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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TORONTO - An aging construction worker arrived quietly in the
building's basement, took his seat alongside three other men and
struck his lighter below a cooker of synthetic heroin.
A woman, trained to intervene in case of an overdose, placed a mask
over her face as his drug cooked and diluted beneath a jumping flame.
He injected himself, grew still and then told of the loss of his wife
who died alone in her room upstairs - an overdose that came just a few
months before this social service nonprofit opened its doors for
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It's all about harm reduction and improving community health outcomes
No doubt some Hamiltonians are chuckling to hear city council is
considering banning sugary drinks from city buildings to protect
With good reason.
The proposed ban by the public health department lands at the same
time the city is moving ahead with opening its first safe injection
site for drug addicts.
It's more than a little ironic that the city may be cracking down on
sugar while enabling the use of illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine.
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"You can't help dead people - that's the point of injection
There you go again, being a "bleeding heart." A recent letter writer
is correct. Injection sites are encouraging and abetting druggies in
their bad habits. There is no point to safe-injection sites.
And if they die, as they surely will if they don't kick their habit,
why should I give a hoot?
They chose to live on the edge as they do. Suffer the consequences!
They know better, and yet refuse to accept the inevitable. Stop or
And you should stop trying to be the social conscience of your
(Look, we're not fond of illegal drug use. But caring about what
happens to our fellow citizens - especially the weakest - is important
in a civilized society.)
Doug Ford says he is "dead against" supervised injection sites and
believes the focus should be on drug rehabilitation instead.
And if elected premier of Ontario in June, the Progressive
Conservative Leader says he will do everything he can to fight the
opioid crisis and get people who are struggling with addiction the
help they need.
"If your son, daughter, loved one ever had an addiction, would you
want them to go in a little area and do more drugs? I am dead against
that," Mr. Ford said Friday. "We have to help these people. We can't
just keep feeding them and feeding them."
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Heather D'Alessio remembers drug education in high school that
consisted mainly of dire warnings about the consequences of using any
She was smoking pot by Grade 9, so she disregarded the
"Most of the time, they would give us these fact sheets on cannabis.
Then we'd all take it out to the corner and get high and laugh at it
because we thought it was stupid."
Who uses cannabis?
Governments and public health advocates are now launching new
education campaigns to warn young people about the health risks of
marijuana, which will soon be legal across Canada.
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Toronto's municipal licensing and standards department is reviewing
city bylaws to see if changes are needed to deal with the "potential
impacts" that people growing legal marijuana may have on neighbouring
tenants or properties.
Mark Sraga, director of investigation services for the licensing
department, said he doesn't anticipate cannabis home-grow operations
to have a significant impact on municipal bylaws when the law permits
people to grow the drug this summer.
"Under Health Canada rules, people are allowed to grow medicinal
marijuana in their houses," he said. "I don't see how growing four
plants necessarily having any impact considering the fact I've seen
some personal designation grow licences for hundreds of plants."
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Premier Kathleen Wynne has ordered that school boards be given a say
in where provincial marijuana stores are located, noting that boards
are likely to know "where their kids go at lunchtime (and) where they
go after school."
Her demand came after the announcement that Toronto's first outlet of
the Ontario Cannabis Store would be located in Scarborough, 450 metres
from Blantyre Public School. The Toronto District School Board said it
had asked to be consulted about the location, but never was. Concerned
Blantyre parents discussed the news at a school council meeting last
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Two very different things, both related to marijuana, happened in
Toronto last week. One mattered, and pointed to some of the challenges
still ahead with the legalization of marijuana later this year. The
other was the proverbial tempest in a teapot.
Allegations that workers were smoking pot on the job, forcing
Metrolinx to shut down work on a section of the $5.3-billion Crosstown
LRT project, was a serious matter.
But the uproar over the Toronto location for one of Ontario's first
government-run pot shops, which continued this week with comments from
Premier Kathleen Wynne, is way out of proportion.
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More than half the charges laid against London marijuana dispensary
staffers and operators swept up in a series of raids on the illegal
businesses in the past two years have been withdrawn, court records
examined by The Free Press show.
London police have launched seven raids in three separate crackdowns
on city pot shops since August 2016, resulting in 49 charges against
But court records show 25 of those charges - mostly for possession for
the purposes of trafficking - were later withdrawn and resolved
through peace bonds, a non-plea order requiring the person to be on
good behaviour for a set period of time.
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Sex-ed, pot and Brown
There's no dust on Doug Ford.
Just a day after being elected head of Ontario's PC party, Ford has
announced he'll repeal the Liberal's sexed curriculum, hand marijuana
sales back to the people and make a decision on permitting Patrick
Brown to run as the PC candidate in the riding of Simcoe North.
While political pundits are licking their pencils in anticipation of
analyzing Ford's every move, the newly elected leader is already out
there working the crowd and winning over voters.
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Guns, gangs unit member has pleaded not guilty
A suspended Hamilton police officer fed drug traffickers sensitive
information and favours in return for cash payments, a Crown attorney
said Monday during his opening address to a Toronto jury.
Craig Ruthowsky, a former member of the Hamilton Police Service's guns
and gangs unit, has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice,
bribery, breach of trust, trafficking and conspiracy to commit an
He became ensnared in a Toronto Police Service wiretap investigation
called Project Pharaoh aimed at gathering evidence of drug and firearm
trafficking in Toronto's west end, Crown attorney John Pollard said in
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A provincial government commitment to provide $ 40 million to help
municipalities cover the costs of pot legalization is a starting
point, says Mayor Chris Friel.
But Friel remains critical of the Ontario government's approach to the
legalization of marijuana saying the increased law enforcement and
safety costs are just one part of the overall picture.
"I'd say that it's a starting point because right now no one really
knows what the extra costs will be," Friel said. "But again I ask:
where is the public consultation?
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Suspended Hamilton cop Craig Ruthowsky revealed that he aided a drug
dealer to cultivate his trust so he could snare a larger trafficker,
his former best friend testified Tuesday.
Sgt. James Paterson, who once considered himself Ruthowsky's "best
friend," confronted Ruthowsky after he was suspended in 2012 while
both were working for Hamilton's guns and gangs unit.
"Craig Ruthowsky advised me that the dealer was dangling a bigger fish
in front of him that he wanted to get, this major importer Officer
Ruthowsky had said 'I was trying to make myself look like a dirty cop
so that will trust me more, and he'd give up the bigger fish,'" said
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The local public health agency says smoking marijuana should be banned
in multi-unit buildings, including balconies
The local health unit is throwing its support behind the City of
Ottawa's public health agency after they called for a ban on smoking
marijuana inside multi-unit residential buildings - including on balconies.
Last week, Ottawa's acting medical officer of health recommended the
Ontario government extend its proposed ban on pot smoking in common
areas of condos, apartment buildings and university residences, hotels
and their balconies.
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In 2018 we find ourselves battling an opioid crisis that has been
years in the making. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system
to relieve pain and were originally derived from opium but now also
include synthetic preparations.
In the mid-1990s, their use by physicians was heavily promoted by the
pharmaceutical industry, leading to greater prescribing for both acute
and chronic pain. Patients using opioids can develop a dependency or
There are two sources of opioids: those that are produced by the
pharmaceutical industry and those that are illicitly produced.
Recently, the illicit supply has become so contaminated with fentanyl
(a very powerful opioid) or fentanyl-like substances that many people
are at risk of an unintended acute and potentially fatal poisoning.
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Curtis McGowan wrestled with his opioid addiction for years, but his
suspected overdose while in prison raises serious questions
On one of his many trips home from jail, Curtis McGowan beamed with
pride and clutched a Dr. Seuss book.
"Mom," said the six-foot, 300-pound foundry worker, handing Michele
McPherson a copy of Green Eggs and Ham, "this is the first book I ever
To mother and son, it was a moment filled with significance. He'd
struggled with illiteracy his whole life, just like he'd struggled
with drug use and mental-health problems. If he could learn to read,
perhaps sobriety and serenity were not far off.
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It is a misnomer for the media to always mention "guns and gangs" when
it comes to the violent exchange between gangs. Guns are not the
problem; the problem is the control of drugs and contraband, which the
gangs are fighting over.
Gangs, no matter where, will use whatever means available to get their
share of the lucrative and fast-growing drug market. In my opinion, a
review of the escalation of drug availability and use would be more
beneficial than creating ad hoc committees to study guns and gangs.
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There's no buzzkill like bureaucracy. A new proposal by Ottawa Public
Health to ban marijuana - once it's legal - from condos and
apartments, seems like overreach to us.
As the Sun's Andrew Duffy reports today, Ottawa's acting medical
officer of health has recommended that the province extend its
proposed ban on pot smoking in common areas of condos, apartment
buildings and university residences. Dr. Vera Etches said the province
should prohibit smoking cannabis, e-liquids and herbal shisha products
in condos, apartment buildings, university residences, hotels and
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Same tribe, different mindsets.
On Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on the shores of Lake Ontario, dead
centre between Toronto and Montreal, there are more than 20 pot
dispensaries and at least 30 smoke shacks selling cheap cigarettes.
The population of Tyendinaga is 2,124.
Do the math.
At the Six Nations Mohawk Territory, however, the largest First
Nations reserve in Canada with a population of 12,000-plus living on
the reserve, there is a huge sign on the main highway indicating zero
tolerance to illicit drugs.
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