Marijuana Politics

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Luck of the draw could leave Ottawa with zero pot shops

It's the first day cannabis retailers can throw their names in a lottery for one of 25 licences to open a pot shop in the province, but the pull-from-the-hat approach could leave Ottawa without a single storefront.

Cannabis has been legal since Oct. 17, but so far, Ontario consumers have only been able to buy the product online.

Only 25 licences will be issued by Apr. 1 to the first wave of private retailers, with a lottery system determining the winners.

According to a local public affairs consultant, that's not the best way to combat black market cannabis sales — especially if Ottawa ends up without any legal outlets.


In 2019, focus in cannabis sector shifts from legalization to legitimacy

After a wild year for the cannabis sector, it’s appropriate that 2019 kicks off with a focus on Aphria Inc., the Canadian pot producer that was attacked by short sellers and is now the target of a hostile takeover bid.

Aphria reports results for the fiscal second quarter on Jan. 11, and there will undoubtedly be plenty of questions on the conference call about the allegations from short sellers that it overpaid for “worthless” assets in Latin America. Aphria called the claims by Quintessential Capital Management and Hindenburg Research “malicious and self-serving.”


Legal supply scant, Canada pot dealers still busy on corner

The legal cannabis stores that opened in Montreal last fall still look pristine. Curious customers file in, but the shelves they peruse are often bare. Supplies are so short the stores are shuttered three days a week.

A few blocks from one outlet, though, a longtime pot dealer was receiving a stream of text alerts one afternoon this winter, a sign of booming business.

When the government opened Canada's official recreational-pot market on Oct. 17, it was banking on the idea that many users would prefer to buy legally and that the black market would quickly begin to fade. It says things seem on track, with "early reports of a 65 percent reduction for illegally sourced products," according to a spokesman for the minister in charge of the cannabis file.


New taxes, wage hikes and more: 49 new laws across Canada in 2019

Some changes are tiny and bureaucratic. Others will fundamentally change the country.

The federal and provincial governments have announced numerous new rules for 2019. Most federal, provincial and territorial laws come into force immediately after their passage and assent.

But legislation requiring greater planning or notice is typically delayed to allow affected parties time to prepare. Here are 49 new laws that come into effect across Canada in 2019. They range from the arrival of a federal carbon-tax plan to a fee for plastic bags in Prince Edward Island.


Top 10 events of 2018 that shaped marijuana policy

2018 was a watershed year in the battle for marijuana policy reform. At both the state and federal level, advocates scored numerous victories, and gained significant momentum for further reforms in the year to come. Here is a look back at some of the more significant events that shaped cannabis policy in 2018.


Top stories of 2018: Reflecting on the roll out of marijuana legalization in Quebec

In 2018, the world watched as Canada became the first Western country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana – and all the challenges that came with it.

Today, a lack of supply at the city’s only downtown pot shop is leaving some customers with a bad taste about how legalization has been rolled out so far. 

While lineups outside the SQDC outlet on Saint-Catherine Street has decreased pretty dramatically between October and December, but one problem facing the only pot shop downtown remains: a lack of stock.

“It’s pretty empty at the moment,” said one customer leaving the shop. “I feel like you have to come at a specific time to get something.”


Draft pot-infused food rules a hit with industry insiders

Recently released, the much-anticipated rules on three new classes of cannabis – edibles, concentrates and topicals – impose restrictions on packaging, require strict controls on manufacturing and limit the amount of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, allowed in each dose.

A two-month public consultation period is now open before edibles are legalized by October, Health Canada said.

Shirley Toms of Cannabis Compliance Inc., a consulting firm, called the fall timeline doable, noting it’s unlikely to get pushed back as was the legalization of recreational marijuana use, first promised by the federal Liberal by July 1, but delayed until Oct. 17.


Health Canada releases draft proposal for edible and topical cannabis regulations

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Canada for more than two months, but some companies have been in limbo as regulations remain to be put in place for cannabis edibles, topicals, and extracts.

Health Canada has now released a first draft proposal of regulations for those products, which may have a large impact not just on retail store sales but also on the ability to consume marijuana in public locations.


Manitoba undecided on allowing non-smoking cannabis in public, Premier Brian Pallister says

"I've never seen this before."

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, sitting in his legislature office for a year-end interview, is looking at a 15-ml container of cannabis spray. It's one of the ways through which recreational cannabis can be consumed since legalization in October.

It is discreet, quick, smokeless and — perhaps surprisingly under Manitoba law — legal to consume in most public places.

"My lunch could be really good," Pallister jokes before handing it back to the reporter who brought it to him.

The premier has said on more than one occasion he's more of a beer man.

Pallister's Progressive Conservative government is not alone in having to adjust to the complex realities of legalized recreational cannabis.


These are the proposed regulations for cannabis edibles and creams

Health Canada has released draft regulations for cannabis edibles and extracts, which include strict limits on dosage and ingredients.

For edibles, Health Canada is proposing plain child-resistant packaging, restricting the ingredients that can be used and limiting the edible to 10 milligrams of THC per package, which is largely considered the typical amount for a single dose. Additionally, regular food and edible cannabis products must not be produced in the same facility.


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