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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A third committee held a public hearing on a third recreational
marijuana bill Wednesday, despite a separate bill on the controversial
issue facing bipartisan opposition last week.
The legislation up for hearing in the appropriations committee
Wednesday, H.B. 5394, calls for developing a plan for the legalization
and regulation of cannabis. Unlike the two prior bills, the third
seeks to provide substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and
The bill would require the secretary of the Office of Policy and
Management to work with the chief state's attorney and the
commissioners of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Consumer
Protection and Revenue Services to develop the legalization and
regulation plan in "the most cost effective means."
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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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A provincial government commitment to provide $ 40 million to help
municipalities cover the costs of pot legalization is a starting
point, says Mayor Chris Friel.
But Friel remains critical of the Ontario government's approach to the
legalization of marijuana saying the increased law enforcement and
safety costs are just one part of the overall picture.
"I'd say that it's a starting point because right now no one really
knows what the extra costs will be," Friel said. "But again I ask:
where is the public consultation?
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Near the historic native village of Kitwancool in northern B.C., the
hereditary chief of the Gitanyow frog clan has his eye on an old
logging site that could be the perfect place to grow a new cash crop.
"It's already serviced with a power supply," said Will Marsden. "We
see an opportunity for our people to be employed in sustainable jobs
in our traditional territories."
Those jobs would be in the legal marijuana trade, coming soon to
British Columbia and the rest of Canada.
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New provincial funding to help police officers detect impaired drivers
is a good start, but Brockville's chief of police says they are still
being left with too many unanswered questions.
The province announced Friday it is "stepping up support for
municipalities and law enforcement to help ensure communities and
roads are safe in advance of the federal government's legalization of
This will be done, they said, by providing $40 million of its revenue
from the federal duty on recreational cannabis over two years to help
all municipalities with implementation costs related to the
legalization of cannabis.
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The provincial government will provide $40 million of its revenue from
the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over two years to
help municipalities with the costs of implementing
But municipalities have not yet received any more information about
what that will mean exactly.
The province has said that funding will be distributed to
municipalities on a per household basis with a minimum of $10,000 per
"We know municipalities will play a key role as the federal government
moves forward with the legalization of recreational cannabis. This is
why we engaged with municipalities early I the process," said Minister
of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro. "Our government respects the role of
municipalities in the legalization of cannabis and we know we can rely
on their valuable input as we continue to navigate this process together."
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The government of Ontario will give municipalities $40 million from
its share of federal marijuana taxes to help cover law enforcement and
safety costs associated with pot legalization, the province announced
The money - which will be provided to municipalities upfront,
beginning before legalization takes effect later this year - will come
from the first two years of federal excise duties on producers of
"This funding will ensure that Ontario's municipalities have dedicated
resources for cannabis enforcement," said Marie-France Lalonde,
minister of community safety and correctional services. "Ontario will
continue working with law enforcement agencies to protect our
communities from illegal cannabis activity, and to keep impaired
drivers off the road."
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P.E.I. students moved by powerful anti-impaired driving
Jordan Gillis knew it was a bad idea to get into the
The person offering to drive him home had been smoking pot - enough to
impair his ability to drive safely.
Jordan could simply have turned down the ride. He did
That drive to his home in Fredericton took five or 10 minutes, the
And how well did the impaired driver drive?
"I didn't think too good, actually,'' says Jordan.
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The haze around pot revenue for cities is beginning to clear, but one
Southwestern Ontario mayor doesn't like what he's seeing.
Municipalities are no longer in the dark about the dollars they'll get
to deal with the rollout of legalized marijuana, after the province
announced Friday that $40 million from the tax on legalized marijuana
will flow to cities in the next two years.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the numbers don't add up, pointing to
the 444 municipalities in Ontario that have to share that cash.
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Trying not to be too cynical about all the reporting, discussions,
debates and business preparations on Trudeau's "wrath of pot"
legalization predications, with the lame duck excuse that the crooks
are making too much money on its sales, I'm sorry! The recent news of
the inherent benefit of marijuana has been blown right out of the
water by a recent group of very prominent world scientists.
They have reported that there is absolutely no shred of evidence
whatsoever of its benefit for health and pain relief, because of the
availability of hundreds of pharmaceuticals that do not have negative
health aftereffects like brain damage, in addition to dangerous
driving which puts the very heavy load on our police forces that still
do not have equipment to test for drug impairment.
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State regulators voted Monday to limit the roll-out of recreational
marijuana sales in July, postponing licensing of home delivery
services and pot lounges while allowing retail pot shops and their
suppliers to open in July as scheduled.
The Cannabis Control Commission had been under pressure to delay
delivery and "social consumption" operations from Governor Charlie
Baker and other political figures, law enforcement officials, and
medical marijuana business interests, who had argued the nascent
agency was trying to do too much at the outset and would struggle to
oversee so many different types of operations.
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Less than two months out from this year's rally, it appears the vast
majority of the end costs will again be passed on to taxpayers
While they still can't find consensus on a location, it does appear
all parties with a stake in the 4/20 smoke-out at Sunset Beach seem to
agree on this: organizers will have to foot little, if any, of what
could be a six-figure, post-event price tag.
Less than two months out from one of the city's largest and polarizing
public events, the Courier reached out the Vancouver Park Board, the
City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Department and rally
organizers to assess where the annual April 20 gathering is at in
terms of planning, lessons learned and the mechanics involved in the
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There isn't a better reader of the tea lives in Annapolis than Senate
President Thomas V. Mike Miller. He's been saying for a couple of
years now that legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland --
something that seemed like a far-out idea when former Del. Heather
Mizeur made it a central plank of her 2014 gubernatorial campaign --
is inevitable. We're inclined to believe him. Public attitudes on the
drug have shifted rapidly in recent years, and it is now legal for
recreational use in nine states and (sort of) Washington, D.C. The
most recent polls on the issue report that about 60 percent of
Maryland voters support legalization. At least four of the seven
Democrats running to unseat Gov. Larry Hogan have voiced support for
some form of it. But legalization still may not happen as fast as
proponents might like.
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As the B.C. government sets policy on the legalization of marijuana,
the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos are still wondering what that will
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said his council has to have a formal
discussion on the topic.
"We had most recently suggested that any sale (of marijuana) should
take place through a government agency and the province has decided
Hovanes previously questioned if municipalities should have any role
in marijuana legalization. Council recently supported a call for local
governments to receive a share of the cannabis revenue to cover social
and policing costs.
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City officials are looking for input as they deal with the
ramifications of legalized recreational marijuana.
"There are a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns and I think it's
important that we try to come up with a 'made in Brantford' solution
to some of these issues," Mayor Chris Friel said Tuesday.
"I think we need to hear from more people, let them know what the
issues are and see what we can come up with.
"We need to hear from the chamber of commerce, the health unit,
police, real estate people as well as our own staff in social services
and bylaw enforcement."
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A NORTHERN Manitoba First Nation is building a permanent checkstop on
the only highway into the community to combat the illegal drug and
"It's like a border crossing and you'll have no choice but to go
through it. And if you don't want to be searched, you're not going to
go in," Norway House Chief Ron Evans said.
The small building next to Highway 373 looks a bit like a transport
safety weigh station. As of this month, the Norway House Cree Nation
Safety and Security Checkpoint will be open 24/7. Its official opening
is scheduled for Feb. 24.
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As legalization looms, experts say we're not road safe yet
As Canada readies to legalize pot this summer, experts including an
ex-traffic cop warn we're still stumped about stopping stoned drivers
from hitting B.C.'S streets.
"I've stopped lots of people who have been under the influence of
marijuana," recalls retired West Vancouver traffic enforcement officer
Cpl. Grant Gottgetreu. "You had to get really good at making
"Unless a person gets pulled over and there's an overwhelming smell of
burned marijuana from the car
there's still no instrument out there
to test like there is for alcohol yet."
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(Re: New guideline recommends doctors avoid prescribing medical
marijuana for most conditions, Feb. 15)
The British have just issued the same guideline raising the question
why there was not public education on the serious dangers to health
before the Trudeau government fast-tracked legalizing marijuana.
Besides causing serious damage to young developing brains, using pot
can also lead to very aggressive behaviour is some people. The bottom
line is very little is known about the long-term health effects of
the 80 cannabinoids contained in marijuana. One thing we do know from
the experiences in Colorado and Washington states, after legalization,
is there will likely be more impaired drivers on our highways leading
to more road deaths and young people will gain access to the drug with
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Dealing with the impact of marijuana legalization is expected to be
one of the year's biggest challenges for the Cornwall Community Police
Service, according to Chief-designate Danny Aikman.
"Obviously there is a lot of attention being paid the legalization of
marijuana and the impact that will have on municipalities as well as
police forces," he said.
The Cornwall police are concerned their costs could increase because
of the change in the law, and Aikman said just because possession will
be legal, doesn't mean enforcement efforts can be stopped.
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