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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:58 pm

Recreational marijuana could be sold in private sector later on, minister says

Legal age for marijuana use is expected to be announced soon

By Elizabeth Fraser, CBC News Posted: Oct 26, 2017

The province might be relying on NB Liquor to sell recreational marijuana initially, but it hasn't ruled out selling in the private sector later on, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says.

"Down the road after we get some experience, we'll learn from the experience and we may look at other ways," Rogers said Thursday.

In the meantime, the province announced on Wednesday that NB Liquor will set up a stand-alone stores before the legalization of recreational marijuana in July 2018.

Up to 20 stores will be established in 15 communities across the province, with strict policies in place.

Stores must be located at least 300 metres away from schools, they will only display products under glass, and customers will need to show identification to prove they are of legal age before they can even get inside the building.

"We didn't start out letting the private sector sell alcohol," Rogers said. "It's new territory and it's very important … that we start tight to combat the illegal market," she said.

For now, the latest retail model will allow the province to be ready by next July, when marijuana becomes legal.

"We've said from day one that we'll have a retail model that we'll start with and this now has been announced, it's ANBL," she said.

"It's separate stores from their current alcohol stores for a number of very good reasons."

There's no decision yet on what the price will be, what the stores will be called, or what the legal age will be.

However, Rogers did tell Information Morning Fredericton that there have been discussions surrounding the legal age for marijuana use and what the age will be. She said the legal age is expected to be announced soon.

She also said costs to start up a marijuana retailing operation, will be "next to nothing" and the implementation of these stores are within the province's current budget.

"We have nothing extra this year," she said.

Next year, the province's main focus will be on supply, a good distribution model and corporate and social responsibility, she said.

And eventually, the province hopes to see some revenue from selling the product.

Wants to keep customers in province

Meanwhile, the province is still waiting to hear from the federal government about a tax regime and expects to see some profit from recreational marijuana down the road.

A small number of stores will be spread out across the province in areas based on income traffic and population. Residents will also be able to purchase recreational marijuana online.

But Rogers said the province is still trying to sort out ways it can keep consumers buying recreational marijuana in New Brunswick and avoid buying from other provinces.

The province has signed agreements with two cannabis producers, Organigram and Canopy Growth, to be suppliers.

"Those who do decide to consume will have the benefit of knowing their product," she said.

Jacques Poitras, Information Morning Fredericton
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:02 pm


Delta still has pot questions

City has several concerns, including using prime farmland to grow marijuana

Sandor Gyarmati / Delta Optimist
OCTOBER 26, 2017

Delta wants answers sooner rather than later when it comes to legalized recreational marijuana.

“The federal government said this is going to happen, so we have said, ‘All right, these are the concerns that we have, whether it’s using up our good ALR land, whether it’s children 12 years old being allowed to possess but not smoke, all of these things.’ We want to know how the police department can be handling all this, so we’ve been working very diligently,” Mayor Lois Jackson told the Optimist this week.

Having spoken to provincial and federal officials to convey a variety of concerns about legalizing pot and the impacts it will have on cities, Jackson noted Delta has been busy compiling information and seeking answers to specific questions.
The provincial government’s window for public engagement ends Nov. 1.

A Delta staff report on what could be the city’s submission will be discussed at Delta council’s meeting next Monday.

Richmond council this week voted unanimously to oppose marijuana legalization and send a letter to the provincial and federal governments expressing its concerns and requesting “proper” regulations.

In the letter, the city is asking for the right to regulate cannabis at the municipal level.

While legalization will have complex and wide-reaching impacts, one of the biggest and most visible impacts for Delta is the potential conversion of prime agricultural land into large-scale marijuana growing operations, something Delta is hoping to have a say in preventing.

The huge Village Farms greenhouse in East Ladner announced this summer it had entered into a joint venture with Emerald Health Therapeutics, a B.C.-based licenced producer of medical cannabis, for the purpose of producing, cultivating and distributing wholesale cannabis and cannabis extracts for medical purposes. Also, if permitted by law, the operation, which would be called Pure Sunfarms, plans to grow pot for “non-therapeutic” purposes. It would cover an initial 1.1 million square feet of greenhouse space.

Last week, Emerald Health announced it had formally submitted licence applications to Health Canada for approval for two new growing sites, the Village Farms complex and a smaller facility in Richmond. Emerald says it’s preparing for the large-scale production of cannabis in anticipation of legalization of the adult-use cannabis market on July 1, 2018.

“Emerald and Village Farms are retrofitting this greenhouse from tomato growing into a configuration optimized for large-scale cannabis cultivation,” the company stated in a news release. “With a key goal of the partnership to be a large, very low-cost cannabis producer, Pure Sunfarms also optioned from Village Farms an additional 3.7 million square feet of existing highly-efficient greenhouse space in the same Delta complex.”

Jackson noted Delta is receiving several inquiries a week from those interested in growing marijuana on farmland.
“Speaking with (Public Safety and Solicitor General) Minister (Mike) Farnworth at UBCM a couple of times, we asked, ‘Can Delta say we don’t want to use our great farmland for growing of marijuana?’

“We can put it in, for instance, some of the big industrial buildings that we have at Tilbury and Annacis. There are people up country that have land in the ALR and they want to be able to use their land for this, so we asked can we have maybe different rules for Delta than they do for Nelson, for example. So he’s looking at that and we don’t know what the outcome will be,” said Jackson.

Another company, a Smith Falls-based firm called Canopy Growth Corp., recently announced it’s forming a partnership with a large-scale B.C. greenhouse operator, a venture called BC Tweed Joint Venture Inc., to grow millions of square feet of bud, but the location hasn’t been made public.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:31 pm

Summerland Review

Kelowna council being asked to support licenced private pot shop recommendation for B.C.

But city staff want to see dispensaries regulated by both the province and local government


Kelowna city staff say cannabis should be only be sold from storefront dispensaries licenced by the provincial government and under rules similar to existing liquor stores. And their locations and operations should be controlled by municipal land use zoning and bylaws.

Those are the key recommendations in a report to go to city council Monday morning after the province asked municipalities across the B.C. for input about how marijuana and cannabis products should be distributed once the federal government makes them legal next July.

The Kelowna staff report says a model similar to that currently used in B.C. to sell alcohol would be most familiar across the province. It would also ensure municipalities can control where storefront dispensaries are located to make sure they are not set up near schools or parks.

“A provincial licensing system with fees for dispensaries similar to licensee retail store liquor sales model (should be used),” says the report. “A provincial branch and inspection model should also mirror the LCLB (Liquor Control and Licencing Branch) model.”

The province should also allow municipal control over the number of licences issued for storefront dispensaries, as well as the location and the size, says the report, and the province should indicate a minimum distance between cannabis storefront dispensaries and retail liquor stores.

Other recommendations include the minimum age for cannabis consumption should be the same or higher than it is for alcohol (19) and the maximum possession amount for adults should be 30 grams. Youths should not be allowed to possess it, but if they are found with up to five grams in their possession, there should be no charges, just confiscation.

Staff are also recommending the province restrict consumption of cannabis products in publicly accessible places to specific “marijuana smoking areas.”

The report says the city should be allowed to regulate personal cultivation of cannabis plants with permits for home growing. Four plants per household should be the maximum and no plant should be more than one metre in height. Growing should be prohibited inside residences of all buildings in residential areas. The B.C. Building Code should also be updated to mitigate potential negative impacts of home growing operations.

The recommendations will go to Kelowna city council for consideration at its morning meeting on Monday.

The Kelowna recommendations differ from what West Kelowna council decided to forward to Victoria earlier this week. West Kelowna council wants cannabis products to be sold only through government-operated stores. But it said if dispensaries are allowed, it should have the power to regulate them through municipal zoning.

Currently, Kelowna city hall says it knows of nine private dispensaries operating in city. Unlike West Kelowna, it has not issued any business licences to dispensary operators so it cannot follow it’s neighbour’s lead and cancel the licences in a bid to shut down existing private storefront dispensaries.

But Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming said anyone inquiring about opening a dispensary in Kelowna is told such operations are illegal and operators could be subject to enforcement action.

“(Those inquiries) have happened and are happening,” he said.

The issue of private, storefront dispensaries has become an issue in towns and cities across the province in recent years and in the Okanagan, municipalities leaders have held meetings at the staff and political levels to discuss coordinating a unified response.

In April, Kelowna amended its zoning bylaw to prohibit storefront sales of cannabis products because, in Canada, they are currently illegal.

At the time, the city’s community planning manager Ryan Smith said dispensary operators should take a second look at what they are doing in Kelowna.

“If you own a dispensary and you are doing storefront dispensing of marijuana, I think that you should rethink the model that you’ve chosen and maybe take a step back and try to focus on a different business model rather than retailing marijuana until we know what the rules are going to be from the federal and provincial governments,” he said.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:17 pm

Quesnel Cariboo Observer

City of Quesnel council digs into cannabis legalization

Councillors want a share of revenue and costs covered for pot changes

Oct. 26, 2017

Mayor and council of the City of Quesnel developed, discussed and passed a response to provincial government for policy considerations for a regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis in British Columbia at its Oct. 24 meeting.

Following the 2015 federal election, the Liberal government started working on its campaign promise to legalize cannabis across the country.

The revision of Cannabis Act and the Criminal Code are underway and it’s expected these bills will be passed by July 2018.

The provinces will be responsible for the regulation of the distribution and sale of cannabis.

Of great concern for the City are the extra costs for the increased RCMP enforcement and the extra regulatory changes for the city.

Council also talked about the need for revenue sharing and the necessity of the upper levels of government picking up the bill for the extra enforcement and regulatory cost.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted the province didn’t ask how much revenue local governments want back in their consultation.

“If we understand this as fine revenue coming back, then we can advise we want the fine revenue coming back to the community for our policing efforts.”

Following last week’s Cariboo Regional District board meeting, he says it would be important for council to say if there is any revenue realized from the new marijuana use changes, “there has to be some kind of direct payback to the communities because we’re going to bear the brunt during the transition period and then on.”

He then asked if council would like to make a recommendation on the issue even though the province didn’t ask for it.”

Councillor Ron Paull said he thought council should be more specific than just stating it wants a piece of the revenue.

“When it shakes right down, the federal and provincial governments have some work to put this all through, but beyond the stroke of a pen, the work is going to fall to the municipalities and local governments.”

He added local government are going to bear the brunt of the costs through enforcement, building inspection, complaints about use in a public place, etc.

“I don’t think we should be complacent … I think we should be assertive.”

The mayor said he didn’t want to put a figure to the amount because the federal government is going to have to figure out the tax component because Ottawa is going to try to generate some revenue.

Coun. Ed Coleman suggested the profit sharing should be based on one-third each for the federal, provincial and local governments.

“To me, it’s two things. It’s the sharing of revenues, but it’s also they should cover our incremental costs as well.”

Mayor Simpson suggested the motion could be worded on the lines that the incremental costs and revenue sharing being proportional to the additional burden being placed on local government.

“We really don’t know what we want, but we want some money coming our way to cover off what this is going to cost us.”

Coleman reiterated he wanted to ensure the motion to read a revenue-sharing of one-third each, but in addition to that any additional incremental costs that can be identified would be funded separately.

“There is no model here of those businesses [medical and non-medical] being structured that would be legal under the current system,” Simpson noted.

“They’re not sourcing from legal distributors. They’re sourcing from illegal distribution sources.

“They’re not acting under any model here that they would be sanctioned as retailers.”

He asked for a motion from council that the provincial and federal governments equip municipalities with stronger tools to extinguish the illegal retailing distribution system that’s going to build around whatever model they come with.

Coun. Scott Elliott said one of the options was municipalities could in the future look at setting up private retailers, but some [private retailers] have set up illegal outlets already.

“This is a non-starter. I think that’s what they’re hoping for and I don’t think we should play into that.”

Said Simpson: “As we have encountered, our business tool or our fining tool – nothing seems to work to extinguish it. The RCMP is basically being asked to not engage because there’s a whole bunch of court cases to learn where the court precedents are.

“It’s a real mess and I don’t see any of this disappearing. The cleanest model is to have government retail, but if that’s the model we choose, they have to extinguish the illegal activity and then they can look at private sector after that.”

The motion was carried.
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:44 am

Ottawa Citizen

Ontario begins search for places to set up LCBO-run pot shops when marijuana is legalized

Published on: October 27, 2017

Ontario has announced it is looking for places to set up marijuana stores run by the LCBO across the province.

The LCBO will work closely with municipal governments and local communities to decide the location of the stores, according to a release from the Finance Department.

The province plans to set up 40 stores when the federal government legalizes recreational marijuana, expected in July 2018. There will be 80 stand-alone stores by July 2019 and 150 stores by 2020. The LCBO will also be in charge of selling pot online.

Municipal governments were sent letters with some guidelines on how the marijuana stores will be established.

The province wants to make sure stores are distributed across the province. LCBO guidelines will also ensure “youth are protected and the illegal market is addressed,” said the release. Stores won’t be located near schools, for example.

The public will be given a chance to comment on proposed store locations. Once the LCBO had identified a site, a notice will be posted online and at the location. There will be a chance for people to “ask questions and provide feedback” on the proposed location, the release said.

Municipalities will be “essential partners,” it said. “As we move forward with retail implementation, officials from the Ministry of Finance and the LCBO will meet with municipalities that have been identified for potential sites to discuss concerns and next steps in this initiative.”

The province has said a key goal is to reduce the number of illegal dispensaries. Most of them are in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.

When the province announced its approach to marijuana sales, officials said store locations may be chosen to compete with the illegal shops.

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has warned that illegal shops will be closed. That’s proven to be a challenge since they began popping up in the winter of 2016, first in Toronto, then spreading to Ottawa and smaller Ontario cities.

Police in Toronto and Ottawa have staged multiple raids, charging hundreds of clerks, managers and shop owners with drug trafficking. Some stores have re-opened, though, and new ones pop up. There are about 20 dispensaries in Ottawa.

In Toronto, municipal officials have also targeted the shops, charging them with bylaw infractions.

Cannabis industry experts expect that 40 LCBO-run marijuana stores across the province won’t be enough to meet demand, and the black market will continue to flourish for some time as more stores are added.

There is also a concern about a shortage of cannabis across Canada when legalization arrives in July 2018. Federally-licensed growers are ramping up marijuana production, and new growing licences are being issued, but many analysts predict there still won’t be enough pot, at least initially.

When recreational pot is legalized, the federal government will regulate production and determine what products can be sold, while the provinces are in charge of distribution and sales. The minimum age for buying marijuana will be 18, although provinces can set it higher. Ontario plans to make the legal purchase age 19, which is also the legal drinking age.

The federal government has said dried weed and cannabis oil will be sold first, with edible cannabis products to be regulated later. The parliamentary committee studying the cannabis law passed amendments that would make edible products available within a year of legalization, and the federal Health Minister has suggested the same timeline.
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:27 am

October 28, 2017

B.C. Truckers Association weighs in on how government should handle legal pot

By Michelle Morton
Reporter/News Anchor CKNW

The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) is weighing in with four recommendations on how it thinks the government should handle legalized marijuana.

President and CEO Louise Yako says the association is recommending the provincial and federal governments work together to provide a unified set of rules, and a timeline for implementation.

One recommendation is to modify the criminal code to include a cannabis impairment offence.

It also supports a zero-tolerance policy for ‘safety sensitive’ occupations, such as commercial drivers.

“To agree on a regulatory framework, to allow employers of workers in safety-sensitive occupations, to conduct random workplace drug and alcohol testing, and that’s to ensure both their safety and the safety of the driving public.”

Yako says the BCTA also wants to see a roadside testing protocol created.

British Columbians have until Wednesday, Nov. 1 to share their suggestions with the provincial government.

Non-medical cannabis is set to become legal in Canada by Canada Day 2018.
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:37 am

B.C. cities, police want money to enforce new pot laws

Feedback so far includes recommendations from Port Coquitlam and View Royal


Police departments and local governments are asking British Columbia for a cut of marijuana revenues as the province crafts regulations for legalized pot.

The provincial government asked for public input last month as it develops new rules. Submissions are posted online and will be accepted until Wednesday.

Feedback so far includes recommendations from Port Coquitlam and View Royal, on Vancouver Island, for pot profits to be directed to municipalities to address costs associated with enforcement.

The British Columbia Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police echoes that recommendation, saying in its submission that the “cost download” of enforcement needs to be considered when a revenue-sharing system is developed.

The association also wants the province to deal with drug-impaired driving the same way as drunk driving.

Police chiefs say the public must have “reasonable access to legal cannabis” or consumers will turn to the black market.

Several existing marijuana producers, retailers and interest groups have weighed in with ideas on how cannabis should be sold in B.C. Several want to be included in the rules.

Buddha Barn, a licensed cannabis retailer in Vancouver, says allowing existing marijuana retailers a way to participate in the recreational marijuana marketplace is “the only way to avoid chaos.”

Marijuana-related businesses are also urging the province to tread carefully when it comes to strict rules around the advertising and branding of recreational pot.

“Movements to codify plain packaging must be avoided completely as they will hobble the ability of legal producers to properly compete against the illicit market,” says Tilray, a licensed medicinal marijuana producer.

Some provinces have released details on how they plan to approach legalized recreational marijuana.

New Brunswick will sell pot through a subsidiary of its liquor commission, with knowledgeable staff available to guide customers.

Ontario will set the minimum age at 19 and sell cannabis through government-run outlets, while Alberta has proposed to make 18 the minimum age to use cannabis. It has yet to announce whether pot will be sold through government-run stores or private operators.

The Nova Scotia government is seeking feedback on a legal age of 19, with sales through a Crown corporation such as the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

The federal government is expected to legalize recreational marijuana 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 its deadline.

The B.C. government is expected to release a report on public input in December.

Here are some of the submissions it has received so far:

— British Columbia Independent Cannabis Association: Wants private distribution and retail as well as cannabis lounges to keep “widespread consumption off the street.”

— B.C. Real Estate Association: Concerned about properties used for drug production and is recommending a registration requirement for those with personal cultivation.

— B.C. Trucking Association: Supports regulations that allow employers in “safety sensitive” businesses to conduct random workplace drug and alcohol testing.

— Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.: Cannabis should be sold in government-controlled stores and include labels that show the percentage of THC, the active compound in marijuana. Ten per cent or more of the revenue collected from cannabis sales should be spent on health promotion, education, research and treatment.

— School District 42, covering Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows: Anyone under 19 should be banned from possessing cannabis, even if simple possession of small amounts isn’t considered a criminal offence. Wants “significant amount” of proceeds from the sale of cannabis directed toward additional enforcement and education.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:12 pm

Comox Valley Record

Comox submits marijuana response to province

ERIN HALUSCHAK Oct. 28, 2017

Following a discussion paper distributed to municipalities across the province on marijuana legalization and regulation within B.C., the Town of Comox has submitted their response on Bill C-45.

The Cannabis Act comes into effect in July 2018, and non-medical marijuana will be legal across Canada, and provinces will be responsible for a variety of regulatory components.

In an effort to support the development of provincial regulatory frameworks, the provincial government reached out to local governments, a variety of stakeholders and the public who can submit their feedback via the BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement website (

In his report to council at Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, Richard Kanigan, the town’s chief administrative officer, noted staff have conducted an initial review of the provincial information and provided a variety of recommendations, including minimum age, personal possession and distribution.

Kanigan recommended council suggest the minimum age for marijuana possession be 19 years old. As for personal possessions for adults, public consumption and drug-impaired driving, staff did not comment on the matter, and referred back to the province.

More than 30,000 individuals made submissions online through the province’s website, explained Mayor Paul Ives, who noted he does have concerns with distribution.

“We may need to look at zoning issues, like we did on beer and liquor stores. We have to make sure we have that in place before July 1.”

Coun. Ken Grant suggested to council that it would be good to look at what the City of Courtenay is putting forward, “and try and make something that works the same with both (municipalities).”
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by papapuff » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:08 pm

The Province

Scott McLeod: Despite fanfare, medical benefits of marijuana remain experimental for many conditions


October 29, 2017

Many Canadians can hardly wait for the day that the recreational use of marijuana becomes legal. As a doctor, I’m far less enthusiastic. I worry about two things: the experimental nature of marijuana in medical practice, and the public health consequences of legalized marijuana.

Before you write me off as overly prudish or an anti-marijuana conservative, let me say that I’m not opposed to legalized marijuana in principle. I’m just paying attention to the evidence, or rather, the lack of it. My concern is that as marijuana becomes more easily available, Canadians may become more inclined to self-medicate with this drug.

Let’s first look at the research on the medical use of marijuana.

I am frequently asked about medical marijuana in my pediatric practice by caring parents who want to help their children with difficult-to-treat conditions. Over the last few months, parents have asked me if medical marijuana can be used to treat their child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or cerebral palsy, for example.

Parents are considering such options because these medical conditions do not always respond well to traditional prescription drug or therapy options. Many have heard of miracle cures in the media from the use of medical marijuana.

I wish I could be more positive when they ask. I find the possibility of a new medicine to benefit conditions that don’t respond well to current medications exciting. Unfortunately, the research is not there yet.

Here’s the good news. In May, a double-blind placebo-controlled trial showed that cannabidiol — one of the active ingredients in marijuana — reduced the number of seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, a condition that results in severe seizures, developmental delays and problems with movement and balance.

The drug may even be approved for use in difficult-to-treat epilepsy cases by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration.

There’s some other promising news: marijuana has also shown a moderate degree of benefit for patients with neuropathic pain and stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis.

Other uses, such as the treatment of nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy for those with cancer; assistance with improving weight gain in HIV patients; improvement in sleep disorders and the reduction of the symptoms of Tourette syndrome all have less evidence of benefit, but may be promising for some in the future.

But that’s where the research ends.

Some of the popularized ways in which medical marijuana is currently being used, such as for post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, lack long-term evaluation. While marijuana may have short-term benefits, long-term use may result in increased aggressive behaviours or even worsening of symptoms.

Today’s marijuana is also not what it once was. Generally, we’ve seen a consistent increase in the THC content of marijuana — the main psychoactive component — from the 1960s to the present day. In fact, THC is being sold by licensed producers at concentrations of greater than 15 per cent in a substantial proportion of available strains.

Why is this a problem? The cannabis used in medical research contains less than 10 per cent THC. We do know that using cannabis with higher THC concentrations is associated with an increased risk of psychosis, but we really don’t know much about the medical effects at these higher concentrations.

While I remain hopeful that marijuana may bring medical breakthroughs in the future, more needs to be done to inform the public that medical marijuana remains in experimental stages and that currently, for the majority of conditions or ailments, it has minimal to no evidence of benefit, and may even be harmful.

Legalization will remove some red tape to allow for more research, but many patients might opt to self-medicate without ongoing monitoring of their symptoms or may choose to delay seeking help from a medical professional. These are just some of the public health consequences that could come from the legalization of something that many see as an all-purpose medical cure.

It’s in everyone’s best interests to try to set the record straight.

Dr. Scott McLeod is a Calgary pediatrician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with developmental disabilities and an expert with He is a dedicated advocate for patients and provides care in an evidence-based and family-centred manner.
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by papapuff » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:50 am

October 30,2017

Fear-mongering no replacement for cannabis facts

by Peter Thurley Waterloo Region Record

While attending the public meeting on cannabis with the four local members of Parliament earlier this month, I was struck by the scaremongering rhetoric on display from the front. Cambridge MP Bryan May, Kitchener-Centre MP Raj Saini, Kitchener South-Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara, and K-W MP Bardish Chagger, who sponsored the forum, led a 30-minute presentation on the proposed cannabis laws, including the legislation that will impose blood content driving limits onto cannabis users once the product becomes legal in July next year. Taking comments from the audience afterward, it was clear that there were more questions for them than they had answers.

While municipal concerns should not be underestimated, more important than those questions, in my view, were the concerns of the many cannabis patients in the room that this legislation will negatively affect them. There were frequent reassurances from the panellists suggesting that the current medical licensing program will remain untouched. And while that is true, the concerns of the audience, or at least the ones who came to the mike, had most to do with the worry that their right to medicate might be at risk.

When the audience asked our MPs if they could tell us what five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood meant in terms of actual cannabis consumption, the room was met with blank stares. That limit isn't unimportant — that's the proposed limit over which someone would be sent to jail for driving impaired, somewhere around 2-3 vaporizer sessions. When pressed further on why there was no research money being spent by government to look into these questions while $274 million has already been allocated for law enforcement, the suggestion from the podium was that people just aren't ready to accept cannabis as a medicine. This response was frustrating for many in the crowd, and it should go without saying that fear of stigma on behalf of the government is not a good enough reason to allocate exactly zero dollars to scientific research on cannabis.

As a medical cannabis user, I'm worried about the proposed limits. Indeed, the room was shocked to hear that the proposed limits have nothing to do with ensuring that drivers are unimpaired. Staying within the proposed legal limit of 2-5ng/mL of blood will require three to five days of no driving after smoking a single joint, or worse, five to seven days after eating one brownie or edible. Even for recreational users, these limits make it unreasonable for anyone to consume cannabis in the comfort of their own home on a Friday night, for fear of testing over the legal limit when they drive to the office on Monday morning.

The proposed levels found in Bill C-46 are not based in science; even Canada's own forensic scientists have found no correlation between the lower limit and impairment. Not even the pharmacist on stage, Kitchener Centre's Raj Saini, could say one way or the other how Canadian law enforcement was going to try and tackle the fact that cannabis in the bloodstream does not equate to impairment the way alcohol does; indeed that fact seemed conspicuously absent from the presentation material.

It must be said that there is never an excuse to drive impaired, and no cannabis user should be allowed to drive impaired. As legalization approaches and the government looks to up their public safety education campaign, it will be important that this message remain central. However, this message should not be interpreted as blanket permission to target medical users who use the product daily to treat a variety of maladies. Taking a tough stand on impaired driving must actually focus on impairment, not per serving limits with no scientific basis.

I look forward to hearing from our MPs at a future cannabis roundtable, perhaps when they are more prepared.

Peter Thurley is principal and chief writing officer at Peter Thurley Communications and Consulting Services. He serves as a member of the Patient Advisory Board at Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana.
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by papapuff » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:06 pm

Think organic on cannabis

Kate Bouey - Oct 30, 2017

The federal government's focus on the proposed legalization and distribution of cannabis does not appear to consider how it should be grown, which is worrying one Vernon-based business.

“Absolutely, it should be a concern,” said Mary Horvatincic, co-owner of BlueSky Organics. “The government isn't regulating the product. That's something they need to do when they roll out these laws, but it should have been done when they rolled out medical cannabis.”

The company promotes the organic growing of cannabis and other plants, selling specialized soil, plant food and fertilizer designed to keep finicky marijuana plants healthy. It does not grow cannabis for sale.

“The focus is being missed on how it should be produced,” said Horvatincic. “It's really important to talk about safe growing.”

A large number of marijuana users are smoking for medical purposes and Horvatincic said they should know whether or not chemical pesticides are being used on the plants.

“Our aim is to bring awareness and education to both consumers and growers....It's a very big industry (and) people need to understand how their product is grown.”

While BlueSky products are certified organic, Horvatincic said the government is so far not allowing cannabis to be certified organic.

“People who are using medically should have the option to choose organic,” she stressed. “Why are we allowed to purchase certified organic garlic or bananas? We should be allowed to choose organic marijuana.”

While BlueSky bosses hope Ottawa will consider pot production laws, the firm continues government-funded research and development of new products – specifically designed for cannabis – at a location outside of the Vernon city limits.
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by papapuff » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:10 pm

Marketwired (press release)

October 30, 2017 07:00 ET

True Leaf Supports Call for B.C. to Allow Naturopaths to Provide Safe Access to Medicinal Cannabis

Naturopathic physician points out that the legislative framework already exists in the B.C. Public Health Act

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 30, 2017) - True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. ("True Leaf") (CSE: MJ) (FRANKFURT: TLA) (OTCQB: TRLFF), has endorsed a report from Dr. Chris Spooner -- a member of the True Leaf Board of Directors -- calling for B.C. naturopathic physicians to prescribe and dispense medicinal marijuana under the auspices of the B.C. Ministry of Health.

The recommendation is in a submission to the Government of British Columbia, which has called for input on how B.C. will determine how and where cannabis can be sold and where it can be consumed in the province, in anticipation of the legalization of marijuana by the federal government in 2018. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2017.

Dr. Spooner is also a director on the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia. His recommendations are offered as a naturopathic physician in private practice who experiences the confusion and challenges patients face daily with access to medicinal cannabis.

"Patients who use medical cannabis are often dealing with complex health issues and have resorted to medical cannabis after trying numerous other therapies," says Dr. Spooner in his brief. "As a matter of safe access and public safety these patients deserve a dedicated healthcare professional who is willing and able to counsel them effectively while understanding the complexity of using herbal medicines and pharmaceuticals together."

In his submission, Dr. Spooner makes the point that the Canadian Medical Association says medical doctors shouldn't be the gatekeepers for a substance that has not gone through the established regulatory review process, as required with all other drugs. Naturopathic physicians, through the College of Naturopathic Physicians (established under the Health Professions Act), have a record of strong oversight and experience with herbal medicine that should be used as the foundation for regulated access for patients choosing to use medical cannabis.

Dr. Spooner outlines six reasons for his belief that the mechanisms for effective regulation already exist. "The legislation is already in place," he says in his brief, "the government needs only to engage the College and request the creation of standards, limits and conditions for compounding and prescribing medical cannabis."

True Leaf Chair Mike Harcourt, a former premier of British Columbia, sees Dr. Spooner's proposal as an ideal way to address the current confusion about medicinal cannabis for patients seeking safe and reliable access and advice in B.C. and across Canada.

"Access to medicinal cannabis is a 'wild west' situation today. There are various sources of supply, some legal and some not," said Mr. Harcourt. "True Leaf is ready to collaborate with all health professionals and work together to create safe access and an effective dispensing system focused on enhancing quality of life for patients. After all, it's all about the patient."

The entire report, entitled The Safe and Effective Regulation and Distribution of Medical Cannabis in British Columbia: Naturopathic Physicians' Potential Role in Enhancing Access, will soon be posted with the other submissions at: ... bmissions/.

About Dr. Chris Spooner

Dr. Chris Spooner is a naturopathic physician in Vernon B.C. with 19 years of experience in private practice. As a board member of the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia for over eight years and adjunct faculty at three naturopathic colleges, he is well-versed regarding the regulatory function mandated by the Health Professions Act and the values of evidence-based practice. Dr. Spooner is a director of the True Leaf Board.

About True Leaf

Founded in 2013, True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. has two main operating divisions: True Leaf Medicine Inc. and True Leaf Pet Inc. The company's goal is to provide federally-approved, safe and effective cannabis products that will be sold across Canada and the United States. True Leaf Medicine was launched in July 2013 to become a licensed producer of medicinal cannabis for the Canadian market. As of October 19, 2017, True Leaf Medicine has been given approval by Health Canada to build its grow facility, and will be subject to a Health Canada security inspection upon completion to allow for the cultivation, manufacture and distribution of cannabis products. Currently, True Leaf does not have a license to produce cannabis. Established in 2015, True Leaf Pet markets safe, hemp-focused products for the pet industry. The company launched the True Hemp™ pet supplement line in Canada, the United States, and Europe; becoming one of the first hemp-based pet product lines to be marketed worldwide. True Hemp™ North American products are free of CBD and THC, making them the first federally legal products to be marketed in Canada and the United States.

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by papapuff » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:14 pm

Edmonton Journal

Consider options before deciding who produces cannabis: U.S. researcher

Michelle LePage
Published on: October 29, 2017

A professor who has studied cannabis legalization for much of the last decade will be in Edmonton on Monday to speak at a research forum hosted by Alberta Health Services.

Jonathan Caulkins is a professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. His keynote speech will focus on policy surrounding cannabis producers.

Since Canada is on the path to becoming one of the first countries to fully legalize recreational cannabis, Caulkins said it is important for legislators to look at all options before deciding who can produce the product.

“The single biggest thing I’d like folks to realize is that there are choices about who it is that gets to produce,” he said Sunday in an interview with Postmedia. “I hope people have time to pause and consider the options.”

Those options include for-profit corporations, non-profit organizations, co-ops and government-run operations.

While Caulkins tries not to advocate for any one model, he said the non-profit model can be a comfortable starting point.

Non-profit producers can be regulated in the same way as for-profit producers but would produce cannabis to meet current demand instead of focusing on growth.

“If there’s any uncertainty if you want to jump in with both feet, a non-profit might be the way to go initially,” Caulkins said.

When it comes to the cannabis industry, Caulkins called the for-profit model a “double-edged sword.”

The odds are excellent the cannabis industry will “grow like gangbusters,” but that growth comes at the expense of public health, he said.

The negative side of companies promoting their product is the marketing is often targeted to daily or near-daily cannabis users, who may suffer from substance abuse, Caulkins said. While some high-frequency use comes with no harm, it also has the potential to interfere with a person’s work or family life.

“If you’re talking about something like shoes, there’s not really a conflict of interest between the company making money and the interest of the public,” he said.

“Tobacco is the best analogy. Most people don’t want tobacco to be prohibited but aren’t enthusiastic about the industry’s behaviour. Canada is about to build another industry like that.”

Government, law enforcement and industry stakeholders are expected to join Caulkins and other researchers for the Cannabis Research Day forum at the University of Alberta on Monday.
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by papapuff » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:00 pm

CTV News

Pot on the Prairie: Legalization timeline worries province, police

Angelina Irinici, Reporter

Published Monday, October 30, 2017 11:51AM CST

Pot on the Prairie is a week-long series exploring how the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada could impact Saskatchewan. The series runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. Watch part one Monday on CTV News at Six.

The provincial government and police chiefs’ association says there isn’t enough time to properly prepare for marijuana legalization, given the federal government’s date of July 1, 2018.

Once passed, Canada would be the second country, behind Uruguay, to legalize marijuana. The federal government introduced legislation in April. Now it’s up to provinces to figure out how to adapt to it when it comes to decisions including age limit, where it can be consumed and how it’s sold.

The Saskatchewan government says it’s reviewing results from a public survey about cannabis legalization, receiving advice from lawyers, police and others to develop a legal framework, but that it’s pressed for time.

“That timeline is definitely a concern for the province, a concern for the health and safety of Saskatchewan people on our roads to make sure that everything is in place,” Justice Ministry spokesperson Drew Wilby told CTV News.

The proposed legislation suggests a number of laws that would change impaired driving legislation including police using roadside saliva tests, officers being able to obtain blood samples easier, and the possibility of criminal charges for impairment.

THC levels

Bill C-46, which proposes amendments to the federal government’s marijuana legalization bill, lays out proposed levels of THC — the psychoactive compound in cannabis — in drivers that would result in criminal charges.

It suggests drivers who have THC levels of two to five nanograms per millilitre of blood, within two hours of driving, can be criminally charged and fined up to $1,000.

Five nanograms or more, or 2.5 nanograms combined with alcohol, would result in fines of $1,000 or more for a first offence. Penalties would get stiffer for repeat offenders — 30 days imprisonment on a second offence and 120 days on a third, according to the bill. The maximum penalties would be the same as existing maximum penalties for impaired driving, which could be up to 10 years in prison and a dangerous offender application.

A small joint or edible, or certain cannabis prescriptions, would likely put an average person over those limits, according to cannabis consultant Kathleen Thompson.

Testing concerns

The proposed THC levels for drivers have left some people with concerns; some state there’s no scientific basis proving impairment based on THC levels.

“Quite frankly, the portion of the legislation that has a mathematical component to it is ill-conceived,” Saskatoon defence lawyer Mark Brayford said.

Brayford is the vice-president of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers and worked with the council to send recommendations to parliament about changes to parts of Bill C-46. He said if certain portions of the bill are passed, it could do more harm than good.

“It throws the whole justice system, with respect to that group of prosecutors, into a state of legal chaos,” Brayford said. “It's unwise to pass laws that are constitutionally questionable.”

The existing legislation, which includes drug recognition expert officers conducting a 12-step exam to determine impairment, would be better, according to Brayford.

Drug Recognition Experts

As it stands now, if a driver is suspected of being impaired, a standard field sobriety test is used. If the officer concludes there is some form of impairment, the driver is taken to the police station where a DRE performs a 12-step exam to determine impairment. The 12 steps include examining balance, blood pressure and pupil size.

There are 56 DRE-trained officers in Saskatchewan, but the province says it wants 100 more in the next five years, and 90 by the time marijuana is legalized. It costs $3,400 to train one officer, which includes all expenses associated with the second part of the training in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the province.

Police agencies want the federal government to help fund a training model in Canada so officers don’t have to travel for DRE training, according to Marlo Pritchard, the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police.

There won’t be a sufficient amount of officers trained in Saskatchewan by July 1, according to Pritchard. He said officers across the country, including from Saskatoon, have asked the federal government for more time to prepare.

“We’ll enforce the laws,” he said. “There are concerns on how it’s going to be written so that it’s enforceable, that it’s practical and probably cost effective.”

Arising questions

The federal government has allocated $274 million, which still needs approval, for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving as well as to enforce the proposed regulations. It’s unknown how much money each province will receive and Pritchard said he won’t know whether the funding is sufficient until the laws are passed.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” he said.

Police services are preparing as best they can by anticipating certain regulations, but with no laws in place, it’s difficult to implement training or buy supplies, according to Pritchard.

For example, RCMP in North Battleford were part of a pilot project to see how the saliva tests work — Saskatchewan’s cold climate is a factor — but it’s unknown if officers will learn to use the devices ahead of legislation, or wait to see if it’s passed, according to Wilby.

He said the provincial government is disappointed more time wasn’t given for provinces to prepare. There has been criticism Saskatchewan is behind in coming up with a plan.

Other provinces have unveiled provincial framework — New Brunswick announced its plan last week on how marijuana will be sold, while Alberta has unveiled a full framework.

Wilby said the province is working hard on creating legislation, which would be introduced at some point by before the end of spring.
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:57 am

October 31,2017

Cannabis law should spell end for ‘dispensaries’

Ontario’s forthcoming cannabis legislation should spell the end of the illegal marijuana “dispensaries” still operating, warns Premier Kathleen Wynne.

by Robert Benzie Toronto Star Hamilton Spectator

Ontario's forthcoming cannabis legislation should spell the end of the illegal marijuana "dispensaries" that are still operating, warns Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi will table a bill on Wednesday that will outline the provincial rules surrounding recreational marijuana when the federal government legalizes cannabis in next July 1.

The premier said Monday there would be no surprises in the new law, which will restrict weed consumption to those 19 and older and confine its use to private homes.

"It will lay out more details around essentially the framework that we have talked about, and, you know, as we said, the (retail) entity will be a subsidiary of the LCBO," she told reporters.

"We will have more clarity then about exactly what we have to implement going forward."

Wynne said she hoped that, once the legislation is passed, it would eliminate any ambiguity about the storefront weed shops operating around the province.

"Our expectation is that those dispensaries will be shut down, because we are going to be putting a new framework in place and the legislation will make that clear," the premier said.

Asked why the illegal pot shops are still open for business, she said: "that's a conversation that we need to have with municipalities and with law enforcement."

"But I believe that, as it becomes clearer what the rules are going to be, I think it will make it easier for municipalities to take action."

Queen's Park will give communities a say in where the 150 standalone LCBO-operated cannabis shops will be located in order to keep them a safe distance from schools.

In a presentation Monday at a St. Michael's Hospital symposium on marijuana legalization, former attorney general Michael Bryant expressed concern about the impact on children and youth.

Bryant noted there is already a "treatment deficit for kids with drug or alcohol dependence" in the province.

"At least two-thirds students in Ontario schools who seek treatment, and qualify for treatment, aren't getting treatment," he said.

"As Canada legalizes cannabis, let's make it Ontario's goal to help more of those untreated kids, the two out of three. Let's try to help just one more. One more kid who gets their life back; one more family who gets their kid back. One more kid."

Urging governments not to be seduced by the expected tax windfall from marijuana sales, Bryant said there is an urgent need to "inform kids and parents" about the dangers of marijuana use at a young age.

"I sense little public pressure to kick a robust public health and education policy into gear. So many dollar signs in our eyes, so much . . . histrionic change, we can't see that quiet, isolated, angry, fearful kid in the corner who needs our help."
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