Some remain skeptical the proposed Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) will
achieve one of its primary objectives: protecting youth from
cannabis-related harms. Some feel the minimum age should be higher
than the minimum age for alcohol, worried that those under 25 seem
more vulnerable to dependence and health problems linked to long-term,
Critics of the proposed minimum age may be overlooking another primary
objective: displacing the black-market. Young adults aged 18 to 24
represent one third of the market. The act attempts to strike a
balance between keeping marijuana away from minors and cash away from
[continues 629 words]
A week after telling two interviewers her support for legalizing
recreational use of marijuana in New York was revenue-based,
Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon said Wednesday that
it's now foremost a racial justice issue for her.
The "Sex and the City" star posted a 90-second video on YouTube in
which she stated that it's time New York joined eight other states and
the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
"There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me,
it comes down to this: we have to stop putting people of color in jail
for something that white people do with impunity," Nixon said.
[continues 466 words]
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Anne Armstrong, 58, knows exactly how many joints
she has smoked at Providence's Roger Williams National Memorial --
153, all rolled with "kosher" marijuana harvested in the backyard of
her West Greenwich home.
As "deaconess" to The Healing Church, a cannabis-centered Catholic
sect that boasts about a dozen members, Armstrong believes smoking in
the park is a religious obligation, the equivalent to a sip of wine at
Anointing members with hashish-infused oil and blowing a shofar so it
billows marijuana smoke are, likewise, ceremonial duties. (It should
be noted that Armstrong refuses to use the word marijuana, which she
calls racist slang. She prefers to refer to the plant as cannabis,
spice, or hemp.)
[continues 1313 words]
In just the first day of accepting preliminary applications, the
Cannabis Control Commission said 23 companies and entrepreneurs had
submitted requests for expedited licensing, and another 167 were in
the process after the agency launched its online licensing system Monday.
"Yesterday was a seminal day in the thus-far-brief history of the
commission," said Steve Hoffman, the agency's chairman. "There were
probably a large number of people that didn't think we'd be ready on
April 2 to start accepting applications," but the agency's regulations
were in place on time last month and its system worked smoothly, he
[continues 500 words]
On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of
a computer mouse by a state technology contractor.
With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot
use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses
to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.
The behind-the-scenes milestone will not have an immediate impact on
consumers. But it does mark the beginning of a process that regulators
expect will lead to the debut of recreational pot sales in July.
[continues 658 words]
President Trump's proposal to invoke the death penalty for drug
traffickers is an idea that is, in the practical scheme of things,
unworkable. It is also probably unconstitutional and obviously
simplistic. It is a gimmick, not a policy.
We need a policy.
The president likes dramatic gestures for difficult problems - a ban
on all potential terrorists, a big wall next to Mexico, a 25-percent
tariff on steel. This is not an altogether bad instinct. We need
strong, decisive leaders and criminals need to fear punishment.
[continues 438 words]
WASHINGTON - President Trump's plan to use the death penalty on drug
dealers has all the hallmarks of his favorite policies: It could fit
on the front of a baseball cap. It is a proven applause line. It
appeals to a conservative base.
But, like so many of Trump's slogans-turned-policy, it's dredged from
a bygone era and lacks clear evidence showing it would be effective.
Using an obscure federal provision to bring capital cases against
dealers, the concept that Trump enthusiastically backed during a visit
to New Hampshire this week, fits within the framework of some of his
other cornerstone ideas: Build the wall, Launch trade wars, Arm
teachers. To some critics in the mainstream, though, the ideas are
impractical, imprecise, or just dangerous.
[continues 1074 words]
OAKLAND, Calif. - When officers burst into Rickey McCullough's
two-story home in Oakland a decade ago they noted a "strong fresh odor
of marijuana." Mr. McCullough had been growing large amounts of
marijuana illegally, the police said. He was arrested and spent a
month in jail.
A few weeks ago the city of Oakland, now promoting itself as a hub for
marijuana entrepreneurs, awarded Mr. McCullough, 33, a license to sell
marijuana and the prospect of interest-free loans.
Four hundred miles to the south, in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton,
Virgil Grant, 50, straddles the same two worlds, but with a different
outcome. He was a marijuana dealer in the 1990s whose customers are
said to have included rap stars like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac,
and he spent more than eight years in prison on marijuana convictions.
But his vision of starting a marijuana dispensary in his hometown was
dashed in January when the residents of Compton voted decisively to
ban marijuana businesses from city limits.
[continues 1415 words]
Philadelphia is evolving into a safe haven for cannabis consumers even
as arrests increase across Pennsylvania. Newly-elected District
Attorney Larry Krasner announced Thursday that he would drop any
marijuana possession cases brought to the court by police.
A 2014 decriminalization ordinance allowing tickets caused common weed
arrests to decline by more than 85 percent. Still, I reported last
year that hundreds of racially disparate cases were still being
brought to Philly courts each year for less than 30 grams of buds.
[continues 639 words]
Pot is hot for Maryland lawmakers in Annapolis this year.
The General Assembly is considering more than two dozen bills on
marijuana -- or cannabis, as the substance is called when used as a
For marijuana enthusiasts, full legalization for recreational purposes
is at the top of the wish list. Bills in both the House and the Senate
would put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to let
voters decide whether to replace prohibition with a system of
regulated sales and taxation.
[continues 767 words]
Protesters carrying signs saying "Injustice is fatal!" laid dozens of
white carnations next to a coffin on the steps of Montreal City Hall
Tuesday, each representing a life lost to a drugoverdose.
A coalition of community groups, crisis workers, activists and drug
users held a demonstration demanding the government repeal drug laws
that marginalize drug users.
They also held a moment of silence - joining several vigils held
simultaneously across Canada. The opioid crisis claimed nearly 3,000
lives in 2016, and the estimated death toll last year is pegged at
[continues 426 words]
If, five years ago, someone had asked me how I felt about cannabis,
I'd assume they were a cop. Even the term "marijuana" - a word
believed to be brought to the United States by Mexican migrant workers
before the Prohibition era, which was later used to promote racist
anti-pot messaging - was a red flag to discreet and casual users such
Weed, cheeba, ganja, sticky-icky, dank nugs - terms the community has
appropriated from Rastafarians, West Coast hippies, rappers and Indian
yogis: These are the words that would have communicated familiarity
and, therefore, acceptance of the habit. But what do you call it now
that Canada has developed a sophisticated legal medical program and is
close to passing its recreational cannabis legislation? Well, from
black-market producers to young workers in illegal dispensaries to the
burgeoning, optimistic legal industry: We've all agreed to say cannabis.
[continues 1184 words]
The ongoing effort in the Senate to derail the passage of the Liberal
government's bill to legalize marijuana is not an exercise in sober
second thought, as its Conservative proponents claim, but an attempt
to obstruct democracy. The Trudeau government should use the tools at
its disposal to push this important legislation through the Upper House.
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and C-46, which would tighten rules on
impaired driving related to marijuana use, have been before the Senate
since the Commons passed them in late November. And they may languish
there forever if the government does not invoke so-called time
allocation, a tool for curtailing debate that the Liberals have
[continues 491 words]
An unusual aspect of Canada's soon-to-be-legal cannabis market is that
the activists who led the legalization movement may find themselves
excluded from the industry for which their efforts paved the way.
Vancouver activists like Jodie and Marc Emery and dispensary pioneer
Don Briere, for example, have criminal records for possessing and
selling marijuana. Now those criminal records could be used against
them in federal and provincial licensing systems that are under
development to decide who gets to cultivate and sell recreational cannabis.
[continues 769 words]
B.C. has announced $20 million over three years for First Nations
communities struggling with the drug-overdose crisis that's
disproportionately affecting Indigenous communities.
The funding will be administered by the First Nations Health
Authority, which delivers services in partnership with First Nations
communities. It is part of $322 million announced in last September's
About 1,400 people died of illicit drug overdoses in the province last
year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.
Indigenous people are five times more likely to experience an overdose
than the general population and die at a rate three times greater,
said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions.
[continues 426 words]
"Entrepreneurial" is one of the terms used to describe a bunch of
Canadian bootleggers who found varying success in the illicit running
of alcohol to the U.S. about a century ago.
They are portrayed as swashbuckling adventurers who dared to defy laws
that banned alcohol, laws that in retrospect were not only archaic but
perhaps misplaced and costly. They are fondly posited as cheeky and
rebellious, the forerunners of a liberal era of alcohol-infused pleasures.
It was legal in Canada to produce alcohol - prohibition was lifted by
the 1920s - while Americans still faced a ban. That illicit trade was
the building blocks on which Canadian distilleries, the suppliers of
that booze, made a fortune. The histories of the Bronfman family (who
owned Seagram) and the Corbys, among others, are just a Google search
[continues 724 words]
Lawyers contemplate class action to push government into cannabis
OTTAWA - At Anthony Morgan's law office, the calls keep coming:
Parents of young black men hoping their son's marijuana possession
charge will be wiped clean when the country legalizes the drug this
The Liberal government has talked about granting amnesty for past
marijuana crimes, but isn't likely to move until after the new
cannabis regime comes into effect this summer.
For black communities across the country, that's not soon enough - and
frustrated lawyers in Toronto are now considering lighting a fire
under the feds with a class-action lawsuit.
[continues 796 words]
Sometimes so little is going through my head that if Ralph were to say
something, I'd actually have room to listen to him.
Those few times that's happened also seems to be my week to write an
article which then leaves me scrambling.
Other times, I start the article only to be sideswiped by some event
making me set it aside and start over. Such as todays.
I am an old fogey when it comes to the decriminalization of
[continues 777 words]
When California voters legalized recreational weed in 2016, they made
the law retroactive, allowing residents to petition to overturn or
reduce old convictions for possession, cultivation and distribution of
But it is a difficult and expensive legal procedure, advocates say,
and many people are not even aware they are now eligible to clean up
their records. State courts received 4,885 petitions in the first 11
months after Proposition 64 passed, while the pro-legalization Drug
Policy Alliance found more than 460,000 arrests for marijuana offenses
between 2006 and 2015 alone.
[continues 275 words]
Group to ask about opioid crisis at town hall
Edmontonians will line up at MacEwan University on Thursday in hopes
of getting face time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Moms Stop the Harm, a group of parents who have lost children to drug
overdoses, plans to have 10 to 15 members at the town hall to
challenge the PM on the opioid crisis.
"It's very upsetting for us how silent he has been on this issue,"
said group member Petra Schulz. "There are thousands of Canadian
families like ours that are mourning the loss of a loved one, and the
prime minister has not even spoken on the issue in the house."
[continues 310 words]