Hager, Mike 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2017
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1 CN BC: Illegal Dispensaries Seen As Safe, Reliable: StudyWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:92 Added:07/14/2017

Medical-cannabis patients who use illegal cannabis dispensaries instead of turning to other legal and black-market sources do so because they feel safe at these shops and like that they have reliable supplies of the specific strains they want, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Rielle Capler, a PhD student and the study's lead author, said the results can help give Ottawa and provincial governments an idea of what consumers want as they look toward legalizing the drug some time next year.

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2 CN BC: Experts Underscore Dangers Of Youth Cannabis UseSat, 24 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:96 Added:06/24/2017

Dianne McIntosh is continually alarmed by the teens who come into her Vancouver office telling the psychiatrist that they use cannabis to treat their mental-health issues because it's a natural - and harmless - - substance.

"It's a natural product? So is tobacco, so is alcohol, these are all natural products," Dr. McIntosh said. With the federal Liberal government saying that cutting down on teen cannabis use is a core reason it is pushing to legalize the drug next year, Dr. McIntosh and a panel of three other experts are gathering in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday to clear the air about the dangers young people face when using the substance.

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3 Canada: Researchers Implore Ottawa To Make It Easier To StudyTue, 20 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:94 Added:06/20/2017

With cannabis legalization on the horizon next year, the federal government must make it easier to study the potential medical benefits of the drug and evaluate how ending prohibition might affect society, according to an open letter to politicians from dozens of the country's leading academics and public-health researchers who study the drug.

"Under widespread global prohibition, cannabis research has been limited by the criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis use and users, leading to substantial gaps in knowledge around the harms and benefits of both medical and non-medical cannabis," reads a letter sent Monday to federal lawmakers on the letterhead of the BC Centre on Substance Use, an organization funded by the provincial government to study drugs.

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4 Canada: Demystifying A Instead Of Decrying A Drugs For TeensSat, 17 Jun 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:169 Added:06/19/2017

Educating teenagers about the safety of recreational drug use is an age-old conundrum for Canada, one at the forefront as the country pushes ahead with legalizing marijuana by next year

The ad shows four pretty young women laughing as their convertible rips past the picturesque Rockies on a warm sunny day, the driver - eyes narrowed slightly - joyfully passing a doobie to her friend.

In the next one, a hip young guy with high-top dreadlocks pinches a smouldering joint (backwards) in one hand and adjusts the car stereo with his other as his date leaves her house and approaches in a red party dress.

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5 CN NS: Marijuana Grower Funds Man's Fight For Insurance CoverageMon, 29 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Nova Scotia Lines:96 Added:05/29/2017

One of Canada's largest medical cannabis producers says it will fund a Nova Scotia man's ongoing legal fight to have his marijuana prescription paid for by his employee-insurance plan - the latest move in a nationwide push by industry, patients and their advocates for more widespread cannabis coverage.

Aurora Cannabis Inc., a publicly traded grower based in Alberta, announced this week that it will bankroll elevator mechanic Gordon Skinner's coming defence this fall in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

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6 CN BC: Cannabis May Help Wean People Off Crack, Study FindsTue, 16 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:92 Added:05/19/2017

Cannabis has been identified as a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, but a new Vancouver-based study shows the drug may also help reduce people's cravings for another highly addictive substance: crack cocaine.

Scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use tracked 122 people who consumed crack in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside over a three-year period and found they reported using that drug less frequently when they opted to also consume cannabis.

"We're not saying that these results mean everyone will be able to smoke a joint and forget the fact that they are dependent on crack," said M.J. Milloy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the centre and senior author of the study. "What our findings do suggest is that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people.

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7 CN BC: Party Leaders Mostly Silent On Cannabis OpportunitiesMon, 08 May 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:103 Added:05/08/2017

The leaders of British Columbia's three main political parties have all spent time on the campaign trail praising its craft-beer industry, but none has said much about one of the other most popular intoxicants widely produced throughout the province: cannabis.

Ottawa is expected to legalize the drug as early as July 1, 2018, which means provinces and territories must get to work solving contentious policy issues of regulating the wholesale distribution and retailing of cannabis.

Critics worry B.C. could fall behind other regions of Canada and lose its advantage as a province whose illegal-cannabis industry has long put millions of dollars into the pockets of thousands of underground growers and sellers.

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8 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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9 Canada: Dual Role Of Task-Force Chair QuestionedThu, 13 Apr 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:133 Added:04/15/2017

New marijuana bill relies on recommendations of McLellan's panel; she also works with 'go-to' advisory firm in the industry

As the federal government prepares to legalize marijuana, questions are being raised about a former Liberal minister's role in shaping that legislation while working for a prominent law firm poised to capitalize on the lucrative new industry.

The new bill being unveiled Thursday in Ottawa relies heavily upon the recommendations of a federal task force chaired by former Liberal deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, a senior adviser at Bennett Jones LLP. In addition to promoting itself as the "go-to" advisory firm in the marijuana sector, Bennett Jones and a dozen of its lawyers are listed on securities documents as being granted stakes in one of the companies positioned to profit from legalization.

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10 Canada: Cannabis Legalization May Be Slowed By ProvincesTue, 28 Mar 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:118 Added:03/31/2017

Ottawa's plan to legalize marijuana by next year could hit serious roadblocks across the country, as provinces and territories are expected to have different approaches to solving complicated policy issues such as where to sell cannabis and how much to tax the drug.

The government signalled this weekend it expects to roll out legislation before April 20 - a day cannabis is celebrated across the globe - and that the recreational use of the drug would reportedly be legalized by July 1, 2018.

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11 CN BC: Victoria At Centre Of New Pot-Shop AmbiguityWed, 22 Mar 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:105 Added:03/24/2017

The majority of Victoria's illegal pot shops have applied for the city's special new business licence, but more than a dozen not engaged in the process could soon face court-ordered injunctions aimed at shutting them down.

At the same time, the local health authority says a recent anonymous complaint about the cleanliness of one of these dispensaries has led to it outlawing the controversial sale of baked goods and candies in these stores, an issue that a city bylaw created last year purposely did not address.

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12 Canada: Ottawa's Task-force Chair Urges Marijuana Prohibition, ForFri, 24 Mar 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:106 Added:03/24/2017

A former Liberal cabinet minister who recently chaired a panel guiding Ottawa's push to legalize cannabis says police everywhere should enforce the existing prohibition of marijuana, despite several communities in British Columbia choosing to regulate - not raid - illegal pot shops.

Anne McLellan, head of an official task force that submitted recommendations to Ottawa on how best to legalize cannabis, said Thursday that Vancouver crafted Canada's first municipal marijuana bylaw in response to what was a "growing difficult situation for them."

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13 Canada: Patients Report Choosing Pot Over Opioids For Pain: StudyTue, 28 Feb 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:97 Added:02/28/2017

More than half the medical-marijuana patients in a new study said they use cannabis to help them get off heavier prescription drugs, with the largest percentage saying pot acts as a substitute painkiller for opioids.

The new research, published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Drug Policy but funded by a licensed cannabis grower Tilray, adds to a small body of science that suggests patients are effectively using marijuana to replace opioids, a class of legal and illicit painkillers that has led to an ongoing crisis that killed hundreds of Canadians last year.

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14 Canada: Court Ratifies Police As ExpertsFri, 24 Feb 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:93 Added:02/25/2017

The Supreme Court has ruled that specifically trained officers can be experts in drugged-driving trials

Police officers trained to recognize if drivers are high can be treated as experts in drugged driving trials without a preliminary examination of the evidence, the Supreme Court has ruled in a decision that could help expedite such prosecutions once marijuana is eventually legalized.

The 5-2 decision in the case of an Ottawa motorist comes as the federal Liberal government prepares to bring in a law legalizing the recreational use of pot this spring, with a rise in cannabis-impaired driving singled out as a key risk to public safety.

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15 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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16 CN BC: Vancouver Slowly But Surely Shutting Down Rogue Pot ShopsWed, 08 Feb 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:British Columbia Lines:97 Added:02/10/2017

Vancouver's approach to regulating illegal marijuana dispensaries is working, says the councillor who helped develop Canada's first municipal pot licensing regime, even if almost half of the stores continue to operate outside the bylaw.

Councillor Kerry Jang, point person for the governing Vision Vancouver party on the marijuana file, said that regardless of how long it takes to shut down these rogue shops, the city's regulatory program - not police raids - is paying off. The strategy is meeting the city's public-health goals of stamping out sales to minors and cutting down on the armed robberies now plaguing Toronto's illegal dispensary sector.

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17 CN NS: N.S. Board Says Insurance Must Cover Man's CannabisFri, 03 Feb 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Nova Scotia Lines:93 Added:02/05/2017

Nova Scotia's human-rights board has ruled that a man suffering from chronic pain must have his marijuana prescription paid for by his employee-insurance plan, with advocates saying the decision opens the door for patients across Canada to push for similar cannabis coverage.

Gordon Skinner, from a community just outside Halifax, had argued that he faced discrimination when he was denied coverage by the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan. He has been using medical cannabis to treat pain from an on-the-job car accident that forced him from work as an elevator mechanic more than six years ago.

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18 Canada: A Tale Of Two Cities Policing PotThu, 26 Jan 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:96 Added:01/28/2017

Toronto and Vancouver have taken different approaches to dispensaries selling ahead of legalization

David Malmo-Levine has had numerous run-ins with Vancouver police in more than two decades fighting for the legalization of marijuana, the most intense being the time he says he was dragged by handcuffs while attempting to block a raid of a downtown cannabis seed store in the mid-1990s.

So, he said he was pleasantly surprised in May, 2015, when police returned several thousand dollars worth of bongs and cannabis products that had been stolen by a man who smashed a stolen minivan through the storefront of his illegal East Vancouver dispensary.

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19 Canada: Study Finds Gangs Traffic Cannabis Less Than Other DrugsTue, 24 Jan 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:124 Added:01/24/2017

Canada's organized-crime groups and gangs are much less likely to produce and traffic marijuana than they are other illicit drugs such as cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, according to a new federal study that tracked drug violations from police forces in four cities across three provinces.

The new report from Statistics Canada analyzed all drug-related violations over a two-year period in Victoria, Vancouver, Regina and Waterloo, Ont., and found that police linked organized crime to 39 per cent of all cannabis-trafficking charges and 6 per cent of cases involving the production of marijuana.

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20 Canada: Report Spurs Call To Study Pot's Potential In Opioid-CrisisFri, 13 Jan 2017
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Hager, Mike Area:Canada Lines:102 Added:01/14/2017

A new U.S. government-funded report showing clear evidence cannabis is an effective remedy for those with chronic pain underscores the need for more research into how marijuana can help fight the deadly opioid crisis ravaging North America, according to one of Canada's leading pain researchers.

A report released Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine outlined nearly 100 conclusions about the benefits and harms of cannabis on a range of public health and safety issues.

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