For the past few days I have been listening to, and reading about the
80 recommendations made by the marijuana legalization task force,
headed up by Anne McMillan, a former Liberal justice minister.
Some of the recommendations include: an age for purchase restriction
of not less than 18 (not 21 as recommended by the Canadian Medical
Association); separate storefronts for tobacco, alcohol and pot
because, according to the committee, one addiction leads to another;
two separate bureaucracies for medical and recreational use; and money
is to be earmarked to fight addiction, underage use and for
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OTTAWA - It seems pretty clear Canada is going to fully legalize small
amounts of marijuana for recreational use in just a matter of months.
The marijuana task force reported its findings publicly this week,
recommending recreational use be legalized with certain limitations,
including how much can be grown or possessed at a time and where it
can be sold. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Tuesday plans
are in place to introduce legislation for legalization in spring 2017.
There is no indication the government is going to put the train back
in the station on this one.
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Issues 80 recommendations for upcoming Liberal law
OTTAWA - A federal task force on legalized recreational marijuana says
it should be sold to Canadians over the age of 18 in storefronts or by
mail, but not in the same places as liquor or cigarettes.
The task force, headed by former Liberal health minister Anne
McLellan, was asked to consult with communities and experts and report
back to the government with a framework on how pot should be
legalized. The government is preparing legislation to be introduced in
the spring. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize pot
during the 2015 election.
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Parents need to realize addiction knows no demographic boundaries
THERE are many ways a parent can lose a child to drugs. They might
overdose and die. They might get lost to addiction, which is a kind of
death. Or they might be killed by drug-related violence - such as
Cooper Nemeth, whose body was found in a recycling bin in February, or
TJ Wiebe, who was beaten, strangled and left to die in a field in 2003.
In February, I sat in Karen Wiebe's living room. We talked about TJ,
and what the Nemeth family was going through, trying to grieve while
also dealing with the justice system and the media. No one prepares
you for what happens when your child becomes a headline.
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MANITOBA - Premier Brian Pallister said the federal government should
delay introducing legislation to legalize marijuana until the
provinces are prepared to deal with its legal and social implications,
particularly drug-impaired driving.
Pallister heads to Ottawa Friday for a first ministers meeting between
premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau called the meeting
to discuss his climate change plan, and requirement for every province
to introduce a price on carbon, and the premiers are hoping to put
pressure on Trudeau over health-care transfers.
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TODAY marks World AIDS Day. We celebrate advances made in the fight
against HIV, look back on how far we've come and honour those we've
lost, while also looking to the future and what we have left to accomplish.
Last year, 102 people in Manitoba were diagnosed with HIV, joining
more than 1,250 living with HIV in the province and 78,000 across Canada.
Late diagnosis and limited access to services outside Winnipeg
continue to be challenges, but there are success stories. For example,
Manitoba has a relatively low rate of HIV among people who use drugs.
In 2014, 12 per cent of new HIV diagnoses in Manitoba could be traced
back to drug use, generally from sharing needles. The same year, the
number in Saskatchewan was 49 per cent.
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Opioid crisis draws attention to supervised drug-use sites, but
Manitoba's not interested - so far
A DECADE ago, fentanyl, the killer synthetic opioid that can be 100
times more potent than morphine, was a relatively unknown drug. Today,
it's everywhere - and it's at the heart of a national crisis claiming
the lives of hundreds of Canadians.
In Manitoba, at least two dozen people have died from opioid overdoses
in 2016, nine confirmed to be caused by or related to fentanyl. It's a
dangerous drug that many people don't even know they're taking: it's
often showing up in other illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
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Politicians, policy-makers discuss ways to prevent
OTTAWA - As people continue to die from overdoses, health experts,
policy-makers and grief-stricken family members brainstormed Friday on
a battle plan to take on Canada's opioid-abuse epidemic.
The federal government has been asked to declare the crisis a national
public health emergency.
"During the course of this conference alone... probably six or seven
Canadians will die from opioid overdose," Ontario Health Minister Eric
Hoskins said Friday. "That will happen again tomorrow and the day
after tomorrow. We have a tremendous responsibility as a country."
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Calls for national strategy heading into summit on illicit drugs
MANITOBA'S health minister is calling on the federal government to
stop the flow of powdered fentanyl from countries such as China.
"We need national strategies around that," Kelvin Goertzen said Monday
at a news conference to mark addictions awareness week.
The event, held before Friday's national opioid conference and summit
in Ottawa, included some of the province's leading addictions and
health officials and the mothers of two victims of fentanyl overdoses.
[continues 431 words]
Re: Marijuana strategy missing (Letters, Oct. 26)
I'm sure Malina Hedgecock means well, however, cannabis (marijuana)
prohibition must be put behind us. The majority of North Americans are
through with caging and punishing responsible adults who wish to use the
relatively safe, God-given plant. At this point, the strategy is to end
one of North America's worst policy failures in history as soon as possible.
It is commendable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ending cannabis
prohibition in Canada. Colorado successfully legalized cannabis for
adults, and every subsequent poll indicates Colorado citizens continue
supporting the end of cannabis prohibition.
There is every reason to believe that when Canada ends cannabis
prohibition, the majority will not look back with regret either.
Re: Grits' plan to legalize pot hazy: province (Oct.21).
I think marijuana should only be legalized for medicinal purposes and
not for recreational purposes. Therefore, I don't think marijuana
should be sold at provincial liquor stores, but should be provided at
hospitals when prescribed by a doctor or personal psychiatrists.
I find that marijuana is an unsafe substance and I think that people
impairing their train of thought and ability to comprehend what is
happening around them without consequences is dangerous.
I agree that Manitoba should work on a harm reduction strategy to
address dangers of marijuana and not just look into the revenue.
Two treatment programs closed
THE closure of two youth-treatment programs has raised concerns about
access to addictions treatment for young people involved in Manitoba's
criminal justice system.
The youth addiction and mental health treatment programs run by the
Behavioural Health Foundation closed permanently this spring because
of a lack of funding. The shuttering of the two programs - one in
Selkirk for boys and the other in St. Norbert for girls - was already
in the works when a Red River College student was brutally attacked by
two boys at the Selkirk facility during the final shift of her child
and youth care practicum last May.
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Task force to release report next month; Stefanson calls for
OTTAWA - The Manitoba government said Ottawa must provide more
information about its plans to legalize marijuana as soon as possible
because the provinces have work to do in order to implement the change.
Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said all her provincial
counterparts agreed at their recent meeting in Halifax they're going
to need details before legislation is introduced.
"We need to know what the framework is going to look like so we can
prepare," she said.
[continues 504 words]
HALIFAX - The federal government's plan to legalize marijuana has some
provincial politicians raising concerns about drug-impaired driving.
Three provincial justice ministers made a point of highlighting the
issue Friday at the conclusion of a meeting in Halifax between federal
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her provincial and
Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi was the first to bring it up
during a news conference, saying the province is also keen to ensure
there are measures to protect youth and focus on harm reduction.
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WINNIPEG police officers will soon join fire and paramedic emergency
workers in carrying the antidote to fentanyl overdoses.
Deputy police chief Danny Smyth confirmed to the Winnipeg Police Board
Friday they are working with health officials on how officers can
carry doses of Naloxone and administer it.
Smyth said one concern is the lifesaving drug can't be used in
temperatures lower than 4 C. According to various pharmaceutical
websites, the drug works at temperatures up to 25 C.
"We will have to figure out how officers will carry the drug," he
[continues 277 words]
It really makes my blood boil when I read about senseless deaths from
drug overdoses that were very likely behind the demise of the two men
recently found dead in their car.
Drug laws must change, as drug dealers are under no compulsion to
produce a pure product in a standard dosage, and they profit
handsomely from the sale of their adulterated wares. If drugs were
regulated and sold at cost to those with addictions, it would be
better for all concerned.
[continues 64 words]
Price, availability, addictiveness appeal to young people, police
THE city's youth are fuelling a surge in methamphetamine use because
it's a cheaper way to get a long-lasting high.
In fact, "because of its affordability, addictive nature and
accessibility, the methamphetamine user base in Winnipeg has increased
significantly over a few short years, allowing traffickers to
prosper," the Winnipeg Police Service said in a statement.
Sadly, both police and health officials don't expect the situation to
get better any time soon.
[continues 1087 words]
Justin Trudeau sits down with Free Press editor Paul Samyn to talk
about urgent legislation, First Nations, marijuana... and Stephen Harper
PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau sat down with Winnipeg Free Press editor
Paul Samyn for an exclusive interview Thursday.
The event, held at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe, was a fulfilment
of promise Trudeau had made to the newspaper.
"I was here a few years ago, and one of the promises I made - and it's
great when a politician can keep promises - was to come back," said
the casually dressed Trudeau.
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Alcohol consumption, gaming habits explored
AS the Trudeau government wrestles with keeping its promise to
legalize marijuana use, a new poll shows one in five Manitobans
indulges in pot smoking.
The Forum Research poll found Manitobans like booze and aren't into
casino-style gambling, while a low percentage use pot.
The random sampling of 1,140 Manitoba residents found 76 per cent had
consumed alcohol in the past year, 53 per cent had gambled and 18 per
cent had used marijuana.
[continues 669 words]
By this time next year, weed will be well on its way to becoming a
legal in Canada.
Next spring, the Trudeau government intends to introduce legislation
that will effectively legalize the production, distribution and sale
of marijuana and other cannabis products and eliminate penalties for
possession. Precisely what that involves will depend on regulations
that may take longer to put in place - whatever Ottawa decides will
require Canadian provinces and municipalities to make changes of their
Right now, the status of weed sits in a sort of limbo as law
enforcement agencies, governments and potential entrepreneurs watch
and wait to see what precisely winds up being proposed by federal
Health Minister Jane Philpott and parliamentary justice secretary Bill
Blair, the former Toronto police chief.
[continues 1549 words]