Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


notsofasteddie last won the day on March 15

notsofasteddie had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

819 Excellent

About notsofasteddie

  • Rank
    Super Stoner

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    S.E. USA
  • Interests
    Golf, Reading, Civil Rights
  1. Richard Branson: ‘The case for medical cannabis is overwhelming’ In a blog post, the Virgin founder shouts out Canada for its medical cannabis program By Elianna Lev March 15, 2018 Image from Virgin.com British business titan and Virgin founder Richard Branson is now using his vast platform to call for fundamental reform “to end the failed global war on drugs.” In a blog post titled “Time to end the pain and suffering,” posted on the Virgin website, Branson stresses that dire change is needed when it comes to the debate around medical cannabis. “For millions living with chronic disease and often excruciating pain, having access to cannabis products can mean the difference between daily, debilitating suffering and reclaiming some control over their lives,” he writes. The post appears to have been sparked by the case of Alfie Dingley, a seven-year-old from Warwickshire, who suffers from severe epilepsy. After the boy was given CBD oil, his condition improved dramatically. Since the treatment is illegal in the UK, Alfie’s family has to travel to Holland so he can access it. In an attempt to shift the country’s legislation, the boy and his family have set a meeting with members of parliament for March 20th, to present a petition with 350,000 signatures. Branson, who is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, writes that no family should have to go through such loopholes for the well-being of their child. “This is a caring family demanding access to a medicine and they shouldn’t have to break the law to get it; drug use – both medicinal and recreational – shouldn’t be a matter of criminal justice, but a matter of public health,” Branson writes. The philanthropist goes on to say he has hope that change is coming, even giving a shout-out to Canada as one of the countries who sees the benefits of medicinal cannabis and reform. Branson cites studies that suggest how American states with medical marijuana laws see slower growth rates in opioid overdoses and fatalities. “Any drug policy should first and foremost seek to reduce harm, and pain, not increase it,” he writes. “As someone interested in evidence-based policy, I feel the case for medical cannabis is overwhelming. Policy makers should act now, so that Alfie and thousands like him can fully enjoy their lives.” Branson encourages readers to visit Global Commission on Drug Policy and ends his post stressing that he is not invested in the cannabis industry. https://news.lift.co/richard-branson-medical-cannabis
  2. Can Doug Ford make cannabis an Ontario election issue? If so, the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP will need to present alternatives to the Liberals plan By Kate Robertson March 15, 2018 Doug Ford surprised absolutely no one when he announced he’d consider amending the Liberal plan to distribute recreational cannabis through a government monopoly to include private shops. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader – who is alleged to have sold hash when he was in high school – made the cannabis comments this week on CBC Ottawa after narrowly winning the leadership race last weekend. “I have been open to a fair market and letting the markets dictate,” Ford said. “I don't like the government controlling anything no matter what it is... I'm open to a free market and I'm going to consult with our caucus.... I don't believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate.” But the statement felt more like market research than a declaration – could pro-dispensary cannabis consumers who voted for the Ontario Liberals or Ontario NDP in the past be convinced to vote for the PCs? Could they ignore other important issues, such as the hotly debated sex-ed curriculum and precarious employment? When the Ontario Liberals passed their recreational cannabis legislation last fall, the PCs weren’t critical of government intervention in the free market. Rather, they were concerned about a potential increase in impaired driving and youth usage. “We are calling on the Kathleen Wynne government to ensure that law enforcement, public health and local communities are properly consulted and have the tools they need as the Liberals roll-out out this proposal,” Conservative MPP Laurie Scott said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we don’t trust the Wynne Liberals to get this right.” It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the Ontario PCs propose before the June election when it comes to cannabis. But the Ontario NDP have been similarly critical and vague. But leader Andrea Horwath’s home city of Hamilton has a high density of dispensaries and in 2016 her son Julian Leonetti worked at a short-lived Toronto location of the Canada Bliss Herbal Society, a chain of medical cannabis dispensaries based in Vancouver. The shop, which was located in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, was raided and closed by police. “He was not working there at the time the storefront was raided,” said Rebecca Elming, a media relations officer at Ontario’s NDP caucus, told Lift News in an email. But Horwath and the ONDP are concerned about the limited number of brick-and-mortar storefronts. (Current provincial plans will also allow consumers to make purchases from Ontario Cannabis Store online.) “Horwath has long-supported a legal, regulated cannabis industry,” Elming continued. “She has serious concerns about Kathleen Wynne's plan to restrict the initial number of cannabis retail locations to just 40 for the province – which will allow organized crime to thrive, and erode assurances that products are safe." Elming did not comment on whether or not the NDP supports keeping illegal dispensaries open or allowing for privately-owned cannabis stores to address these concerns. The Ontario general election is scheduled for June 7, 2018. https://news.lift.co/doug-ford-ontario-election-cannabis
  3. Saskatchewan reveals cannabis policy but 5 towns opt-out Retailer will have to pass 'good character' tests, minors won't be charged By Elianna Lev March 15, 2018 Saskatchewan announced its post-legalization plans for production and sale of recreational cannabis, which includes setting 19 as the legal of purchase and a private retail model. But not every town wants in. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming (SLGA) is in the process of reviewing retail permit applications. In total, 51 permits will be granted to 32 municipalities and First Nations communities. But CBC reports that of the municipalities eligible to sell cannabis, five have decided to opt-out – Pilot Butte, Biggar, Kindersley, White City and Shellbrook. The SLGA will be administering the permits through a two-part selection process, which will screen for financial standings and inventory capabilities. Retailers will have to pass "good character" tests, similar to the process for private alcohol sales. The application process for the permits will start in April, and is expected to finish by June. Minors caught with smaller quantities will be ticketed and have their cannabis seized while possession of more than five grams will be a criminal offence subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. “Depending on the quantity involved there could be a period of incarceration, but most likely it would be a fine, probation and some kind of appropriate youth type measure,” explained Justice Minister Don Morgan in a press conference. He added that there would be criminal penalties for an adult buying pot for a minor. Other key points in the province’s framework include: Zero tolerance for drivers impaired by cannabis Forbidden to consume cannabis in public spaces, including schools and daycares Household will be allowed up to four plants, following the federal standard for home growing Saskatchewan is one of several provinces to introduce a private-model framework. Alberta will sell cannabis through private retail distribution, with online sales made online through a government-run site. Manitoba introduced a hybrid model, which will see the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation secure and track the supply of cannabis sold in the province while the private sector will operate all retail locations. https://news.lift.co/saskatchewan-cannabis-policy
  4. Ontario cannabis regime in political crosshairs The province's Liberal government is preparing to keep pot sales on a relatively tight leash, while Progressive Conservatives favour more of a privatized approach. Meanwhile, a provincial election is scheduled to be held on or before June 7 Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Galit Rodan/Bloomberg Ontario’s newly branded cannabis retail stores haven’t started to sell marijuana yet, but they are already in the political crosshairs, and the burgeoning cannabis industry may be just fine with that. Doug Ford, the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, made comments Tuesday suggesting he favours a more privatized approach to the distribution of alcohol and legalized pot. “I don’t like monopolies,” Ford told Ottawa’s CFRA radio station. “I don’t like government being involved in something that the private sector can handle.” Ford’s comments did not seem to ruffle the cannabis industry, which is readying for Canada’s expected legalization of recreational marijuana later this year. “Cannabis Canada generally supports private, yet responsibly regulated cannabis sales,” Allan Rewak, acting executive director of the Cannabis Canada Association, said in an email. “That being said, the crown model currently being rolled out is proceeding well and our members stand ready to work with whomever forms the next provincial government to design a system that keeps profits out of the hands of organized crime and cannabis away from kids,” said Rewak, whose group represents licensed medical marijuana producers. Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, and it is poised to be its biggest market for legalized cannabis. The province’s Liberal government, though, is preparing to keep pot sales on a relatively tight leash. Under the current plan, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, a Crown corporation, has been tapped to manage the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana in the province, with plans for brick-and-mortar stores and an online sales channel. Last week, the brand name of Ontario’s cannabis agency was unveiled: The Ontario Cannabis Store. Cannabis companies have argued in the past for other options. In response to Ontario’s announcement of its retail plan for cannabis, Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Canopy Growth Corp. said in September 2017 that “we encourage the government to consider allowing existing licensed producers to continue their e-commerce sales if this can allow for a more cost-effective, expeditious, and varied sales model for Ontarians.” But Premier Kathleen Wynne said Wednesday that her Liberal government had taken a lot of time to develop a distribution plan for cannabis, and that there would be a “recklessness” to doing what Ford had suggested. “I think that a lot of parents would have concern about cannabis being available beside candy bars in corner stores,” Wynne said. “As a grandmother, I’d be worried about that. It seems reckless to me.” Ford’s comments were also met with push-back from the head of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents approximately 150,000 workers in the province, including at the LCBO. “(Ford’s) already acting like he’s premier, but he is spouting off about privatizing the sale of alcohol and cannabis, without giving any thought to the consequences,” OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas said in a release. “His superficial grasp of the issues proves he’s all tip and no iceberg.” Regardless, there is interest in the industry for a looser retail model in Ontario. “We strongly support the privatized retail distribution model,” said Derek Ogden, president of Ottawa-based National Access Cannabis Corp., which has a chain of cannabis clinics across Canada. “We think it’s the best model overall to pull people from the black market into the legal regulated market, so we’re strongly in favour of the comments (by Ford).” Polls have suggested that the Progressive Conservatives have a shot at winning this June’s Ontario election, which would give Ford an opportunity to implement his preferred policies. And Ogden pointed to the network of licensed producers as an example of privatization in action, albeit under the supervision of Health Canada. “We think that the industry demonstrated that privatization works,” Ogden said. http://business.financialpost.com/business/doug-ford-opens-door-to-looser-cannabis-sales-in-ontario-and-the-industry-doesnt-hate-it
  5. Saskatchewan To Set Marijuana Legal Age At 19 Minors caught with a small amount of cannabis won't get criminal records. Canadian Press 03/14/2018 Chris Wattie / Reuters A worker weighs a package of dried marijuana at the Canopy Growth Corporation facility in Smiths Falls, Ont. on January 4, 2018. REGINA — Saskatchewan is proposing to set the legal age to consume cannabis at 19 but minors caught with a small amount won't end up with a criminal record. The government tabled legislation Wednesday outlining its plans once the federal government legalizes marijuana later this year. Justice Minister Don Morgan said public health and safety was the government's priority when it set the age at 19. "We decided this kept us in line with what the age for consumption and possession of alcohol was, and that seemed to be the direction that most of the provinces were going," Morgan said. "It would have been a challenge to use 23 or 25 or a later age. We were afraid that it would make it easier for the black market to be established at the lower ages." 'A balance' The proposed legislation bans anyone under 19 from possessing marijuana, but getting caught with less than five grams will not result in a criminal record. Rather, Morgan said, the pot would be confiscated and a fine imposed. "We have to recognize that these are young people and we didn't want to be onerous to the point that we imposed a serious criminal record on somebody or something that was disproportionate to the responsibility that a young person should have. It was a balance." It would be a criminal offence, however, for an older person to supply marijuana to a minor, Morgan said. Saskatchewan is also proposing a zero-tolerance policy for drug-impaired drivers and a ban on consuming cannabis in public spaces, including schools and daycares. "Treat it the same way you would open liquor," Morgan said. The province plans to follow federal standards and limit a household to four homegrown plants. Chris Wattie / Reuters Section grower Corey Evans walks between flowering marijuana plants at the Canopy Growth Corporation facility in Smiths Falls, Ont. on January 4, 2018. Gene Makowsky, minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, said a price for cannabis is likely to be suggested by the Crown agency from time to time. That will be a delicate balancing act, he said. "You'll want to find that spot where you want to get rid of the black market, but you don't want to make it so cheap as to ... make it that much more available, particularly to young people," he said. "We don't know at this point what the exact price will be." Makowsky has already said the sale of legal cannabis will be handled by the private sector with government oversight. Some 51 retail cannabis permits are being made available in 32 communities. Retailers will have to pass a "good character" test similar to that required for alcohol sales. Makowsky said retailers will be allowed to purchase cannabis from out-of-province suppliers. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/03/14/saskatchewan-marijuana-legal-age-19_a_23386061
  6. San Francisco embraces Amsterdam-style marijuana lounges By paul elias, associated press SAN FRANCISCO — Mar 15, 2018 The Associated Press In this March 1, 2018 photo, Rick Thompson, clockwise from bottom left, Keith Baskerville and Xavier Baskerville smoke marijuana while sitting in a booth in the smoking lounge at Barbary Coast Dispensary in San Francisco. San Francisco plans to issue more permits for marijuana smoking lounges this year after health officials finalize updated regulations. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) The smoke was thick and business brisk at the Barbary Coast Dispensary's marijuana smoking lounge, a darkened room that resembles a steakhouse or upscale sports tavern with its red leather seats, deep booths with high dividers, and hardwood floors. "There's nothing like this in Jersey," said grinning Atlantic City resident Rick Thompson, g[etting high with his cousins in San Francisco. In fact, there's nothing like the Barbary Coast lounge almost anywhere in the United States, a conundrum confronting many marijuana enthusiasts who find it increasingly easy to buy pot but harder to find legal places to smoke it. Only California permits marijuana smoking at marijuana retailers with specially designed lounges. But it also allows cities to ban those kids of shops. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco is the trailblazer. It's the only city in the state to fully embrace Amsterdam-like coffee shops, the iconic tourist stops in the Netherlands where people can buy and smoke marijuana in the same shop. San Francisco's marijuana "czar" Nicole Elliot said new permits will be issued once city health officials finalize regulations designed to protect workers from secondhand smoke and the neighborhood from unwelcomed odors. The lounges are required to install expensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to prevent the distinct marijuana odor from leaking outside. Other California cities are warming to the idea. Oakland and South Lake Tahoe each have one smoking lounge. The city of West Hollywood has approved plans to issue up to eight licenses; the tiny San Francisco Bay Area town of Alameda said it will allow two; and Oakland and South Lake Tahoe each have one lounge. Sacramento, Los Angeles and other cities are discussing the issue but have not authorized any lounges. Jackie Rocco, the city of Los Angeles' business development manager, said residents and cannabis businesses complain there is "no safe place, no legal place, to use it." Rocco said Los Angeles officials envision smoking lounges set up like traditional bars, but for now the idea is more concept than plan. Meanwhile, lawmakers and officials in other states are dithering over the issue. Massachusetts marijuana regulators considered approval of "cannabis cafes." But the proposal came under withering criticism from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's administration and law enforcement officials, who claimed among other things that opening such businesses would lead to more dangerously stoned drivers. The five-member Cannabis Control Commission ultimately yielded to pressure by agreeing to put off a decision on licensing any cafes until after the initial rollout of retail marijuana operations, expected this summer. Members of the panel, however, continue to support the idea. "Those who wish to consume cannabis are going to do so whether social sites exist or not, and are going to make driving decisions regardless of where they consume," said Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Massachusetts chapter of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. "Social sites will simply give cannabis users the same options available to alcohol users." In Colorado, one of the first states to broadly legalize, lawmakers failed in a close vote to make so-called "tasting rooms" legal. However, cities may do it, and Denver has authorized lounges where consumers bring their own marijuana, issuing a single permit so far. Nevada has put off a vote on the issue until next year, while lawmakers in Alaska and Oregon have considered and rejected legislation. San Francisco has allowed medical marijuana patients to smoke in dispensaries for years, though there was uncertainty over whether the practice was authorized when California voters in 1996 made the state the first in the nation to legalize cannabis use with a doctor's recommendation. In this March 1, 2018 photo, visitors sit in booths in the marijuana smoking room at Barbary Coast Dispensary in San Francisco. San Francisco plans to issue more permits for marijuana smoking lounges this year after health officials finalize updated regulations. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) The Barbary Coast, which received its state license in January, first opened as a small medical dispensary in 2013. It expanded and opened its smoking lounge to medical users last year. On Jan. 11, the shop opened to all adults when it received its California recreational use license. The state started issuing those on Jan. 1 and continues to approve dozens of applications a month since voters broadly legalized the use and sale of marijuana. Thompson traveled from Atlantic City to celebrate his 27th birthday with his cousins, who live in Oakland. They decided to celebrate in style, getting as high as they could in San Francisco. The three 20-somethings bought a variety of buds and the quick-acting "wax," a potent pot concentrate, and settled into a booth with all the accoutrement they needed. After customers purchase at least $40 worth of product, the Barbary Coast will supply bongs, joint rollers, "rigs" for wax smoking and just about any smoking tool desired. They smoked and debated the merits of smoking buds versus wax. The verdict: There's something innately satisfying about smoking buds, but wax gives a quicker high even if it requires a hotter flame and more elaborate setup to smoke. Barbary is in a once-rundown neighborhood that is gentrifying. Two other dispensaries with smoke lounges are three blocks away. Three flat-screen televisions tuned to sports hang on the lounge's brick walls. Outside the enclosed room, customers line up at the dispensary's glass counters to buy marijuana. General manager Jesse Henry said Barbary's owners plan to open a bigger store and smoking lounge about a mile away, across the street from a popular concert hall, after city health officials finalize regulations for on-site consumption. "This city is built for tourists," Henry said. "We put a lot of work into giving them a San Francisco experience." http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/wireStory/san-francisco-us-cities-marijuana-lounges-53763226 —— Associated Press writer Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles and Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this report.
  7. Her Mission: Getting Craft Cannabis Into Ontario’s Government Cannabis Stores Sam Riches March 14, 2018 Lifford Wine & Spirits (& Eventually Cannabis) (Courtesy of Sam Riches) Last October, Constellation Brands Inc.—an international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits, and a behemoth in the alcohol industry—signed a $191 million deal for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s first publicly traded cannabis company. The unprecedented deal broke new ground and created new possibilities for both industries. “That deal had a huge ripple effect,” says Lisa Campbell, co-creator of Green Market pop-up events, which are essentially farmers’ markets for craft cannabis producers, and well-attended despite being illegal. “All these alcohol companies are now getting into cannabis in a really big way,” Campbell says. “And all these cannabis companies are trying to get into the alcohol industry because they have massive coffers.” “The advantage of an agency in the supply chain is that agencies are tastemakers.” Lisa Campbell Campbell has developed an extensive network of contacts in the cannabis industry through Green Market and her history of advocacy. She also has family connections in the alcohol industry, and for her next move, Campbell’s merging her cannabis advocacy with the family business and going legal. Campbell’s father, Steve, is the co-founder of Lifford Wine & Spirits, a company that distributes alcohol products that can’t be purchased in Ontario’s government-controlled liquor stores (LCBOs). What started as a small agency now operates across Canada with products sourced from 18 countries. The LCBO will also be in charge of cannabis sales in Ontario, selling products in separate retail locations. Once legalized, Lifford Wine & Spirits will add cannabis to their portfolio. “I think a lot of the stuff I did with the Green Market is parallel, almost exactly, in terms of acting like an agency,” Campbell says. “Green Market is a portfolio of brands, and some of those brands we would have supply-chain relationships with.” For Green Market, Campbell sourced craft products and brought them to market through her events and by acquiring shelf space in large dispensary chains. “The advantage of an agency in the supply chain is that agencies are tastemakers,” she says. Step One: Educate While Green Market is on hiatus, it may not be finished. “Initially, we thought it was over but now we like to say Green Market is snowbirding,” says Campbell. Her focus at the moment is on the future with Lifford and bringing more cannabis products to market for the emerging legal industry. Now, her business card says something else. Cannabis Portfolio Specialist. A new title for a new opportunity. The first floor of Lifford Wine & Spirits will be transformed into a place to hold events geared towards cannabis education. On a Thursday morning in March, light spills through large windows on the first floor of the Lifford building. For now, the space is mostly empty, with a few framed photos on the wall, a fold-up table in the middle of the room. Soon, the first floor will be transformed, Campbell says, into a co-working space and a place to hold events, specifically events geared towards cannabis education. “Through Green Market, I’ve met all these folks, restaurant owners, juice bar owners, creative, talented entrepreneurs, but they don’t have a million dollars to acquire a licensed producer (LP) or build a facility, but they want to do things like edible dinners,” Campbell says. RELATED STORY: ‘I Just Love Getting People High’: In the Kitchen With a Black-Market Edibles Maker “These restauranters and chefs and food producers don’t necessarily have the knowledge to enter the industry, so there’s major interest but not any education geared toward them or their community.” Before Lifford was founded in 1978, Campbell’s father was in the restaurant industry for 16 years. At that time, “it was really difficult to find wine here,” he says. “I really do see the LCBO, and their new role in selling cannabis, they are going to mimic their success in wine and spirits. They will look at the things from the past that have really worked and one of them is greater accessibility beyond what they were selling in stores. I can see, over time, that parallel happening with marijuana, as well.” The first year of legalization is critical, Campbell says. “A lot of consumer tastes and preference will be solidified in that first year.” The first year of legalization is critical, Campbell says. She is viewing it as a year-long national cannabis cup. “All the LPs, big or small, are going to have their flowers on the market,” she says. “A lot of consumer tastes and preference will be solidified in that first year.” Campbell believes, though legalization is coming soon, we are still more than a year away from “peak legalization,” which she says won’t be achieved until there is product diversity. “Once craft cannabis comes on the market, I think you’ll see a really high demand for that small-batch, small-producer product.” As for how Campbell sees herself fitting into the equation: “If you have a strain that no other LP has but you’re just a tiny micro grow, you might want to team up with another grower and supply them with clones, and a company like ours will be able to take all that product, brand it, and sell it to a retailer.” The Liquor Precedent Recently, Lifford did just this with a wine. They brought a Canadian winemaker to Chile, who created a wine, while Lifford created a label and then brokered a deal with Quebec’s provincial liquor stores, who bought every bottle. “The LCBO is the biggest alcohol buyer in the world. Soon, it will be the biggest cannabis buyer in the world.” “Part of what we’ll be able to do in future, like we do for alcohol now, is take a network of producers that meet defined criteria, and create a brand around their product to sell to a retailer,” Campbell says. “The LCBO has a huge appetite for products. It’s the biggest alcohol buyer in the world. Soon, it will be the biggest cannabis buyer in the world.” It’s taken about two years of lobbying to get Lifford to this point of cannabis acceptance, Campbell says. “Two years ago, I wanted to move in and create a cannabis showroom and have a space where LPs could rent out shelf space for their products.” RELATED STORY: Canada Announces Craft-Scale Licenses for Smaller Cannabis Producers It wasn’t until December, and a threat to move to Colombia, when the idea really started to gain traction. “We had a managers’ meeting, all the managers across Canada, and they all agreed cannabis was an opportunity,” Campbell says. “If one of our biggest competitors is going to go all in on cannabis, it makes sense we would, too.” Now, the liquor industry and the cannabis industry are converging coast to coast. It’s a far cry from the days when liquor purchases required background checks, an assessment of past consumption, and the discretion of the clerk to decide whether or not you’re buying too much. Campbell is hoping cannabis will follow a similar path of normalization. “Alcohol is very much part of politics. When is it going to become acceptable for a public affairs company to take out their client and a politician, not for a beer, but to consume cannabis? “We’re at the very beginning.” https://www.leafly.com/news/canada/her-mission-getting-craft-cannabis-into-ontarios-government-cannabis-stores
  8. City of Vancouver calls for decriminalization of drug possession With overdose deaths once again on the rise in Vancouver, the city is calling on the federal government to immediately decriminalize the personal possession of all drugs. The city says drastic action is needed as its overdose death total continues to climb CBC News · Posted: Mar 09, 2018 A man walks past a mural by street artist Smokey D. about the fentanyl and opioid overdose crisis in the Downtown Eastside in late 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck) With overdose deaths once again on the rise in Vancouver, the city is calling on the federal government to immediately decriminalize the personal possession of all drugs. Managing director of social policy, Mary Clare Zak, says this is a new position for the city, but it is consistent with Vancouver's Four Pillars Drug Strategy. Innovations in harm reduction can't curb 'catastrophic' overdose crisis, say experts "What we've learned from countries, for example like Portugal, is that when you decriminalize then people are feeling like they're actually safe enough to ask for treatment," she said. "People who are dying are more likely to be indoors and struggle with accessing help or assistance because of their illicit drug use." Zak says the city also recommends the following actions: Rapidly roll out funding for evidence-based treatment programs. Support the scale up of innovative programs that provide access to safe opioids for those most at risk for overdose. Support the de-stigmatization programs that are co-led by people with lived experience of substance use. Continue to roll out innovative overdose prevention services in areas where users remain isolated. 'We need to do something' Vancouver saw 33 overdose deaths in January, which was the city's highest total since May of last year. Zak says there has been a steady increase in fatal overdoses since October. Feature The answer to Canada's opioid overdose crisis is decriminalization, say Vancouver drug users and advocates "We need to do something," Zak said. "We need to make sure we have a clean drug supply for people who are struggling with addiction and I think decriminalization is a big part of that. It's about making people safe." The federal government is expected to unveil legislation this summer to legalize marijuana, but the federal Liberals do not support decriminalizing other drugs. Decriminalization won't be part of opioid fight, PM tells Edmonton town hall "Decriminalizing harder drugs is not a step that Canada is looking at taking at this point," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a town hall meeting in Edmonton last month. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in Vancouver last year that he supports decriminalizing personal possession of all drugs. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/city-of-vancouver-drug-possession-1.4570720
  9. Ottawa health unit's pot proposals under fire 'You're going to see people breaking the law,' Colorado consultant says By Susan Burgess, CBC News Posted: Mar 08, 2018 6:33 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 08, 2018 10:55 AM ET Ottawa Public Health is recommending a provincial ban on cannabis smoking and vaping in condos, apartments and even cannabis lounges, a move some critics say would simply drive people to break the law. (Joe Mahoney/Canadian Press) A recommendation from Ottawa Public Health to ban all smoking and vaping of cannabis in Ontario's apartments, condos and even cannabis lounges would drive people to break the law, according to a consultant who shaped marijuana policy in Denver, Colo. Ban pot smoking in condos, apartments, on balconies: OPH What Ottawa can learn from Denver about regulating marijuana No 'significant issues' from marijuana legalization, says Colorado medical officer "You're leaving a lot of people in a place where they can legally grow this product, can legally carry this product, can legally purchase this product, but there's not a lot of places for them to legally consume it," said Dan Rowland, a consultant with Alberta-based 420 Advisory Management. "That will create some issues." Rowland has seen those issues firsthand. The state of Colorado legalized the sale of cannabis in 2014, but cities are still grappling with how to regulate its use. In Denver, it's permitted only in private residences, though not hotels or apartments where the property owner has imposed a ban. Some Colorado cities have businesses where customers can consume cannabis, but they had been outlawed in Denver until recently. That city's first is expected to open soon under a brand new licensing regime that permits vaping and edibles — though not smoking indoors, which would violate state anti-smoking legislation, Rowland said. Problem for tourists The rules have been a particular problem for tourists who make purchases at legal pot shops but have nowhere to use them without breaking the law, Rowland said. He said they're also unpopular with locals. "They don't necessarily always want to consume (cannabis) alone in their own home," Rowland said. "There is a social aspect to it." That's driven some to flout the law and smoke in public. Others are partying on buses that skirt the state's indoor smoking ban as they shuttle patrons between the city's dispensaries and grow facilities. Were Ontario to accept Ottawa Public Health's recommendations, Rowland predicts similar problems here. "You're going to see people breaking the law. That's clear," he said. The rules could also drive people to cannabis edibles, which can be consumed more discreetly, he said. But legalization of those products won't happen for another year. "If the idea is to cut down on the black market and get people into the licensed, regulated world, you need to provide sort of a common sense regulation on where and how consumers can actually use this product they're legally obtaining," Rowland said. Vaping restrictions are overkill, says expert Ottawa Public Health's proposal is also being criticized by a health law expert at the University of Ottawa. David Sweanor, who was part of the fight to ban smoking in public places, said the ban on vaping in apartments is a mistake because the byproducts of vaping pose minimal risk to bystanders compared with smoke from cigarettes or a joint. "You should be a lot more worried about having a candle on your table at dinner, or a fireplace going in the restaurant," Sweanor said. "It just really isn't something we need to be particularly concerned about." In addition, enforcing such a ban would be next to impossible, he said, because unlike with smoke there's no telltale smell. If anything, Sweanor said, public health officials should be encouraging people to consume cannabis by vaping instead of smoking. "If we give people who would otherwise smoke a way to get what they want without blowing smoke into their lungs and putting it into the lungs of third parties, that's a huge victory for public health," he said. "That's what we should focus on. We shouldn't get into the moralistic 'thou shalt not' on issues where we just don't have the health basis." Landlords in favour The health unit's proposed rules for rental buildings are getting qualified praise from landlords. "Many people dislike second-hand tobacco smoke, but even more people dislike second-hand cannabis smoke," said John Dickie, chair of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization and the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations. Landlord group wants stricter limits on where Canadians can grow marijuana Without a provincial ban on cannabis smoking in apartments, a landlord's only option is to put a non-smoking provision in a tenant's lease. But such provisions have been difficult to enforce, Dickie said, because they require other tenants to complain to a tribunal about how the smoke affects them. "We have to jump through hoops. We have to set neighbours against neighbours," Dickie said. John Dickie, chair of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization, is in favour of a provincial ban on the smoking of cannabis in apartments. (Reno Patry/CBC) Dickie said his preferred solution would be for the province to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who smoke in violation of their rental agreement, which would allow for a rental market with a selection of smoking and non-smoking buildings. In the absence of that, he said he likes the health unit's proposal — minus the ban on cannabis lounges, which could provide a venue for smoking that's an alternative to one's own apartment. "If pot's going to be legal and people are going to consume it, they've gotta consume it somewhere," Dickie said. "What we don't want is for their consumption to negatively affect other people." http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-public-health-cannabis-regulation-1.4566563
  10. Pressure mounts on Liberals to decriminalize drug use and simple possession What role could cannabis play to combat Canada’s opioid epidemic? By Kate Robertson March 5, 2018 At its policy convention last week, the NDP made a formal commitment to decriminalize possession of all drugs, not just cannabis, to combat the opioid epidemic at its policy convention in late February. Now, Liberal MPs are asking members of the party to communicate their support of the same initiative. Between now and March 18, registered Liberals can vote online to prioritize the Liberal caucus’s drug policy resolution. If the idea makes the top 30 of 39 resolutions, it will be included in debates at the party’s April convention in Halifax. “I believe that we should treat drug use and abuse as a health issue, and not as a crime. We know that prohibition policies – the so-called “war on drugs” – has been an abject failure,” wrote Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith in an email. “We need evidence-based solutions instead. To that end, other countries have had success with more progressive drug policies.” The Portuguese government decriminalized low-level possession of all drugs in 2001. Instead, medical experts, social workers and legal professionals work together to create treatment plans, issue fines or assign community service duties to those possessing drugs. Since that time, overdoses and drug-related deaths decreased from 131 in 2001 to 20 in 2008, and the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction has increased by 60 per cent. In Canada, 7000 opioid-related deaths have been reported in the last two years. “We have expanded safe injection sites, and are working to expand treatment options, but we need to continue to follow the evidence if we want to save lives,” Erskine-Smith says. Recreational cannabis legalization should be viewed as separate from the proposal to decriminalize all drugs, says Erskine-Smith. But many have wondered if more access to cannabis could help – or hinder – efforts to treat opioid addiction. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research approved approximately $100,000 in funding for McMaster University’s Dr. Zainab Samaan to research the impact of cannabis legalization on cannabis use and outcomes in patients with opioid use disorder. In a previous study, Samaan and colleague Laura Zielinski studied the impact of cannabis use on the outcome of methadone treatment, the most widely used treatment for opioid addiction. Samaan and Zielinski’s results showed that, for women in particular, cannabis use could hinder the efficacy of methadone treatment. “This is the largest study to date examining the association between cannabis use and illicit opioid use,” they write. “Cannabis use may be a sex-specific predictor of poor response to methadone treatment (MMT), such that women are more likely to use illicit opioids if they also use cannabis during treatment. Women may show improved treatment outcomes if cannabis use is addressed during MMT.” Another study, published in spring of 2017, found that 63 per cent of a sample of medical cannabis consumers registered with Tilray perceive cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs – “particularly opioids (30 per cent), benzodiazepines (16 per cent), and antidepressants (12 per cent). Patients also reported substituting cannabis for alcohol (25 per cent), cigarettes/tobacco (12 per cent) and illicit drugs (3 per cent).” When it comes to legalization and its general relationship to opioids, a 2014 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that there was a 25 per cent reduction in opioid-related deaths in American states where medical cannabis was legal. https://news.lift.co/pressure-mounts-liberals-decriminalize-drug-use-simple-possession
  11. Ottawa Public Health urges ban on cannabis smoking in apartments, condos The submission was reportedly made as part of Ontario's consultation process on its proposed cannabis legislation By Kate Robertson March 8, 2018 When Donna Schlonies moved into her non-smoking subsidized housing unit in Grey County, Ontario, she thought she was on the road to recovery from health and financial challenges. Instead, her health declined – so she obtained authorization to try medical cannabis to treat PTSD and chronic pain. Liver disease prevents her from taking over-the-counter pain medications. Even though Schlonies lives in a non-smoking unit, the housing administrators allowed her to consume medication without having to go outside – until the Smoke-Free Ontario Act arrived, which prohibits smoking in any enclosed workplace, public space and specific outdoor spaces in the province. She was told to use a vaporizer to medicate. “I have to vape,” she says. “And vaping does it, but it doesn’t cut it some days. So I’m stuck. I’m up against a wall.” And because she has asthma, she says the weather affects her ability to medicate outdoors. In October, she filed a human rights complaint in an effort to be accommodated with a smoking unit or permission to use an air purifier to reduce smoke for other residents. That’s why she was alarmed to hear that this week, Ottawa Public Health recommended that the province ban smoking and vaping inside all apartments, condos and on all balconies when recreational cannabis is legalized later this year. Similar to the province’s alcohol and tobacco laws, the Ontario Liberal government has indicated that recreational consumers will be prohibited from smoking in public spaces, workplaces and in vehicles, but private residences would be okay. Medical consumers would be subject to the aforementioned Smoke Free Ontario Act. But Dr. Vera Etches, acting medical officer of health for Ottawa Public Health, recommended that all cannabis smoking and vaping – medical or not – should be banned in condos and apartments, reports CTV Ottawa. “Second-hand smoke can disperse through a building, traveling between adjacent units through cracks in walls and ceilings, windows, and heating and ventilation systems," she reportedly wrote. “According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers, there is currently no available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air cleaning system that can adequately control or significantly reduce the health risks of second-hand smoke.” The submission was reportedly made to the province as part of its consultation process on its new cannabis legislation. Schlonies says she understands that not everyone enjoys the scent of cannabis smoke, but feels she tolerates other residents’ medications and vices. “What about the fentanyl patches running around my building? I have a friend downstairs, she’s 67, and she’s on frickin’ morphine,” Schlonies says. “What about the alcohol? I'm not a drinker. Never have been not an alcoholic and never had a problem. My father was. So all of us aren't drinkers. I watch booze be brought in on a check day non-stop and that bothers me. But that's okay.” https://news.lift.co/ottawa-public-health-ban-cannabis-smoking-apartments
  12. Denver’s new Mile High 420 Festival announces all-star lineup Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, The Original Wailers, Inner Circle to headline the new festival coming to Civic Center Park on April 20, 2018 GoogleTumblrPinterestLinkedinPocketDiggStumbleupon By Lindsey Bartlett, The Cannabist Staff Published: Mar 8, 2018 A cloud of smoke covers the crowd at 4:20 p.m. at the Annual Denver 420 Rally in Civic Center Park April 20, 2012. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post) The state’s largest 4/20 event will be back in Civic Center Park in 2018. Headliners for the new Mile High 420 Festival include Lil Wayne (getting 4/20 redemption at long last), Lil Jon, The Original Wailers, Inner Circle, Taylor Alexander and bluegrass band WhiteWater Ramble, organizers announced Thursday. The official poster of the Mile High 420 Festival The event is the latest incarnation of Denver’s 4/20 celebration in Civic Center Park. New organizer Euflora was a title sponsor of the 2017 rally, but has made a point to differentiate itself from past productions by branding the event as Mile High 420 Festival and promising it will be a celebration rather than a protest. In addition to the headliners, the festival will feature a stage with Colorado-centric bands as well as a “420 Funny” stage for comedy acts, according to organizers. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. and reach its pinnacle at 4:20 p.m. with a performance from Lil Wayne and Lil Jon, according to a press release. The free festival will also feature food trucks, vendors and a cannabis craft marketplace. The long-awaited announcement of the 2018 4/20 event follows a messy battle over the rights for the permit to operate a marijuana-themed event in Civic Center Park on April 20, 2018. Previous event organizer Miguel Lopez was banned from hosting the event by the city after the April 20, 2017, event he spearheaded incurred multiple violations relating to aspects such as security, trash and unlicensed food vendors. Lopez also lost his “Priority Event” status with the city, a qualification given to a permittee who has run the same event at the same park on the same date, weekend or holiday for two consecutive years or more. Euflora co-founder Pepe Breton last October launched a long-shot bid to wrest control of the permit for the event. The company’s employees camped out for weeks in front of the city’s Wellington Webb building to be first in line when the city opened the 2018 permitting process, only to be “cut” in line at the last moment by Michael Ortiz, an associate of Lopez. On Jan. 8, Westword reported that the city had ruled in favor of Euflora, denying Ortiz’s application on the grounds of “misrepresentations and deceit.” Lopez has filed a lawsuit against Denver. His attorney Robert J. Corry Jr. has vowed to fight the permitting of any marijuana-themed event in Denver, telling The Cannabist, “We invented the 420 Rally. It’s us or nobody.” Map of the 2018 Mile High 420 Festival https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/03/08/denver-420-marijuana-festival-lil-wayne-lil-jon-wailers/100876
  13. Inside the Coffee Joint, Denver's First Licensed Pot Lounge By Jacqueline Collins Friday, March 2, 2018 The Coffee Joint is opening in two weeks, becoming Denver's first licensed pot lounge. The Coffee Joint will be the first licensed cannabis lounge in the United States after receiving approval for a Cannabis Consumption Establishment license by the City of Denver on February 25. Although it won't be open for pot use for about two weeks, the Coffee Joint is currently allowing visitors in to check out the place and shop for glassware, hemp products and other heady goods — besides cannabis, unfortunately. http://www.westword.com/slideshow/photos-the-coffee-joint-denvers-first-licensed-pot-lounge-10049988
  14. Denver Approves City’s First Legal Marijuana Club The Associated Press February 27, 2018 A welcome sign greets customers at the Coffee Joint in Denver, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. The business, which won local approval this week, currently only serves snacks and coffee, but its owners plan to create a space where people can vape or use edible cannabis products. (Thomas Peipert/AP) DENVER (AP) — Officials in Colorado’s largest city on Monday approved Denver’s first legal marijuana club and joined a small number of business across the country allowing people to consume in states where adult use has been broadly legalized. Denver voters in 2016 approved a ballot measure allowing so-called “social consumption” locations. It took nine months for the city began accepting applications, and industry advocates complained that state restrictions preventing marijuana use at any business with a liquor license and the city’s own rules made it difficult to find an acceptable location. For instance, clubs can’t be located within 1000 feet of a school, day cares or addiction treatment facilities. Owners of the Coffee Joint were first out of the gate in December. They plan to charge an entry fee to the bring-your-own space where people can vape or consume edible cannabis products. The business won’t allow smoking and can’t sell any marijuana products according to the ballot measure. Colorado's state law doesn't address cannabis clubs. In some cities, they operate openly and are tolerated, while others operate secretly. It’s not clear when the business will open for consuming customers. Several city departments have to do inspections before the business formally receives its license. Co-owner Rita Tsalyuk said Monday that she hopes to begin operating in two weeks. In the meantime, Tsalyuk said she has to hire and train more employees. While the space has been open to the public since January, they have only been able to sell pre-packaged coffee, tea and candy or snacks. “We feel a lot of responsibility,” she said. “I’m very proud of it. I want to take it to a different level and give back to our community as much as we can.” Colorado’s state law doesn’t address cannabis clubs. In some cities, they operate openly and are tolerated, while others operate secretly. Other states with legal marijuana have discussed rules governing places to consume products, but only California appears to have a handful of locations approved by local governments. Alaska regulators have delayed discussion of use in retail shops until spring and officials in Massachusetts balked at recent discussion of statewide regulations for “cannabis cafes.” The Coffee Joint is in an industrial area southwest of downtown Denver, right next door to a marijuana store owned by Tsalyuk’s husband and the other co-owner of the coffee shop, Kirill Merkulov. Tsalyuk has said customers often asked employees of the dispensary for advice about where to legally use the products. Most hotels and rental properties ban marijuana use and Colorado doesn’t permit it in public, including outdoors. https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/denver-approves-citys-first-legal-marijuana-club
  15. UK cannabis market dominated by high-potency street cannabis A new study carried out by King’s College researchers shows that high-potency cannabis varieties made up 94% of police seizures in 2016, and highlights the potential threat posed to mental health in a market dominated by strong cannabis. Dr David Potter, Director of Botany and Cultivation at GW Pharmaceuticals, analysed almost a thousand police seizures of cannabis from London, Kent, Derbyshire, Merseyside and Sussex. The same areas were last sampled in 2005 and 2008. They found that in 2016, 94% of police seizures were high-potency cannabis, compared to 85% in 2008 and 51% in 2005. “In previous research we have shown that regular users of high-potency cannabis carry the highest risk for psychotic disorders, compared to those who have never used cannabis” said senior author Dr Marta Di Forti, MRC Clinician Scientist at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. The study, published today in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis found the dominance of high-potency cannabis was mainly due to a sharp reduction in availability of weaker cannabis resin: from 43% in 2005 and 14% in 2008, to just 6% in 2016 but as low as 1% in the London area. “The increase of high-potency cannabis on the streets poses a significant hazard to users’ mental health, and reduces their ability to choose more benign types” said Dr Di Forti. While the average concentration of THC – the main psychoactive component of cannabis – in resin also increased from 4% to 6%, the average concentration of THC in high-potency cannabis has remained at 14% between 2005 and 2016. Source: Adobe Stock However the concentration in cannabidiol (CBD) in high-potency cannabis is almost entirely absent. Due to its antipsychotic activity, CBD may potentially moderate some of the effects of THC. Changes in the source of cannabis plants used for resin has led to a drop in CBD content: in 2005 and 2008, the ratio of THC to CBD was 1:1, whereas in 2016 the ratio was 3:1. These changes are what have increased the potency of cannabis in the UK. This study re-enforces the key messages in Volteface’s report Street Lottery published in October 2017 the potency of cannabis in the UK is rising to unprecedented levels, leaving its users subject to increasing risks of problematic use and damage to their mental health. A recent King’s College London study found the first evidence for a relationship between increases in cannabis potency and first-time admissions to drug treatment, using data from the Netherlands. A Volteface investigation has revealed that there has been a dramatic rise in hospital admissions related to use of cannabinoids: Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, there has been a 56.9% increase for hospital admissions due to mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of cannabinoids in England. Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, the number of 10-18 year olds hospitalised with a diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorder due to use of cannabinoids increased by 42.7%. Two years ago a Guardian editorial called for a new national campaign aimed at young people to draw attention to the increased evidence of the dangers of cannabis use among some groups but still there is scant evidence that this is considered a policy priority. The rise in potency is occurring against the backdrop of plummeting number of prosecutions for cannabis related offences. New data published early this month NHS Statistics on Drug Misuse 2018, seizures of cannabis have fell by 46% since 2008/9 In the meantime, arrests for possession of cannabis possession have fallen by 50% between 2009 and 2018. http://volteface.me/young-peoples-brains-durably-damaged-high-potency-cannabis-becomes-overwhelmingly-available