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New Canadian Prime Minister promises to legalise marijuana

by papapuff » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:39 pm

Prime minister's point person on marijuana file in Yellowknife for town hall

Public can weigh-in on cannabis legalization at the Elk's Lodge at 7 p.m.

CBC News

A town hall on cannabis legalization will be held in Yellowknife Wednesday night, headed by the prime minister's point person on the marijuana file.

N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod will hold the meeting with MP Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice. They'll discuss the regulation of marijuana, which is set to be legalized in July 2018.

The legislation gives local governments leeway to create its own rules and regulations around pot. Blair has been travelling the country holding town hall meetings to discuss what that will mean in communities.

"It's important to get the perspective of various communities and hear their concerns," he told the CBC.

"I also want to make sure that people understand exactly what it is the government of Canada is trying to do."

He said he's been hearing from a lot of parents who are concerned about the health of their kids, their children going to criminals to obtain marijuana, or that they'll get busted and end up with a criminal record.

"We don't want to criminalize our kids," Blair said.

He wants to get across to people in Yellowknife how marijuana legalization will work, noting that it will be strictly regulated and protect young people, while stamping out profits for criminals.

"Overwhelmingly the cannabis that is being sold in Canada is being produced and trafficked by organized criminal groups," Blair said.

Meets with local police

Blair, a former chief of police in Toronto, says he meets with local police in every community he goes.

"I've been asking, what do you need in order to be able to keep your community safe, to keep your roadways safe, to enforce the new impaired laws that we're bringing in."

Asked about how marijuana legislation will work in the N.W.T.'s dry communities, where citizens have often decided whether alcohol should be prohibited, Blair said "it's one of the reasons we're working very closely with provinces and territories."

"We understand the concerns the communities have with respect to the health and safety of their community and we want to make sure that those concerns can be respected and accommodated in an appropriate way."

Blair said marijuana legislation will also open up opportunities for local entrepreneurs and communities that want to become licensed producers.

"The current system of prohibition is failing our kids, and it's failing our communities and it's just enriching, in the billions of dollars, organized crime."

The town hall begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Yellowknife's Elk's Lodge.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:31 am

Nunatsiaq News

October 12, 2017

Nunavik leaders say cannabis legalization poses public safety concerns

"Our goal is to be adequately prepared when the law becomes effective"


Nunavik leaders say they’ll face a number of challenges dealing with cannabis use in the region after recreational possession and cultivation is legalized in 2018.

The federal government’s Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, would create a framework for the legal production, distribution, sale and possession of marijuana across Canada, set to become law on July 1, 2018.

The federal legislation sets 18 as the minimum age for cannabis possession, but territories and provinces may set a higher minimum age through regulation, and territorial, provincial and municipal governments may decide how and where individual consumers can buy it and smoke it.

Last month, the Quebec government told Radio-Canada that it will set 18 as the minimum age for possession. The Ontario government has already announced it will set a minimum age of 19.

The Quebec government has yet to say how it will control and distribute cannabis in the province, but Radio-Canada has reported that marijuana will likely be managed by Quebec’s liquor board, the Société des alcools du Québec—an agency that does not operate in Nunavik.

The province plans to introduce its own legislation to regulate cannabis in the National Assembly this fall.

Under the new federal legislation, Canadians would be be allowed to possess 30 grams of marijuana at a time, or to cultivate a maximum of four plants.

What’s unclear is how the new legislation will change access in the Nunavik region.

Executives of the Kativik Regional Government and Kativik Regional Police Force took part in a consultation between Indigenous groups and the Quebec government late last month to address the regulation of cannabis in the region’s 14 communities.

Nunavik’s leaders say there are “numerous” and “complex” challenges associated with the new legislation, including health and public safety concerns.

“Our goal is to be adequately prepared when the law becomes effective next year,” said KRPF police chief Michel Martin in an Oct. 11 release.

“Significant prevention work will need to be done to ensure the security of Nunavimmiut and to minimize the impacts on public safety.”

But Nunavik police haven’t specified what those public safety concerns are.

In the first four months of 2017, the KRPF seized almost 12 kilograms of marijuana or hash in the region—with a street value of about $580,000—including marijuana that was seized during Canada Post operations.

Nunavimmiut pay $50 for a gram of marijuana in the region, compared to about $12 a gram in a southern city like Montreal. Most of that marijuana is thought to arrive in Nunavik by plane.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:39 am

Summerland Review

UBCO study recommends letting illegal pot shops stay open

Study’s authors say dispensaries preferable to other illegal ways of buying cannabis

Thu Oct 12th, 2017

UBC researchers are cautioning policy makers not to alter a cannabis distribution system that—while not legal yet—works well.

Associate professor Zach Walsh, who teaches psychology at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and PhD candidate Rielle Capler, say store-front dispensaries—often under fire by law enforcement and city governments—are a tried and true method of selling cannabis. The pair recently published a study on medicinal cannabis dispensaries and determined customers prefer the independent storefront as opposed to growing their own, or getting it from a dealer.

The call comes just days after the City of West Kelowna cancelled the business licences of two dispensaries that have been operating there for several years, and is looking to close down four others that are operating as not-for-profit organizations that do not require business licences. The city’s reason for cancelling the business licences is that the dispensaries are operating illegally and over concern about the quality of the cannabis being sold.

According to Walsh and Capler, in Canada, dispensaries are not an authorized source for cannabis, although many operate as “compassion clubs,” selling cannabis for medical—not recreational—purposes. Their research suggests that when recreational marijuana use becomes legal in 2018, the current system of dispensaries should remain.

“Dispensaries do serve a role in our society, especially for some people with chronic illnesses who use cannabis for medicinal purposes,” said Walsh. “There is a self-regulatory model that already exists and improvements can be made in a legalized environment.”

The study is one of the first to specifically look at the experience of dispensary users. It compared their experiences to those who purchase cannabis through other sources including self-production, and illegal sources, such as friends or street dealers.

“Our study shows there are people who have preferences for dispensaries especially compared to other illegal sources,” said Capler. “Our study also provides insight into some of the aspects of dispensaries that the government may want to emulate in the legal framework for both medical and recreational use.”

Recently, the Ontario government announced that once restrictions come off next year, it will sell marijuana in dedicated stores run by the province’s liquor control board.

While operating under the shadows of provincial laws and city bylaws, dispensaries have thrived in neighbourhoods across Canada. Capler calls the current method a ‘natural experiment’ that’s been underway for decades and says law makers should this keep in mind when addressing regulation policies.

“Dispensaries are not new and they provide a proven, valuable service,” she said. “While some are thought of as a nuisance, in reality many of these dispensaries are small, independent, long-standing businesses who serve a dedicated clientele.

For their research, more than 440 people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes were asked to compare different methods of purchasing cannabis on a number of factors such as quality of product, safety, availability, efficiency and feeling respected. Study participants rated dispensaries highly across most categories with the only prominent negative being that the cost of dispensary product is often higher than from a street dealer.

“Clearly dispensaries are already playing a big role in cannabis access in Canada,” Capler added. “The provincial and municipal governments will have to either look at including them in a legal framework—or drawing on what’s working in dispensaries as they build a new model. We want to think this paper may, in some way, guide policy to create a system that works.”

Their research, supported by a grant from the UBC Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, was recently published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:49 am

Universal pot rules wanted

Colton Davies - Oct 12, 2017

Oliver council members are in agreement that universal regulations on cannabis are the best option, rather than federal legislation that could leave communities to make their own rules.

The federal government has come under fire for a hands-off approach on currently-proposed legislation, and many municipalities are worried about the possible burden on them to enforce federal rules.

"If there's going to be federal legislation that surrounds (cannabis), we're not the body that enforces federal legislation. We need to have the rules to play by," said Mayor Ron Hovanes.

Council has already ruled business licenses won't be granted to any firm that would contravene laws in the Criminal Code of Canada – including marijuana dispensaries.

"That's our way of saying we don't want to get involved in this. But we know, in June of next year, we might have this handed to us," Hovanes said. "I'm hoping they're not going to say 'well now it's legal in Canada, so now you guys have to come up with the rules', because I think that's wrong.

"We shouldn't be making laws that govern a substance. Whether it's alcohol, tobacco or drugs."

Hovanes worries enforcement of federal regulations on cannabis could put pressure on communities already burdened with decisions on other matters.

"If it's going to come with federal rules, it should come with federal legislation and parameters. I'm hoping it all goes well, but I'm hoping it's not going to be loosy-goosy at the end of the day."

Councillors made proposals Tuesday on what they would like to see in marijuana legislation, and town staff will now create a draft letter based on their input.

If approved by council at their Oct. 23rd meeting, that letter would be sent to the provincial government before Nov. 1st, the deadline for municipalities to submit feedback.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:57 pm

N.W.T. pot legislation could set rules for mail order marijuana, local prohibition

Liberal MP Michael McLeod says getting the message out about legalized cannabis a challenge in the communities

By Walter Strong, CBC News Posted: Oct 12, 2017

Community governments in the Northwest Territories will have the control over cannabis distribution that the government of the Northwest Territories gives them.

This was the message from N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod and Liberal MP Bill Blair. Blair, the federal government's representative on legal cannabis, was in Yellowknife Wednesday evening for a public meeting hosted by McLeod.

He assured the about 40 people who came out to hear what he and McLeod had to say that the territorial government will have the authority to define and control distribution in the North.

It's been clear that territorial and provincial governments would be responsible for defining legal distribution within their jurisdictions, but what hasn't been clear is to what extent jurisdictions would be able to supersede federally approved methods of distribution, like mail order cannabis.

But Blair said mail order weed will only come to the communities if the territorial government doesn't say otherwise.

"That's their authority to make that decision," Blair said.

Another open question has been whether or not the territorial government would be able to authorize community governments to introduce local restrictions or outright bans on cannabis within their communities, as some already do with alcohol.

McLeod said community bans are not a federal concern, but the federal government will give the territorial government the legislative control it needs to control the presence of cannabis in the communities.

"The territorial government will have the tools to decide that," he said.

'Are the communities ready,' not the right question

The audience on Wednesday evening included a cabinet minister, a regular MLA, frontline community advocates and regular citizens.

For many, a more urgent discussion than preparing for legal weed was how to tackle the already serious issues related to addictions, drug use and related social ills.

"Are the communities ready is not the right question," said Noeline Villebrun, former Dene National Chief.

Villebrun said she was also concerned the discussion surrounding legalized cannabis in the Northwest Territories was taking place outside the framework of Dene law, traditions and language.

"Marijuana is a plant," she said. "For me it's not a street drug like crack or fentanyl ... those are manufactured drugs. This plant has been in our earth from time immemorial and we know the creator has put plants on this earth to heal us."

She wants to see more work done to inform Indigenous community members in their first languages, and not only in English or French.

She also questions the imbalance between social resources available in a larger centre like Yellowknife to deal with any fallout from legalized cannabis compared to what is available in small, remote communities. Villebrun pointed out there are no addictions treatment centres available in the territory.

"The government is aware there's a lot of work to do regarding aboriginal people, language, education and health," McLeod said.

"We're working hard to ensure Aboriginal people are treated like equal partners."

But he acknowledged that getting the message out about legal weed isn't easy.

"It's a challenging discussion when we talk to our elders," McLeod said. "For them there's no difference between marijuana and crack cocaine or fentanyl, or any of those hard drugs ... but the issue of drugs in our small communities is a real one.

"It comes up almost every time we have a discussion in the communities or a public meeting."
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:49 am

100 Mile House Free Press

Cariboo Regional District wants say in pot legalization

Compliance and enforcement likely to fall on shoulders of municipal governments

KEN ALEXANDERFri Oct 13th, 2017

Local government’s role in dealing with the legalization of marijuana was a hot-button issue at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Conference in Vancouver on Sept. 25-29.

Because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana by July 2018, federal, provincial and munipal goverments are racing to address the issue.

Cariboo Regional District (CRD) chair Al Richmond voices concerns about lack of consultation and the need for local government having a say about where the shops are located.

UBCM and local governments have been lobbying for consultation meetings for the past couple of years, Richmond says, adding the federal government has not been consulting with them at all.

“Vancouver proves that when they put distribution shops in places where they’ve had public consultation and the people in those areas agree, it can be successful.

“But if you put it in an area and the people who are running these distribution shops don’t have to comply with local zoning because they don’t have to pay any attention to it, it puts them in locations where the neighbours may not want to have it.”

Richmond notes local governments want to put these shops where people can largely expect to see this type of activity and not in areas where children are exposed to marijuana because “we have to keep it out of the hands of minors.”

The CRD chair says it’s like any other commercial venture. It goes through a rezoning process for a zone that allows that type of business.

He adds they wouldn’t allow a government liquor store next to a school.

“Right now, the rules and regulations don’t require them to have to comply with zoning and that’s what local governments are saying, ‘you need to talk to us about where this stuff is going’.

“At least the community can say, ‘yes, that’s fine to have that store there. It’s good; we approved our Official Community Plan; that’s an allowable use under this zone. Or whatever process they want to go through.”

While the feds have had meetings with the country’s provincial governments, at the conference UBCM put forward Resolution SR1, that states there has been limited consultation between the British Columbia government in terms of developing and implementing a B.C. framework with municipal governments.

The UBCM board noted it’s likely any provincial framework would have a significant portion of regulatory burden and the associated costs, such as compliance and enforcement, placed on the shoulders of municipal governments.

At the convention, the UBCM membership was asked to endorse four principles to guide UBCM advocacy with the provincial government regarding local government’s role in a B.C. framework for cannabis:

• fulsome and meaningful provincial consultation with local governments;

• provision of adequate provincial funding to cover any responsibilities and increase in administrative burden of any provincial framework that requires local government participation;

• equitable sharing of tax revenues from cannabis between all orders of government; and

• respect for local choice, jurisdiction and authority, including but not limited to land use and zoning decisions.

Richmond says he thinks it’s important the provincial is going to do a joint task force and have meetings with local government and UBCM involvement to ensure local government is at that table when they’re making these decisions.

He adds the timeline is very short because the federal government is talking about having the marijuana legalization process in place by July 2018, “so the time to get this job done is coming pretty quick.”

Richmond says the resolution passed without much opposition.

The CRD chair notes Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced at UBCM that the NDP government would actively engage with local governments and UBCM to have discussions about the legalization of marijuana and its impact.

It affects other groups, such as policing, so you have to take those factors into consideration when you’re doing it, Richmond explains.

“So with the production of medical marijuana – that’s what they were talking about at the time – the government finally said we could put it in a zone.

“The regional district zoned our industrial zone to be the areas to be used for the cultivation of marijuana. Because it was going to be legal use, they had to have criteria around developing how it would operated, so we created a zone for it.

“Our reluctance was to have in an agricultural zone because it’s too rural, too far away from policing and many other things that you might want to have.

“In an industrial area, however, people can anticipate warehouse activities because that was what these were going to be in that type of area.”

Now local governments and UBCM await the call from the provincial government to iron out their framework for the legalization of marijuana.
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:48 pm

B.C. Independent Cannabis Association calls on province to incorporate best actors from illicit market

by Guest on October 13th, 2017

As part of B.C.'s Cannabis Regulation Engagement initiative, stakeholders in the cannabis industry have been invited to submit their feedback to the province. This is one stakeholder's submission. Not a stakeholder? Submit feedback here.

By Travis Lane

The British Columbia Independent Cannabis Association (BCICA) is an incorporated not-for-profit organization that represents a wide variety of stakeholders from the longstanding B.C. cannabis economy.

The BCICA is not a trade association. Membership is available to the public for an annual $5 fee.

The BCICA’s primary focus is on education. To that end, we host public panels and meetings on specific topics, where we garner feedback from both industry experts and the general public. It is our hope to present the information gained in these sessions in a comprehensive and clear manner, with the goal of informing the public and policy makers about this vibrant, sophisticated business economy.

Along with sessions covering the latest cannabis news, the BCICA also has plans for 2018 to include panels on extraction safety & use, seed-to-sale tracking, small-scale production, analytical testing & labelling, home growing, and a session on the newly minted legal framework when it is unveiled. We encourage all of our members to participate in the feedback process.

The BCICA makes the following recommendations regarding the legal framework for Cannabis in B.C.:

1. That the province make space for private distribution and retail within the legal framework. 

2. That the province create a digital seed-to-sale tracking system that allows cultivators to deliver 
directly to retailers. 

3. That the province avoid the centralized warehousing of fresh cannabis. 

4. That the province consider the potential pitfalls for the B.C. distribution system, should there be a 
shortage of federally produced cannabis as a result of restricted federal licensing. 

5. That the province prepare for the eventualities of point 4, by creating a B.C.-only category of small- 
scale production licenses for cultivators whose product is only sold in-province. 

6. That the province allow private distribution, or enter into a private-public partnership, for the 
distribution of mail-order cannabis online. 

7. That the province allow cannabis lounges, to keep widespread consumption off the street, and 
allow the distribution of single-dose cannabis products at these locations. 

8. That cannabis not be co-located with alcohol. 

9. That the province not decrease carry limits. 

10. That the province consider the safety ramifications of people using hydrocarbons to make cannabis 
extracts at home, and establish guidelines in tandem with WorkSafe BC, CSA, and all levels of 
government, for the safe, legal extraction of cannabis based on industrial best practices. 

11. That the province advocate strongly for amnesty, expungement, and inclusion for convicted 
cannabis offenders. 

12. That the province not create a registry for home growers, and not decrease plant counts. 

13. That the province consider harmonizing with neighbouring provinces, with regards to age. 

14. That the province consider medical access and distribution, which is a constitutionally protected 
right, separately from the non-medical model. 

15. That the provincial system actively attempt to incorporate the best actors from the current illicit 
industry into the new regulatory framework. 

Aside from these specific recommendations, the BCICA encourages the B.C. government to draw inspiration from Oregon, Colorado, and California.

California, in particular, will be setting the standard for the rest of the world, as it is already the single most sophisticated cannabis market on the planet. So far, they have encouraged organic outdoor cultivation, created an amnesty and expungement program, focused on a regional approach to licensing, and are actively trying to incorporate the previously illicit market into the newly regulated one.

Finally, the BCICA suggest that provincial regulators keep in mind the potential economic ramifications of the loss of our illicit cannabis economy. A 2016 report by Larissa Flister estimates approximately 14,000 full time jobs in illicit cannabis cultivation in B.C. This number does not include extracts, edibles, distribution, retail, or peripheral services like technology and marketing. This is the backbone of B.C.’s cash economy, and its loss would be devastating for many small communities.

As B.C. approaches July 2018, it is important that a comprehensive, robust distribution system be in place at the introduction of legalized cannabis in Canada. B.C. is in a unique position among all provinces, having a longstanding, sophisticated cannabis economy with the ability to fill provincial demand. No other province has such production capacity.

This province’s municipal governments have also been the first to approach the tough questions around regulating storefronts, and have, so far, been the government leaders on this file.

We do believe that our provincial government recognizes these unique facets of our cannabis marketplace, and we are greatly encouraged by the feedback process for which this paper is a submission. We are hopeful that all municipal voices will be heard on this file, and we expect there to be a large quantity of public feedback.

Below, we will discuss four facets of the cannabis economy here in B.C., and relate them to the Province’s role in defining distribution: Product Supply Chain, Public Health & Safety, Potential Economic Impacts, and Elimination of the Illicit Market.

Product Supply Chain

Product supply is the largest logistical barrier to regulatory success, as any distribution system will obviously fail without adequate supply. In the case of cannabis, it is also important to minimize barriers between product providers and product retailers, as both raw cannabis flower and edibles are perishable goods.

Recommendations one to eight above focus largely on supply chain and distribution issues. It is our recommendation that the province establish a private retail model, with a digitized tracking system for government reporting. Under the suggested system, physical product would not be centrally warehoused, but it would be possible to have centralized ‘distribution’ through technological seed-to-sale product tracking.

It is crucial that the provincial government incorporate elements of the already-established private dispensary model, for both storefront and mail-order. If these businesses, some of which have been operating for over a decade, are left out of the legal paradigm, we risk losing the expertise of the very people that brought this country to the decision to legalize.

Incorporating these businesses would also allow for a more seamless transition to a regulated model. Many have already been working with municipal officials, and some have already acquired municipal licensing. By simply creating standards for good business actors, an inspection regime, and funding the municipalities’ enforcement efforts, the province could quickly and efficiently establish legal retail networks in the province’s two biggest cities and online.

We also recommend that B.C. take future production shortages into consideration now, and create contingency plans.

The current production system does not have the capacity to provide enough legal cannabis to fill demand nationwide. When speaking with experts in both legal and illicit production businesses, estimates range from less than one percent to about 10 percent of demand being filled by July 2018.

Even if the federal government were to issue thousands of licenses between now and July, it is unlikely in the extreme that all of those licensees would be able to build and test in time, considering the federal program’s barriers to entry.

Luckily, this province is the only cannabis market in the nation that produces more than it consumes. We recommend that the province look at the possibility of creating a provincial plan for small scale production licenses, which would be available to cultivators who sell their product only in B.C..

These licensees would require lower barriers to entry than the larger-scale federal producers, but it would remain necessary to prove security, do background checks, pass analytical chemical checks, and provide quality assurance. These producers would only be able to vend within the provincial distribution network, not outside of B.C.

The primary benefits of such an approach would be a guaranteed supply chain that does not rely on the federal bureaucracy for capacity, the protection and creation of in-province jobs and small businesses, and the maintenance of a sophisticated world-famous production network of high-quality cannabis.

Public Health & Safety

Public health and safety concerns are at the very top of every government’s considerations on this file. The primary legalization goal of protecting minors is already underway, as all of the dispensaries we are aware of in B.C. have 19-plus policies in place. Age checking will be mandatory, and there will undoubtedly be education programs aimed at curbing youth consumption.

When it comes to safe consumption, we recommend that the government follow a combination of tobacco laws for outdoor consumption, along with the establishment of cannabis lounges, which act in a similar fashion as bars do for alcohol consumption. We recommend that single dose cannabis products be allowed to be vended at these locations, along with coffee and food.

Organized crime, as most people consider it, is already a very small part of the small-scale B.C. cannabis economy, though it is inevitably entangled in large-scale illicit production and sale. Their involvement will be largely eliminated from a licit framework through regulatory burdens, along with a maturing marketplace that prefers variety to volume.

Branding, as an issue, has many potential impacts. The BCICA recommends that product branding be allowed. Branding can play a role in public safety, as good actors can establish their brand trust through transparency and compliance. Alternatively, it also allows the public to identify brands that have failed pesticide tests or inspections in the past. If everyone has the same label, it becomes difficult for end users to identify historical good and bad actors.

As a final note on public safety, it is important to touch on the need for properly regulated industrial production of cannabis extracts. The only reason that fires or explosions take place is as the result of a lack of safety guidelines and legal options for production. We recommend that B.C. collaborate with all levels of government, as well as WorkSafe B.C. and the CSA Group, to establish standards for such activities. We recommend that these regulations be based on the practices in Denver County, Colorado.

Potential Economic Impacts

As mentioned above, there are many British Columbian residents that already work in the illicit cannabis industry. It is safe to assume tens of thousands of B.C. residents stand to lose their income if they are not brought into the regulated market somehow.

B.C. simply cannot afford to lose a business sector that provides more jobs than fisheries or forestry.

The best solution is to incorporate these people into the regulated systems, by allowing their employers to become legitimate, and forgiving those that have been criminalized by cannabis illegality.

This solution will be effective for retail. Additionally, this serves as another good reason for B.C. to exert control over licensing B.C.-only cannabis businesses that fall outside the purview of distribution.

As addressed above, the BCICA recommends that some branding and promotion be allowed. B.C. stands to see an increase in tourism if already established cannabis brands are allowed to flourish. This can be further enhanced with the licensing of branded consumption sites.

This multi-billion-dollar economy can serve as a boon for the province’s private sector, considering that Canada is only the second nation to legalize cannabis. B.C. is the core of the Canadian cannabis industry, with world-class commodity production already in place. If this expertise is allowed to participate in a regulated market, B.C. can be a world leader in this sector.

Elimination of the Illicit Market

B.C. has a deeply entrenched illicit cannabis marketplace that will not be eliminated suddenly on opening day of legalization. It will take time, and the shortest route is incorporation into the legal market.

Both regulators and advocates often regard the illicit market as the illegal business community, when, in reality, it is the end-users that are the driving force behind black market success.

In order to meet the long-term goal of reducing, and then eliminating the black market, it is these patrons that must be convinced. The best way to do this in a timely fashion is to use the expertise of those that have been successful at doing so today, those that operate in the illicit dispensary space.

It is also important to compete on price and quality. These businesses know the market, and know the product. While we hope to see minimal taxation, just enough to cover costs, it should be remembered that a high level of private competition is almost always the best way to keep prices down and encourage innovation.

In conclusion, the BCICA recommends that the province incorporate the best actors from the current illicit market into the new regulatory scheme, in order to eventually meet the goal of reducing the black market.

Travis Lane is one of five cannabis experts on the board of directors for the BCICA. Check out the association here. Other board members include Courtland Sandover-Sly, Alex Robb, Jamie Shaw, and Robert W.E. Laurie.
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by papapuff » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:01 pm

Ladysmith Chronicle

Dispensaries seek cannabis commerce

‘Canada could run out of legal marijuana next July’

Fri Oct 13th, 2017

Canada is going to run out of legal marijuana soon after recreational sales are legalized next year if it depends only on federally licensed medical growers, say directors of the newly formed B.C. Independent Cannabis Association.

The association released its submission to the B.C. government Friday, as the NDP government consults local governments and the public about the looming federal deadline to legalize retail marijuana sales. It recommends that B.C. “avoid the central warehousing of fresh cannabis” and “make space for private distribution and retail within the legal framework.”

The “best actors from the current illicit industry” should be invited to operate under the new regulations, which B.C. has to have in place by next July 1 to control wholesale distribution and retail sales, says the submission.

After talks with other provinces and the federal government, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he is leaning towards a combination of provincial control and incorporating some of the locally licensed dispensaries that have popped up in B.C. communities. B.C. is crucial since it produces an estimated 70 per cent of Canada’s cannabis.

Two of the association’s directors spoke to Black Press. Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, said B.C.’s “craft cannabis” industry is world renowned, and communities would soon feel the hit if the federal and provincial governments force supply to be centralized in a few industrial operations.

Lane said it’s clear that if underground producers are shut out, “there’s not going to be a gram of legal cannabis left in Canada at the end of July.” He doesn’t expect the home of B.C. Bud, the province that produces 70 per cent of Canada’s cannabis, to do that. He predicts it will follow the example of VQA wines and B.C. craft breweries in its licensing system.

“I expect the B.C. government to come up with public-private partnership similar to what’s been happening with the loosening of the liquor laws,” Lane said. “I think we’re going to see, where there are cities with a long-standing dispensary economy, those good-acting dispensaries are going to be allowed into the retail marketplace.”

Courtland Sandover-Sly is chairman of the new association. He is a financial advisor and insurance broker for a dozen dispensaries, and says he was the first in North America to arrange a benefits plan for cannabis dispensary employees and management.

“We know that the NDP government here in B.C. appreciates the size of the industry,” Sandover-Sly said, citing a Fraser Institute estimate of a $7 billion value to the economy. “I’m hopeful that they are aware of this and know that not protecting the industry could be devastating, particularly to rural communities.”

Other directors are:

• Alex Robb, general manager of Trees Dispensaries, one of the first to receive a business licence from the City of Victoria

• Jamie Shaw, a government relations specialist who served as a director of the B.C. Compassion Club Society and president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

• Robert Laurie, a lawyer who worked in finance in London and New York before starting a practice focused on the business of cannabis and criminal defence
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by papapuff » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:45 am

Next phase in provincial pot legislation begins

Province will analyze responses from cannabis survey that heard from 3,000 Islanders and stakeholders

By Cody MacKay, CBC News Posted: Oct 14, 2017

The P.E.I. government is one step closer to developing cannabis legislation, following the end of a public and stakeholder survey that sought input from Islanders about the legalization of marijuana.

The public survey was launched in August and closed at the end of September and asked about things such as legal age, where to sell it, use in public and at-home grow ops.

The province says it received about 3,000 responses.

Drafting legislative changes, forming awareness campaign

The survey was another move toward drafting provincial legislation for the federal government's move to legalize cannabis beginning July 1, 2018.

The province's next step will be to analyze the survey responses and eventually share a summary of what was heard.

It will be up to the provinces to control legislation around such things as distribution, public consumption and the retail model, although they will be able to enact tougher legislation than that of the federal government for things like impaired driving and regulatory compliance.

The province's webpage devoted to cannabis legislation shows the province will focus on:

"Limiting the illegal market for cannabis.

Keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth.

Protecting public health.

Promoting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public spaces."

During the winter, the plan is to take the responses from Islanders and stakeholders and present draft legislation to the assembly in the spring.

A public awareness campaign is expected to follow.
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by papapuff » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:09 pm

Times Colonist

Sylvain Charlebois: Cannabis: To eat or not to eat is the question

OCTOBER 15, 2017

If all things go according to plan, as of July 1, 2018, legal-aged Canadians will be able to walk into a store, experience a perhaps not-so-friendly retail environment and buy cannabis. Federal and provincial government leaders are working out how and in what form you will be able to buy it.

Edible items containing cannabis (“edibles”) are prepared food products, such as cakes, muffins, candy and drinks. This category also includes the possibility of purchasing a restaurant meal that contains cannabis. Edibles initially were to be banned under Bill C-45, the act to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but this was recently amended to allow such goods.

This will take place one year after regular cannabis is legalized in Canada. So it seems Ottawa has changed its mind and, arguably, for some good reasons.

First, if the retail price of legalized cannabis remains unknown, the black market could expand. As a result, edibles could become more readily available to the public, which is less desirable. By allowing edibles on the market, oversight regarding quality, safety, dosage, packaging, labelling and other important aspects of food distribution is more plausible.

Second, until recently, legislation stated that the only form of cannabis available for purchase would be dried plant material for smoking and edible products would, for the time being, be banned. Most experts agree that ingesting cannabis is better than smoking it.

Not allowing edibles would have sent the wrong message to the public, possibly inviting many consumers to consider the black market for a healthier choice.

Meanwhile, Health Canada is informing Canadians that edibles are the only form of safe cannabis consumption. This would have made the whole thing awkward for the government.

Third, of course, are the various types of products that could cause harm to children. Food innovation, free of any regulatory framework, can lead to a mess. This is what the state of Colorado went through in 2014, when it legalized marijuana.

Child-friendly food products could become more common, exposing children to harmful products. Candies, gummy bears, suckers and drinks are forms of edibles that are already being produced and that are very attractive to children.

A recent study from Dalhousie University suggests that almost 60 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the access children will have to cannabis come July 2018. The study also found that 46 per cent of Canadians would try cannabis-infused food products, if they became available on the market. The temptation clearly exists among consumers.

Most, driven by curiosity, will likely try to purchase products on the black market.

The banning of edible cannabis products was plainly shortsighted. Canada has a well-established food processing and food-retail industry. These industries, whether food manufacturers or restaurants, are not only accustomed to producing consistent, high-quality products, but are also used to following phytosanitary and food-safety regulations.

It should be of little challenge for them to create and deliver safe and quality-assured cannabis, as long as regulations are clear and predictable. They are just waiting for the official government go-ahead to capitalize on what is considered by many to be a highly lucrative market. It is not going to happen soon, but allowing edibles would give a chance for the market to adapt to and manage a potential cascade of cannabis-infused food products.

Much work remains, but it will all be worth it and is something the Canadian public deserves. Giving edibles more attention in the legislation is good news for everyone.

Sylvain Charlebois is a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:26 am

National Post

Marijuana rules will be 'a work in progress,' Vancouver councillor

The Canadian Press

Gemma Karstens-Smith
October 18, 2017

VANCOUVER — The looming deadline for legalized marijuana has local governments in British Columbia crafting wish lists for provincial legislation, from where pot should be grown to how it should be sold.

Ottawa has said regulations must be in place by July 1 and the B.C. government announced last month that it wants public input on shaping the rules.

While some municipal politicians worry the timeline for regulations is too short, Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang thinks legalization can’t come soon enough.

Vancouver brought in a bylaw for medical marijuana dispensaries in April 2016, becoming the first municipality in Canada to regulate the outlets.

Data from the city shows 41 permits for medical marijuana-related businesses have been issued since the bylaw came into effect and Jang said he hasn’t heard a single complaint about those businesses.

But illegal shops continue to operate, too. The city is asking the court to shut down 53 businesses that are operating without permits and bylaw officers continue to hand out tickets to another 65 shops classified as “subject to enforcement.”

The province needs to create rules that will help strengthen and enforce the bylaw, but overall it’s been a success, Jang said.

“It means that good operators who sell pot in a responsible way can continue to work and do business in the city of Vancouver and those who don’t gotta go.”

He wants recreational pot to be sold at independent stores under provincial regulations and said Vancouver’s bylaw could be used as a model across the province.

But Jang said it’s also important for municipalities to tailor the rules to fit their specific needs because each jurisdiction will have its own concerns.

“No matter what we do, it’s going to be a work in progress,” he said. “It’s when the laws become static and don’t match what we need to do, conditions on the street, if you like, that this thing will not work very well.”

For Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, the concern is where marijuana will be grown.

Her suburban Vancouver community boasts some of the country’s best agricultural land. She said her staff have reported receiving between five and 10 calls per day from people who are interested in using that land to grow marijuana.

But the mayor doesn’t want to see the valuable soil all used to grow pot in the name of profit.

“I do not want Delta to be the pot-growing capital of Canada,” she said. “I mean, we’ve got 22,000 acres of pretty great land that grows things all year round. And if it’s going to be allowed on all those acres, well, I don’t know if that’s the direction we should be going.”

Growing marijuana on agricultural land would likely mean big profits for farmers, but it could also create big problems for food security in the region, Jackson said.

Village Farms, which grows tomatoes in Delta, has announced plans to convert one of its greenhouses for marijuana cultivation. The company said in a release that cannabis is expected to be a “substantially more profitable” crop.

Village Farms CEO Michael DeGiglio said he knows some politicians are against the move, but he doesn’t think their justification makes sense.

“It’s an agricultural crop,” he said in an interview. “I look at us as farmers. We’ve always been farmers. … We’re not the ones who made a certain crop legal. We’re just reacting as a business.”

Jackson said she wants to see the provincial rules provide clarity around where cannabis can be grown and would prefer to see the rules favour warehouses over farmland when it comes to cultivation.

In other parts of the province, local leaders want municipalities to have the power to decide where marijuana will be grown and sold based on their specific needs.

“What local government is saying is that we just want to make sure we have a say in the zones this type of commercial activity would take part in,” said Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District in British Columbia’s Interior.

Some communities could choose to create zoning bylaws that prohibit marijuana retail outlets or growing operations in certain areas, he said.

But they wouldn’t be able to ban pot entirely.

“The debate about marijuana is not what we’re having now,” Richmond said. “It’s been legalized, the federal government said they’re going to legalize it. So, if it’s going to happen, let’s have it in a location that the community finds palatable.”

— Follow @gkarstenssmith on Twitter
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by papapuff » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:38 pm

NB Liquor issues call for marijuana retail spaces

Province says agency in 'best position' to find retail space for recreational pot

By Sarah Petz , CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2017

NB Liquor has issued a call for proposals for retail spaces to sell cannabis in 15 New Brunswick communities.

The tender says the Crown corporation is looking for 3,000-square-foot spaces, suggesting the spaces will not be attached to the agency's liquor stores.

The facilities are to be "substantially completed" by May 31, 2018, the ad says.

In September, the province announced it had formed a new Crown corporation to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana.

But Finance Minister Cathy Rogers also said the Crown corporation won't run retail operations, and that the province would work with "an other entity" to do so. It did not identify the other entity as NB Liquor and has made no further announcement.

A spokesman for NB Liquor referred a request for comment to Department of Finance spokeswoman Sarah Bustard.

Bustard did not say whether NB Liquor had been chosen as the entity to run the province's retail sales of recreational marijuana.

But she said the corporation has been part of the province's working group on cannabis and was in the best position to issue the tender as it has experience in the retail market.

"We have to be ready for the July 2018 deadline and issuing tenders for the potential retail space allows us to do this," she said via email.

She said she could not comment further "out of respect for the tendering process."
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:35 am

Governments grappling with how to keep pot bought online out of the hands of underage users

Federal government's plan for legalization of cannabis includes online sales with 'secure home delivery'

By Hannah Thibedeau, CBC News Posted: Oct 19, 2017

The Liberal government's point man on pot legalization says strict safeguards will be put in place for home delivery of the drug once it is available for purchase online as planned.

"If we're going to use a mail delivery system, we have to make sure that that works, to make sure that this is not accessible to people underage," Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, told CBC News.

When the federal government introduced its cannabis legalization bill last April, it said provinces and territories would oversee sale and distribution of the drug. But it opened the door to online sales from federally licensed producers "with secure home delivery through the mail or by courier."

Trudeau said last spring that an online system would guarantee access to marijuana if a province does not establish a retail framework to sell it legally.

"If [provinces] decide they don't want to bring legislation forward, we will make [marijuana] available through a federal system, probably on the Internet," Trudeau told VICE Canada during a town hall event on April 24, according to a report in the HuffPost.

Alberta announced its cannabis framework two weeks ago. That province won't allow online sales at first because of concerns the drug could be delivered to someone under the legal age limit.

"There may not be online sales or home delivery of cannabis initially, but it's not completely off the table," Veronica Jubinville, spokesperson for Alberta's justice minister, wrote in an email to CBC News.

"Online retail will be considered as part of our next steps once we understand more about the market and are confident we can ensure age verification."

But in Ontario, online sales are expected to be allowed as soon as marijuana is legalized, and precautionary procedures will be built in, according to Scott Blodgett, spokesperson for the Ontario finance ministry — including "ID checks and signatures required upon delivery."

Canada Post already delivers

Blair said marijuana that is ordered online won't be delivered to just anyone. He said provinces and territories can establish their own secure system, but there has been one already in place for medical marijuana since 2013.

"It's delivered by Canada Post, and there is an age verification — an identity verification — that takes place at the point of delivery at the door," Blair said.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said there has been no decision about which outlet should be used for home delivery.

"It's important to consult with our officials but also with the provinces and territories to ensure we get this right," Petitpas Taylor said.

Pettipas Taylor will meet with her provincial counterparts Thursday and Friday in Edmonton. The issue of legalized pot is on the agenda.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:40 am

We need a Cannabis Act of the Yukon, says justice minister

Territory needs to sift through 3,000 responses to government survey on cannabis

By Nancy Thomson, CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2017

The Yukon government says it has a lot of work to do in order to be ready for cannabis legalization next summer.

Premier Sandy Silver told the legislature Wednesday that while he can't say definitively just who will be selling pot by next summer, it will be available legally in the territory.

"At the bare minimum, we will have at least a source locally. Whether that be a liquor store, whether that be private sector, whether it's a hybrid — all of those parts are not figured out yet," said Silver.

Speaking with reporters after question period, Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says a lot hinges on Ottawa's timetable.

But she says the territory has much work to do in the meantime — including sifting through 3,000 responses to a government survey this summer on cannabis.

"It's a tremendous amount of work, because we have to look at the concept of what Yukoners have said in the survey, we have to look at what they say."

McPhee says part of the work will be drafting laws and regulations catered to the territory.

"We need our own legislation. We probably need a Cannabis Act of the Yukon of some version, and we're still trying to decide how that should look."

McPhee says regulations likely won't be ready by July to govern retail cannabis shops, adding that distribution will probably be up to the territorial government.

"We are working on a phased-in approach, which is 'let's get the legislation, let's figure out what needs to be in that, let's figure out how Yukoners can access cannabis once it's legal here in Canada, and what does that look like here in the territory?'"

McPhee says national changes to the Criminal Code will affect the impaired driving law now on the books.

"And we will need to make sure that we can enforce those laws here in the territory — [what] the effect will be here, and how we can manage to enforce the law here."

McPhee says the federal legislation will guide age limits and concepts of distribution. She says licensing who can grow cannabis is also a federal responsibility.

The federal government has promised that Canadians will be able to legally order cannabis by mail by July 2018.
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by papapuff » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:46 am


Most British Columbians want pot to be legal; many disagree on where it should be sold

Posted Oct 19, 2017

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Most people in BC want recreational pot to be legal, but we can’t decide where it should be sold, according to a new public opinion poll.

Mario Canseco with Insights West says three quarters of us agree with marijuana legalization and heavier users are more likely to support sales in private specialty shops.

“There are about 40 per cent who say, ‘Let’s just sell it in a store that’s only designed to sell cannabis.’ And there’s about one in five who say, ‘Why don’t we sell it at the liquor store?’ and one in five who say, ‘Why don’t we sell it at drug stores?'”

“People who smoke it once a day are essentially saying, ‘Yes, let’s have a standalone store where I can buy this.’ People who aren’t using marijuana that much are more likely to be looking at it as something that can be sold in other places,” he adds.

The poll also found that while seven in 10 of us support the legalization of pot, the vast majority of us are against legalizing other drugs, like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.
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