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1 CN BC: City Calls For More Fentanyl Test StripsFri, 19 May 2017
Source:Metro (Vancouver, CN BC) Author:Li, Wanyee Area:British Columbia Lines:46 Added:05/24/2017

Six people died from overdoses last week in Vancouver

As the number of overdose deaths continues to rise in Vancouver, the city announced it wants to see more fentanyl test strips made available to drug users.

The strips test for the presence of fentanyl and a nine-month pilot project at Insite found users who knew their drugs contained fentanyl were more likely to decrease their dose and therefore less likely to overdose.

It's an approach that could save more lives, said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "Our residents are literally dying waiting for both treatment options that will get them off dangerous street drugs and save their lives, and immediate interventions like expanded drug testing that reduce overdoses," he said in a press release.

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2CN AB: Fentanyl Deaths Leap 61 Per CentSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Edmonton Journal (CN AB) Author:Griwkowsky, Catherine Area:Alberta Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2017

Provinces chief medical officer calls for heightened efforts amid deepening crisis

Alberta's top doctor is calling for expanded efforts to combat a high number of opioid deaths as health officials released a new report on fentanyl overdoses Friday.

"We need to continue our efforts to decrease the number of overdoses that we're seeing due to fentanyl and other opioids," said Dr. Karen Grimsrud, the province's chief medical officer of health, following the release of Alberta Health's Opioids and Substances of Misuse report on Friday.

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3 CN MB: Judge Slams Law, Delays SentencingSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB) Author:May, Katie Area:Manitoba Lines:107 Added:05/24/2017

Gives mom convicted of drug smuggling time to arrange child care ahead of mandatory prison term

In a case that has raised questions about the effect of mandatory minimum sentences, a Manitoba judge has taken pity on a woman he convicted by agreeing to give her more freedom before he sends her to prison.

In a likely unprecedented move, Justice Sheldon Lanchbery reserved his decision and delayed the sentencing of 37-year-old Sandra Dignard by about two months. That will allow the mother of four time to make child-care arrangements before she is placed in custody. The judge said he has no choice but to sentence Dignard to two years in prison for drug trafficking, despite his belief she should not be locked up.

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4 Canada: Pot Plans Respect International TreatiesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Lethbridge Herald (CN AB) Author:Kirkup, Kristy Area:Canada Lines:92 Added:05/24/2017

Task force leader says Canada can be an example

A former Liberal cabinet minister who led a federally appointed task force on legalizing cannabis says Canada's plan to green light the drug for recreational use is in keeping with the spirit of international treaties - all of which criminalize the possession and production of marijuana.

It will be up to the government to make the case in relation to the treaties, Anne McLellan said Friday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

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5Canada: Unifor Cites Canna Clinic Staff's Right To UnionizeSat, 20 May 2017
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Freeman, Sunny Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2017

TORONTO - Canada's largest private-sector union says it isn't bothered that its first-ever group of medical marijuana members works at an illegal pot dispensary.

Unifor spokeswoman Katha Fortier said it is in the process of negotiating a contract for all 40 employees at one of Toronto's Canna Clinic marijuana dispensaries, which sells dried cannabis as well as oils and edibles, but does not have a Health Canada licence to do so.

Licensed producers are currently the only legal sellers of marijuana in Canada and their operations are strictly regulated. They can sign up patients only with a medical authorization from a doctor and can deliver product only through a mail order system.

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6 Canada: Streamlined Injection-Site Conditions Become LawFri, 19 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:Canada Lines:94 Added:05/24/2017

A piece of legislation that makes it easier to open supervised injection sites has become law, replacing Harper-era regulations that effectively stalled the harm reduction service as overdose deaths climbed.

Under Bill C-37, which received royal assent on Thursday, agencies wanting to open a supervised-injection site must meet five streamlined conditions, down from 26 under the previous Respect for Communities Act.

The Liberal government tabled the bill in December. It received final approval on Wednesday, with minor amendments.

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7 CN ON: Legal Pot Poses Problems For MunicipalitiesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:London Free Press (CN ON) Author:Simpson, Barbara Area:Ontario Lines:74 Added:05/24/2017

Lambton County trains managers as local governments brace for expected challenges

SARNIA - With Canada ready to legalize marijuana by next July, Ontario municipalities are ablaze with activity prepping for the impacts of that move - including in the workplace.

Lambton County recently held a training session for its 75 managers about marijuana and workplace safety. Among the chief municipal concerns are the potential for workers to believe it's legal for them to smoke marijuana on municipal property, as well as the potential for impaired driving if a high worker operates a municipal vehicle.

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8 CN ON: Municipalities Eye Workplace Pot PoliciesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Observer, The (CN ON) Author:Simpson, Barbara Area:Ontario Lines:97 Added:05/24/2017

With Canada ready to legalize marijuana by next July, Ontario municipalities are ablaze with activity prepping for the impacts of that move - including in the workplace.

The County of Lambton recently held a training session for its 75 managers about marijuana and workplace safety. Among the chief municipal concerns around legalization include the potential for workers to believe it's legal for them to smoke marijuana on municipal property, as well as the potential for impaired driving if a high worker operates a municipal vehicle.

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9Canada: Legalized Pot 'In The Spirit' Of Treaties Targeting MarijuanaSat, 20 May 2017
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Kirkup, Kristy Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2017

OTTAWA - A former Liberal cabinet minister who led a federally appointed task force on legalizing cannabis says Canada's plan to green light the drug for recreational use is in keeping with the spirit of international treaties - all of which criminalize the possession and production of marijuana.

It will be up to the government to make the case in relation to the treaties, Anne McLellan said Friday.

"We believe, as a task force, that we are, at least, in the spirit of those treaties," she said. "Those treaties talk to the protection of youth and young people, keeping young people out of criminal situations. They speak to fairness and justice and they speak to public health."

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10CN BC: For Cannabis Crusader, Time To Call It A DaySun, 21 May 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Watts, Richard Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2017

With major marijuana changes in the air, Ted Smith says moment is right to bow out

Ted Smith, Victoria's longtime cannabis crusader, is calling an end to his activist career.

On Saturday, the 47-year-old got together with friends in Beacon Hill Park to offer thanks, share memories and, of course, enjoy a few joints.

The time, 4:20 p.m. - once a release time from high school detentions - - was selected in remembrance of past misadventures with the rules.

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11 CN BC: Richard's Rant Is Over Aids Activist DiesSat, 20 May 2017
Source:Daily Courier, The (CN BC) Author:Plant, Don Area:British Columbia Lines:75 Added:05/24/2017

Richard's rant is over. Richard Babcock, the tell-it-like-it-is AIDS activist who started the Okanagan's first compassion club, was penniless and living in a storage locker shortly before he died of pneumonia last month. He was 57. He chose to buy a vehicle instead of pay rent so he could get to his doctors' appointments, said his sister, Melody Kelly.

As a young man in the '90s, Babcock visited prostitutes and used needles to inject the cocaine he craved. Soon after he was diagnosed with AIDS, he became clean and started advocating for others afflicted with the disease. He could be abrasive, but at his core he was "just another human being - not as self-centred or as ignorant as I was," he said in a 2005 interview.

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12 CN MB: Don't Sell Pot, Booze Together: MGEUWed, 17 May 2017
Source:Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB) Author:Kusch, Larry Area:Manitoba Lines:94 Added:05/20/2017

WHEN marijuana is legalized in Canada, it should be sold in standalone publicly operated stores, the head of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU) says.

Michelle Gawronsky said the union believes that Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corp. should be responsible for selling cannabis products, but that marijuana not be marketed in booze stores.

"You don't want to be selling the two together. You want to be socially responsible. That's the whole idea here," she said following a public hearing on Bill 25, The Cannabis Harm Protection Act.

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13Canada: Veterans Affairs' Pot Tab Hit $44.5 MillionWed, 17 May 2017
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Freeman, Sunny Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:05/20/2017

AGRICULTURE * MedReleaf was top beneficiary, documents show

Veterans Affairs paid out $44.5 million for medical marijuana expenses in the year before Ottawa cracked down on soaring reimbursement costs - - more than three times what it covered in the prior two years combined.

The department covered 3.7 million grams of marijuana at an average cost of $12.01 per gram from October 2015 to September 2016 - 30 per cent higher than what it considers market value.

The cost breakdown was included in documents released under an access-to-information request ahead of a Veterans Affairs policy change this month that will significantly reduce the amount of medical marijuana eligible for reimbursement.

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14 US: Unity Was Emerging On Sentencing, Then Came SessionsMon, 15 May 2017
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Hulse, Carl Area:United States Lines:128 Added:05/20/2017

WASHINGTON - As a senator, Jeff Sessions was such a conservative outlier on criminal justice issues that he pushed other Republicans to the forefront of his campaign to block a sentencing overhaul, figuring they would be taken more seriously.

Now Mr. Sessions is attorney general and need not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to imposing his ultratough-on-crime views. The effect of his transition from being just one of 535 in Congress to being top dog at the Justice Department was underscored on Friday when he ordered federal prosecutors to make sure they threw the book at criminal defendants and pursued the toughest penalties possible.

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15 US: Mixed Grades For A Scrapped Drug PolicyMon, 15 May 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Reinhard, Beth Area:United States Lines:117 Added:05/20/2017

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week jettisoned an Obama administration policy that had been aimed at sparing less-serious drug offenders from harsh sentences, he called his new, more aggressive approach "moral and just."

But the verdict among law-enforcement and legal professionals is more mixed. Government data, along with interviews with former U.S. attorneys who advised the Justice Department under President Barack Obama, suggest the previous policy achieved several, though not all, of its goals.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced the policy that was to be embodied in what became known as the "Holder memo" in a 2013 speech to the American Bar Association. Mr. Holder pledged that federal prosecutors would focus on more dangerous drug traffickers and avoid charging less-serious offenders with crimes that required long, mandatory-minimum sentences. Mandatory-minimum sentences, he said, had led to bloated, costly prisons and disproportionately ravaged minority communities.

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16 CN BC: CNV Slams Lid On Pot ShopsWed, 17 May 2017
Source:North Shore News (CN BC) Author:Shepherd, Jeremy Area:British Columbia Lines:57 Added:05/20/2017

Weeds Glass gets business licence plucked

Marijuana shops in the City of North Vancouver are in a green and grey legal area.

Council revealed a closed-session decision to deny business licences to Weeds Glass and Gifts on Marine Drive as well as LotusLand Cannabis Club on East Second Street at a May 8 council meeting.

Both of the rejected licenses included requests for medical and recreational marijuana.

"These companies could have waited until the federal government and the provincial government decided what they're going to do and how they're going to do it," explained

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17 CN ON: Many Teens Get Into Cars With Impaired DriversThu, 18 May 2017
Source:Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON) Author:Weidner, Johanna Area:Ontario Lines:66 Added:05/20/2017

One in three high school students reports riding with a driver who has been drinking and one in five got in a car with a driver that consumed marijuana, according to a new University of Waterloo study.

Half of all students in Grades 11 and 12 admitted to at least one risky behaviour, either driving after drinking or using marijuana or being a passenger in the car of an impaired driver.

"For half of kids to be putting themselves in that kind of risk seems really high," said Leia Minaker, lead author on the paper and an assistant professor at Waterloo.

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18 US: Tests Show More American Workers Using DrugsWed, 17 May 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Weber, Lauren Area:United States Lines:84 Added:05/20/2017

More U.S. workers are testing positive for illicit drugs than at any time in the last 12 years, according to data coming out today from Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the largest workplace-testing labs in the nation.

The number of workers who tested positive for marijuana rose by 4%, while positive results for other drugs also rose. The increases come against a backdrop of more liberal marijuana state laws and an apparent resurgence in the use of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.

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19 CN BC: Fentanyl Test Boosts Dose-Reduction RateMon, 15 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Woo, Andrea Area:British Columbia Lines:84 Added:05/19/2017

A pilot project operated by Vancouver Coastal Health has found success with a simple detection strip for the notorious opioid

Drug users who test their drugs and discover fentanyl are 10 times more likely to reduce their dose, raising the possibility that making such tests widely available could reduce overdoses.

That is one finding of a drug checking pilot project at Insite, Vancouver's supervised-injection site, operated by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). Launched last July, the initiative offers drug users the option of testing their drugs for fentanyl using a simple test strip, which produces results in seconds.

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20 CN BC: Cannabis May Help Wean People Off Crack, Study FindsTue, 16 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:92 Added:05/19/2017

Cannabis has been identified as a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, but a new Vancouver-based study shows the drug may also help reduce people's cravings for another highly addictive substance: crack cocaine.

Scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use tracked 122 people who consumed crack in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside over a three-year period and found they reported using that drug less frequently when they opted to also consume cannabis.

"We're not saying that these results mean everyone will be able to smoke a joint and forget the fact that they are dependent on crack," said M.J. Milloy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the centre and senior author of the study. "What our findings do suggest is that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people.

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