It's a rare occurrence for Cochrane park users to stumble across
strewn syringes and hypodermic needles in a public area.
Needless to say, it created concern for soccer player Lucy Lovelock
when she came across a scattered pile of such paraphernalia in the
soccer field parking lot in community of GlenEagles the evening of Aug. 2.
"I have no issues with what people do in their private lives, but it
concerns me to find this in a public area used by kids all the time,"
said the mother of two, who contacted Cochrane Fire Services to
dispose of the mess.
[continues 125 words]
Police say plan for mail-order marijuana is not legal
The owner of Erbachay Health Centres was in Calgary in July, handing
out business cards and flyers in hopes of getting a toehold on this
side of the Rockies.
Now that Canadians know recreational marijuana will soon be legalized,
it's getting harder to hold the floodgates back, even if it's in the
guise of medical services.
Calgary City Council recently passed a bylaw limiting where medical
marijuana counselling services can set up shop. Businesses offering
that service can't be within 300 metres of one another, or 150 metres
of a school.
[continues 268 words]
Through the smoke and mirrors of Calgary's bylaws, one medical
marijuana user is celebrating a small victory.
Ticketed for her medicinal marijuana use in a Calgary Transit bus
shelter, Lisa "Mamakind" Kirkman was prepared to challenge her fines,
over $1,500 in infractions, as a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case.
But after a year of fighting the write-ups, charges against her were
withdrawn on Wednesday, according to her lawyer, because of a vague bylaw.
"The charges were withdrawn," said Student-at-Law Elizabeth
Weisenburger. "Essentially the wording of the bylaw mostly pertained
to burning pipe tobacco ... it was vague as to whether it included
[continues 378 words]
Legalized Pot Could Mean Changes to City Regulations
Calgary's smoking bylaw may not yet pass the puff test when it comes
to marijuana regulation.
On Wednesday, a Calgary woman facing several charges for smoking in a
bus shelter didn't pay a cent to the city because she was medicating
with medical marijuana.
Her lawyer pointed out part of the reason the city withdrew charges
was because of the tobacco laden language in the bylaw.
The city's smoking bylaw, which bans puffing in public places, was
passed in 2006 and reinforced by the Tobacco Reduction act in 2008.
But pot isn't tobacco. According to the city's chief bylaw officer
Alvin Murray there's no section or listed exemption for medical
marijuana or recreational use, because the bylaw simply isn't about
marijuana at all.
[continues 243 words]
In 2011, there were six. Only five years later, and there are 274.
That's the number of lives lost to the deadly drug fentanyl last year
in Alberta. With an increase of nearly 46 times the amount of deaths,
we are seeing a public health crisis impact every community in our province.
Alberta is leading the nation in the fight against opioid drugs. The
Progressive Conservatives were strong advocates for additional
funding for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) that
cracks down on illicit drugs flooding our communities. I also
received unanimous support for Bill 205, the Pharmacy and Drug
Amendment Act, 2016. This bill regulates the ownership of pill
presses used to create fentanyl tablets.
[continues 156 words]
Alarming words such as crisis, state of emergency, toxic and deadly
are being bandied about. While they do impart a sense of concern,
words that better convey the urgency of the situation would be more
appropriate: catastrophic, decimation, annihilation.
With at least 139 deaths related to drug overdoses in the past two
years, the Stoney Nakoda reserve at Morley is facing a tragedy of epic
proportions. And before anyone scoffs at that notion, consider how
those numbers would translate in Calgary.
[continues 338 words]
Driving while high may carry same penalties as drinking
The Calgary Police Service is eagerly awaiting action on impaired
driving laws once marijuana legalization goes through, according to
Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey.
In February, the Liberal government officially announced its plans to
legalize and regulate marijuana by early 2017, and Stacey said it's
still unclear what that will mean for those who might drive while high.
"The rub is, we're waiting for the marijuana legislation to pass," he
said. "Whatever that will look like, we're hoping for the best as far
as impaired driving rules go. But, I guess time will tell."
[continues 253 words]
The spike in Calgary's crime severity index (CSI) can largely be
linked to the increase in the city's drug activity and economic
slump, according to Calgary police Chief Roger Chaffin, as fentanyl
and other opioid use remains high across the province.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada released a report that showed
Calgary's CSI index jumped by 29 per cent, the largest increase in
Canada's metropolitan areas. The CSI measures the volume and severity
of police-reported crime.
According to Calgary police, there was a spike in methamphetamine,
heroin and opiate drugseizures.
[continues 176 words]
QUESTION: I admit I probably smoke pot a bit more than I should (it's
legal in our state), but now my wife is getting after me because she
says I'm addicted to it and turning into the equivalent of an
alcoholic. Can harmless drugs like pot really do that to you? - Z.K.
ANSWER: No drug is harmless, and experts I have consulted agree that
almost any drug can become addictive - including marijuana. When that
happens, a person becomes more and more dependent on it, and may find
it almost impossible to break away from it on their own. Gradually it
ruins their life and destroys their relationships.
[continues 208 words]
McLellan to lead advisory group through a tangle of thorny questions
"I've always been more interested in policy than politics," says
Edmonton lawyer and former Liberal deputy prime minister Anne McLellan.
Former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan has just been named to
chair the federal government's Task Force on Marijuana Legalization
That's handy because late last week McLellan was named chairwoman of
federal government's new Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and
Regulation. She's going to need all of her policy-wonk passion - and
all her expertise as Canada's former minister of health, minister of
justice and minister of public safety - to succeed.
[continues 663 words]
Re: "Time to address drug-impaired driving," Jonathan Denis, Opinion,
While impaired driving is always bad, this column once again uses the
word "drug", when what is really meant is marijuana. There are lots of
prescription drugs that cause impairment resulting in accidents, but
very little if any direct evidence that marijuana is involved in
Jonathan Denis seems to think that a joke in a Cheech and Chong movie
constitutes sufficient evidence to support a criminal record, with all
its consequences, for a driver with THC in their system.
The correlation he cites to Washington state fatal accident statistics
is without merit, because it does not mention whether those involved
had alcohol in their systems as well.
Mark Botkin, Calgary
There's still plenty up in the air when it comes to dispensing medical
marijuana, a Saskatchewan pharmacist told colleagues gathered in
Calgary Sunday for their annual conference.
Amy Wiebe, pharmacy manager at the Saskatoon City Hospital, said she
held biases about medical pot in the past.
"There's so much stigma attached to it, and I had a pretty big bias
against it," Wiebe said. "But the more I learned, the more I was like,
'OK maybe there is something to this.' "
[continues 240 words]
Eureka! Just recently I reported that it was impossible to write this
column. I had asked readers to respond to how I believe 42,000 addicts
on methadone should be treated. Then my computer developed terminal
cancer and I thought all your responses had been lost. Fortunately,
the "Geek Squad" resurrected them.
From a Times Colonist reader: "Your suggestion that sending addicts to
northern Canada to chop wood caught my eye. I was impressed by your
research. The addicts I have known have no interest in getting o
methadone and improving themselves. I say, enough of this nonsense.
Why not have them chop wood? We all do some form of work to eat." This
reader then added, "I initially believed that the practice of hanging
drug dealers in Singapore was too extreme. But on further thought I'd
hang them myself if they gave heroin to my healthy innocent
[continues 575 words]
Pharmacy manager says finding that sweet spot is biggest challenge
A Saskatoon pharmacy manager told a Calgary conference on Sunday that
while the benefits of medical marijuana are clear, many unknowns still
exist with how the drug should be used.
Amy Wiebe, a pharmacy manager at the Saskatoon City Hospital, admitted
she had her own biases about medical marijuana in the past.
"There's so much stigma attached to it, and I had a pretty big bias
against it," Wiebe said.
[continues 248 words]
There are no pharmacies in Alberta licensed to sell medical cannabis
but there is at least one pharmacist locally that would like to see
"Pharmacies are the logical choice to be the distribution system.
Pharmacists are highly trained and knowledgeable of drugs and drug
interactions, have access to medical records, have all the security
measures in place and are accessible to the entire community," said
Greg Buekert, pharmacist Greg's Remedy's Rx.
Medicine Hat's first medical cannabis clinic will be open for business
July 4. Dr. Michael Weigle of Natural Health Services clinic will
determine whether medical cannabis is the appropriate choice for a
patient. The team at NHS will help the patient select the cannabis
products that will best meet their needs. The patient is then put in
touch with a licensed supplier and the product is delivered to the
[continues 226 words]
Safety Issues Must Be Included As Part of Pot Legislation, Writes
Marijuana seems to be all the buzz this year.
The debate about whether or not to legalize pot is all but over.
Recreational marijuana has already been legalized in five American
jurisdictions - Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and the District
of Columbia - with more surely on the way.
Back home, Justin Trudeau's Liberals - with a majority government -
are on track to follow suit in 2017.
I've long realized that, with my asthma, I'm probably in the minority
in my generation who has never smoked pot.
[continues 553 words]
City council has approved rules to prevent medical marijuana
counselling businesses from clustering in communities or opening near
schools, in an effort to prevent illegal dispensaries from littering
While the rules may be aggressive in a city with just two medical
marijuana counselling outfits (that can't legally dispense the drug),
some councillors said it's important to get ahead of what could be a
major problem down the road.
"I'm not one to typically be supportive of overregulation but, in
this particular instance, I think it's a prudent step ," Coun. Andre
Ch a bot said during Tuesday's debate on the changes. Council heard
that in larger cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, an explosion of
counselling centres-turned illegal dispensaries have clustered
together and plagued communities with problems.
[continues 463 words]
City establishes rules for clinics prescribing marijuana
Calgary has now begun regulating marijuana counselling services,
sparking debate over fears of what the pot-peddling establishments
Medical marijuana counselling services are now required to apply for
a building permit and ensure they're not within 300 meters of one
another, while also not being within 150 metres of a school.
These measures were introduced in hopes of getting ahead of what
some, including mayor Naheed Nenshi, fear could be a crowding out of
businesses and the tarnishing of neighbourhoods with pot leaves.
[continues 267 words]
Policies to Help Addicts Fights Stigma Faced by Drug Users
We all wear seat belts when we get in a car - just in case the worst
That's the philosophy behind harm reduction, according to Stasha Huntingford.
"It can't reduce all the risk but it can reduce some of the harm,"
She was spreading the message of harm reduction for drug users and
the homeless at the third annual National Harm Reduction Day.
Several dozen people gathered in Olympic Plaza to hear speakers talk
about harm-reduction methods such as clean needle exchanges.
[continues 211 words]
Marijuana, by Most Measures, Is Not the Scourge That Alcohol Is,
Writes David Booth
National Post recently scandalized its famously conservative readers
with a headline claiming that "about half of Canadians who drive
while high insist pot doesn't impair them."
The article - When is stoned too stoned? - further sensationalized
the "crisis" by noting: "nothing would make (20 per cent of those
surveyed) stop driving while stoned."
With the Trudeau government poised to legalize marijuana, it was
enough to send neo-cons into paroxysms of paranoia, fearing our roads
would be turned into killing fields by the demon weed.
[continues 996 words]