SMITHS FALLS, Ontario - When Canada became the first major
industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana, visions of
billions of dollars in profits inspired growers, retailers and
investors, sending the stock market soaring in a so-called green rush.
A year later, the euphoria has vanished.
"No one wants to invest in it now," said John-Kurt Pliniussen, a
professor of marketing at the Smith School of Business at Queen's
University in Kingston, Ontario.
That is because those who have invested have generally lost money.
During the first year after legalization, the value of shares in
Canada's six largest marijuana companies tumbled by an average of 56
percent, according to stock price data.
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There's no getting around it: Year one of legalized cannabis in Canada was
It was an unmitigated disaster for many investors. The bubble burst, and
the shares of most large Canadian marijuana producers dropped by at least
50 per cent. The public markets are largely closed to the industry; at the
moment, there's simply no appetite for more pot stocks.
The Trudeau government's goal wasn't to make shareholders or investment
banks rich, though. It was to whittle down the black- market marijuana
business. Giving cannabis users a place to buy regulated marijuana would
generate new tax revenue, open up new business opportunities and reduce
the burden on police and the courts.
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It is indeed sweet victory to see the B.C. Liquor Corp. selling
In the B.C. election of 2001, I, as a B.C. Marijuana Party candidate,
was arrested at the behest of the Victoria Hillside liquor store for
campaigning for legal cannabis.
Some advice about marketing would be in order.
As a Realtor of 30 years, I can offer some pointers. Analyze the
prevailing market and emulate it. At present, in the "friends" market,
you can smell before you buy. If you don't like it, you can bring it
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Canada has been at the forefront of cannabis research, education and
regulation for the past 2 decades, yet uncertainty remains about how
the drug should be used in medicine. Physicians lack evidence-based
information and formalized training about cannabis, which stems, in
part, from the drug's previously illegal status that hindered
research. Among the public, however, many perceive cannabis as a
natural and safe medical treatment. Patients increasingly seek advice
about cannabis from physicians, request prescriptions or experiment
with cannabis for medical problems on their own. However, physicians
must adhere to good medical practice regardless of public pressure and
provide counselling to patients based on up-to-date knowledge and
evidence. Now that cannabis is legal in Canada more research should be
forthcoming, but the evidence base remains weak.
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Contrary to Joe Fries' editorial "Abstinence works best" (Courier,
Aug. 16), Rhode Island treats addicted prison inmates with methadone,
buprenorphine and naltrexone. Like methadone, buprenorphine is an
opioid agonist, or replacement opioid. Naltrexone is an opioid
antagonist that blocks opioid receptors.
The benefits of opioid substitution therapy are well-established, in
and out of prison. It reduces crime, prevents overdoses and the spread
of infectious diseases, denies profits to criminal gangs, allows
addicted individuals to function normally within their families, jobs,
and communities, and gets them off the hamster wheel of raising money
by hook or by crook to pay criminal gangs for illicit opioids of
unknown potency and purity.
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More than half of all Canadians believe drug treatment should focus on
abstinence, rather than opioid replacement therapies, according to
poll results released this week.
Research Co. found 57% of those surveyed were in favour of programs
that aim to get people off drugs entirely, rather than programs that
supply people with free dope to help keep them healthy and out of trouble.
It's unclear from the results if people's attitudes towards drug
treatment are shifting, but it's clear that a majority of the
population supports an approach that doesn't enable addicts.
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Re: "Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster," column,
Lawrie McFarlane's verdict is premature. Legal regulation in Canada
isn't analogous to legalization in Colorado, for among other reasons,
Colorado allows advertising and initially allowed edibles and extracts
with inadequate labelling, packaging and dose limitations.
Yes, emergency-room visits from adverse reactions spiked in Colorado
following legalization, but this was due in part to inexperienced
tourists from prohibitionist states, and consumers feeling more
inclined to seek help once they no longer feared arrest. Panicked
patients are typically discharged (the wiser) on the same day, with no
lasting ill effects. Such visits remain far less common and severe
than visits related to alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco.
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Re: "Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster," column,
In his opinion piece on cannabis legalization, Lawrie McFarlane cites
a short-term increase in the numbers of adolescents visiting emergency
rooms for cannabis in Colorado - a jurisdiction with a commercialized
approach to cannabis legalization - as evidence that Canada's much
more restrictive public health-oriented approach to legalization has
However, as scientists who have carefully considered how to best
measure the public-health impacts of cannabis legalization, we would
suggest a thorough and ongoing analysis of Canadian data is needed to
understand the effects of the new regulatory landscape. Although
cannabis-related hospital visits should be a priority, we also need to
ask important questions about underlying causes: if we see an
increase, how much is due to increasing use among youth, and how much
could be related to shifting trends in products/modes of
administration (e.g., a shift towards high-THC concentrates, increased
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It's becoming increasingly obvious that legalizing marijuana
consumption was a colossal public-health blunder.
A good part of the evidence comes from south of the border, where
several states legalized pot much earlier than Canada. This has
allowed time for robust scientific follow-up - follow-up that is
beginning to reveal a frightening picture.
Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2012, and recreational use in
2014. One result is that emergency hospital visits by adolescents with
marijuana-related symptoms have jumped from 84 a year in the pre-legal
era, to 500 in 2018.
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The Canadian cannabis industry is booming.
From giant industrial operations such as Canopy Growth to smaller
cannabis retailers, to an array of cannabis "lifestyle"=9D brands and
"cannabis brand consultancy"=9D firms, the industry is a lucrative fronti
for those seeking wealth in a rapidly growing market.
And oh, is there wealth to be had. Canadians spent $1.6-billion on
legal weed in 2018 - double the total spent on medical cannabis the
year before - despite the fact that non-medical cannabis was legally
available only after Oct. 17. Statistics Canadaa's National Cannabis
Survey from the first quarter of 2019 found that use of non-medical
cannabis has increased among men and people aged 45 to 64. The survey
reported that 646,000 people tried cannabis for the first time in the
prior three months, half of whom were aged 45 or older.
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VICTORIA - B.C.'s largest First Nation is accusing the provincial
government of stalling its application for a retail cannabis licence
while it races to open its own public store in the community's prime
The Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island are in the sixth month of
trying to get approval for two retail store licences from the
provincial government. As the Cowichan wrestle with a wall of red
tape, and are repeatedly rejected for nation-to-nation talks with the
province, the B.C. government is competing against the First Nation
for the municipal rights to open a store in the community's largest
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If you've got the munchies for cannabis edibles, you'll have to go to
the liquor store.
The province has tapped the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. - which already
sells dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis accessories
- - to sell edibles, extracts and topicals.
"The NSLC has done a good job in preparing and implementing our new
retail model as recreational cannabis was legalized across Canada,"
said Karen Casey, the minister responsible for the NSLC, in a news
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TORONTO - Adam Ash, 37, wasn't the least bit shy in explaining why he
was at the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co., a four-story boutique on Queen
Street West in the middle of the city's downtown district.
"Marijuana," the Toronto resident said midday on a recent Monday, a
little bewildered as to why someone would even bother asking.
Glass containers of marijuana flower were laid out on tables
throughout the shop, amid glass cases of rolling papers, pipes, bongs,
grinders and vaporizers. Employees known as "bud tenders" worked the
floors, ready to provide advice and recommendations for picking just
the right strain.
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The 2011 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Vancouver's Insite clinic
clearly established 1) that supervised consumption sites are part of
health-care services that should be made accessible to people who use
drugs, 2) that these sites contribute to reducing the harms associated
with drug use, and 3) that denying access to these sites increases the
risk of death and disease.
In addition to saving lives every day, these sites act as an essential
point of contact for people to access much-needed health-care services
that have been proven effective to reduce overdoses, blood-borne
infections (hepatitis C and HIV), infections (i.e., skin, soft tissue,
heart and blood infections) and other medical complications. They also
help connect people who use drugs with social services and support to
address housing and food insecurity, mental health issues, trauma and
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