Marijuana Politics

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Canada turns to the U.S. to solve cannabis shortage

Canadian lawmakers have been batting around the idea of creating another cross border trade deal with the U.S. But this deal wouldn’t be for steel or wheat or cars. It would be for marijuana—that is at some point in the future, if Washington DC lawmakers ever get around to ending 80 years of federal prohibition.

The issue stems from Canada’s supply and demand problem. Demand for legal marijuana has been high since Canada became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis, but the supply has been falling short.

Meanwhile, an export deal could be a godsend in U.S. states such as Oregon, where they say they’re sitting on about a six-year supply of cannabis flower.


Pot retailers stuck with pricey leases as they await solutions to supply shortage

“It’s been a pretty tough, long winter for us. We both have families and we’ve had to make financial sacrifices,” said Breault, whose shop “Green Easy” remains shuttered as they await approval from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the provincial agency overseeing Alberta’s cannabis industry.

Last week, the AGLC said an improving supply of marijuana allowed them to begin issuing 26 more retail licences, a slight easing on a moratorium bringing the number of Alberta retailers to 101.

But the slight increase in cannabis availability is still not enough to completely lift the moratorium, leaving an estimated 600 prospective pot retailers stuck in limbo.


Ontario pot shops that failed to open by April 15 face more penalties

Cannabis retailers in Ontario who have failed to open their stores by a government-set deadline are facing a new round of financial penalties.

In all, 11 pot retailers have been fined $12,500 each for not opening their stores by April 15.

Twenty-five retailers were selected through a government lottery to open the first brick-and-mortar cannabis stores on April 1, but less than half met the deadline.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario established a system of escalating penalties for retailers who didn't start serving customers on time.

The agency says it has drawn down on letters of credit submitted by the licencees -- some for a second time -- taking $12,500 from the $50,000 initially provided.


Addiction experts decry ban on cannabis sales in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

Cannabis was legalized in Canada last year, but that hasn't made it easier for people who want to buy weed on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Health workers and addiction experts say new municipal rules and licensing regimesare leaving people at the epicentre of the country's opioid crisis with no legal options if they want to use cannabis, which can help them kick more dangerous drugs.


Alcohol and cannabis companies form pot-beverage industry group to push changes

A group of alcohol and cannabis companies have formed an industry alliance to push for changes to proposed rules governing pot-infused beverages before edibles become legal in the coming months.

The Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance is arguing for, among other things, the ability to produce pot-based drinks in the same facilities where non-cannabis beverages are made.

The additional cost of establishing separate manufacturing and processing facilities is a "significant barrier to entry," particularly for small and mid-sized producers, said Paddy Finnegan, business unit manager for food and beverage at Lakeside Process Controls, an alliance member.

The extra cost will also make it harder to compete with the illicit market on price, he added.


Street drug use should be decriminalized to cut deaths: B.C. health officer

A push by British Columbia's health officer to decriminalize drug possession in the fight against overdoses isn't getting support from the province's solicitor general.

Dr. Bonnie Henry called on the B.C. government Wednesday to make drug possession a health issue and not a crime.

"The current criminal justice based approach framework in B.C. and in Canada create barriers to accessing prevention and treatment services," she told a news conference. "With the crisis we are dealing with in B.C., and the impact on our families and communities, I believe we can and do need to do more."


Marijuana legalization hasn't led to many more impaired driving charges: Police

Canadian police say they haven't been busting many more stoned drivers six months after legalization, but they are reminding drivers to keep cannabis out of reach.

The Canadian Press canvassed police forces across the country and most reported no significant change in the number of impaired driving charges laid, while some said it's too early to release data, and at least one reported a rise in charges.

Dozens of charges have also been laid under the new federal Cannabis Act relating to possession and trafficking, but Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia said the number is "not significant at this point."


Neighbourhood pot dealers cheaper than government, StatsCannabis says

Illegal cannabis dealers still hold a price advantage over licensed government pot shops, federal statistics show.

As of March 31, the national average price of cannabis from all sources was $8.04 per gram. Legal cannabis was $9.99 on average compared to an average illicit price of $6.37.

Those averages are from the period since October’s legalization.

Statistics Canada, informally known as StatCan, began collecting data early last year through StatsCannabis. That’s an online hub including a crowd-sourcing platform to gather information about national cannabis use, including how much Canadians are paying, the quantity and quality, reasons for buying and average usage and consumption.


Canada will tax cannabis products based on THC-content

According to the Federal Government’s 2019 Budget, the next round of Canadian cannabis products will be taxed based on THC-content. Effective May 1, edibles, extracts, and topicals will be subject to excise tax at a rate of one cent per milligram of THC. This is in addition to the already imposed sales tax.


Sask. pot store credits government's hands-off approach for improvement of supply chain

Like many marijuana entrepreneurs across the province, John Thomas's biggest concern when he opened his first store was supply.

Thomas is the co-founder of Jimmy's Cannabis Shop, which has locations in Battleford, Estevan and Martensville with another opening in Moosomin this Saturday. He said the stores initially struggled to get enough marijuana to reliably operate.

He was forced to close the Martensville location just days after opening due to running out of product.

Now, six months after legalization, supply is becoming much less of an issue. Thomas said the province's laissez-faire approach to the supply issue is part of the reason.


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