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1 CN AB: Alberta Takes Public-Private Tack On Cannabis SalesThu, 05 Oct 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Cryderman, Kelly Area:Alberta Lines:114 Added:10/05/2017

Blueprint for recreational marijuana sales shares key similarities with proposals in Ontario and New Brunswick, but also shows how varied the provincial approaches will be upon legalization, Kelly Cryderman reports from Calgary

Alberta has joined in the rush by provinces to adapt to Canada's rapidly approaching marijuana legalization, with a draft plan that sets the minimum age at 18 and allows for public consumption in some areas. But the province is undecided on whether storefront sales will be managed by government monopoly or private interests.

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2 Canada: Plan To Add GST, Excise Tax On Cannabis Stokes Black MarketThu, 05 Oct 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Leblanc, Daniel Area:Canada Lines:110 Added:10/05/2017

Ottawa will charge GST on recreational marijuana in addition to the planned excise tax of $1 a gram, threatening to make legal cannabis more expensive than its black-market competition.

The federal government's plan to legalize marijuana by July 1 is designed to replace the illegal market with a heavily regulated industry, but experts say the final sales price will be key to its eventual success or failure. Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Frechette warned Wednesday in a blog post that an excise tax would likely push the price of legal marijuana above black-market prices observed in 2015-16.

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3 CN ON: PUB LTE: Doomed To FailSat, 30 Sep 2017
Source:Standard Freeholder (Cornwall, CN ON) Author:Groulx, Matthew Area:Ontario Lines:72 Added:09/30/2017

"It is a law of politics that shamelessness pays, but only in Canada would it be taken to this level of nakedly self-serving, patronizing demagoguery without an indignant shove back from the consuming public. We're just so used to it." - Neil Macdonald, CBC News.

All it would take to legalize cannabis is to remove it from the CDSA schedule. Job done.

Set some sensible regulations, collect some taxes and let the citizens and expert growers of Ontario transition into legality and grow a real industry here. There is a vibrant and thriving Canadian cannabis industry already in existence, with thousands of respectable growers and vendors and products available in hundreds of retail storefronts in Ontario.

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4 CN BC: Marijuana Dispensary OpposedThu, 13 Jul 2017
Source:Metro (Vancouver, CN BC) Author:Ball, David P. Area:British Columbia Lines:70 Added:07/17/2017

Proposed shop linked to Sahota family angers activists

Activists in the Downtown Eastside rallied at Vancouver City Hall on Wednesday afternoon - but this time their demand wasn't for more housing, to save Chinatown, or to halt a developer.

They wanted to block a marijuana dispensary proposed for affluent Kerrisdale, Herban Legends, from appealing its rejection by the city for being within 300 metres of a school.

The bulk of speakers and community letters submitted - 58 against, none for, the Board of Variance chair revealed - in the case weren't about the school issue, but the dispensary's connections to a family that owns poorly maintained single-resident occupancy buildings in the Downtown Eastside, including the condemned and evacuated Balmoral Hotel: the Sahota family.

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5CN ON: Pot Shop Clerk Charged With Drug Trafficking At The Centre OfThu, 04 May 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Miller, Jacquie Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:05/08/2017

Patients need and want dispensary access, and people have been helping patients in the dispensary model for almost twenty years.

An Ottawa lawyer is launching a constitutional challenge to Canada's medical marijuana laws as part of his defence of a pot shop clerk charged with drug trafficking.

Three days have been set aside in an Ottawa court in May 2018 to hear the challenge.

He's still formulating the case, said lawyer Yavar Hameed.

However, Hameed said he may employ some of the arguments that have been used in past successful court challenges.

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6 Canada: Dispensaries Count Down To LegalizationSat, 22 Apr 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:156 Added:04/24/2017

A siege-like atmosphere pervades cannabis shops still in operation as they contend with threats from armed thieves, and the city

After the battering ram smashed through the front door, the officers quickly rounded up everyone and handcuffed them inside the small shop at Yonge and Wellesley.

The customers were soon let go, but Neev Tapiero, the owner of Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM), Toronto's oldest dispensary, was held under arrest for three hours and charged with drug trafficking as part of a one-day crackdown on 43 marijuana dispensaries last May. Federal drug prosecutors have since stayed or withdrawn charges on 36 of the people nabbed in the citywide sweep while another 10 still face trial for selling marijuana outside Ottawa's mail-order system for registered medica lcannabis patients.

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7 CN BC: 4/20 Organizers Say Protests Still NecessaryThu, 20 Apr 2017
Source:Georgia Straight, The (CN BC) Author:Lupick, Travis Area:British Columbia Lines:110 Added:04/22/2017

With Canada now well on its way to legal recreational marijuana, what is there left for activists to protest at Vancouver's annual 4/20 event?

Plenty, according to organizers of the massive gathering, which is scheduled to happen this Thursday (April 20) at Sunset Beach in the city's West End.

In a telephone interview, Canada's most prominent advocate for marijuana reform, Jodie Emery, was highly critical of legislation the Liberal government tabled in Parliament on April 13.

"It is prohibition 2.0," she told the Georgia Straight. "It is not legalization. It is a continuation of the kind of criminalization that we've seen before, with the introduction of even harsher laws that will victimize even more peaceful Canadians."

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8CN BC: Dispensaries Fight Edible Cannabis BanSun, 09 Apr 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:DeRosa, Katie Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:04/13/2017

Island Health's ban on edible cannabis products is arbitrary and unconstitutional, says the lawyer representing several marijuana dispensaries on Vancouver Island.

Kirk Tousaw, who has represented several clients in marijuana access cases, wrote a letter objecting to the ban, addressed to Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health's chief medical health officer.

"The patients that access edibles from dispensaries need that access for their health and quality of life," Tousaw wrote.

"Dispensaries need to trust that Island Health is committed to working progressively toward appropriate and fact-based access to cannabis edibles, not to be threatened with possible business licensing sanctions by Island Health."

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9CN ON: Pot Dispensary Workers Stage Protest Before Their Court CaseThu, 30 Mar 2017
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Miller, Jacquie Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:03/31/2017

Five clerks who were charged during a police raid on a Cannabis Culture shop earlier this month staged a protest at the courthouse Wednesday before their first appearance on drug trafficking charges.

The "budtenders" were joined by half a dozen supporters who waved signs saying "Free the Weed!" and "No Prison for Pot."

The clerks are among 29 people charged in police raids on 14 marijuana dispensaries in Ottawa since last November. Police have warned that the dispensaries are illegal, and carry products that are unregulated and may be unsafe.

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10CN BC: Landlords Ponder Restricting Grow-Ops, Pot SmokingThu, 30 Mar 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:DeRosa, Katie Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/31/2017

B.C. landlords look to curb legal pot use with rent agreements

As Canada edges closer to legalizing marijuana, landlords in B.C. are considering rental agreements with restrictions on growing and smoking in the home to weed out potential fire hazards, odours and liability issues. Photograph By Andy Nelson, The Associated Press

As Canada edges closer to legalizing marijuana, landlords in B.C. are considering rental agreements with restrictions on growing and smoking in the home to weed out potential fire hazards, odours and liability issues.

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11 CN ON: Justin Trudeau Toked Too, Say BudtendersThu, 30 Mar 2017
Source:Ottawa Sun (CN ON) Author:Miller, Jacquie Area:Ontario Lines:61 Added:03/31/2017

Five clerks who were charged during a police raid on a Cannabis Culture shop earlier this month staged a protest at the courthouse Wednesday before their first appearance on drug trafficking charges.

The "budtenders" were joined by half a dozen supporters who waved signs saying "Free the Weed!" and "No Prison for Pot."

The clerks are among 29 people who have been charged in police raids on 14 marijuana dispensaries in Ottawa since last November. Police have warned that the dispensaries are illegal, and carry products that are unregulated and may be unsafe.

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12 CN ON: Bringing 'The Black Market Into The Light'Sat, 25 Mar 2017
Source:Hamilton Spectator (CN ON) Author:O'Reilly, Nicole Area:Ontario Lines:227 Added:03/25/2017

There are at least 18 storefront marijuana dispensaries operating illegally in Hamilton. Despite raids by police, these storefront operations keep bouncing back, primed for the time that pot becomes legal

STEP INSIDE ONE OF HAMILTON'S medical marijuana dispensaries and you will find rows of dried marijuana stored inside sealed glass jars, everything from bath balms to shaving cream, and knowledgeable staff - often called bud tenders - willing to help you find just the right product.

The businesses range from spa-like to head shop, yet all are in public storefronts, demanding to be seen. But make no mistake - they are illegal. Owners know their businesses are illegal but believe without them, patients would not be able to access relief. They claim the product, which is only available online from Health Canada's licensed providers, is too expensive, can be difficult to access and isn't as good as what's available from seasoned (albeit illegal) growers.

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13CN BC: Column: Arrest Of Emerys Tarnishes Justice In CanadaFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author:Mulgrew, Ian Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/11/2017

Persecution of pot providers makes no sense with legalization supposedly on its way

It is always darkest before the dawn - and those who have waited nearly a century for the light of cannabis legalization may find solace in the proverb.

With the federal government set to abolish the criminal prohibition on recreational use of marijuana, Toronto police have thrown pot royalty in jail.

They called it Project Gator - a cross-country operation to put the bite on the most celebrated ganja couple since Cheech and Chong.

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14CN ON: Emerys In Jail After Pot Shop RaidsFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:03/11/2017

'Prince' and 'Princess of Pot' face several drug-related charges after Toronto arrest

Marc and Jodie Emery, Vancouver's first couple of cannabis, have been arrested, as police across the country raided seven of the couple's Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries, including a shop on West Hastings and a residence in Vancouver.

The Emerys were charged Thursday with drug-related offences in Toronto, after raids in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver. They are due back in Toronto court this morning.

The self-styled "Princess of Pot" were arrested Wednesday as they went to board a plane at Toronto's Pearson International Airport for a cannabis expo in Spain.

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15 CN ON: Pot Crusaders Nabbed At Airport Before Police Raid Their ShopsFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Powell, Betsy Area:Ontario Lines:113 Added:03/11/2017

Stores and homes in Ontario, Vancouver hit in 'Project Gator'

Prominent pot crusaders Marc and Jodie Emery will appear in a Toronto court for a bail hearing Friday after police raided the couple's seven marijuana dispensaries in Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton.

The Emerys, purportedly en route to a cannabis expo in Spain, were arrested at Pearson airport Wednesday evening and charged with several drugrelated offences, including trafficking and possession for that purpose. They made a brief court appearance Thursday.

"Marc, of course, plans to fight as hard as he can and as he always has for the true legalization of cannabis and the end of all arrests in Canada, as does Jodie," B.C. lawyer Kirk Tousaw said in a TV interview from Vancouver.

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16CN ON: 'Prince And Princess Of Pot' Face Charges After Swoop On ShopsFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Author:Cameron, Peter Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:03/11/2017

TORONTO - Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with multiple drug-related offences in Toronto on Thursday after police in several cities raided pot dispensaries associated with the couple.

The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess of Pot" were arrested at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Wednesday evening. They appeared briefly in a courtroom on Thursday afternoon before police announced the full list of charges they faced.

Marc Emery faces 15 counts, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery is charged with five similar counts.

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17 Canada: Marc Emery's Pot Shops Raided Across CountryFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Metro (Vancouver, CN BC) Author:Li, Wanyee Area:Canada Lines:86 Added:03/11/2017

Activist couple arrested in Toronto, face 15 drug charges

Vancouver police raided Cannabis Culture, headquarters of marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery, Thursday morning at the request of Toronto police.

The couple were arrested in Toronto Wednesday and face 15 counts, including trafficking, drug possession and proceeds of crime charges. Police across the country have raided seven shops in the Emery chain, branded Cannabis Culture. The federal government has said it will legalize marijuana this year.

A Cannabis Culture employee, who identified himself as Chris, said police took marijuana products as well as routers and computers from the store on West Hastings Street near Cambie Street.

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18 CN ON: T.O. Police Raid Hamilton DispensaryFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Hamilton Spectator (CN ON) Author:Hayes, Molly Area:Ontario Lines:83 Added:03/11/2017

Hours earlier, activists Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested at Pearson

Toronto police raided a Hamilton dispensary Thursday morning just hours after two prominent Canadian marijuana activists were arrested at Pearson airport.

Undercover officers raided the Hamilton location of Cannabis Culture on King Street East - easy to spot from its bright green exterior, between Walnut and Wellington streets - manager Rex Mekkem said.

"I'm just letting people know. Metro Toronto is raiding the Hamilton store," Mekkem said in a live cellphone video posted to his Facebook page Thursday just before noon.

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19 CN BC: Police Raid Cannabis Culture Pot ShopsFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Vancouver 24hours (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:British Columbia Lines:103 Added:03/11/2017

Marc and Jodie Emery face drug charges after latest crackdown

A dozen Vancouver police officers raided Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture headquarters on West Hastings Street on Thursday morning.

Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with drug-related offences in Toronto on Thursday after police also raided seven of the couple's Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries.

The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess of Pot" were arrested Wednesday evening as they were about to board a plane to Spain at Pearson International Airport. They were heading to Barcelona to attend the Spannabis marijuana expo.

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20CN ON: Emerys Arrested After Pot Shop RaidsFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:03/11/2017

Dispensaries: First couple of cannabis face multiple charges after police operations in B.C. and Ontario

Marc and Jodie Emery, Vancouver's first couple of cannabis, have been arrested as police across the country raided seven of the couple's Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries, including a shop on West Hastings and a residence in Vancouver.

The Emerys were charged Thursday with drug-related offences in Toronto after raids in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver. They are due back in Toronto court this morning.

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21 CN ON: Pot Activists Charged, Stores RaidedFri, 10 Mar 2017
Source:Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)          Area:Ontario Lines:70 Added:03/10/2017

TORONTO - Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with multiple drug-related offences in Toronto on Thursday after police in several cities raided pot dispensaries associated with the pair.

The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess of Pot" were arrested at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Wednesday evening. They appeared briefly in a courtroom on Thursday afternoon before police announced the full list of charges they faced.

Marc Emery faces 15 counts, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery is charged with five similar counts.

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22 CN ON: Toronto Pot Shop Seeks Court Approval To Circumvent CurrentThu, 23 Feb 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Ontario Lines:110 Added:02/25/2017

An illegal cannabis dispensary in Toronto has filed a suit in Federal Court to enshrine its right to sell the drug to its patients, alleging Canada's current mail-order medical marijuana system does not provide reasonable access to pot.

Phytos Apothecary and Wellness Centre alleges that, despite a Federal Court ruling last year overturning the medical marijuana rules to allow patients to grow cannabis at home, the current system still creates "significant and undue burdens" for thousands of sick Canadians trying to get reasonable access to the drug of their choice.

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23 CN ON: Pot Dispensary Workers Question Legal RightsThu, 23 Feb 2017
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON) Author:Goffin, Peter Area:Ontario Lines:121 Added:02/25/2017

Sexual harassment, robberies and police raids threaten employees of illegal shops

Sarah has no illusions about the pot dispensary that employs her.

She knows it's illegal. She knows it's not a licensed medical service. She knows that, by working there, she risks being caught up in police raids and armed robberies.

Sarah, who asked for her name to be changed for fear of being fired, is a self-described "bud-tender," a $13 per-hour shift worker on the front lines of Toronto's illegal marijuana industry.

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24 Canada: Top Pot Dispensaries Plan To Expand Before LegalizationThu, 15 Dec 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:106 Added:12/19/2016

The entrepreneurs behind Canada's two biggest chains of illegal marijuana dispensaries say they will continue to expand the number of their storefronts aggressively across the country while the federal and provincial governments take the next two years to fine-tune new laws to legalize the substance.

A day after an independent panel provided Ottawa with a road map for ending the prohibition on recreational marijuana that could include dispensaries, MP Bill Blair, the government's point person on the issue, warned that, in the meantime, anyone selling marijuana outside the federal mail-order system is breaking the law and police could raid their stores.

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25 Canada: Ottawa Plans To Open Up Legal Market For Cannabis By EarlyWed, 14 Dec 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Leblanc, Daniel Area:Canada Lines:154 Added:12/15/2016

The Canadian government is giving itself until late 2018 or early 2019 to open up the market for recreational marijuana, based on a road map that will allow everyone over 18 to purchase pot from a variety of producers and retailers or to grow their own.

In a report released on Tuesday, a task force chaired by former Liberal minister Anne McLellan provided 80 recommendations to end the prohibition on marijuana that dates back to 1923, using a model similar to the one in place for sales of tobacco and alcohol.

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26 CN SN: Pot Dispensary Owner ChargedWed, 30 Nov 2016
Source:Yorkton This Week (CN SN) Author:Barker, Thom Area:Saskatchewan Lines:91 Added:12/01/2016

Illegal medical marijuana dispensaries are not just for big cities anymore. Earlier this month, RCMP made good on a September 2015 Health Canada warning threatening to shut down Martin Medical Services in Whitewood.

In a raid on the business and home of owner Jerry Martin November 8, police seized undisclosed quantities of marijuana, hash oil and cash along with cellphones, computers and three vehicles. He is charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of marijuana, trafficking cannabis resin, possession of cannabis resin, possession of proceeds of crime, trafficking proceeds of crime and laundering proceeds of crime.

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27CN SN: Pot Dispensary Owner Charged After Two Raids In WhitewoodThu, 10 Nov 2016
Source:Regina Leader-Post (CN SN) Author:Fitzpatrick, Brian Area:Saskatchewan Lines:Excerpt Added:11/12/2016

A marijuana dispensary owner has been charged with a range of offences after Broadview RCMP conducted two raids in Whitewood on Tuesday morning.

An RCMP brief said that marijuana and property, including cellphones, computers, cash and three vehicles, were all seized during raids on a business - not named by RCMP but known to be Martin Medical Services on the 600 block of 3rd Ave. in Whitewood - and a private residence.

Jerry Matthew Martin, 45, is charged with offences relating to the "operation of an unlawful marijuana dispensary," RCMP said.

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28 Canada: Pot Tax Would Reduce Profits, Allow Black Market To Thrive:Wed, 02 Nov 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:98 Added:11/04/2016

The parliamentary budget watchdog says Ottawa stands to generate hundreds of millions of dollars - not billions - from the first year of recreational marijuana sales, and that the black market will continue to bloom if the federal government applies much more than a sales tax on legal pot.

In a report released on Tuesday, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer says sales tax revenue could be as low as $356-million and as high as $959-million, with a likely take of about $618-million based on legalized retail cannabis selling for $9 a gram - in line with current street prices.

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29CN BC: High Societies: Peculiar Rules Govern Pot ShopsSat, 29 Oct 2016
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:11/01/2016

Vancouver's licensing regulations for marijuana dispensaries favour non-profits

Reefer retail is a growth industry in Vancouver, with annual revenues estimated in the hundreds of millions in Canada's first major city to regulate dispensaries.

And, due to what a prominent cannabis lawyer calls a "peculiarity" of Vancouver's dispensary regulations, millions of dollars of commerce flow through non-profit societies every year.

In Vancouver, where companies cannot apply for dispensary licences, most pot shops working their way through the city's licensing process are incorporated as nonprofit societies.

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30Canada: Catch And ReleaseSat, 15 Oct 2016
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Culbert, Lori Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:10/18/2016

Planning to go skiing this winter in Alberta's resort towns, or perhaps some fall camping in rural British Columbia?

Be careful if you want to fire up a joint alongside the chairlift or barbecue.

That's because police investigate more marijuana possession and trafficking incidents per capita in parts of Western Canada, despite the long-held belief that attitudes toward pot get mellower as you near the Pacific Ocean.

Postmedia analyzed 12 years of national crime statistics to determine where you had the highest odds of being questioned by police for having a small amount of bud. Lake Louise and Jasper have consistently been at the top of the list, and were followed in 2015 by several B.C. mountainside towns, including Whistler, Merritt, Hope, and Salmo.

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31CN BC: Vancouver Continues To Attract Big Players In The CannabisTue, 11 Oct 2016
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Fumano, Dan Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:10/13/2016

CONFERENCE: Event runs Thursday and Friday

At Vancouver's next big weed get-together, you can expect less tie-dye and more suit-and-tie.

Organizers of the International Cannabis Business Conference this week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver expect a crowd of 650 or more to attend Thursday and Friday.

And with tickets to attend the conference running upwards of $600 each, the event might have more of a corporate feel than the average 4/20 rally.

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32 CN BC: New Medical Pot Grow Rules Draw Praise, ConcernFri, 19 Aug 2016
Source:Nelson Star (CN BC) Author:Nagel, Jeff Area:British Columbia Lines:118 Added:08/22/2016

The lawyer who successfully overturned the former Conservative government's ban on the home growing of medical marijuana is praising a move by the federal Liberals to create a new licensing system for doctor-approved patients.

Kirk Tousaw said the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, which take effect Aug. 24, appear to be much the same as the old home growing licenses that prevailed until 2014 when the Conservative government tried to outlaw them and force approved patients to buy only from licensed commercial producers.

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33Canada: Feds Give Green Light To Own-Use PotFri, 12 Aug 2016
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Ip, Stephanie Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:08/16/2016

First Step: New rules allow patients to grow their own medical marijuana, or have a designated grower

Local pot advocates applauded the federal government Thursday after it announced new rules that will allow patients to grow medical marijuana for their own use, or designate a grower to do so for them.

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations go into effect on Aug. 24, replacing the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Under the ACMPR, patients who have been authorized by a doctor to access medical cannabis will be allowed to produce a limited amount of pot for personal use, or designate a grower to produce it for them. Those wishing to grow their own medical cannabis will need to first register with Health Canada.

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34 Canada: Health Canada To Allow Safety Testing Of MedicalFri, 12 Aug 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Galloway, Gloria Area:Canada Lines:136 Added:08/13/2016

Health Canada is easing its prohibitions against safety testing of medical marijuana, which will allow registered growers and patients to have the product scrutinized at federally certified laboratories to ensure it is safe.

The federal government plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use next year, and the move will give added protection in an unregulated market to consumers, many of whom worry that some marijuana being sold as medicine could contain harmful contaminants.

Hundreds of storefront dispensaries have sprung up across the country, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver. The government considers them illegal, and had no oversight of their products, leaving medical users with no way to ensure their safety. The government did not allow patients access to federal labs capable of detecting potentially harmful contaminants.

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35 CN ON: Restrictions On Testing Retail Marijuana Put Public Safety AtFri, 29 Jul 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Robertson, Grant Area:Ontario Lines:160 Added:07/31/2016

RESTRICTIONS ON TESTING RETAIL MARIJUANA PUT PUBLIC SAFETY AT RISK, SCIENTISTS WARN

Health Canada's restrictive approach to marijuana safety testing is putting the public at risk, a growing chorus of scientists and activists warns - saying consumers are potentially being exposed to contamination in products that are widely accessible since the federal Liberals took power promising legalization.

A number of laboratories accredited by Health Canada say the regulator has repeatedly discouraged them from analyzing any cannabis that does not come directly from one of the country's 31 licensed medical marijuana producers - even as hundreds of dispensaries have sprouted up in Vancouver and Toronto, flooding the market with products of unknown provenance. Patients' requests to have their federally licensed medical marijuana tested to ensure its safety are also blocked.

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36 CN ON: Councillors Just ChillTue, 28 Jun 2016
Source:Toronto Sun (CN ON) Author:Jeffords, Shawn Area:Ontario Lines:123 Added:06/30/2016

Decide to pass on pot debate until after new fed rules

Toronto councillors have passed the proverbial joint when it comes to regulating the city's controversial pot dispensaries.

Councillors on the licensing and standards committee voted Monday to defer a debate on regulating pot shops, opting to wait until Aug. 24 when the federal government is slated to introduce new rules around access to medical marijuana.

Councillors won't spark up their dispensary debate - delayed for the second time since May - until October.

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37 CN MB: Group Aims To Be On Federal Pot-Shop PanelTue, 21 Jun 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Manitoba Lines:113 Added:06/24/2016

Bill Blair, the federal government's lead on legalizing marijuana, has been quietly meeting with advocates for the illegal pot shops springing up across the country, hearing their arguments for how regulating the sector could help eliminate the black market.

Mr. Blair blasted dispensary operators at a recent conference as reckless profiteers "who don't care about the law, who don't care about regulations, don't care about kids, they don't care about communities, they don't care about health of Canadians." But days later, the Liberal MP and former Toronto Police chief held a series of informal "behind the scenes" talks at the party's convention in Winnipeg, according to Rosy Mondin, a Vancouver lawyer who recently co-founded the non-profit Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada, which represents legal and illegal marijuana business owners.

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38 Canada: Focus: Should Other Illegal Drugs Be Regulated?Mon, 30 May 2016
Source:Law Times (Canada) Author:Taddese, Yamri Area:Canada Lines:120 Added:05/31/2016

If the federal government is serious about an evidence-based approach to drug policy, it shouldn't stop at cannabis when it comes to regulating drugs that are currently under prohibition, drug policy lawyers say.

With the new federal government, "I think the rhetoric seems to be much more positive in terms of treating drugs as a health issue," says Eugene Oscapella, a lawyer and professor of law at the University of Ottawa. "If you're honest about treating drugs as a health issue, then you do not use the criminal justice system primarily [to deal with it]," he says.

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39 CN ON: Column: T.O. Pot Raids A Total BustMon, 30 May 2016
Source:Toronto 24hours (CN ON) Author:Hanlon, Sarah Area:Ontario Lines:95 Added:05/31/2016

We have all heard about the "grey" zone when it come to the green stuff ... so let me try to clear the air.

Project Claudia will go down in history as a massive blunder for the Toronto Police Services. While officials remain ignorantly justified in the closure of almost 50 medical cannabis storefronts, the law firm representing the dispensaries thinks they have a case against the charges and the city. And I agree.

On May 26, TPS raided a number of medical cannabis dispensaries, closing them down, taking their stock and charging their owners and employees. (TPS had even sent out notices to Vapor Lounges that don't sell any weed.)

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40CN ON: Police Raids On Dispensaries Spark UproarSat, 28 May 2016
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Faris, Nick Area:Ontario Lines:Excerpt Added:05/31/2016

Marijuana advocates decry move as overkill

TORONTO * The crackdown on pot dispensaries shows no signs of slowing - - not after Toronto police raided 43 of them in a single lunchtime swoop this week.

Police issued a staggering set of charges in Thursday's citywide bust: 186 for possession for the purpose of trafficking and 71 for selling marijuana illegally.

They also seized 924 kilograms of marijuana in all its forms, from dried weed, resin and hash to edibles, bars, oils and pills. They took $160,000 in cash.

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41 CN ON: Pot Advocates Remain DefiantSat, 28 May 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Gray, Jeff Area:Ontario Lines:147 Added:05/30/2016

Thursday's crackdown of 43 Toronto dispensaries is seen as heavy-handed, and some say they'll reopen

Despite warnings from Toronto police and city officials that more charges could follow this week's massive pot-dispensary crackdown, some in the marijuana movement vowed that many busted storefronts would simply reopen - and be joined by new ones.

Chris Cardozo, whose dispensary in Kensington Market, Toronto Holistic Cannabinoids, was among the 43 raided on Thursday across the city, said he would keep selling his products as long as he could.

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42 CN ON: Med Weed WhackedFri, 27 May 2016
Source:Toronto Sun (CN ON) Author:Jeffords, Shawn Area:Ontario Lines:75 Added:05/30/2016

Coalition Calls For City To Halt Pot Dispensary Crackdown

A broad coalition of medical marijuana supporters called on the City of Toronto to halt a crackdown on dispensaries, calling the move a waste of money and a "make work" project for police.

Just before the organizers of the press conference stepped in front of a podium at City Hall Thursday, they learned of the sweeping raids taking place across Toronto. The group, which included a pain doctor, lawyer for dispensaries, patients and the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition, condemned the move.

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43 CN ON: Police, Bylaw Officers Raid Marijuana Dispensaries AcrossFri, 27 May 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Ontario Lines:146 Added:05/29/2016

Toronto has cracked down on its illegal cannabis dispensary sector, with police and bylaw officers carrying out a series of raids across the city targeting just over half of the 83 pot shops known to authorities.

The operators of 45 dispensaries were charged Thursday with several municipal infractions and could face fines of up to $50,000, the city said. It is unknown how many of these shops were raided by police and their products seized.

Earlier this month, the city sent letters to 78 property owners telling them they could face bylaw charges for leasing to dispensaries. Mayor John Tory has called it "alarming" that the illegal sector grew from just a handful of discreet shops a year ago to about 100 locations.

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44 CN BC: Vancouver's Dispensaries Remain OpenTue, 24 May 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:109 Added:05/25/2016

City acknowledges it could take more than a year to gain full compliance from 61 pot shops, which could still be open in 2017

When Vancouver's marijuana bylaw came into effect, the city promised a swift crackdown that would dramatically reduce the number of illegal pot shops in the city. Operators can face fines that start at $250 a day, potentially grow to $10,000 and end in court injunctions.

But almost a month into enforcing its landmark rules, the city acknowledges it could take more than a year to gain full compliance from 61 dispensaries, which remain open after losing out on the new licensing process. Some of them pledged to dispute each ticket and launch lawsuits of their own. Those illegal shops could still be open next spring, when the federal Liberal government has promised to table legislation legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis. The new laws are expected to prevent such sales in dispensaries. As of late last week, Vancouver had issued each of these 61 offending businesses at least one $250 ticket for a total of 139 violations.

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45CN BC: Pot Shop Appeals A Mixed BagWed, 11 May 2016
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author:Robinson, Matt Area:British Columbia Lines:Excerpt Added:05/16/2016

Similar pleas for marijuana business licences can shake out differently

Vancouver pot shops have won seven of 10 at the city's board of variance since March, having brought forward successful arguments for second cracks at marijuana business licences.

While it's a tidal shift from the first two months of hearings when every decision went against shopkeepers, even the most keen observers, appellants and their lawyers would have a difficult time divining the precise ingredients that make for a successful pot shop appeal. In some cases, shops with nearly identical characteristics have received opposite decisions at the board.

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46 Canada: The Drug Dealers Next DoorMon, 02 May 2016
Source:Maclean's Magazine (Canada) Author:Friscolanti, Michael Area:Canada Lines:350 Added:05/06/2016

The Liberal's promise to legalize weed has unleashed a flood of illegal storefront dispensaries. Buying pot has never been easier.

At the very least, nobody can accuse Canada Bliss Herbals of trying to conceal what it's selling. The sign outside the company's newest store (its third location, in the heart of Toronto's Junction neighbourhood) features a red Maple Leaf-with a green marijuana plant smack in the middle. "Living life in wellness," the slogan reads.

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47 CN BC: Sidney Dispensary Raided By PoliceWed, 04 May 2016
Source:Peninsula News Review (CN BC) Author:Heywood, Steven Area:British Columbia Lines:66 Added:05/04/2016

Lawyer says they will challenge arrest

RCMP arrested one person at Sidney's Dispensary by the Sea after serving a search warrant there Thursday, April 28.

The lawyer representing the Dispensary acknowledges the store does sell medicinal marijuana - and is therefore in contravention of current laws - but added those current laws have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Kirk Tousaw, who represents marijuana dispensaries across the country, said should charges be filed by the Crown following the arrest of one employee, he would challenge it based on a lack of public interest in prosecution and likelihood of conviction. He said that stance has so far worked after four dispensaries in Nanaimo were raided by police in November, 2015.

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48 CN BC: Illegal Dispensaries Could Face Court ActionWed, 27 Apr 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:117 Added:05/02/2016

As many as three-quarters of Vancouver's illegal cannabis dispensaries have been ordered to close by Friday, though it's a deadline many are expected to ignore, setting off a process of fines and potential court actions that could take months to resolve.

When the country's first set of rules targeting pot shops takes effect, the city is opting to ticket - not raid - dispensaries that have been rejected in a continuing process to hand out a small number of coveted business licences. Those tickets could start a drawn-out battle that could last until after the federal government introduces legislation to legalize recreationalmarijuana next year.

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49CN AB: City Police Charge Marijuana ActivistFri, 08 Apr 2016
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB) Author:Ho, Clara Area:Alberta Lines:Excerpt Added:04/09/2016

Urges Canadians to exercise their freedom by planting cannabis seeds

A marijuana activist says his high-profile arrest in Calgary has only boosted the profile of his national seed giveaway campaign, which has attracted new seed orders and several offers from suppliers.

Dana Larsen, 44, of Vancouver, was charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was later released from custody and is expected to appear in court on May 18.

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50 Canada: Pot Magnates Eye The Big Smoke A TorontoFri, 11 Mar 2016
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:118 Added:03/12/2016

More of Vancouver's illegal cannabis dispensaries are expanding their operations to Toronto, eyeing a larger market with zero regulations, especially with new bylaws on the West Coast threatening to disrupt their business.

Vancouver's pot shops have grown steadily in the past several years, topping 100 before the city decided to pass bylaws designed to both regulate them and reduce their numbers.

The industry has also taken off in Toronto, with dozens opening there in recent months and those within the sector saying Vancouver is playing a major role.

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