learn about cannabis have that opportunity in the store environment."

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said other jurisdictions like Colorado and Washington recommended starting with tight government oversight, and New Brunswick's Crown-owned liquor agency is well-positioned for the job.

"NB Liquor has the experience in the retail market selling a regulated substance, and we believe their knowledge and expertise will provide for a smooth transition into this new territory," she said.

The federal government is expected to legalize recreational marijuana starting in July 2018, although some provinces, territories and police agencies have lobbied for a delay. Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said the government is sticking to the deadline, and Rogers says that's the date New Brunswick is preparing for.

A tender was recently issued for 20 retail locations in 15 communities across the province.

Harriman said the retail locations will be separate from anywhere liquor is now sold. The number of employees has not been determined, but each will require a lot of product knowledge, he said.

Jamie Agnew, president of the CUPE local that represents about 500 NB Liquor employees, said staff will have to be trained much like sommeliers in liquor stores.

"People need to know about the CBDs and the THCs, septiva and indica. There's a lot of science around the marijuana now. Just as in wine and scotch, there's a tasting wheel," said Agnew, who currently uses medicinal marijuana himself.

Last month, Ontario announced it plans to set the minimum age at 19 and sell cannabis through government-run outlets.

Earlier this month, Alberta proposed to make 18 the minimum age to use cannabis, with no decision yet on whether to sell cannabis through government-run stores or through private operators. The Nova Scotia government is seeking feedback on a legal age of 19 for marijuana use, with sales through a Crown corporation like the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

Ross Wetmore, a critic for the Opposition Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick, said his party would have preferred a private retail model, but will reserve further comment until they see all the details.

The minimum age to buy recreational marijuana, pricing, the name of the new stores, and the kind of education programs have yet to be determined.

Wetmore said many of those things should already be decided.

"We should have been starting our education right now. We are behind on that. Law enforcement has some concerns. We have a lot of questions to ask of the minister," Wetmore said.

Harriman said online sales will also be available for pick-up at a retail store or home delivery.

He said it has not been determined who will do the home delivery, but it will require the same kind of identification and age verification at the door that's now in place for delivery of medicinal marijuana.

Both Rogers and Harriman say the goal is to get recreational cannabis out of the hands of young people and criminals.

Harriman said the experience in other places such as Colorado has been that the illegal market is reduced significantly once sales are controlled and legalized.

Rogers said illegal dispensaries will remain illegal, and an issue for public safety officials to deal with.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:53 am

The Province

Much ado about marijuana: B.C.'s public survey on legalization ends in one week

Stephanie Ip

October 25, 2017

We’ve got one more week to weigh in on weed.

B.C.’s public consultation on non-medical marijuana use ends at 4 p.m. on Nov. 1. The online survey asks British Columbians to share their thoughts on what the age and personal possession limits should be, whether public consumption and personal growing should be allowed, how and were cannabis should be sold and more.

Information collected during the consultation period, which began in late September, will guide the province in building regulatory framework in anticipation of the federal government’s plans to legalize marijuana next July.

“The legalization of non-medical cannabis will be a significant change for Canadians – and for British Columbia,” said B.C. Solicitor-General and Public Safety minister Mike Farnworth in a statement.

“We want to hear from people throughout the province so that we can develop a regulatory framework that maximizes public health and safety and is built for British Columbians, by British Columbians.”

The survey is available online at To date, more than 30,000 respondents have participated in the consultation.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:58 pm

Chilliwack Progress

City of Chilliwack administrator sits on joint cannabis committee

Monteith to provide municipal perspective as the regulatory framework for pot legalization evolves


A senior city staffer from Chilliwack has been appointed to a new regulation committee to provide the local government perspective as Canada gets closer to non-medical cannabis legalization by July 2018.

Peter Monteith, chief administratrative officer for the City of Chilliwack, has been named to the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation.

That means he’ll be one of 12 appointees considering the new policies being hammered out for legalization and regulation in B.C.

“The main purpose of the committee is focusing on how municipalities will deal with the sales of marijuana in their communities,” Monteith told The Progress. “One of Chilliwack’s main concerns in terms of sales is ensuring we have the tools to regulate the location of marijuana stores, just as we have ways to regulate liquor stores.”

Monteith has 30 years experience in municipal planning and development to contribute to the new committee.

Downloading of costs to municipalities is always an irritant, and it’s something the municipal reps will be looking at.

“If there is a financial burden placed on municipalities for regulating sales, we want to have a way to raise money to cover that so it doesn’t become an extra burden to taxpayers,” said Monteith.

In terms of production on agricultural land, council has made clear there are issues around odour, minimum building setbacks and the potential size of the buildings.

“The committee will not be looking at production, so they likely won’t be focused on agricultural land issues concerning marijuana growth,” Monteith said.

What’s is important for Chilliwack, according to Mayor Sharon Gaetz, is that potential added costs are not downloaded to local governments.

“We’re not sure yet if we can share in the revenue, but we’ll be sharing the costs unless something is in the policies specifically,” Gaetz said.

Added costs could come from extra policing, and enforcement efforts.

Odour is the topic city hall hears most about from citizens living downwind of large pot growing operations, said Mayor Gaetz.

“Air quality, dust and pollution are concerns,” she said.

Question marks remain about indoor growing, licensing and zoning rules.

“There has been no indication as to who will be monitoring. We’ve seen the damage that can be done to housing with mold and water.”

The permitted use of farm land for pot production has raised flags for council because of the potential for a “gold rush” mentality.

“People are buying up farmland and speculating so they can grow marijuana,” said Gaetz.

“We have preserved our farmland for cultivation of fruit and vegetables and horticulture, and will continue to so for the next generation, so this is a concern.”

Mayor Gaetz said the timeline is short before legalization, so she’s glad that cities will get to work with the province on this, through the work of the joint committee.

“It goes without saying that local government will be on the frontline and instrumental in the delivery of new policies and laws associated with the legalization of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia,” Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said.

The Solicitor General for B.C. said they “welcome and value” UBCM’s input as they build a regulatory framework for non-medical marijuana “focused on protecting young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping our roads safe.”

Farnworth announced the creation of the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation last month at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention. The purpose of it is to provide a forum for communication and consultation so that provincial reps consider local government input during the development of the regulatory framework for legalized pot.

UBCM has appointed 12 people to the committee, drawn from elected officials, staff specializing in planning, building inspection, bylaw enforcement or public safety, and senior staff. Provincial reps were selected by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The first meeting was on Oct. 20.

“There are a lot of details to be considered in a short period of time,” said Wendy Booth, president, Union of B.C. Municipalities. “We want to ensure that the resulting policies are practical and workable for communities in British Columbia, and leave room for local decision-making.”

The joint committee will include members of the B.C. Government Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat and the following UBCM members:

Wendy Booth, director, Regional District of East Kootenay

Kerry Jang, councillor, City of Vancouver

Maya Tait, mayor, District of Sooke

Brian Frenkel, councillor, District of Vanderhoof

Chris Coates, clerk, City of Victoria

Kevin Cormack, chief administrative officer, City of Nelson

Kathryn Holm, chief licence inspector, City of Vancouver

Dave Jones, business license inspector, City of Kamloops

Peter Monteith, chief administrative officer, City of Chilliwack

Terry Waterhouse, director of public safety, City of Surrey

Ian Wells, general manager, planning and development, City of Prince George

Gary MacIsaac, executive director, Union of B.C. Municipalities
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:01 pm

Province doesn't need more 'potheads,' Green Party leader says

David Coon calls for stronger education plan about effects of marijuana use, especially on young

By Olivia Chandler, CBC News Posted: Oct 26, 2017

Citing potentially harmful effects of marijuana on young brains, Green Party Leader David Coon called Thursday for a comprehensive plan to educate the public about the drug, which will be legal within a year.

"The last thing we need in the province is, you know, more potheads," Coon said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton.

The province announced Wednesday that NB Liquor will set up 20 stand-alone stores and train staff before the legalization of recreational marijuana in July 2018.

Since the federal government promised to legalize pot, medical groups have expressed worry about harmful side-effects, especially on developing brains in people under the age of 25.

In New Brunswick, 15 communities across the province will get government-owned pot stores, all at least 300 metres from schools and requiring identification from young people just to get inside the building.

The government has not settled on a minimum age for marijuana use.

"One of the big concerns with the use of marijuana is for people under 25 because its potential impact on brain development," he said.

Coon said he is not confident in Liberal government plans to make sure the public knows about the findings of research.

Few details about education plan

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers has said the province plans an education program about the harmful effects of marijuana, but the details have not been fleshed out.

She told Information Morning there will education in schools and in partnership with community groups, but the education model will begin with store clerks informing people of the risks of marijuana use.

But Coon predicted this model will fail. Clerks at NB Liquor aren't having those conversations about the risks of alcohol consumption, he said.

"Alcohol is a far more dangerous drug and the government does nothing to inform New Brunswick of the risk of alcohol," he said.

Alcohol already a problem with young

The province has one of the highest rates of "binge drinking" in the country.

"We already have significant consumption of marijuana by young people and we need to have less, and the government has not proved itself, so far, that this is a priority for them," Coon said. "So that has got to change."

Students in New Brunswick get some information about drugs as early as kindergarten, and the issue is included in the health curriculum in Grades 9 and 10, said Kelly Cormier, a spokesperson for the Education Department.

"Students are presented with clear, reliable and accurate information to develop skills to make healthy choices in all areas of health," Cormier wrote in an email.

Coon said he's not sure that selling marijuana through government-run stores will minimize substance abuse among young people, as the government hopes.

"They've got nothing in place to address the illegal trade of marijuana, that's really effective," he said. "In fact, they've recently, in the last year of so, cut the funding to the regional criminal investigation unit the setup to try and fight organized crime."

He said the New Brunswick Medical society would be the best resource for an informative education campaign.

"When you look at what's happening provincially, they just gutted the Medical Officer of Health Office of the staff and experts who could mount that kind of advertising campaign based on evidence," Coon said.

Cara Smith of the New Brunswick Medical Society said the group has not proposed any specific curriculum for educating young people but rather "on behalf of doctors made recommendations to the provincial government in our report on the legalisation of recreational marijuana."

"We've recommended that government approach public education campaigns with caution in order to educate the public in a way that does not unintentionally encourage the use of marijuana," she said.

With files from Information Morning Moncton, Jacques Poitras and Elizabeth Fraser
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:45 pm

Second-hand smoke a top concern in B.C. cannabis consultations

Province working on rules for sale and consumption of non-medical cannabis ahead of legalization

By Megan Thomas, CBC News Posted: Oct 26, 2017

Second-hand smoke has emerged as a top concern as the province nears the end of public consultation on cannabis regulation, says B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

The province is working to draw up rules for the sale and consumption of non-medical cannabis before it is legalized by the federal government in July, 2018. B.C.'s public consultation period ends Nov. 1.

It will take time for the ministry to sort through the more than 30,000 responses it has received so far, Farnworth said.

But it's already clear that many people are worried about second-hand marijuana smoke, he added.

'Strong views'

"People have very strong views, particularly when it impacts their private space, such as their condo unit for example or their backyard or whatever," he said.

The issue will be addressed in the new cannabis regulations, Farnworth said.

"It's one that was fully anticipated as an issue, so I expect, in fact I know, it will be dealt with in the new regulatory framework."

Some hope the new rules will go further than what is in place to protect people from second-hand tobacco smoke.

Legislation in 2008 ended smoking in the common areas of apartment and condo buildings, but the rule doesn't apply inside private suites.

Call for more protection

The Clean Air Coalition of B.C. regularly receives complaints from people in apartments and condos about both marijuana and tobacco smoke, said director Jack Boomer.

People can complain to the Residential Tenancy Branch if smoke from a neighbouring suite is ruining what is known as the "quiet enjoyment" of a unit, but Boomer said the results of complaints vary.

"One of the things that we would encourage the provincial government [to do] is actually amend the residential tenancy laws so they actually reflect the fact that quiet enjoyment includes tobacco smoke and cannabis smoke," Boomer said.

Another possible solution is to require disclosure of which suites in a building do not have no-smoking clauses in their tenancy agreement, Boomer added.

That way people can decide whether second-hand smoke may be an issue before moving in, he said.

More research needed

Because cannabis has been illegal in Canada, little research has been done on the potential harms of exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke, said Dr. Milan Khara, an addiction physician with the smoking cessation program at Vancouver Coastal Health.

But it's reasonable to expect the effects are similar to tobacco smoke, Khara added.

"Very likely marijuana smoke is as harmful as cigarette smoke, but the evidence at this time is not well established."
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