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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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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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.
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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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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
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Doctors who treat youth have serious concerns about the legalization
With universities and schools providing few details around strategies
for marijuana legalization, doctors who treat youth have serious
concerns about the inevitable increase in use and the impending
impacts of what can be a dangerous drug.
Dr. Chris Wilkes, Alberta Health Services head of child and adolescent
psychiatry, said educators "need to ramp it up" in terms of creating
environments to ensure safety and informing youths about the health
effects of marijuana.
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The decision isn't without controversy, but city council was wise to
ban the use of marijuana in public places.
When the federal government legalizes cannabis later this summer,
Calgarians won't be able to smoke, vape or eat products made with the
substance in public spaces, unless they're a medical marijuana user.
That's led critics of the decision to complain that people who live in
multi-family dwellings may not be able to use the drug.
"It's not an insignificant group of people - 36 per cent of Calgarians
are renters," Coun. Evan Woolley said when the restriction was being
discussed by council. "And effectively, we are saying there is no
space for you to consume cannabis, and that's a problem for me."
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VANCOUVER - A government prohibition against mixing cannabis and
caffeine makes little sense, say some research scientists. There is
only speculation that the combination might pose a risk.
The practice, so common in the legendary pot capital of Amsterdam that
cannabis dispensaries are called "coffee shops," appears unlikely to
be coming to Canada anytime soon.
"It seems like the overriding philosophy for a lot of this is: ban
anything that might be a concern," said M-J Milloy, research scientist
with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. "Then it's easier to un-ban
rather than trying to do it the other way around."
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On the eve of 4/20, CBC is hosting a panel to give kids and parents
the information they need before anyone tokes up.
Titled 4/19, the free evening event at Vancouver Technical secondary
hosted by CBC's Gloria Macarenko is aimed at informing teenagers and
their parents about the medical, social and legal impacts of cannabis
use for youth, with legalization in sight.
Experts range from youth workers and police officers to lawyers and
scientists, covering all aspects of this hazy issue.
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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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Veterinarian Katherine Kramer remembers an 18-year-old cat she
recommended be put on hemp-based cannabidoil (CBD).
"It had heart disease and pancreatitis so painful the traditional
amount of pain medication knocked him out and he had no quality of
life," says Kramer, a veterinarian at Vancouver Animal Wellness
Clinic. "So, I contacted the [medicinal marijuana] Compassion Club."
Kramer says with not much to lose, the owner agreed to work together
and very soon the cat was eating and playing again.
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When Justin Trudeau promised to legalize the use of recreational
marijuana, he no doubt felt it would be one of his easiest and most
rewarding tasks as Canada's new and uber-cool prime minister. He vowed
to make it a priority and change the laws within two years.
Fast-forward to last month, almost 2 1/2 years later, and Bill C-45,
to legalize cannabis, faced an unexpected pushback from a Senate that
threatened to send it packing. Trudeau took this chance to warn his
supposedly independent senators that their job description didn't call
for them to defeat bills proposed by the very government that had
bestowed upon them their most honourable appointments.
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OTTAWA - Last month, at a city council meeting in Kelowna, B.C., the
ranking RCMP officer was giving his quarterly update on policing when
a councillor posed a question about marijuana.
"I know that when I go out for the evening, I can have a beer, and I
know the alcohol content in that beer," said Coun. Ryan Donn. "I know
that one would be a good limit for myself to have before getting in a
car and driving.
"When I think about cannabis, I really, truly have no idea," he went
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Nelson Police executed a search warrant on a downtown medical
marijuana dispensary and arrested five employees.
Five employees at MMJ marijuana dispensary, 752 Vernon Street, were
taken into custody Tuesday morning, March 20, without incident.
Charges against the employees are pending, said a release from NPD
Chief Constable Paul Burkart, adding that all five were released from
custody Tuesday afternoon.
Until charges are formally laid, Burkart said the NPD will be making
no further comment as the investigation is ongoing. A further update
can be expected in the next week.
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The legalization of pot may be looming but that doesn't mean police
are backing off their crackdown on the "grey" marijuana market.
Most recently, RCMP in Colchester County raided the Community
Compassion Centre in Bible Hill. They seized cash, marijuana,
marijuana derivatives and drug paraphernalia, and charged Ricky Joseph
Leclerc, 51, of Upper Kennetcook.
He's scheduled to appear in Nova Scotia provincial court
"The RCMP will continue to work within the existing legislation under
the Controlled Drug and Substances Act," RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal
Hutchinson said Monday in an email. "If we determine that there is a
violation of the legislation, we will take appropriate action."
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