Demonized for decades, marijuana remains controversial even on the
brink of its statewide legalization - and even in pot-friendly
strongholds such as San Francisco. The city is one of many still
debating local regulations that will either embrace an overdue retreat
from the drug war or effectively prolong the failed policy at the
For vacillating municipal officials, some context is in order. This
week alone, New Jersey and Virginia voters resoundingly elected
gubernatorial candidates promising to liberalize marijuana policy;
Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 seller of many popular wine and
beer brands, was reported to have bought a nearly $200 million stake
in a Canadian cannabis company; and California's attorney general
approved signature-gathering for a ballot measure to legalize
[continues 272 words]
When 74 percent of San Francisco voters last year backed legalizing
the adult recreational use of marijuana statewide, the idea was to
make it easier to buy and smoke pot - a substance that has never been
that hard to buy or smoke in San Francisco anyway.
Tell that to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The Keystone Cops of Cannabis have spent countless hours over endless
committee meetings in recent weeks, devising ways to dramatically
limit where people can buy and sell marijuana once the substance
becomes legal for recreational use statewide on Jan. 1.
[continues 1120 words]
A global credit rating agency says taxes on recreational marijuana in
California could reach 45 percent in some places, high enough to keep
the thriving black market in business despite legalization.
The report by Fitch Ratings, "Local Taxes May Challenge Cannabis
Legalization in California," warns that state and local taxes may
combine to threaten the government revenue expected from the sale of
legalized cannabis and cannabis products. The recreational use of the
drug will be legal in California starting Jan. 1 under Proposition 64,
the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, passed by
voters last November.
[continues 469 words]
Pot entrepreneurs should be encouraged, says Paul Clark.
Entrepreneurial ism and innovation are key ingredients to Canada's
domestic economy and its international competitiveness. For example,
France has a vibrant wine industry, Cuba is recognized for its cigars,
China has a strong manufacturing role, and Italy and France have their
To this end, the Government of Canada invests a considerable amount of
money and effort into sparking and supporting entrepreneurial
activities. For example, government-funded Entrepreneurial Incubators
exist across the country, loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses
are widely promoted, and other agencies such as Community Futures
support entrepreneurial activity.
[continues 568 words]
The fentanyl crisis in B.C. continues to worsen.
In the past five years, the province has gone from 12 fentanyl-related
deaths to 823 between between January and August this year.
There have been no fentanyl-related deaths reported in Revelstoke, but
RCMP still believe that the powerful opioid has made its way into the
With the number of fatalities in the province climbing, it makes sense
that community institutions would arm themselves with a resource to
combat opioid overdoses.
[continues 229 words]
Being illegal - for now - makes it hard to pin down just how big the
market for marijuana is, but one estimate suggests it's at least as
large as hard liquor sales, about $5 billion annually.
The report, from financial services firm Deloitte, estimates the
market for legalized recreational marijuana could give Canada's
economy a $22.6 billion annual boost when you include growers,
equipment suppliers and the like.
With that much of an economic boost at stake, it's a little hard to
understand the fear-mongering coming from many levels of society as
the date for the promised legalization approaches.
[continues 234 words]
A quarter-century ago, Abbotsford had its moment of clarity with
respect to drugs and gangs.
After repeated denials by the city's municipal police department that
gangs were active in the Fraser Valley city, the truth was laid bare
when 18-year-old Kirby Martin was shot and killed in a parking lot of
a mall along the city's main strip, South Fraser Way.
His death was followed by acknowledgment from police that gangs were
indeed part of life in the city and many community forums followed.
[continues 598 words]
Alberta is definitely going to pot.
But privately, not publicly.
According to a good old fashioned scoop by my colleague Emma Graney,
the government will introduce legislation next week to allow the
private sector to sell marijuana in stand-alone stores starting July
of next year.
Thus endeth the big mystery over whether pot sales would be done
through privately owned shops or government-controlled outlets.
These "hemporiums" (I'm really hoping that catches on) will be run
much like our private liquor stores that are located all over the
place, making a beer run much more convenient than the days of yore
(before 1993) when Alberta's government-run liquor stores were the
only game in town.
[continues 628 words]
PREMIER Brian Pallister has always been coy about whether he has ever
enjoyed the pleasures of cannabis. "I prefer beer," has become his
standard retort when asked if he's ever taken a toke.
Regardless of whether the premier smoked, inhaled or appreciated the
mystic qualities of marijuana, you can bet he will learn to love the
tax revenue that will flow from a legalized marketplace.
Manitoba's plan for the legalized wholesale and retail sales of
cannabis is pretty thin. Pallister has only confirmed a plan to have
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries act as a wholesale distributor, with
retail sales going to the private sector.
[continues 1006 words]
Nova Scotians thinking that next July they'll be able to nip down to
the corner pot shop whenever they want, might want to chill until they
see the province's plan.
Cannabis will be legal next summer, but the rules and regulations are
yet to come and Nova Scotia, along with the other Atlantic Provinces,
will create tightly controlled, strictly regulated
Last week, the province wrapped up its online survey asking Nova
Scotian for opinions on a variety of questions about cannabis control
[continues 664 words]
Many Canadians can hardly wait for the day that the recreational use
of marijuana becomes legal. As a doctor, I'm far less enthusiastic. I
worry about two things: the experimental nature of marijuana in
medical practice, and the public health consequences of legalized marijuana.
Before you write me off as overly prudish or an anti-marijuana
conservative, let me say that I'm not opposed to legalized marijuana
in principle. I'm just paying attention to the evidence, or rather,
the lack of it. My concern is that as marijuana becomes more easily
available, Canadians may become more inclined to self-medicate with
[continues 427 words]
MGEU off-base when it comes to private pot stores
Manitoba's largest union is accusing the Pallister government of
compromising the safety of Manitobans and foregoing millions in
profits by allowing private retailers to sell marijuana once it
becomes legal next year.
But as usual, the union provides some of the dumbest arguments
possible to try to support its case.
The province announced Tuesday that legal weed would be regulated by
Liquor and Gaming Authority but would be sold through private retail
outlets. It would be much like how beer, wine and other liquor
products are sold through vendors, private wine stores and private
liquor outlets in rural Manitoba. The outlets are private but the
products must be purchased through Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp.
[continues 539 words]
The guidelines are strict but it won't matter
According to new marijuana marketing guidelines released Wednesday by
The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Branding after working with
Advertising Standards Canada, companies marketing marijuana will not
be able to use animals to sell pot nor will be they be able to promote
the use of cannabis itself ( just brand preference) and they will be
required to advertise in places where over 70 per cent of the audience
is adult (or above the age of majority in the particular province).
[continues 380 words]
For months, Ralph (all names have been changed), neighbour to my
friend The Chairman, has left his house only for doctor visits and a
couple of hospital stints.
That's not for lack of trying. Prescribed mind-numbing meds put the
former coal miner into a fog. Several times he insisted that he needed
to go outside, rolled his wheelchair to the front door, tried to stand
but instead tumbled, like laundry out of a basket, like a milk bottle
smashed on the floor.
[continues 471 words]
Canada's response to the opioid crisis has been fragmented and
marginally effective at best. We deserve a better approach, and the
answers are out there. Other countries are effectively dealing with
the issue and Canada should be more open to learning from them. There
are several key steps we can take to ensure Canadians with addiction
can lead healthier, happier and more productive lives.
First, we need to recognize this is actually a crisis. Do you remember
SARS and how it impacted every Canadian with a focused response from
our public health teams? Forty-four Canadians died from SARS. How
about AIDS at its peak in 1995? We all were aware of the crisis and as
Canadians we worked together diligently to help. That year about 1,400
people died from AIDS. Compare this to over 2,400 Canadians dying from
opioid overdoses in 2016 and the number likely to double in 2017.
[continues 625 words]
There are still some big questions and concerns to figure out before
The end of Prohibition gave birth to the LCBO nearly a century
Now the legalization of marijuana is giving rise to the OCRC: Ontario
Cannabis Retail Corporation.
That's about as awkward an acronym - if not anachronism - as the
Liquor Control Board of Ontario. While today's LCBO has become a brand
in its own right, it's fair to say the OCRC will never become a
[continues 762 words]
In July, the Food and Drug Administration took the important step of
approving two final-phase clinical trials to determine whether a party
drug that has long been on the Drug Enforcement Administration's
Schedule I list of banned substances could be used to treat a
psychiatric condition that afflicts millions. The drug is MDMA, a
psychedelic commonly known as Ecstasy, previously deemed to have "no
currently accepted medical use." The trials aim to determine whether
the drug is, as earlier trials have suggested, a safe and effective
treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, when combined with
[continues 869 words]
Think about it not as marijuana, but as smoke - and then think about
just how complicated the federal, provincial and municipal regulation
of the drug will be. Consider this admittedly ludicrous example: say
you were in Vancouver, you were having company in and wanted to show
off to your guests by burning a big batt of weed in your old-style
fireplace. Once the stuff is legal, you can do what you like, right?
Well, maybe not - and not because it's weed, but because it makes
smoke, and that smoke could threaten air quality.
[continues 384 words]
Years ago, when Justin Trudeau stepped onto a platform in a Vancouver
park and proclaimed through a cloud of sweet-smelling haze that a
federal Liberal government would legalize marijuana, there was much
excitement within the cannabis community.
With last week's announcement by Trudeau's provincial Liberal cousins,
the realities of draconian regulation in Ontario have resulted in the
crushing disappointment of those long-forgotten high hopes.
For recreational users, smoking will only be permitted in private
residences. Puffing at work, on university campuses, on patios,
sidewalks or parks, will all remain prohibited.
[continues 442 words]
Nine years after Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative
that permits doctors to prescribe marijuana for therapeutic purposes,
state and local lawmakers are still struggling to design a regulatory
scheme that balances the interests of patients, providers and residents.
Earlier this year, Michigan legislators finally adopted a new regime
that establishes distinct licensing criteria for growing, processing,
testing, transporting and distributing the drug, which is still
forbidden by federal law, and dividing the tax revenues generated by
those activities between the state and local governments.
[continues 630 words]