Marijuana Politics

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No cannabis-related spike noted in impaired driving after legalization

Pre-October, with the country moving toward cannabis legalization, police and lawyers geared up for what was expected to be a rash of impaired driving offences related to the drug.

Instead — in Regina, at least — crickets.

“I don’t have numbers, but I’ll use the word ‘low,’ ” Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray said recently at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting when questioned by reporters on the issue. “We have not laid a lot of (cannabis-related) impaired driving charges. In fact, I don’t think we’ve laid any impaired driving charges as a result of cannabis.”

City police spokesman Les Parker confirmed it, stating the current numbers for cannabis-related impaired driving are “zero, unless other charges are mislabeled.”


Canada's border agents confiscated way more weed lately but not because there are more users

Since weed became legal in Canada back in October 2018, Canadian border agents have confiscated way more weed lately but it's not for the reason you'd think. CBSA revealed recently that the number of weed confiscations at the border went up over 60% from 2017 to 2018. In fact, in just over one month after legalization, there were 329 cases where CBSA seized cannabis from travellers at the border. 


Kamloops mayor says cannabis landscape likely to change

The mayor of Kamloops, British Columbia says rules around cannabis today may be different tomorrow, after the city recently rejected two different applications for legal pot shops.

Ken Christian says there is still another shoe to drop on the legal cannabis front when edibles are legalized later this year.

He believes that will alter the dynamic and with such a new industry, he thinks there will be a natural re-evaluation of the rules.

Christian says he thinks the entire retail cannabis landscape will be reassessed once legislators have a year or two of legalization under their belts.

He says the city is probably over-served with cannabis stores right now.


Saskatchewan First Nation files claim in court over cannabis dispensary

A First Nation operating a cannabis dispensary without a provincial permit has laid the groundwork for taking the federal and Saskatchewan governments to court.

The Muscowpetung First Nation filed a statement of claim in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench on Nov. 16, the same week the band opened a pot shop on its reserve northeast of the city.

The store Mino-Maskihki, which means “good medicine,” advertises on its Facebook page the sale of recreational and medicinal cannabis products.

Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada last October and Saskatchewan used a lottery to award 51 licences to sellers.


No budget before spring election, government hints in Q3 fiscal update

Increases in resource revenue and personal income tax have put Alberta on track to finish the fiscal year with a $6.9-billion deficit, $1.9 billion lower than forecast.

The NDP government's third-quarter fiscal update, released Wednesday, contains a strong indication that Albertans will not see a budget prior to the spring election.

It includes an update on the government's "path to balance" by 2023-24, a feature never before included in a quarterly update.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci deflected reporters' questions about the timing of the 2019-20 budget.

"I am preparing a budget. It's the premier's decision when the writ is dropped," he said. "But there will be a Budget 2019."


Pot bylaw may not be needed

A city bylaw governing cannabis use in public may not be needed, according to the head of a city council committee who said before last fall’s legalization that local rules should be developed.

Now, considering an absence of complaints from the public, Coun. Julie Friesen tells the News that the city was adequately prepared and provincial guidelines that became the default in Medicine Hat are working.

“We’re not experiencing any of the things we maybe were expecting,” Friesen said Monday. “I think it’s fair to say that we may not need to bring in a bylaw.”

Pot became legal to buy and posses about four months ago, and local authorities have reported little trouble related to the recreational use of the once banned substance.


Ontario government being sued over unorthodox pot store lottery

The owner of Cannabis & Coffee is suing the Ontario government for $1.1 million in damages he claims he incurred over the Ford government's abrupt decision to cap marijuana retail store licenses.

Cannabis & Coffee Inc. filed a statement of claim against the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and the Attorney General’s Office, stating the company had been “structuring its operations and incurring expenses” in preparation for obtaining a retail license so the coffee shop could be turned into a cannabis store.


People's Alliance pushes for private liquor, cannabis retail system

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says the province should abandon the government-owned system of selling liquor and cannabis for one that gets privately owned stores to do the selling.

Austin's comments on Information Morning Frederictoncome after the CEO of NB Liquor and Cannabis NB Brian Harriman announced last week that he was stepping down.

Austin said the change at the top of the Crown corporation should bring a change in philosophy that would recognize full privatization as being in the province's best interest.

"If you look at other jurisdictions across North America, it's done exceptionally well, including even in our own country in Alberta," said Austin


No licenses for private pot sales until zoning is approved

Although the Yukon Liquor Corporation has begun accepting applications for private cannabis retail sales, none of those licenses can be granted outside the Marwell-area until the City of Whitehorse works out where those shops can and cannot be in the downtown core.

Marwell is currently the only area in Whitehorse zoned for retail pot sales, which is where the government-run pot shop has set up. City council will be considering a bylaw which would allow private cannabis retail sales in the downtown area at the Feb. 25 regular council meeting.

If it passes first reading, a newspaper ad regarding the zoning changes will need to be published March 1 and March 8, followed by a public hearing on March 25 and a report to council April 1.


Pot-store friendly city council paved way for landmark store, Canopy says

Canopy Growth, a Smith Falls-based marijuana producer, is teaming up with Quebec’s Couche-Tard, the operator of 15,000 variety stores worldwide under the Circle K and other banners, to enter a licence agreement with an Ontario pot lottery winner planning to open an outlet near White Oaks Mall.

“The council there voted overwhelmingly in favour of retail cannabis locations,” Shega Youngson, Canopy’s community engagement manager, said of council’s 13-1 vote Dec. 18 to allow brick-and-mortar stores.

“It’s exciting to be starting our retail footprint in a community that has been open and welcoming to our new industry.”


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