Marijuana Politics

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Illegal dispensaries stay open because Ontario's lottery system 'unfair': cannabis lawyer

A belief that Ontario’s lottery system is ‘unfair’ to dispensaries looking to enter the legal market is why illegal dispensaries stay open despite legal ramifications, says cannabis lawyer.

Last week, after 18 people were arrested in connection with the Café chain of cannabis dispensaries across Toronto, police blocked the entrances with cement blocks.

The barricades did not stop sales, however, as marijuana transactions were conducted one by one on the street outside.


Pot policy review in U.S. isn’t helping stocks: Cannabis weekly

Suddenly, the U.S. Senate is willing to talk about pot.

Rather unexpectedly, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on cannabis banking Tuesday. This marks the first time the Republican-controlled Senate has agreed to examine the so-called SAFE Act, which would allow banks to offer services to pot companies in compliance with state law.


Yukon getting $2.3M from federal gov't for police training, drug-testing devices

Yukon is getting federal money for drug-testing devices and for training for officers to test drivers for drug impairment, the federal government announced on Tuesday.

The funding, about $2.3 million, comes from a pot of $81 million previously announced for public and road safety.

"This is about giving the right tools to the RCMP so that individuals who choose to operate a motor vehicle after they've consumed some sort of drug or alcohol will be caught," Tracy-Anne McPhee, the territory's minister of justice, said at the announcement in Whitehorse.

The drug-testing devices include the Drager DrugTest 5000 and another called the SoToxa.


How the new NAFTA affects cannabis stocks

At the end of 2018, Canada, the United States, and Mexico agreed on new terms to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new treaty, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), establishes updated legal language surrounding trade tariffs, environmental and labour regulations, and intellectual property protections. Now that cannabis is considered a legitimate export for medicinal use, international trade faces the complex task of applying current laws to a product which was once prohibited.


Canada made its legal weed rules too tough and we're going to pay for it

With billionaire rap mogul Jay-Z signed on as its new chief brand strategist, California cannabis company Caliva has lofty goals.

“We obviously have aspirations to go beyond California into other states over the next couple of years, and we really believe that Mr. Carter’s creative genius and his ability to really have the pulse of what a cultural movement is will be able to help Caliva do that,” Dennis O’Malley told CNBC’s Squawk Alley last week. He noted the company is making “no small plans.”


Is a cannabis DUI really the same as drunk driving?

Cannabis is legal for recreational purposes in 11 states around the nation. And along with that legal framework comes rules about how or when you can drive while under the influence of cannabis.

When each state legalized cannabis, many simply tacked cannabis on to their existing rules about driving under the influence of alcohol, with cannabis DUIs garnering the same penalties as alcohol DUIs. 

Like alcohol, cannabis impairs skills commonly associated with safe driving, like quick reflexes and divided attention. At the moment, though, research into how much cannabis impairs a driver and methods for accurately testing how much marijuana a driver is currently under the influence of are very limited.


Ontario's slow rollout of weed stores could help the black market thrive for longer

Ontario has blamed a shortage of legal cannabis from the federal government for its slow rollout of retail outlets, a claim dismissed by the federal government and regulatory bodies from other provinces, raising prospects the black market for weed may thrive longer in Canada’s most populous province.

Canada became the first G7 country to legalize recreational marijuana in October 2018 but sales have been dampened by supply constraints and prices that are higher than those on the black market.

While the provinces can set their own cannabis guidelines, a provincially run distributor purchases the cannabis from federally licensed producers, and then allocates it to retail locations approved by the province.


Ontario hasn’t learned all its lessons from the previous pot licence lottery

The Ontario government has announced it will allow 50 more cannabis shops to open in October. Eight are allotted to First Nations reserves. The other 42 will be chosen by lottery. Unfortunately, the government has learned only some of the lessons from its previous cannabis lottery experience last January.

The announcement of more stores is good news for the fight against black markets. Ontario has trailed other provinces on that goal because it lacks enough legal retailers.

Statistics Canada's latest retailing report confirmed the value of physical stores. Ontario's legal recreational cannabis sales totalled just $7.7 million in March, when only online sales were available. That jumped to $19.7 million in April after the first dozen shops opened.


Ontario to issue 50 new pot shop licences under new vetting process

Ontario will issue 50 new cannabis retail licences this year, a move aimed at expanding legal pot sales in the country's largest marijuana market while helping to stamp out the illicit industry, the provincial government announced Wednesday. 

The province plans to issue 42 new licences for private-sector retailers who successfully pre-qualify to be part of a new lottery system later this month. The remaining eight licences will be allocated for outlets in First Nations communities. 


Fake cannabis labels circulating in Saskatchewan

The symbols found on the packaging of legal recreational cannabis for sale in Saskatchewan are hard to miss: A red octagon with the letters THC and a stylized cannabis leaf; a white and yellow warning label advising users to keep the product out of the reach of children. 

But these symbols can also be found on illegal cannabis disguised to look like the legitimate product. 

Now, at least one member of Saskatoon's legal cannabis community is advising customers to use caution when ordering cannabis online, because while the product and website might look legitimate, they could be making an illegal purchase.

Chase Ruttig is an assistant manager with Prairie Records in Saskatoon.


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