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Feds' marijuana task force rules out storefront weed

by papapuff » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:16 am

The Globe and Mail

Report on Canada's marijuana legalization due this week

LAKE LOUISE, ALTA. — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016

Ottawa’s march toward a controlled market for legal marijuana in Canada takes a major step forward this week with the delivery of a task force report that includes advice on a minimum age, product warnings and measures to prevent drug-impaired driving.

The report on pot legalization will be delivered to cabinet by Wednesday, said task force chair Anne McLellan, a lawyer and former federal cabinet minister in the Chrétien and Martin governments.

Ms. McLellan said her nine-person group – which has received 30,000 online submissions and visited U.S. states with experience in the legalization process – has authored a responsible, fair and balanced report that will “engender a lot of interest.”

Speaking on the sidelines of a Bennett Jones LLP business forum last week, Ms. McLellan said it’s hard to understate how significant a psychological shift will be required as law enforcement, governments and Canadians as a whole adapt to marijuana legalization – a key policy plank of the federal Liberal government.

Right now, production and possession of marijuana is illegal unless it has been authorized for medical purposes, but the government estimates the illegal marijuana industry’s size at $7-billion, annually.

Ottawa has committed to introducing legislation in the spring that will move marijuana “from a criminal regime, where this was an illegal substance with criminal sanctions – some of them very serious – to a legalized product in a regulated marketplace,” Ms. McLellan said. It’s important to move slowly, and deliberately, in implementation, she added.

“Most Canadians think it’s time to move away from the system we have. But they are less clear about words like ‘decriminalization’ and ‘legalization.’”

The report will be made public “in due course,” Ms. McLellan said. She said the task force – which was asked to provide advice for keeping the drug out of the hands of children and youth – will recommend a minimum age for marijuana purchases.

In the interest of healthy brain development, the Canadian Medical Association has said that pot sales should be limited to those 21 and older, and that restrictions on the potency of marijuana should be in place for all Canadians younger than 25.

However, others have argued that is unrealistic because pot use among Canadians 15 to 24 years old is already double that of the general population.

“The legal age should reflect the ability of an individual to make an informed decision rather than evaluating the relative safety of use,” argued the group Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

“Setting a lower age limit may help prevent the continuation of an underground cannabis market and reduce the associated harms on youth.”

Ms. McLellan, who served in the justice and health portfolios among others, also said the task force report will address marijuana labelling and warnings, and said it’s an area in which “the federal government has a lot of experience based on their tobacco regime.”

Special attention will be paid to the issue of drug-impaired driving, she said.

The task force was also asked to address issues such as where marijuana will be sold, how to keep profits out of the hands of organized crime and how to continue access to quality-controlled marijuana for medical use.

Patient groups, in presentations to the task force, have made the case that the drug needs to be affordable, through means such as dropping the sales taxes or by encouraging medical insurers to cover the drug.

Ms. McLellan notes the task force had calls with officials from Uruguay, which in 2013 became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana sales. Some task force members travelled to Colorado, while others went to Washington – U.S. states that have also had legal pot markets for three years. Earlier this month, voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada passed measures to legalize recreational marijuana – joining Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C.

“Canadians who have been following this area would see that in the United States – where cannabis is still illegal federally – that there will probably be a tipping point where the government of the United States will have to take a look at their ongoing regime of illegality,” Ms. McLellan said.

“That’s not for me to say,” she added. “But you do see a certain trend.”

In its assessment of “affiliations and interests” of task force members, Health Canada noted Ms. McLellan has been a senior adviser with Bennett Jones for a decade, and the law firm represents some clients with interests in the legal marijuana business.
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by papapuff » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:59 pm

Ottawa Citizen

Public will have to wait for much-anticipated task force report on legalizing pot

Published on: November 29, 2016

A task force of experts studying how the federal government should legalize recreational pot will make its recommendations Wednesday, but the public will have to wait to find out what’s in the highly-anticipated report.

It will be released publicly “at a later date,” according to a spokeswoman for the task force, which had been asked to report back by the end of November.

The federal government has promised to introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in the spring of 2017. However, it could be some time before Canadians can purchase recreational pot. The legislation must pass through Parliament, and regulations have to be drafted. A couple of recent government reports estimate that marijuana could be on sale “as early as January 2018.”

The task force is studying a wide range of questions: Who should be allowed to grow, distribute and sell marijuana? How will it be taxed? How can the government ensure its quality, safety and potency and mitigate the health risks, especially for young people? What restrictions should be placed on packaging and advertising? Should Canadians be able to grow their own? Will edible products such as cookies and candy be allowed? How about potent products with a high percentage of THC, the psychoactive component of pot? What age limit will apply for purchasing?

Canadians have a lot to say on those subjects. The task force received nearly 30,000 responses to an online questionnaire. Nearly 300 organizations made submissions, from medical authorities to cannabis growers.

Industry insiders say they expect the task force will recommend handing over the controversial question of where marijuana will be sold to the provinces to decide.

The federal government has promised a “strict, well-regulated system” that will keep pot away from youths and profits out of the hands of organized criminals.

The details will be challenging, give the wildly different viewpoints and the situation on the ground. Hundreds of illegal marijuana dispensaries have popped up around the country, for example, stocked with products from the black market.

Large commercial growers licensed by Health Canada to sell medical marijuana are gearing up for recreational sales. Smaller “craft” growers who operate in the black market are also eager to be part of the emerging multi-billion dollar legal trade.
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by papapuff » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:11 am

8 burning questions about the coming federal pot report

Who can buy and sell pot, where it will be sold, and who gets the profits, all up in the air

By Catherine Cullen, CBC News Posted: Nov 30, 2016

The federal task force on marijuana regulation and legalization hands over its final report to the government today, moving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana one step closer to completion.

The nine members of the task force held roundtables with experts across the country, visited two U.S. states where pot is already legal and got advice from about 28,000 Canadians through online consultations.

It's expected to take days if not weeks for the government to publicly release the panel's report. When it does, here are some big outstanding questions to watch for.

What age limit will it recommend?

Two big reasons why Trudeau says he wants to legalize marijuana are to keep it out of the hands of "children" and to cut off profits to organized crime.

Setting the legal age too high could encourage young people to keep buying from criminal sources. However, the task force's own discussion paper notes that "science indicates that risks from marijuana usage are elevated until the brain fully matures (i.e., when someone reaches about age 25)."

The U.S. states that have legalized marijuana sales have opted to match the legal drinking age of 21. In Canada, that age is lower — either 18 or 19 years old depending on the province.

The Canadian Medical Association recommends the age limit be 21, with strict limits on quantity and potency until 25.

Where should pot be sold?

Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have talked about selling marijuana at liquor stores, because the retail locations already have systems in place to control inventory and train staff.

But one member of the pot task force has said there's a serious problem with selling marijuana just a few steps away from bottles of vodka​. Back in February, months before the task force was formed, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall told CBC News that the way alcohol is sold encourages consumption — not something the government wants to do with pot.

There's also a "multiplier effect" when you drink and smoke pot, he said. Essentially, you wind up much more intoxicated. Again, that's certainly not part of Trudeau's stated objectives.

The government could insist on one model for the whole country or let the provinces and territories decide individually.

When will it go on sale?

It's not clear whether the task force will tackle this topic. We know the government has committed to tabling legislation in spring 2017, but it will take time for that bill to become law and for a new system to be set up.

The parliamentary budget officer talked with "industry stakeholders" and estimates recreational sales could start as early as January 2018.

Who profits?

Companies that already sell medical marijuana are certainly hoping to cash in. Their stocks have shot up.

There's still a lot we don't know about who would be allowed to sell and distribute recreational marijuana, but potential corporate profits could be severely limited depending on what's decided about pricing and taxes.

It's not clear whether this will be a cash cow for governments, either. Both the parliamentary budget officer and the head of the task force have warned profits might be relatively small right out of the gate.

The federal government has also said tax revenue would be spent on drug treatment and rehabilitation services, along with research and public education. It's not clear whether the provinces and territories will face the same restrictions on their share of revenues.

What about medical marijuana?

The task force also looked at whether a parallel system would still be needed for medical marijuana users.

If the government set the legal age for recreational pot at 21, but a patient who was 19 had a medical prescription to use pot, how would that situation be regulated? Similarly, if a patient had a prescription for high-potency marijuana that was not for sale in a retail outlet, how would that patient get the medicine?

Can you grow your own?

It's not clear whether the new system would allow Canadians to grow their own marijuana and if there would be restrictions for home growers.

The prime minister's marijuana point person, Bill Blair, has said pot won't become just another backyard plant.

"Unlike tomatoes, it is a substance that poses certain significant, both social and health harms, and risks to Canadians," he said in June.

What criminal penalties?

Possessing marijuana will be legal, but that doesn't mean there won't be pot-related crimes. The Liberal campaign platform promises "new, stronger laws" for selling to minors, drugged driving and selling outside the legal system.

Will the government listen?

The task force will make recommendations, but the government doesn't have to follow them.

Just look at the assisted-dying debate: a joint committee of senators and MPs recommended medical aid in dying should be available to anyone who was suffering, even if they didn't have a terminal illness. The government decided that went too far and said a doctor-assisted death would only be granted to people whose death was "reasonably foreseeable."
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by papapuff » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:07 pm

Statement from the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

November 30, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) - The Honourable Anne McLellan, Chair of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, and Dr. Mark Ware, Vice Chair, released the following statement:

"It has been an honour for us, along with the other members of the Task Force, to have had the opportunity to engage with Canadians across the country who generously shared their expertise and perspectives on how the government should approach the legalization and regulation of cannabis.

We are pleased to announce that the Task Force has completed our work.

Our work has been guided by the Discussion Paper, "Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana." To fulfill our mandate, we sought the views of a diverse community of experts, professionals, advocates, front-line workers, government officials, citizens and employers.

It has been a privilege to engage with so many people over the last five months, and we are thankful to all those who provided their input, time and energy.

Our report is now being translated, and will be provided to Ministers and the public once it is available in both official languages. Translation is expected to be complete in mid-December. The final report will then be received by Ministers and posted online at At that time, we will be pleased to speak to its content."

Quick Facts on the consultations conducted by the Task Force:

The Task Force was created by the Ministers of Justice, Public Safety and Health on June 30, 2016 to consult with Canadians and provide advice on how to meet the government's commitment to legalize and regulate cannabis, to keep it out of the hands of youth and the profits out of the hands of criminals. It is made up of nine distinguished Canadians who volunteered their expertise in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice.

We received nearly 30 000 responses to our online questionnaire, and organizations sent us nearly 300 submissions. We met with representatives of provincial and territorial governments, representing multiple ministries.

Experts from many sectors met with us at roundtable discussions across Canada. These experts came from a wide spectrum of disciplines and included researchers and academics, patients and their advocates, cannabis consumers, chiefs of police and fire departments, municipal and local government officials, as well as numerous industry, professional, health, and other associations.

Indigenous experts, representative organizations, governments and elders were invited to participate in a variety of Task Force engagement activities, including the expert roundtables, bilateral meetings and an Indigenous people's roundtable.

We were pleased to hear from youth, both through our online questionnaire, as well as at a roundtable discussion focused on youth perspectives. Youth-serving organizations also participated in expert roundtables.

Many patients shared their perspectives on access to cannabis for medical purposes in a dedicated roundtable discussion as well as through the online questionnaire.

Internationally, we gained insight through our visits to both Colorado and Washington states, where cannabis use is legal, and through speaking with representatives of the Uruguayan government, which is the only nation to have a regulatory system for legal access to cannabis.

Here in Canada, we were also fortunate to visit several licensed producers, where we gained an understanding of the realities of regulated cannabis production in Canada today.

Media Relations
Health Canada
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by papapuff » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:14 pm

The Globe and Mail

Marijuana task force submits report outlining framework for legal system

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016

Canada’s new legal marijuana regime is expected to feature a mishmash of provincial rules and a heavily regulated production system that will initially favour existing producers of medical cannabis, sources say.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, who leads a panel outlining a framework for the system, gave her report to the government on Wednesday, offering recommendations on how marijuana should be legally produced and sold and how it could be consumed and by whom.

The report from Ms. McLellan’s task force, which included medical, academic and law-enforcement experts – still has to be translated from English into French before being made public in coming weeks.

The Liberal government has promised to table legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the spring of 2017, although it remains unclear when the drug will be taken off the prohibited list for the first time since 1923.

Sources said one of the guiding principles of the task force was that “all producers should be licensed” by Health Canada under the new regime, except for the potential legalization of small home-growing operations.

Canada has 36 producers licensed to grow and distribute marijuana for medical purposes, and the task force has explored the possibility of using them as the starting point for the production of marijuana for the multibillion-dollar recreational market, sources said.

Sources said Ms. McLellan and members of the task force toured licensed facilities in Canada and were impressed by the high level of security and quality control. The task force also travelled to Colorado and Washington in the United States, and came back with a clear sense that Canada must approach legalization in a much more organized and restrictive fashion, the sources said.

Cannabis Canada Association, which represents the majority of licensed producers of marijuana for medical purposes, is calling on the government to start off by expanding the current model to serve recreational users.

“We do expect that market will also want quality products that they don’t have to worry about, so yes, we’d like to help in that way, to start with at least,” said CCA executive director Colette Rivet.

At the same time, the federal government will face pressure to break the grasp of “corporate cannabis” over the recreational market.

“I think that really needs to be opened up,” said Eric Nash, a B.C.-based consultant in the marijuana industry. “A diverse cannabis industry is essential for legalization to be a success.”

While it will advocate a specific production model, the task force is expected to recognize that the provinces and territories will have the final word on the distribution model, akin to the different retail systems for alcohol and tobacco.

“One of the things that we have discovered in this is that because there are federal and provincial responsibilities with respect to the regulation of the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis, it will very much be an issue of consultation between us,” Liberal MP Bill Blair, who is managing the legalization file, said last week.

Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of marijuana-business investment company Privateer Holdings and medical-marijuana producer Tilray, said he wants the government to allow firms to sell their product under their own brands, rather than as generic marijuana. He argued that is key to replacing the $7-billion black market for marijuana with a regulated supply from licensed producers.

In the past 90 days, Mr. Kennedy said, medical-marijuana companies in Canada have raised about $200-million in financing to expand production, he said, but right now, medical marijuana is an industry with total annual revenue of about $100-million.

With a report from Campbell Clark
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by papapuff » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:19 pm

November 30, 2016 5:28 pm

Report on legalizing marijuana stuck in translation

By Staff The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet had expected to receive findings from a task force studying the legalization of marijuana, but the document is stuck in translation limbo.

The team behind the report says it will be given to ministers and the public when it is in available in both English and French, which is expected to take two weeks.

The work of the task force is meant to inform the Liberal government as it looks to bring forward legislation to legalize pot by spring of next year.

The government faces key questions as it moves toward a legalized regime, including the best minimum age for legal purchase, advertising and marketing restrictions and taxation and pricing.

Task force chair Anne McLellan, a former Liberal public safety minister, and vice-chair Dr. Mark Ware say the group spoke with a number of ordinary Canadians who shared their views on how to approach the issue.

They also gained insight from visits to Colorado and Washington states, two jurisdictions where cannabis is legal.

The panel also spoke with representatives of the Uruguayan government — the only nation that has a regulatory system for legal access to cannabis.
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by papapuff » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:36 pm

National Post

John Ivison: Marijuana report to urge Liberals to strike at the black market

John Ivison | December 1, 2016

The key recommendation of the panel charged with outlining the framework for Canada’s legal marijuana regime is that the system should be geared toward getting rid of the $7-billion-a year black market.

Sources familiar with the report, which is expected to be made public Dec. 21, say all the other recommendations flow from that guiding principle.

Provinces will set the legal age for marijuana consumption, but the report is likely to recommend the limit be the age of majority — 18 in six provinces; 19 in B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the three territories — which would keep many young people from turning to criminal sources. (The Canadian Medical Association has recommended an age limit of 21, with limits on the quantity and potency.)

To eat into the black market, the report is expected to recommend prices should be lower than the street price of $8-$10 a gram. This would reduce the amount of tax revenues available to federal and provincial governments but would be justified by the principle of guaranteeing a safe and controlled supply.

To ensure consumers receive a Health Canada-approved product, the report is expected to recommend the existing mail-order distribution network be maintained.

Legislation is expected in April 2017, giving the provinces little time to set up their own distribution systems. There have been suggestions by some producers that legal marijuana could be sold as early as January 2018.

At the moment, medical marijuana is sold by mail order with a prescription, which allows producers to track the product from seed to customer.

Under an expanded legal system, suppliers could collect payment online and ship to an address provided by the buyer. Canada Post already makes wine deliveries where age has to be verified by the recipient. The legal marijuana industry argues that a similar age and identity verification system would work for pot.

Allowing Canada Post a monopoly in mail distribution would also boost business for a Crown corporation that saw mail volumes fall by 14 per cent in the most recent quarter.

On production, it is expected the report will recommend that the 36 existing licensed producers continue to produce Health Canada-approved pot, while new producers will be encouraged to apply for production permits.

Bill Blair, the Liberal MP managing the pot file, has made clear that production and distribution will be a matter for discussion with the provinces. That is likely to mean changes over time. On distribution, provincial governments like Ontario have talked about selling marijuana through its 600 provincially owned liquor stores.

That move would not be without controversy. Experts have warned about the dangers of promoting pot in the same way that liquor control boards market booze, and about selling the two products on the same shelves.

In provinces like B.C., which already has a large number of pot shops, the expectation is that the provincial government will require dispensaries to buy marijuana from a licensed producer.

The final report is already in circulation but public release has been delayed by the need to translate it into French. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in the House of Commons Thursday she expects to receive it in “mid-December.”

The Liberals promised to legalize pot in their election platform as a public safety issue, to keep marijuana out of the hands of children and to cut off profits to organized crime.

During question period Thursday, Wilson-Raybould was pressed by the Conservatives about a spike in the trading of pot company stocks that they allege may have been caused by a leak of the report. On Nov. 16, the TSX halted trading on six medical marijuana companies. Alex Nuttall, an Ontario Conservative MP, asked the minister if she was investigating a possible leak.

Wilson-Raybould said she has not yet seen the final report and that any leak would be investigated by the Ontario Securities Commission.

The Liberals promised to legalize pot in their election platform as a public safety issue, to keep marijuana out of the hands of children and to cut off profits to organized crime.

There was an expectation it would generate tax revenues for strapped governments, but a report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last month suggested tax revenues would be just $618 million at the outset, with around 60 per cent going to the provinces. That number is forecast to grow as the legal cannabis market matures and production costs decline.

“A potential customer shift to a more value-added cannabis product could create a larger tax base,” the report concluded.

Producers have pushed to be allowed to brand and advertise their products, taking the position that strong brands matter in a new market.
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by papapuff » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:06 pm

Task force recommendations on marijuana legalization said to leave decisions on dispensaries to the provinces

Legislation based partly on independent report expected to be tabled in spring of 2017

by Travis Lupick on December 1st, 2016

Justin Trudeau’s task force to legalize marijuana has completed its report on the issue and said it will be released to the public sometime before Christmas.

While Vancouver dispensary operators anxiously wait to learn if they’ll be allowed to remain in business once a new legal framework takes effect, the National Post has published an article that claims to reveal some of what is contained in the document.

“The key recommendation of the panel charged with outlining the framework for Canada’s legal marijuana regime is that the system should be geared toward getting rid of the $7-billion-a-year black market,” columnist John Ivison wrote. “Sources familiar with the report, which is expected to be made public Dec. 21, say all the other recommendations flow from that guiding principle.”

That means the price of a gram of marijuana should start at $10 or less, the report is said to recommend.

Many other questions of how recreational marijuana should be distributed and regulated will be left up to the provinces to answer, according to the Post’s article, which is based on anonymous sources.

That includes setting age restrictions on purchases and rules around where and when one can buy cannabis.

“In provinces like B.C., which already has a large number of pot shops, the expectation is that the provincial government will require dispensaries to buy marijuana from a licensed producer,” the Post’s story reads.

If the Ottawa does say that specialized storefronts like those in Vancouver will not contravene new federal rules for the sale of marijuana, all eyes in Vancouver’s cannabis industry will turn to Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals. Up until now, the province has tried its best to avoid taking any sort of position on recreational marijuana, although in January, B.C. health minister Terry Lake did say he personally would prefer it if marijuana sales were integrated into liquor stores.

The Post report notes that other provinces such as Ontario may favour a model where marijuana sales are integrated into liquor stores or pharmacies. Those options will also be available to the B.C. government, though the situation here is complicated by the large number of storefronts that have already operated in Vancouver and other cities for several years now and, in a few cases, even decades.

There is also legitimacy to the industry here since the City of Vancouver began regulating marijuana dispensaries earlier this year, charging licensing fees, levying fines for noncompliance, and setting rules for how they should conduct their business despite the sale of cannabis remaining illegal under federal law.

The task force’s report is also said to include some discussion of expanding the federal government’s existing mail-order system for medical marijuana to extend to purchases of recreational pot.

Legislation based in part on the independent body’s report is expected to be tabled in the spring of 2017.

The task force consists of nine individuals who were tasked with setting guiding principles for the country’s path to marijuana legalization. From B.C., the group includes: Dr. Perry Kendall, who is B.C.’s senior public health official; Susan Boyd, a professor at the University of Victoria who played a role in shaping B.C. polices on harm reduction; and George Chow, a former Vancouver city councillor who was once a vocal opponent of Vancouver’s first supervised-injection site.

It is chaired by Anne McLellan, a former Alberta MP who was instrumental in seeing marijuana activist Marc Emery extradited to the United States. Dr. Mark Ware serves as task force vice chair. He’s the executive director of the Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids—a nonprofit research group that focuses on marijuana’s therapeutic applications—and an associate professor of family medicine at McGill University.

The task force’s report is a nonbinding document that only consists of recommendations. Health Minister Jane Philpott has said legislation that takes those recommendations into account will be tabled in the legislature in the spring of 2017.
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by papapuff » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:05 pm

Chair and Vice Chair of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation to discuss their report

NOTICE TO THE MEDIA - December 12, 2016 - The Honourable Anne McLellan, Chair of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, and Dr. Mark Ware, Vice Chair, will speak to media about their report to the Ministers of Justice, Health and Public Safety.

Ms. McLellan and Dr. Ware will be available to answer questions from the media.

December 13, 2016

10:45 AM

National Press Theatre
150 Wellington St
Ottawa, ON

Teleconference Information
613-960-7526/ or toll free 877-413-4814
Access Code: 7920762

Watch on Periscope

Media Inquiries:
Media Relations
Health Canada
(613) 957-2983
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by papapuff » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:31 pm

Montreal Gazette

Ottawa to release task force report on legalizing marijuana Tuesday

Published on: December 12, 2016

Ottawa will release an expert report on legalizing and regulating marijuana Tuesday, the federal health department said.

The task force’s report will be released in the morning from Ottawa, according to a statement e-mailed by the department. The review ordered earlier this year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is a step toward his pledge to regulate the drug’s use.

Canada is on a path to become the first Group of Seven country to allow recreational use, on top of its current legal system for some medical patients. The move has fueled a surge of growth in Canada’s marijuana industry in anticipation of billions of dollars of legitimate revenue. The value of publicly listed marijuana stocks has swelled.
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by papapuff » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:41 am

Pot stocks surge following federal task force recommendations

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016

Canadian-listed pot stocks surged in early trading on Tuesday after a federal task force released its long-awaited recommendations on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

Stocks such as Aphria Inc., Canopy Growth Corp., Mettrum Health Inc., and OrganiGram Holdings were up by as much as 5 per cent before the recommendations were announced mid-morning, and surged higher after the proposals were outlined in a press conference around 11 a.m. ET.

Some stocks, such as Canopy, Canada’s largest producer, then pulled back to an increase of around 2-to-3 per cent shortly after.

The task force’s proposal is for the recreational marijuana system to follow that currently in use for medical marijuana, which is overseen and heavily regulated by Health Canada. It also says Canadian adults over the age of 18 will be able to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana for recreational purposes, with some exceptions. The task force is recommending high-potency products be more heavily taxed to discourage their use in the general public.

“Now is the time” to move to a regulated, legal market, task force chair and former Liberal minister Anne McLellan said during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Canopy shares were up by as much as 6 per cent in early trading, before retreating to a gain of about 3 per cent midday. Aphria shares rose by about 5 per cent, Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares were up by about 2 per cent, Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. stock was up by about 8 per cent, OrganiGram shares rose 3 per cent and PharmaCan Capital Corp. shares jumped by nearly 5 per cent.

Shares of Mettrum Health Corp., which announced last month it has a deal to be bought by Canopy, were up by as much as 6 per cent on Tuesday before falling by 1.5 per cent. The all-stock deal with Canopy values Mettrum at $8.42 a share, a 42-per-cent premium to its price before the deal was announced on Dec 1. The stock hit a high of $8.25 that day. Mettrum shares were trading around $6.55 at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Canada's pot stocks are still off all-time highs reached last month, after a handful of U.S. states voted to legalize marijuana.
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by papapuff » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:44 am

Highlights from the federal marijuana task force report

Panel makes over 80 recommendations to advise Liberal government in its legalization push

CBC News Posted: Dec 13, 2016

The task force Justin Trudeau's Liberal government appointed to study how marijuana could be legalized and regulated in Canada released its report Tuesday, offering over 80 recommendations.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Sales and marketing

Set the minimum age of purchase as 18, respecting the rights of provinces and territories to harmonize with sales of alcohol.

Avoid selling alcohol and cannabis at the same location where possible: dedicated storefronts and direct mail are preferable.

Limit the density and location of storefronts, including their proximity to schools and parks.
Regulate retail sales at the provincial and territorial level.

Restrict the promotion and advertising of cannabis products, similar to restrictions now in place for tobacco.

Require plain packaging with company name, strain name, price, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) amounts and health warnings.

Prohibit any product deemed "appealing to children," including products that look like candy.


Establish pricing and taxation following an economic analysis.

Tax higher potency THC products at a higher rate to discourage purchase.

Use revenue from cannabis regulation for drug prevention, education and treatment.​

Public consumption and possession

Extend restrictions on public smoking of tobacco products and vaping to cannabis.

Allow and regulate dedicated places to consume cannabis products (lounges, for example.)

Limit public possession to 30 grams of dried, non-medical cannabis or its equivalent, with a corresponding sales limit.

Production and distribution

Implement a system of licensed producers to grow cannabis in Canada.

Allow personal cultivation of up to four plants per residence, with a height limit of 100 cm.

Maintain medical marijuana access separately, with the same tax system as non-medical use.

Move swiftly to create capacity for producing and selling cannabis.

Public education and safety

Begin public education strategy immediately.

Determine how to establish limits to prevent an increase in cannabis-impaired driving.
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by papapuff » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:37 am

Task force concludes Canada can handle legalizing marijuana


CTV Montreal
Published Tuesday, December 13, 2016 12:33PM EST

A federal task force has concluded that Canada is well-positioned to legalize marijuana, safely and efficiently.

The nine-person task force, led by former cabinet minister Anne McLellan, had 80 recommendations including tracking
the drug at every stage, regulating how and where it is sold, and restricting access to youth.

The force also recommends placing limits on how much people can buy and possess: 30 grams.

McLellan and her team spent five months talking to Canadians who use marijuana for medical reasons, as well as doctors and experts in law enforcement.

They came to the conclusion that Canada is well placed to create a legal market for marijuana, and to do it with a goal of better protecting the health and safety of citizens.

The first step should be an education campaign.

"We recommend a series of actions to educate Canadians in advance of the coming changes in order to increase overall awareness and knowledge of cannabis, including risks related to impaired driving," said McLellan.

The task force says there should be more study of crashes by those under the influence of marijuana, and an education campaign to convince drivers of the dangers of impaired driving.

They also want to make sure products are not marketed to children, or that edible marijuana is not produced or packaged in a way that imitates items that look like candy.

"We recommend the establishment of a well-regulated production, manufacturing and distribution environment," said McLellan, including a way to let consumers know how pesticides were used in growing pot.

One goal of legalizing marijuana would be to knock out the organized criminals that currently control the black market in Canada.

The chair also mentioned needing more research on problematic use of marijuana and more research on its benefits and theraputic uses.

The Trudeau government will now study the report and issued a statement saying it will table legislation in the spring.

Until then, marijuana remains illegal for recreational use in Canada.
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Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:19 pm
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