Marijuana Politics

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The promise of a pot panacea in Ontario under Doug Ford just went up in smoke

Paid my first visit to a cannabis dispensary the other day. Say what?

That’s right, storefront weed dispensaries are supposed to be illegal in Ontario. But a few former grey-market shops that were forced to shut their doors on legalization day or risk massive fines are taking their chances.

Doug “Ontario is open for business” Ford reneged on his deal to allow them to apply for retail licences – so WTF, right?

As long as the neighbours aren’t complaining, or so I’m told by the budtender in a too-big toque behind the counter, the cops seem to be cool with it. This one re-opened just before Christmas and hasn’t felt any heat yet.


California's ridiculous marijuana tax calls for drastic action

Few, if any, industries are growing as quickly as legal cannabis. According to a co-authored report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, global marijuana sales rose to $12.7 billion in 2018, and they're on track to hit $16.9 billion this year, representing 38% growth. By 2022, worldwide revenue is forecast to top $31 billion.


New impaired-driving laws put specific limits on range of drugs

Under Canada’s new impaired-driving laws, it’s a criminal offence to have “any detectable amount” of cocaine, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, LSD, ketamine or PCP in your blood.

For decades, it has been a criminal offence to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs or both. Last December, when Bill C-46 came into force, the Department of Justice added specific limits for particular drugs.

“People just have no earthly idea about these regulations,” said Victoria criminal defence lawyer Michael Mulligan. “If police can detect it, you’re committing a crime. Any detectable amount, you’re guilty.”


Canadian “Pot” minister says there’s enough marijuana to meet demand

Canada’s cannabis legalization, while a historical event in the industry, hasn’t seen a particularly smooth transition over the past few months. Companies knew months in advance that demand for marijuana would be extreme once the substance became legal, yet despite best efforts from both private companies and regulators to ensure sufficient supply, chronic shortages have become routine problems in the country.

This is especially concerning for the Canadian government, which worries that is dispensaries don’t have enough cannabis to go around, people will instead turn to black market sources. However, Canada’s top politician in charge of cannabis legalization believes there is enough supply to go around in 2019.


Cannabis producers in Canada and Germany are being put on hold

Two separate issues are plaguing these two big cannabis markets, but they have one thing in common: The government limiting the numbers of cannabis produced so that they somehow wouldn’t flood the streets with illegal cannabis.

Applicants aren’t transitioning

In the Canadian system, applicants trying to become cannabis producers are getting stuck in the limbo as they fail to transition to the new system.

According to HC, more than half of the cannabis site applications in Canada haven’t yet transitioned to the new licensing system.

As of December 31st, only 409 cannabis site applications in the queue to be cannabis cultivators had transitioned to the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System.


Ban on off-duty cannabis use for Metrolinx workers 'extremely disappointing,' union says

A new rule prohibiting some Metrolinx employees from using cannabis while off-duty is drawing criticism from the union representing those workers, which plans to explore possible legal challenges to the policy.

"This Metrolinx action shows a profound lack of respect for the men and women who work for it and who devote their working lives to the safety of the public," read a statement sent out by the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1587.

This week, Metrolinx updated its 'Fit for Duty' policy to ban cannabis use by employees in "safety sensitive positions." The prohibition applies to those workers whether they are on or off-duty, Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said in an email statement. 


Israeli Cabinet approves medical marijuana exports

Israel has given final approval to a law permitting the export of medical marijuana, a move the government expects will catapult investment in local industry and agriculture.

The Cabinet’s decision Sunday came a month after the Israeli parliament unanimously approved the decision, making Israel the third country in the world, after the Netherlands and Canada, to allow export of medical cannabis products.

Israel is home to dozens of companies active in the medical marijuana industry, and approved companies will be able to export to countries where it is legal.


Canada's chronic shortage of legal cannabis expected to drag out for years

Canada's persistent shortage of legal cannabis could drag on for years. The impending legalization of edible pot will only divert more product away from empty store shelves across the country. One industry insider said he now expects that shortage to endure until 2022.

"If it was just the current product set, I'd say a year to 18 months," said Chuck Rifici, CEO of the Toronto-based cannabis company Auxly.

"But because we have edibles and a bunch of new product types coming in October, I think it'll be the better part of three years before we have true equilibrium and oversupply in the space."


Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Travellers caught sneaking small amounts of marijuana into Canada could soon be forced to pay fines.

Although stiff criminal penalties will remain options on the books, the federal border agency is developing administrative sanctions to give it more flexibility to deal with people who arrive at the border with cannabis in the era of legal recreational use.

Since Oct. 17, adults in Canada have been allowed to possess and share up to 30 grams of cannabis, but bringing the drug into the country continues to be illegal, carrying a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

If you are carrying cannabis upon entering Canada, it must be declared to the border agency. Otherwise, you may face arrest and prosecution, the Canada Border Services Agency says.


Class action against pot producer Organigram gets green light for trial

A class action lawsuit against licensed cannabis producer Organigram Inc. has been given the green light to proceed to trial.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia last Friday certified the proposed class action, filed in 2017 after the Moncton-based organic pot grower recalled a number of its products due to the detection of certain pesticides.

Organigram in December 2016 announced a voluntary recall of certain lots of medical marijuana supplied between August and December that year after a certain pesticide not registered for use on marijuana under the Pest Control Products Act was detected.


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