The costs and benefits of cannabis and cannabis policies are difficult
to calculate, but cannabis legalization will remove many impediments
A recent study finding an association between chronic cannabis use by
young people and diminished life outcomes acknowledged "while we
controlled for multiple potential confounds, it is possible that there
are other explanatory mechanisms that have not been accounted for ...
in the current study."
Oddly, one of the confounds the study neglected to control for is the
self-medication of emotional and psychological problems such as ADHD
and PTSD, which typically stem from childhood trauma: abuse, neglect,
abandonment or, in some cases perhaps, an emotionally unavailable father.
[continues 86 words]
In 2012, Washington State voted to legalize marijuana. By 2014, the
world's first system for legally growing, processing and retailing
cannabis was operating.
As Canada prepares to go live with pot sales in a few months, what can
we learn from four years of practical, hands-on experience in the
western United States?
The first take-away is that all the fretting about the impact on
children and teens is largely unwarranted.
Before legalization, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students in Washington
State said they had smoked pot in the previous month. Four years of
legal doobies later, 17 per cent of Grade 10 students say they have
smoked pot in the previous month.
[continues 663 words]
Manitoba's Justice Minister is calling for federal legislation to
confirm that provinces can ban the home growth of marijuana plants.
"I think that is clear that is provincial jurisdiction to make that
decision. (But) I believe the federal (Justice) Minister made some
comments that were a little concerning, so we wanted clarification on
that," said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, following a speech to
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce members on cannabis legislation
Thursday. "We've called (for) some clarification from the federal
government. If they could put it specifically in legislation, that
would be best."
[continues 341 words]
People who have post-traumatic stress disorder but do not medicate
with cannabis are far more likely to suffer from severe depression and
have suicidal thoughts than those who use marijuana, new national
Based on cross-country data from Statistics Canada, the observational
study by researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Substance Use
shows that Canadians with PTSD who use medicinal cannabis are 60 per
cent to 65 per cent less likely to have major depressive episodes or
thoughts of suicide compared with those who do not treat their
symptoms with medical marijuana. The study is the first national-scale
indication of the effectiveness of cannabis at mitigating the hallmark
symptoms of PTSD. It was presented on Thursday at the annual
conference of the Canadian Public Health Association in Montreal.
[continues 486 words]
The government's leader in the Senate, Peter Harder, slammed the
committee's removal of the provision
OTTAWA - In a controversial move that may set up another showdown with
the House of Commons, a Senate committee voted on Wednesday night to
remove random alcohol testing from the government's impaired driving
The provision would allow police to demand a breathalyzer test from
any driver regardless of whether police had reasonable grounds to
believe the driver had consumed alcohol. Currently police need that
reasonable suspicion to make the breathalyzer demand, which drivers
are punished for refusing.
[continues 625 words]
Open letter sent to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and
her B.C. counterpart David Eby
Jessika Villano sells a potent array of dried cannabis, oils, salves
and even bud-infused bath bombs at Buddha Barn Medicinal Society - all
grown and processed by small-scale British Columbia producers.
Villano doesn't want that to change when marijuana is legalized later
this year, and she's among the proponents of local craft cannabis who
are pushing the federal and provincial governments to ensure its survival.
[continues 600 words]
Edmonton police will need about $1.4 million in ongoing and one-time
funding to prepare for marijuana legalization this summer, a report to
the police commission states.
Cannabis is set to become legal in Canada this summer and with it
comes higher policing costs, the Edmonton Police Commission heard Thursday.
Police officials outlined a laundry list of new technology and
training needed to enforce legal weed laws. Last month, the city
approved $1.4 million in one-time and ongoing funding to help the
police service deal with the impact of legal weed.
[continues 538 words]
Researchers have long been intrigued by the intoxicating effects of
the world's most popular illicit drug. Here's how pot affects your
body and mind
When neurologist Frances Ames began testing the effects of a single
dose of cannabis sativa on a group of her medical colleagues who were,
on the whole, "articulate and fairly stable people," the onset of
abnormal sensations "was always abrupt and immediate." One was
sustained hilarity. "The whole idea of the experiment," Ames reported
in 1958 in the Journal of Mental Science, "would suddenly seem
enormously amusing." Researchers have long been intrigued by the
intoxicating effects of the world's most popular illicit drug. Here's
everything you need to know about how pot affects your body and mind.
[continues 1328 words]
Some time this summer, marijuana will be legal in Canada. It's
already legal in Washington state and has been for four years.
But Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth warned this week that
there's a significant problem looming at the border crossing,
because it's still going to be illegal there.
It makes no sense whatsoever, but the U.S. federal government controls
the border crossing, and marijuana is still nominally illegal in the
"People [meaning, cannabis users] are going to naturally assume, on
either side of the border, that they cross back and forth because
it's legal in each jurisdiction,a" told the house. "But the
reality is it will not be legal at that federal border crossing."
[continues 626 words]
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.
[continues 581 words]
Cannabis sales likely won't prove a financial bonanza.
Those counting on help from cannabis sales to balance the provincial
budget are in for a disappointment.
As far as Statistics Canada can tell, cannabis prices in this country
have been dropping for the past three years, perhaps the past dozen
years. Since weed-market watchers in the United States have found
roughly the same thing, it's probably true.
Canada's provincial treasurers, along with private investors in the
cannabis trade, may still be able to turn a profit, but the bonanza
that used to beckon has probably evaporated already.
[continues 618 words]
OTTAWA - A Senate committee says Ottawa should put off legalizing
marijuana for a year until Canada and First Nations can negotiate tax
sharing, produce culturally appropriate education materials and ensure
First Nations are able to regulate for themselves whether they want
pot to be legal in their communities or not.
The Senate Aboriginal Peoples committee released a report Tuesday
after studying the impact the government's legalizing pot bill could
have on Indigenous communities.
While Ottawa plans to make pot legal sometime this summer, the
committee says Indigenous
[continues 320 words]
We are already seeing construction workers smoking during their
breaks, one industry rep said at a gathering
Contractors, building owners and construction company owners say they
are worried about the repercussions of the imminent legalization of
cannabis and think there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
The Corporation des proprietaires immobiliers du Quebec, the
Association des professionnels de la construction et de l'habitation
(APCHQ) and the province's two largest construction unions - the
FTQ-Construction and the Conseil Provincial - debated on Monday the
impact of the anticipated legalization during a summit of Quebec's
construction industry that took place in Montreal.
[continues 85 words]
Canada's real estate industry organization is calling for a
moratorium on growing recreational marijuana at home until the
government sets out nationwide regulations for the practice.
Ottawa's proposed marijuana legalization regulations allow Canadians
to grow up to four marijuana plants at their residences. Medical users
are already allowed to grow at home after a federal court ruled in
2016 that the government cannot ban patients from growing their own
However, the Canadian Real Estate Association said the ban it is
requesting applies to home cultivation for recreational users when
marijuana legalized later this year.
[continues 636 words]
The Senate seems determined to slow the Liberal government's timeline
for marijuana legalization and Justin Trudeau seems just as determined
to deliver his legalization on time - give or take a few weeks.
The prime minister will get his way, but that doesn't mean the Senate,
and Indigenous leaders, are not flagging some important issues.
Opposition Conservatives would like nothing more than to push the
rollout of legal recreational pot into an election year, the better to
take political advantage of the inevitable stumbles that will come
with such a momentous move.
[continues 649 words]
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't backing down from his
government's much-maligned timeline for legalizing marijuana, despite
a growing chorus of calls from senators, Indigenous leaders and others
to delay the plan for up to a year.
Trudeau says the plan to make recreational pot legal by this summer
will go ahead without delay.
"We're going to continue to move forward. We're going to bring in
legalization as we've committed to this summer on schedule," Trudeau
[continues 504 words]
Canada is squandering first-mover advantage with cannabis, the most
significant consumer product launch in history, at a time when our
economy is starving for growth.
How do you choke on $60 billion-plus of growth opportunity and
hundreds of thousands of purposeful jobs? You roll it into the hands
of the federal government, and they then shotgun it out to ten
provinces, three territories and all the bureaucrats and bulls* that
comes with this plan. There is no efficiency or scale.
[continues 355 words]
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.
[continues 1132 words]
The Liberal Party of Canada has voted in favour of removing criminal
penalties for the personal possession of drugs.
It's one of a number of policies that the party selected as
priorities at a convention in Halifax on Saturday (April 21).
Members also voted in favour of universal pharmacare, decriminalizing
consensual sex work, and expanding medicare to cover mental-health
A total of 15 policies were selected to become official party
However, a policy's status as a party priority does not mean that
party leaders have to include it in the document where it really
counts: the party's campaign platform for the next federal election.
[continues 495 words]
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."
[continues 275 words]