Re: "Police say they're not ready for pot-smoking drivers" (Montreal
Gazette, Sept. 9)
The Quebec government has known for some time that the legalization of
recreational marijuana was coming, and yet it finds itself with its
back against the wall. It has launched a public consultation process,
but when I went on the site, it seemed overly complex. This is not
rocket science. Existing laws that deal with tobacco, alcohol and
impaired driving should extend to marijuana - including age
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It's the worst possible provincial legalization plan: Ontario's
Liberal government has announced a state monopoly on the sale of legal
nonmedical cannabis, combined with a massive crackdown on the existing
Legalization wasn't supposed to be like this. Canadians increasingly
supported ending cannabis criminalization after watching billions of
tax dollars wasted by law enforcement going after peaceful people for
Marijuana has been grown and consumed in Canada for decades without
any measurable negative impact on the health and safety of society. In
fact, the impact has been more positive than negative, especially for
sick and suffering citizens.
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It's difficult to analyze the impact of Ottawa's coming marijuana
legislation with studies and numbers and examinations of other
This is the type of social legislation that sparks emotions that can't
be allayed with pie charts.
There are many thousands, if not millions, of Canadian parents worried
this will make it easier for their children to find pot.
On the other hand, an untold number of parents are likely to spark one
up tonight to relax after the kids head to bed.
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Provincial plan on selling pot is silent on the issue of
cannabis-infused food products
Ontario deserves some credit for forging ahead with guidelines for its
legal marijuana distribution system, but the province's plan is filled
with ambiguities and unknowns.
Ontario is the first province to define how it intends to sell
nonmedicinal marijuana to the public. About 150 stores across the
province will be operated by a division of the Liquor Control Board of
Marijuana won't be sold alongside wine or liquor, but in separate
stores, as was recommended by a parliamentary committee earlier this
[continues 671 words]
MANITOBA - Public Insurance announced a new public education campaign
against drug-impaired driving on Thursday, with a focus on cannabis
ahead of the expected legalization of that substance next year.
The campaign, launched in co-operation with Mothers Against Drunk
Driving Canada, will include messaging focused on new teen drivers,
youth in general, the medical community and the general public, with
taglines such as "Think you're a better driver when you're high? Think
MPI chief administrative officer Ward Keith said the campaign was
developed in response to "a number of things that are lining up to
give us real concerns about the risk of cannabis-impaired driving"
[continues 397 words]
The B.C. government plans to consult with police, local governments
and the public before deciding how to sell and distribute recreational
marijuana once the federal government legalizes pot next summer.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told reporters Thursday that "all
options are on the table," including selling marijuana through
government liquor stores. "We have not made any decisions about that,"
Farnworth said the government intends to gather suggestions on ways to
sell and distribute marijuana, as well as on the appropriate age limit
for purchasing it.
[continues 556 words]
Provinces still looking for more direction from federal government
B.C.'s top cop says the province remains undecided on how it will tax,
distribute and regulate the use of marijuana once the federal
government legalizes it next summer.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he hopes to hear more ideas from
his provincial and federal counterparts Friday as they continue a
meeting in Vancouver. Ottawa intends to legalize pot within 10 months,
forcing the provinces to develop their own rules.
"It's certainly a challenging deadline, not just for British Columbia
but all provinces, and I think both ministers and premiers have been
saying that to the federal government," Farnworth said Thursday. "We
know it is a challenge in B.C., but one we're working toward."
[continues 567 words]
Cannabis retailers waiting to learn fate
Like a vignette of small-town life, a laid-back shopkeeper sits at a
yellow table beside the unlocked bicycle leaning against the
storefront, smiles, puts down his coffee mug and greets a customer by
"Hey Fred, how ya doing?" Jeremy Jacob said to his visitor Thursday,
welcoming his old friend into the shop.
Jacob and his wife Andrea Dobbs run a family business in Kitsilano, a
bright, airy space where a loud waterfall rushes outside, dozens of
cannabis products line the shelves inside, and a Pomeranian named Lego
lounges on the ground.
[continues 743 words]
Municipalities make pitch at Health Canada hearings
Canada's cities don't want Ottawa or the provinces to pass the costs
of dealing with marijuana legalization onto them.
Winnipeg councillors and president of the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities (FCM) Jenny Gerbasi said municipalities are worried
about the cost to get ready for the new regime.
"Our cities and communities are where cannabis will actually be used
and sold and we have to adapt bylaws, programs, policies," she said.
The FCM will present to the House of Commons Committee studying the
marijuana legalization bill on Friday. Dozens of groups have been
presenting to the committee this week, including dispensary owners,
medical users, police agencies and public health departments.
[continues 252 words]
TELLING IT LIKE IT is, the Ontario government's plans for dealing with
legalized marijuana are nothing short of a cash grab, coupled with
some pandering to the public sector unions Kathleen Wynne hopes will
win her votes among a group responsible for acting against the public
Never mind talk about preventing kids from getting weed - that will
continue as it always has - the decision to have the LCBO oversee
sales is purely about Queen's Park cashing in on the federal
government's dubious look-how-hip-we-are policies.
[continues 455 words]
Province turns to citizens for consultation on how marijuana should be
sold in Saskatchewan
Love it or hate it, legislation that legalizes pot in Canada is
The provincial government launched a survey last week, seeking the
public's response to questions ranging from where and how marijuana
should be sold, to a minimum age for users, and priorities when it
comes to enforcement and education. These are some of the top concerns
for users, sellers, legislators, and law enforcement alike.
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I cannot be the only one who feels the world is a little upside-down
after Wednesday's hearings on marijuana held by the House of Commons
standing committee on health. The day's proceedings were essentially
broken into two parts. First, high-ranking Canadian police came before
the committee to complain that they didn't have the technical
resources or the training to deal with legalized marijuana. They
pleaded for the passage of the Liberals' Cannabis Act to be delayed.
[continues 495 words]
Associations want zero-tolerance policy for professional drivers
regarding pot use
Canada's trucking industry is challenging the federal government over
standards for marijuana impairment, arguing companies should be able
to set zero-tolerance policies because of the safety consequences
involved for professional drivers.
"(Professional drivers) are sharing their workplace with the public,
so the standards they're required to meet should be higher than the
average person operating a passenger vehicle because the consequences
of them being impaired (are higher)," said Louise Yako, CEO of the
B.C. Trucking Association.
[continues 456 words]
Government, business community and advocacy groups have varied
As the deadline for the federal government's move to legalize
marijuana in July 2018 approaches, users, stakeholders, business
people and politicians involved in the matter offer a variety of concerns.
Hank Merchant, CEO of HBB Medical, a medical marijuana dispensary,
welcomes the introduction of guidelines and regulations on the sale of
marijuana, "because there are people who have no qualms about
operating outside the law."
"We, as medical marijuana dispensaries, don't do that," Merchant
[continues 1044 words]
As Canada looks to legalize marijuana by 2018, companies are starting
to develop cannabis-tourism business plans
Canada's red-and-white tourism branding could turn a shade greener in
the coming years with the legalization of recreational marijuana
opening the door to cannabis-based travel businesses across the country.
Federal legislation for recreational use is still a year away, and
many legal question marks surrounding advertising and distribution
remain, even with the government of Ontario clarifying some rules
around marijuana sales on Sept. 8. Nonetheless, companies in the
cannabis sector are starting to develop tourism business plans,
dreaming up everything from winery-style grow-op tours to
weed-and-yoga retreats in the Rocky Mountains.
[continues 866 words]
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Canada's public safety minister says the federal
government is anxious to legalize marijuana by next summer despite
police services saying there's zero chance they'll be ready.
Ralph Goodale said Wednesday the Liberals just announced $274 million
over the next five years to help with police training and fight the
involvement of organized crime.
On Tuesday, police from Ontario, Saskatoon and the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police told the Commons health committee that
they need more time. They say they require an extra six months to a
year for proper police training and public education - without which
organized crime will flourish.
[continues 471 words]
When police tell them to "slow down," good citizens comply. Not so the
federal government, which is ignoring a very reasonable call from
Canada's police services to slow down on its overly ambitious plan to
legalize recreational marijuana as of next July 1.
The plea from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario
Provincial Police and Saskatoon Police Services was delivered Tuesday
to the House of Commons health committee, which is studying the
federal legislation that will legalize cannabis.
[continues 417 words]
OTTAWA - Youth health experts are warning the federal government that
its push to legalize recreational cannabis should be accompanied by
extensive public-education and prevention campaigns that spell out the
serious risks of pot consumption on adolescent brains.
Parliamentarians heard this message numerous times Wednesday during a
House of Commons committee hearing to study the Trudeau government's
legislation to legalize marijuana.
Ottawa plans to legalize cannabis for adults 18 and older within 10
months, but some provinces and police services have warned the federal
timeline is far too tight for them to properly prepare for such a
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As marijuana legalization looms, let's remind lawmakers that the focus
must be on public health, not criminal justice
Twenty-year-old me can't believe 40-year-old me has come to this,
sending out a warning call about the dangers of marijuana. There is
more than a fragrant whiff of do as I say, not as I did about this
But 40-year-old me has seen things 20-year-old me hadn't, such as
people around me coping with addiction and mental illness. So I'm here
to be a wet blanket: As legalization approaches, let's focus on
(spoiler alert, old-lady phrase) our young people.
[continues 680 words]