Pubdate: Sat, 25 Nov 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Paul Samyn
Page: A2


IF you want to know how quickly this country is turning over a new
leaf, consider the curious case of Julian Fantino.

The tough-on-crime former Toronto police chief was eager to help lead
the war against drugs - including cannabis - during his time as a
cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government.

In fact, the record from the 2015 federal campaign is filled with
public stands Fantino took about the danger of legalizing marijuana.

And today? Well, the former politician has had his own epiphany on the
pot-marked road to the legalization of marijuana.

So instead of crusading against the evils of cannabis, Fantino is
looking to capitalize on it by way of a new business that connects
patients with medical marijuana. As executive director of Aleafia
Inc., which calls itself a" total health network" with a focus on"
broadening the understanding of medical cannabis and its therapeutic
properties," Fantino is now in favour of legalizing pot.

What some might see as hypocrisy, is just the latest sign of the
seismic shift underway in Canada.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's pledge to legalize marijuana has moved
from campaign promise to action plan not only for the federal
government, but also provinces from coast to coast. Even here in
Manitoba, where Premier Brian Pallister has frequently tried to slow
down Trudeau's pot party, the government is taking steps needed for
the retailing of legal weed in time for July 1, 2018.

The Free Press took a big step toward preparing Canadians for the
legal, cultural and economic change that is coming with the launch -
at 4:20 p.m. last Tuesday - of a new digital platform, The Leaf.

While a website dedicated to covering Canada's move to legalized
cannabis was never on the radar screen of the first Free Press editor
when that initial edition rolled off the press 145 years ago this
month, The Leaf is very much part of a proud journalistic tradition
that has seen us become a trusted source of information about
Manitoba, Canada and the world.

What we want to do with The Leaf is build on that tradition by
creating original journalism that documents everything about the shift
from Reefer Madness to legal lifestyle option using the same
journalistic fundamentals we've practised for more than a century.

The Leaf isn't about activism, advocacy or antagonism to the coming
change in the country's legal framework. Instead, it's about reporting
on a national issue in a serious way with stories worthy of earning
the trust of readers.

You can get a taste of that journalism in our Saturday Special on A6
as we share one of the first articles published on The Leaf, a feature
by our cannabis beat reporter Sol Israel on questions about the black
market and the legalization of pot.

You can join with readers from coast to coast and beyond by learning
more about cannabis and Canada's move to legalization by clicking your
way to - and the website is free for all to read for
now. And you can get even more for free by signing up for The Leaflet,
The Leaf's cannabis newsletter. While the Free Press is the first
Canadian newspaper to create a specialized cannabis website, there are
a number of prestigious titles south of the border that have done
exactly that as various states have moved to legalize pot.

Whether or not you agree with the legalization of cannabis, there will
be a growing audience for information about this shift. We hope you'll
turn to The Leaf for answers to your questions and much more.
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