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  1. Feds won't extend July 1 marijuana deadline: Philpott by: Nick Martin Posted: 07/20/2017 "We did not speak about any deadlines" on the health-care accord, federal Health Minister Philpott said. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press) Despite the laments of Premier Brian Pallister and other premiers, Ottawa is firm on its deadline: Canadians will be able to legally use recreational marijuana on July 1. Health Minister Jane Philpott said in Winnipeg on Thursday that civil servants across Canada are already preparing for legalization and there will not be an extension, as requested by Pallister. He has been adamant that the deadline will come before Manitoba can be ready to cover all the health, justice, safety, sale and production issues that need to be met. "I think it's fair to say that anything could become an issue": Tory leader Andrew Scheer. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press files) Provincial health minister Kelvin Goertzen: tight-lipped on conversation with federal counterpart. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press) "It was a campaign commitment of our government," Philpott said. "We are always interested in collaboration. "At the officials' level, there's a tremendous amount of background work being done." Asked about Manitoba's refusal to sign to the federal health accord, Philpott said she has given the order to direct hundreds of millions of dollars to Canada's provinces and territories for improved home care and mental health services --- to everywhere but Manitoba. However, she said she has not given Manitoba a deadline to join the accord or risk losing this year's share of $11 billion in funding for mental health and home care over the next 10 years. Philpott met Thursday with Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen --- but not with Premier Brian Pallister, who said recently he can "go forever" without signing what he contends is a bad health-care deal for Manitobans. While she wouldn't detail what aspects of legalizing marijuana she discussed with Goertzen, she said Ottawa is concerned about "keeping cannabis out of the hands of kids and the profits out of the hands of criminals." On Wednesday, premiers from across Canada laid out five issues for the federal government to clarify, such as enforcement and taxes, in order for provinces to stick to the July 1 deadline to legalize marijuana. Pallister had led the charge for an extension. The federal Conservatives said Thursday that the premiers were right to push for more time, because the Liberals hadn't laid out a specific pot plan in their election platform. "We now have legal questions from our premiers, we have implementation questions, and the Liberals refuse to even entertain any of those discussions," said federal Tory leader Andrew Scheer. "It's just another troubling sign that they're not actually working in a collaborative manner; that they're not working in partnership with different levels of government." Scheer also agreed with Pallister's comments Wednesday, that legalizing marijuana amid NAFTA renegotiations could threaten the trade deal. "I think it's fair to say that anything could become an issue," Scheer said. "They don't have a plan to make sure that that doesn't affect the negotiations." Speaking about the health-care accord, Philpott said she has already signed off on distributing the money "in very short order" everywhere in Canada other than Manitoba. "We've very recently come to a common understanding with all of the other provinces and territories on how ... the framework around the types of projects in mental health and home care they're going to be doing, and we have proceeded with instructions for how this money is to begin to flow," Philpott said. "We are always open to good conversations, and I had a great conversation with Minister Goertzen that touched on this, and we will continue to have a dialogue, and always keep the health needs of Manitobans and all Canadians at the forefront," Philpott told reporters. "We did not speak about any deadlines," Philpott said. Philpott said that she and Goertzen talked about diabetes and opioid issues here, but would not say whether she offered funding Thursday as an incentive to get Manitoba to sign the accord. "We didn't discuss any specifics," she said. Goertzen told the Free Press that he met with Philpott for 45 minutes, but won't disclose what he characterized as private talks. Manitoba is the last holdout to sign what Ottawa calls a health accord --- Pallister won't use the word "accord" because he says no negotiations have taken place. "I'm not signing on to it because it's dangerous for health care, dangerous for Manitobans," the premier told reporters at the end of June. "We can go forever because it's a bad deal, a dangerous deal." Earlier this spring, Pallister said he was prepared to sign on to the accord if Ottawa gave Manitoba additional money for Indigenous health care, particularly to combat diabetes and kidney disease, and if the federal government guaranteed it would proceed with the "factory of the future" research facility in Winnipeg. Pallister later said he also wanted additional federal money to deal with the opioid crisis. Even if Pallister won't sign, Manitoba will still receive its share of a three per cent increase in federal health transfer payments. Pallister says Manitoba needs double that from Ottawa to meet Manitobans' health care needs. winnipegfreepress
  2. Uruguay’s Capital Sells Out of Marijuana After 1 Day Published 20 July 2017 Montevideo has sold out of legal marijuana. Photo: EFE Sixty percent of registered cannabis users are in Montevideo. Pharmacies in the Uruguay’s capital Montevideo have run out of cannabis stock just one day after it was fully legalized in the country. The four pharmacies licensed to sell marijuana ran out of stock three hours before closing time on Wednesday. Pharmacy owners in the capital have already asked for more supply from the Uruguayan Institute of Cannabis Regulation and Control In other parts of the country, legal marijuana is also selling quickly. A government source told Nodal that departments with only one pharmacy have seen “a very good pace of sales and it is likely that places like Flores or Artigas will also sell out.” Uruguay began selling cannabis directly to consumers Wednesday, making it the first in the world to legalize the entire process of marijuana production for recreational use, including its cultivation and sale. The original government-sponsored legislation emerged during the presidency of Jose Mujica, a leftist ex-guerrilla who promoted a number of progressive reforms in Uruguay telesurtv
  3. Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, July 19, 2017 A measure that would allow VA docs to issue medical marijuana recommendations advanced in the Senate, Massachusetts' highest court rules in favor of a worker fired for using medical marijuana, and more. National Last Thursday, a Senate panel approved medical marijuana for veterans. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to adopt an amendment that would allow military veterans to get medical marijuana recommendations through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan measure picked up four more votes than last year, when it was approved by the full House, but killed in conference committee. Massachusetts On Monday, the state's high court ruled for a woman fired for using medical marijuana. The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a woman fired after testing positively for legally recommended medical marijuana can sue her former employer for handicap discrimination. The employer had argued that the use shouldn't be allowed because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but the high court disagreed. If a doctor concludes medical marijuana is the most effective treatment for a debilitating condition, "an exception to an employer's drug policy to permit its use is a facially reasonable accommodation" and "the fact that the employee's possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation." Nevada On Sunday, medical marijuana patients complained of higher prices after recreational sales began. Medical marijuana patients are complaining of "price gouging" in the wake of the advent of legal recreational marijuana sales in the state. "Our prices have almost doubled in some places," patient Emily Wilson said. Some patients are reportedly resorting to the black market because of high legal prices. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit] stopthedrugwar
  4. Canada Premiers release statement on legalization Premiers have established a Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Cannabis Legalization. This Working Group will report by November 1, 2017 By Lift Staff July 19, 2017 The Council of the Federation (COF) released their statement on cannabis legalization today from the Premiers' meeting in Alberta. Premiers are asking for support from the federal government on issues like road safety, sales and distribution, taxation and tax revenue distribution, public education campaigns and supply issues. All premiers were in attendance except for the new BC Premier John Horgan. While most premiers said they felt they could implement legalization within the government's target date of July 1, 2018, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister suggested his province may need more time to prepare for legal marijuana. Rachel Notley, Alberta's Premier, did note that if the government cannot aid provinces on key issues, they may need more time. Notley said she 'absolutely anticipates' that Ottawa will review their 'significant' concerns with the implementation of legalization. "The reality is that we will move forward as quickly as we can, dependent upon the federal government's ability to engage in a fulsome way in the matters we've put forward, because they are important," said Notley during a press conference. Premiers have established a Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Cannabis Legalization. This Working Group will report by November 1, 2017. COF's statement can be read below. The federal government has made a decision to legalize cannabis. Cannabis legalization is a complex issue that requires a focussed approach by provinces and territories. To achieve better outcomes for Canadians as the provinces and territories plan for cannabis legalization, Premiers have established a Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Cannabis Legalization. This Working Group will report by November 1, 2017 to Premiers and identify common considerations and best practices to cannabis legalization and regulation, guided by the objectives of reducing harm, protecting public safety, and reducing illicit activity. Premiers note that the administration and regulation, public education and law enforcement efforts necessary to support legalization will entail significant costs for provincial and territorial governments. The federal government, as the government advancing this policy change, needs to invest the appropriate resources to support cannabis legalization. Premiers also noted that there are challenges associated with the federal government’s proposed implementation date of July 1, 2018. Premiers reiterated that federal engagement and information sharing will be required in order to manage this transition properly. Issues that need to be resolved include: • Road safety and enforcement mechanisms • Preparation and training for distribution network • Taxation arrangements and cost coverage • Public education campaigns • Supply, demand and relationship to black market
  5. Premiers to ask for legal pot delay if federal government doesn't resolve key concerns Provinces, territories raise concerns about public safety, taxation and addressing black market By Kathleen Harris, CBC News Updated: Jul 19, 2017 A young man camped out at Sunset Beach Park in Vancouver smokes a water pipe during the annual 4/20 rally. The minimum age for legal pot smoking will be determined by the provinces. (David Horemans/CBC) Premiers will ask the federal government to postpone its plan to legalize marijuana if issues related to road safety, taxation, training for distributors and public education aren't addressed. At a news conference to close off the annual summer Council of the Federation meeting in Edmonton, the premiers announced they have formed a working group that will report back on progress by Nov. 1. Premiers will seek an extension if the federal timetable is deemed "unrealistic." "Premiers around this table agreed that should the federal government not engage adequately on these issues, we will need more time to implement the federal government's decision," said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who is chairing this year's meeting. Premiers also have outstanding concerns around supply and demand and addressing the black market for cannabis. The premiers could be on track for a showdown with the federal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking to reporters in Laval, Que., said the current framework on marijuana is hurting Canadians and said the federal government intends to stick to its timeframe. "Young people have easy access to marijuana, they shouldn't. Criminal organizations and street gangs are making millions of dollars in profit off the sale of marijuana and we need to put an end to this policy that does not work," he said. "We are continuing to work with the provinces to ensure that the framework will be in place as quickly as possible and we are still ... looking at summer of 2018 as the time where the legalized framework will come into play right against the country." New pot rules, court delays and an escalating opioid crisis were the pressing issues premiers tackled on the final day of their meeting in Edmonton today. As the Council of the Federation turns its focus from trade and economic issues to criminal justice, one premier proposed a collective demand that the federal government postpone legalizing marijuana for one year. Manitoba's Brian Pallister made the pitch Tuesday, arguing there's not enough time for provinces and territories to get regulations, road safety provisions and public awareness in place to meet the federal government's target of July 2018 for legal pot. "I'm not suggesting we go back and fight the battle around the legalization debate, I'm only suggesting that we should, in a clear-headed fashion, consider the timing of the introduction," he said. Rushing to legalize pot could not only endanger lives, it could jeopardize business relations with the U.S., where many states have strict rules around marijuana, Pallister said. Premiers should use their time and efforts focusing on NAFTA right now and allow more time for public awareness and policy formation around cannabis, he said. Other premiers in Edmonton for the annual summer meeting did not want to wade too far into the debate before today's group chat. Meeting target will be a 'challenge' Earlier, Notley said her province is working hard to meet the federal target, but conceded it would be a challenge. She did not rule out asking for an extension. PREMIERS MEETING 20170718 Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister wants Ottawa needs to delay marijuana legalization by a year. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press ) But New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said that once those tricky issues of production, sales and distribution are worked out, legalized cannabis could be an "economic opportunity" for the provinces. Heading into Wednesday's session, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said extra time would help the provinces prepare, but he isn't holding out hope the federal government will bend on its timeline. "If the federal government were to announce that they want to push it by a few months, that would probably lead to a better work preparation on our part, but we cannot take the risk of not being present and ready in time for the July 1 deadline, so we're working on that basis," he said. Marijuana legalization activist Jodie Emery warned that the Liberal bill as proposed will not address the criminal black market problems caused by prohibition, but she condemned any plan to delay legalization. "It's absurd, costly and harmful to society to wait yet another year for legalization, and to continue criminalizing millions of Canadians who use cannabis in the meantime," she said. Time needed for public awareness MADD Canada chief executive officer Andy Murie said he has no problem with the current deadline as long as the accompanying legislation on impaired driving passes by December 2017. That would deliver a six-month notice to drivers prior to legalization, he said. "It also gives six months for police and public education messaging," he said. The issue of age of access to marijuana will also be a hot topic for premiers. The federal government has set a minimum age of 18, but some premiers say it should be higher and standardized across the country. Premiers are grappling with rules around where cannabis should be sold and distributed as the July 2018 target date for legalization looms. (David Horemans/CBC) Murie said he expects most provinces will establish zero-tolerance restrictions for using marijuana for drivers 22 and under. Premiers are also expected to discuss the opioid crisis in communities across the country, as well as the fallout from the Supreme Court's controversial Jordan decision. That ruling set timelines for criminal trials, at 18 months for lower courts and 30 months for cases in superior courts. The ruling from July 2016 left provinces and territories scrambling to find ways to speed up court systems to avoid cases being thrown out due to unreasonable delays. Joint projects planned Before sitting down to discuss criminal justice issues, Couillard and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced an agreement to explore joint projects for interprovincial cooperation that would promote economic development that straddle the shared border. Two projects targeted are the development of the Labrador Trough and the extension of Highway 138 on the lower north shore of Quebec. "We see there's some room there to share services. It could be things like geotechnical as an example, training, broadband. All these are great examples where we see provinces come together and strengthen the ongoing relationships we have," Ball said during a morning news conference. "We see there's some economic benefits for our residents, Canadians and indeed businesses as well."
  6. UBC study finds dispensaries have better weed, higher prices The study compares experiences of home growers, buyers from dispensaries, Health Canada’s licensed producer, and black market suppliers By Scott Johnstone July 11, 2017 As of March 31, 2017, Health Canada has reported a total 167,754 clients registered with licensed producers, yet scientists estimate more than half a million Canadians use cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP). Researchers at the University of British Columbia are taking steps to find out why roughly two thirds of CTP users seek medicine from sources the federal government calls ‘illegal’. Canada’s earliest dispensaries predate the country’s earliest legal medical cannabis framework by half a decade—when the MMAR regulations came into effect in 2001, a small few dispensaries in BC and Ontario already had memberships in the thousands, and had already celebrated their five year anniversaries. Today there are dozens of dispensaries across Canada serving hundreds of thousands of CTP users. This new study explores what some Canadians prefer about shopping at dispensaries, and what others prefer about non-dispensary sources. (Specifically, growing one’s own, having a third-party grower, or buying from a street dealer, a producer licensed by Health Canada, or a friend.) A public survey was conducted asking respondents to rate their sources for quality and availability of product, safety and efficiency of access, cost, and feeling respected while accessing. Of the 445 respondents, 215 accessed their cannabis through dispensaries, and 230 accessed other sources. Lift News breaks down the results: Quality Of all respondents, 96% rated the quality of products received from dispensaries as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, with home-grown following close behind (92% for cannabis grown by a friend, 89% for self-grown). In stark contrast, the Health Canada producers received the lowest quality rating at just 20%, edged out by street dealers at 21% approval. Safety The safest form of access reported by those surveyed was having a friend or third-party grower, with 94% having expressed approval. Dispensaries were hot on the heels of growers at 91%, and with buying from a friend, growing for oneself, and buying from a licensed producer all scoring in the range of 60-70%. Predictably, street dealers scored the lowest perception of safety, with less than 5% approval. Availability Another near tie between dispensaries and third-party growers, dispensaries topped the board at 94%, while growers came in at 89%. Buying from a friend, growing for oneself, and buying from Health Canada also landed in a similar cluster, this time ranging from 50% to 62%. Once again street dealers scored the lowest, with roughly 13% approval among respondents. Efficiency At 90%, dispensaries had the highest rate of approval in this category too. Reaching a tie for second place, both self-production and third-party growers received 83%. There was also nearly a third place tie between buying from a friend and buying from a licensed producer, at 46% and 45%, respectively. Cost In the one category where dispensaries suffered low approval, cost satisfaction was dominated by growers. Third-party growers received 75% approval, while growing for oneself received 71%. Health Canada’s producers had the next best pricing, with 55% approval. Buying from a friend also received higher ratings, at 42% compared to the 38% dispensaries received. Feeling Respected Yet another category topped by a narrow margin between dispensaries and third-party growers, 91% were left with a feeling of having been respected after visiting a dispensary, and 88% when dealing with a third-party grower. Growing for oneself and buying from a friend were not too far behind at 71% and 74%, respectively, while Health Canada’s producers came in at 55%, and street dealers at just 12% approval. In all categories except cost, dispensaries and third-party growers consistently received the highest approval ratings, and in all categories except quality, street dealers received the lowest. The survey also asked respondents to provide information about their social demographics, physical health, and typical cannabis use. Results showed that respondents who buy at dispensaries were older, were more likely to have discussed medical cannabis with their health care provider, and were more likely to have received CTP authorization from Health Canada under federal regulations. Respondents who shop at dispensaries were found to be more likely to use cannabis to treat symptoms of HIV/AIDS and arthritis, to use larger amounts of cannabis for their treatments, and to place greater importance on access to specific strains of cannabis that are better tailored to their conditions. The study also found that those using dispensaries were less likely to use cannabis to treat mental health conditions. Another interesting detail that emerged through the study is that dispensary users identified access to a variety of strains as being an important factor. Among the conclusions drawn by this study is the suggestion that with the high level of endorsement by patients, future regulations should consider including storefront dispensaries as an authorized source of CTP, and that self-production and third-party growers are important for maintaining affordable access. The study’s lead author, PhD candidate Rielle Capler, formerly acted as spokesperson for the BC Compassion Club Society, with whom she worked for eight years in the early aughts. She is also a co-founder of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. “Under the old regulations,” said Capler, “patients are saying they could grow it for $2 a gram, and get the amount that they need and the quality that they need in a timely fashion. The cost under the new regulations is prohibitive for many patients, and the availability of product from suppliers has been limited.” The study calls for further research to estimate the extent to which the addition of the licensed producers in current regulations have altered the role and perceived value of dispensaries within the Canadian medical cannabis system. Another study is currently collecting data from dispensary users in Vancouver, the Vancouver Dispensary Users Study. “We really need this empirical data,” Capler told Lift, “to help inform policy makers as they deliberate on distribution systems under legalization.” lift
  7. Enrollment in Canada’s personal cannabis cultivation program continues to grow Health Canada has hired over 30 new employees to handle the influx, but many patients say they are still waiting several months for approval By David Brown July 11, 2017 Featured image by Aram Vatian According to new information from Health Canada, as of June 16, 2017, there were 6,225 active registration certificates issued by Health Canada for individuals to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes. Of these 6,225 registrants, says a Health Canada representative, 5,760 individuals were registered to produce cannabis for their own medical purposes and 465 individuals have designated persons to produce cannabis for them. The program, introduced in August of last year, once again introduced legislation that allows patients who register with Health Canada to grow a limited number of plants for their own purpose, or to designate an authorized grower to do so for them. Health Canada had formerly allowed home production under a previous medical marijuana regime, the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), but halted new applications with the introduction of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014. Interest in the program quickly created a backlog, with over 2,500 people seeking to register in the first six months or so, and over 4,000 by May, forcing Health Canada to hire 17 new employees to help manage the process. The regulator now says they added 21 individuals in April and May of this year and an additional 11 employees in June. Health Canada admits processing times can take from 2-4 months, ‘depending on the complexity of the application.’ In February, they said the average wait time was seven weeks, which included earlier processing times in the first weeks of registration. Lift exchanged emails with many Canadians who applied to the system and say they have been waiting even longer. Medical cannabis patients Lift spoke to earlier this year reported waiting several months, and some of those patients we contacted recently say they are still waiting. One medical cannabis patient Lift has been in contact with since May, Daryl, who asked that we only use his first name, says he applied when the program was first announced, but initially had his paperwork limited to three months by his doctor. His renewal, he says, took 6 months to process. Related: Patients waiting months for approval of to grow their own cannabis “That renewal paperwork was submitted via Expresspost on November 21, 2016 and signed by HC on December 5, 2016,” Daryl wrote to Lift earlier this year. “I got my renewal on April 10, 2017. I phoned Health Canada every 2 weeks, waiting approx 15-45 mins each time to speak with someone before being told my application was being worked on.” Daryl says he continued to grow even while waiting for his renewal, and that his actions, if it came to it, would be protected by the court. “The wait process is terrible, I have to apply again at the end of the month in hopes I get my renewal before it expires again in November. I feel terrible about this program and I know the courts would protect me as a medical patient if I were to ever have police come knocking.” Lift contacted Daryl again recently to check in with his process, and he says he’s already worked with his doctor to submit a renewal to Health Canada in expectation of its expiration this November. “On May 29, 2017, I saw my doctor for a regular three month check up, at which time I spoke to him regarding concerns (with) the delay in applying with Health Canada. I brought in a renewal application and said I would like to submit it now, this is just about seven months before my current ACMPR personal production grow needs to be renewed. “My doctor absolutely agreed and we sent it in, it was shown as delivered to Health Canada on June 6, 2017. I tried on 3 occasions to contact Health Canada to inquire on the status of my application, however after more than 1 hour waits on hold each time, I hung up in frustration.” Another medical cannabis user we spoke with in May and again last week, Craig, who also asked we only use his first name, said he just recently received his approved paperwork in June. [Editor’s note: It’s common for medical cannabis users to ask for some level of anonymity because of the stigma many still associate with cannabis use and medical conditions. Lift takes care to honour these requests.] Related: Home Grows in Canada: The Devil's in the Details Craig says he first applied in November, but had his paperwork returned as incorrect because his doctor had checked the wrong box, and had to reapply in January. It has since been approved, but, like Daryl, Craig is now concerned about getting his authorization to grow his own marijuana renewed in time for him to continue to grow legally. Craig says it took over five months to receive that approval. “I initially sent my paperwork back in November of 2016,” Craig wrote to Lift in May. “It got returned to me in January as my medical document had some box checked from my doctor's office that should not have been checked. I mailed it back to them without this box that caused issue in the middle of January 2017.” “I received authorization around the beginning of June,” Craig wrote to Lift last week. “It was 22 weeks from the date they advised me they had received the complete (error-free) application to the date it was in my hands.” Craig says he is growing outdoors and expects to harvest before his license expires, but wants to make sure he can keep growing inside through the winter. “It took 22 weeks to get my papers and all is well in that regard. I am concerned that I may need to apply for my renewal sooner than later as it expires in November.” While frustrated with the wait time, Craig says he’s still happy with the program and happy to hear Health Canada is hiring more employees. “I feel this personal cultivation program is only going to get bigger and they will need to keep adding staff. It should be a process that takes a few weeks at most if all the information has been received and the application is error free, not months.” Related: Will Doctors be prescribing home grown cannabis? While some physicians have expressed reluctance to be the gatekeepers of who can grow their own cannabis for medical purposes, other companies have sprouted up that are catering to this demand, some advertising graduated rates depending on how many plants are to be approved. A representative for Health Canada told Lift wait times can often be due to the ‘quality’ of applications and that wait times may be due to the need for employees to verify aspects of the paperwork. “The time to review an application and issue a registration certificate is highly dependent upon the number of applications received, and the quality or the completeness of the applications. It also depends on the response time of applicants or healthcare practitioners, who may be contacted by our client service representatives to verify information or to provide additional clarification.” lift
  8. Urban beaches in Amsterdam There's no better place to be when the sun shines in Amsterdam than on one of the city's many urban beaches. From post-industrial hotspots to chilled-out beach clubs, Amsterdam offers a great selection of places to feel the sand between your toes without having to leave the city. Blijburg aan Zee Amsterdam’s main city beach is located to the east of the city, on the man-made island of IJburg. Head here on sunny days to swim, sunbathe and enjoy the bohemian beach bar vibes. In the evening there’s live music and DJs to be enjoyed while you cosy up around a campfire. Blijburg aan Zee, Amsterdam Oost Blijburg aan Zee Amsterdam by Kimberley Muis Pllek Just a short ferry hop over the IJ from Amsterdam Central station, this hip waterfront bar boasts its own urban beach where locals and in-the-know visitors flock in summer months to enjoy great food, DJs and a vibrant atmosphere by day and night. Kick back on giant bean bags with a beer in hand, and take in the views of Amsterdam across the water. Pllek, Amsterdam Noord Pllek Amsterdam NC StrandZuid South of the city centre, StrandZuid (South Beach) is a chic inland beach complex surrounding a lake. There’s a stylish restaurant, large beer deck with ping pong table, and a sandy party beach with plenty of sunbathing spots connected by a series of boardwalks. StrandZuid, Amsterdam Zuid StrandZuid Amsterdam Amsterdam Roest If you’re looking for a truly urban beach, then head to this hip post-industrial hotspot in Amsterdam East. There’s a selection of indoor and outdoor bars and a large sandy beach by the water strewn with junkyard art and quirky seating areas, presided over by reminders of the area’s industrial past. Amsterdam Roest, Amsterdam Oost Amsterdam Roest Het Stenen Hoofd Offering an unusual little oasis of greenery and sand between Amsterdam’s Westerdok and Central Station, Het Stenen Hoofd is not so much an urban beach as a pier jutting out into the IJ and covered in sand and grass. It regularly plays host to a variety of cultural events, the most famous of which being the Pluk de Nacht open-air film series. Het Stenen Hoofd, Amsterdam West Dok This urban beach offers food, drinks, cultural events and plenty of outdoor fun in Amsterdam’s Houthavens. With a playground and children’s yoga glasses, Dok is supremely family-friendly and a great place to take the little ones to for a day in the sunshine. Dok, Amsterdam West Sloterplas Swimming Beach (Zwemstrand Sloterplas) This swimming lake in Amsterdam Nieuw-West is one of the neighbourhood's best summer hotspots. The family-friendly urban beach boasts picnic tables, a wide-open space and a nifty beach shop where you can rent beach chairs, volleyball gear, mobile showers and other handy equipment. And with Grand Cafe Sloterplas right around the corner and the recent addition of a food truck, Sloterplas Swimming Beach is a great day out – or dagje uit, as the Dutch would say – for the whole family. Sloterplas Swimming Beach (Zwemstrand Sloterplas) in Amsterdam Nieuw-West iamsterdam
  9. Making History: Uruguay Begins Retail Marijuana Sales Next Week by Steve Elliott Jul 14, 2017 [Cannabis Culture] International Momentum to End Marijuana Prohibition and War on Drugs Continues to Intensify Uruguay next week will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents. It will become the first modern nation on Earth to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012. Uruguayan citizens must register as cannabis users to enter the program, reports The Associated Press. About 5,000 have done so. Uruguayan men take part in a march for the legalization of cannabis in front of the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, May 5, 2012, as part of the 2012 Global Marijuana March [Miguel Rojo / AFP Photo] The South American nation’s Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute announced Friday that weed will be available starting July 19 in 5-gram amounts at 16 pharmacies across the country. The packaging comes with a security stamp that guarantees authenticity and warnings about the supposed effects of consumption. Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making theirs the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. The rollout has been deliberately slow. Pharmacies were originally expected to be authorized to sell cannabis by the end of 2014, but that was delayed many times. Hannah Hetzer, Drug Policy Alliance: “This is a historic moment” [Esquire Latino] “This is a historic moment,” said Hannah Hetzer, senior International Policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “In recent years, Latin American leaders have decried the staggering human, environmental and financial costs of the War on Drugs in their region. Uruguay is boldly demonstrating that concrete alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies are possible.” In 2013, a broad coalition emerged to support the proposal, which included LGBT, women’s rights, health, student, environmental and human rights organizations, alongside trade unions, doctors, musicians, lawyers, athletes, writers, actors and academics, united under the campaign Regulación Responsable (“Responsible Regulation”). Former President Jose Mujica oversaw passage of Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law in 2013 [Matilde Campodonico / AP] The Uruguayan model allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health; domestic cultivation of up to six plants per household; membership clubs where up to 45 members can collectively produce up to 99 plants; and licensed sale in pharmacies to adult residents. Regulation will be overseen by the government’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). Sales to minors, driving under the influence of marijuana, and all forms of advertising are prohibited. Customers will be limited to 40 grams (1.41 oz) per month, with a limit of 10 grams per week. That certainly seems a little stuffy to three-or-four-grams-a-day me, but I suppose it’s a start. [HERB] When marijuana goes on sale in drug stores, adults will only be able to buy it in 5-gram containers at $1.30 per gram. Ten-gram containers are expected to be introduced later, allowing customers to buy a whole week’s supply at once. Foreigners, unfortunately, won’t be allowed to buy weed from pharmacies in Uruguay. “Uruguay’s model will look quite different from the eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana,” Hetzer continued. “There is no one-size-fits-all marijuana legalization system. It’s important for each jurisdiction to tailor marijuana regulation to their local needs and contexts, providing the world with different models to learn from.” Juan Andres Roballo, Uruguay National Drugs Council: “Buyers will have complete certainty about the quality of the product they are consuming” [Uruguay Presidencia] Juan Andres Roballo, who is the head of the National Drugs Council, said the government marijuana sold in pharmacies will be as potent as black market weed found on the street. “Buyers will have complete certainty about the quality of the product they are consuming, and so the risks will diminish considerably,” he said. “This is not to promote it, but to compete with the informal market,” according to Roballo. (I just love that he called it “the informal market” rather than “the black market” or “drug cartels.” That’s a much more civilized way of terming it.) Since the bill was passed in 2013, the government has been developing regulations, registering domestic cultivators and membership clubs, and preparing for the implementation of licensed sales in pharmacies. [Guestlist] Two companies have received licenses to produce the marijuana sold in pharmacies, which will be available next week at $1.30 per gram. Each registered individual will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams a month. Uruguayans are also allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at home, or in cooperative with cannabis clubs. Implementing licensed sales in Uruguay pharmacies took longer than anticipated. There was a presidential election in 2015, and a delay in funding for the IRCCA. Additionally, the government was committed to moving forward cautiously. The Big Mo: Worldwide Momentum Marijuana reform gained remarkable momentum throughout the hemisphere in recent years. Twenty-nine U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana. Eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana more broadly. Jamaica decriminalized marijuana for medical, scientific and religious purposes. Colombia and Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana through executive orders. Chile allows for marijuana cultivation for oncology patients. Mexico recently passed a medical marijuana bill a year after their Supreme Court ruled that prohibition of marijuana for personal consumption is unconstitutional. Canada is set to become the next country to fully legalize marijuana. tokesignals
  10. Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, July 12, 2017 Florida gets sued over its "no smoking" medical marijuana law, Maryland gets its first dispensary approved, West Virginia's medical marijuana law goes into effect, and more. Florida Last Thursday, the state was sued over the no smoking provision in the medical marijuana law. Orlando attorney John Morgan, the mastermind and chief funder of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, filed a lawsuit challenging a legislative ban on smoking medical marijuana. He is asking the courts to throw out the implementing law, saying legislators are violating the will of the voters by altering the constitutional amendment they approved last November. "Inhalation is a medically effective and efficient way to deliver Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids, to the bloodstream," the lawsuit argues. "By redefining the constitutionally defined term 'medical use' to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of 'a licensed Florida physician' and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process." Maryland Last Wednesday, regulators approved the state's first dispensary. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved a dispensary license for the Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick on Wednesday. The store began seeing patients Thursday for "pre-orders," but won't actually have a crop to harvest for several months. Last Thursday, the governor overhauled the medical marijuana commission. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday overhauled the commission, which had come under fire for its launch of the state's medical marijuana program. He replaced six members whose terms on the 16-member panel had expired and filled three vacancies. The new appointments doubled the number of minority commissioners from two to four, responding to calls from the Legislative Black Caucus and others to create more diversity in the program. North Dakota Last Friday, the state sought letters of intent from prospective growers and dispensaries. The Health Department last asked prospective medical marijuana growers and dispensary operators to send in letters of intent to apply under the state's new medical marijuana law. The department said it wants a better idea of how many applications it will receive in coming months. Interested parties have until July 28 to send in their letters. Puerto Rico On Sunday, the governor signed a medical marijuana bill into law. Gov. Ricardo Rosello, a former biomedical engineer, signed into law a bill that legalizes and regulates medical marijuana in the US territory. The move comes after Rossello criticized an earlier executive order allowing medical marijuana as insufficient. "As a scientist, I know firsthand the impact that medicinal cannabis has had on patients with various diseases," he said. "The time has come for Puerto Rico to join the flow of countries and states that have created similar legislation." West Virginia Last Wednesday, the state's medical marijuana law went into effect. The state's Medical Cannabis Act is now in effect, but it could still be months or years before Mountain State patients are able to medicate with marijuana. But now an advisor board has been appointed to create a regulatory framework for medical marijuana regulations, and it could be 2019 before patients are able to legally purchase their medicine. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit] stopthedrugwar
  11. 5 Differences Between the United States’ and Canada’s Medical Cannabis Programs Lisa Rough July 14, 2017 (Lumineux_Images/iStock) As Canada prepares to legalize cannabis countrywide, many have wondered how its medical marijuana program compares to the United States’. Here are five key similarities and differences between each country’s medicinal cannabis guidelines. RELATED STORY Canada to Legalize Marijuana. Here’s What You Need to Know Click to enlarge. (Amy Phung/Leafly) Federal vs. State Regulation The biggest notable difference between the Canadian and American medical marijuana systems is that Canada’s program is federally regulated, while America relies on separate state programs that vary significantly. Cannabis in the United States is prohibited at a federal level, which means each state must set up its own program individually, establishing possession limits, restrictions on cultivation, and nonstandard rules. Canada, conversely, federally legalized medical cannabis in 2000, and the program has since undergone multiple incarnations. The Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) was first established in 2001 and allowed patients to grow cannabis with an authorization. The system was revamped in 2013 and renamed the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which got rid of personal production permits and established a system of licensed producers to grow and sell cannabis. On August 24, 2016, the system underwent its final transformation into the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). RELATED STORY Canadian Critics Say Legalization Act Is Good, But Not Perfect Shipping Marijuana vs. Shopping In-Store Health Canada is tasked with overseeing the medical marijuana program and regulating the licensed cannabis producers that cultivate cannabis to be shipped to patients. Canada is unique in that not only is cannabis allowed to be shipped to medical marijuana patients, it’s actually required. It is not legal, however, for private patients to ship cannabis to each other; the shipment can only come from a licensed producer. Although medical marijuana dispensaries are fairly prominent in Canada, they exist in a legal gray area and are often subject to raids. In the United States, it is prohibited to ship or transport any federally restricted substance through the US mail system or across state lines. To do so is to risk a federal felony charge from the U.S. government. Patients may not order cannabis online or have it legally shipped to them; instead, they may visit a state-regulated medical marijuana dispensary to purchase cannabis with a valid state-issued medical marijuana authorization. RELATED STORY Can You Get Away With Mailing Cannabis Through the USPS? Medical Cannabis Research The opportunities for federal clinical trials on the effects of cannabis as treatment for certain medical conditions are complicated in both Canada and the United States, and earning the right to study cannabis is not a particularly simple process. Although Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2000, Health Canada largely placed the responsibility of the program on individual doctors. When the system was revamped in 2013, the focus was placed on licensed producers. With the introduction of LPs, it became clear that the companies had a vested interest in studying cannabis in clinical trials, and these producers have spurred much of the new research, including trials for the efficacy of cannabinoids on seizure disorders, PTSD, and in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. RELATED STORY How Canadian Licensed Producers Are Driving Medical Marijuana Research Medical marijuana research in the United States faces several major barriers from the government, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For example, Dr. Sue Sisley has spent seven years jumping through hoops for a clinical trial on the efficacy of cannabis for PTSD. She received a $2.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but needed approval from NIDA to gain access to the only medicinal cannabis available for federal studies. She got NIDA’s approval in March 2014, but was unable to access the cannabis for another three years. When she did gain access, it was clear that the marijuana was not up to par–it contained mold and scant amounts of THC. The trial has been slow, but is making progress and data should be available by January 2019. RELATED STORY Photos Prove Government-Grown Cannabis Is Basically Ditch Weed Cannabis Concentrates (and Other Non-Smokeable Products) Curiously, Canada only allowed “dried marijuana plant material” for the first 15 years of the program’s existence. The regulations did not mention or acknowledge any other cannabis products, such as tinctures, oils, edibles, and pills. It took a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court that the restriction “unjustifiably violates the guarantee of life, liberty and the security of the person” for oils, edibles, and cannabis concentrates to be permitted. The United States, on the other hand, has had a different journey towards approving cannabis concentrates. The process has been largely dependent on when the state legalized medical marijuana. Many states legalized medical cannabis before concentrates and oils were popularized, but now, not only are they commonplace, it’s increasingly clear what a positive impact oils and edibles are for medical purposes. For patients who suffer from debilitating symptoms, concentrates offer longer-lasting effects are have fewer detrimental health effects than smoking flower. RELATED STORY Canada Just Legalized Cannabis Oils and Edibles Pending Legalization Colorado and Washington may have beat Canada to the punch with legalization on a small scale, but Canada’s proposed Cannabis Act would legalize cannabis for adult use nationwide. Anyone 18 years of age and older would be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower or concentrate, and grow up to four plants for personal use. The United States has not set any date or timeline for federal legalization, but the states that have fully legalized established the minimum age at 21 years old, and the legal possession limit ranges from one ounce to 2 ½ ounces of cannabis. Home cultivation still varies from state to state; for example, in Washington state, it’s legal to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, but home cultivation is not permitted by non-medical patients.
  12. Health Canada says no medical cannabis shortages, patients disagree Increased enrollment in Canada's medical cannabis program has meant some patients are unable to find the kind of products they need By David Brown July 10, 2017 Product shortages continue to frustrate many medical cannabis consumers, despite claims from Health Canada that there is a sufficient supply to meet patient demands. As interest in Canada’s medical cannabis program continues to increase, concerns with supply have also been increasing. In January of this year, Lift first tackled the issue of product shortages, showing that many producers didn’t have specific products like high CBD varieties, oils, low THC options, and more. While many producers at the time did still have a variety of products for sale, the inability of patients to effectively shop around between producers meant that if the producer or producers a patient was signed up with were out of a specific product, the person might just be out of luck until it came back into supply. This supply issue continues to today, even as Health Canada has significantly increased its ability to process new applications and onboard new producers and production spaces; however, Health Canada claims that there are no shortages and that the issue is simply one of ‘preference’ for consumers between varieties. “Health Canada is aware of reports of individuals who were not able to get their preferred product from their licensed producer,” wrote a Health Canada spokesperson to Lift. “However, based on market data, there is sufficient supply of cannabis for medical purposes to meet the current needs of registered clients. “Health Canada recognizes that the demand for cannabis for medical purposes has been steadily increasing, with the number of clients registered with licensed producers growing at a rate of about 10% per month. Health Canada recently implemented operational changes to streamline licensing and enable increased production of cannabis for medical purposes. These changes will help ensure reasonable access for individuals who require cannabis for medical purposes. Health Canada will continue to regularly evaluate the medical cannabis program and make future adjustments where necessary.” Market data scans, however, show that these shortages are not simply about ‘preference,’ as many producers still lack specific products like CBD-only options in dried flowers and cannabis oils, in addition to the various cannabis strains and the unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles they each offer. While most producers with a sales license may be offering some kind of product, not every medical cannabis user’s needs are necessarily served by these limited options. While high THC options remain the most popular among patients, and therefore the most available from licensed producers, patients who require a high CBD strain are not always able to find what they need. Enrollment in Health Canada’s medical cannabis program has almost doubled since the end of June 2016, from about 75,000 to almost 170,000 as of March 31 of this year. This means an increased demand on the 20-30 licensed producers currently able to sell cannabis. A scan of available dried cannabis strains and cannabis oils from licensed producers between February and May of 2017 shows, for example, fewer than half of the producers carrying high CBD options in either dried flower or oils. The breakdown for 1:1 strains is similar. A 1:1 ratio strain is one with approximately the same percentage of THC and CBD, for example, 8% THC and 8% CBD. Because patients cannot ‘shop around’ between multiple licensed producers without an individual doctors authorization for each producer, those who require a high CBD option in dried flower or oil, for example, are forced to either go without their medication, or to source from the under/unregulated black market. These product shortfalls have lead some patients to speculate that licensed producers are ‘stockpiling‘ products in preparation for non-medical, recreational cannabis sales, largely because market data released by Health Canada shows product in storage In the last fiscal year, licensed producers sold more than 19,700 kilograms of dried cannabis and more than 13,700 kilograms of cannabis oil to clients. Licensed producers also had more than 18,000 kilograms of dried cannabis and more than 5,000 kilograms of cannabis oil available for sale at the end of the last fiscal year. Online, Health Canada notes that such discrepancies may be due to product that is still awaiting testing results or is being retained as samples. LP’s must retain sample product of each batch released for sale to allow for future testing. In addition, dried cannabis may be kept in storage as producers await processing the product into cannabis oil. In the past, Health Canada rules prevented the storage of ‘excess materials’ in producers’ vaults, although recent rule changes have allowed these producers to store more product. Collette Rivet, the executive director at Cannabis Canada Association, which includes 18 LP members, says their organization is committed to patient supply, and that these recent rule changes will only help with this goal. She also says that while some producers are building out capacity to meet an expected recreational demand, many producers intend to stay entirely medical. “These new regulations will help LPs to plan better and be better prepared for the increasing amounts of medical cannabis required monthly,” said Rivet. “In addition, they are also building additional capacity for post-legalization; however, some LPs intend to remain very small and some will only focus on medical cannabis. Everyone is committed to their patients’ needs.” Philippe Lucas, the interim executive director of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, an industry association started by BC-based producer Tilray in 2015, says their four members are committed to patient supply. He also denies any ‘stockpiling’ for recreational sales. “At the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, patients come first,” says Lucas. “Licensed producers with the CMCC are all fully committed to meeting the needs of critically and chronically ill Canadians, and all CMCC members are currently involved in expanding their production footprints to ensure patients can get what they need, when they need it.” The CMCC is made up of and represents four licensed producers: The Peace Naturals Project, Delta 9 Biotech, Tilray and Redecan Pharm, as well as various patients and patient advocacy groups. Lucas, speaking in reference to Tilray specifically, says the producer will “always will be a medical brand” and that their online store has ‘ample supply.’ Jordan Sinclair, director of communications & media with Canopy Growth, which owns Tweed, Bedrocan and Mettrum, also says Tweed is not stockpiling product for future sales. “We're not stockpiling for recreational sales,” says Sinclair. “We're focused on getting as much product to market as possible, as quickly as possible. At our facility, there's a constant rotation of product in the vault at all stages of readiness. Some lots are awaiting test results, some are being held for extraction purposes, and some lots are approved inventory listed for sale on Sinclair says Tweed is not hiding their interest in supplying a future non-medical market, but this will not impact patient supply now or in the future. “Looking after our medical customers is still our top priority. We recently made a public announcement committing that patients registered with us by July 1, 2018 will have priority access to our products. We have made no secret of our intentions to pursue adult-use markets, but ensuring medical patients have access is a commitment we have made.“ Despite some producers claims of there being no supply issues, Health Canada and the Office of Cannabis, for their part, appear (at least behind the scenes) to be painfully aware of both current supply problems and what this could mean for an even larger non-medical market expected to begin by July 1, 2018. The recent regulatory change as to how much LPs can store, as well as how Health Canada approves producers, is expected to increase the amount of licensed producers, possibly by as much as double in the next year, depending on who you talk to. There are currently 50 Licensed Producers with a cultivation license and 30 with a sales license. Not all 30 of these are currently selling to patients, however. Many of these producers are also undergoing massive expansions that will increase their capacity to produce cannabis and cannabis oil at a faster rate, and many are projected to be completed prior to the projected July 1, 2018 start date for legalization. Total immediate and future demand for recreational cannabis is difficult to project, but a Forum Poll from 2015 showed about 30% of Canadians said they would use or at least try cannabis once legal, which is, very roughly, about ten million Canadians buying a few grams of cannabis a week, on average. Even assuming that many current cannabis consumers may continue to use Canada’s well-established and under-enforced black market, the demand will likely strain Canada’s existing medical supply. Politics and company policies may prevent the industry and its regulator from admitting these supply issues are a concern, but today, both the numbers and the experiences of patients clearly tell a different story. lift
  13. Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, July 05, 2017 The past week has been a quiet one on the medical marijuana front, but Montana instituted emergency regs to get its new program up and running, Pennsylvania announced the issuance of dispensary permits, and more. Montana Last Wednesday, the state issued temporary emergency rules for the medical marijuana program. The state health department released "temporary emergency rules" to provide guidance to patients and providers as part of the state's new program went into effect last Friday. The emergency rules clarify how the Department of Public Health and Human Services will regulate possession limits, testing labs, and concentrate makers during the transition period until the full regulatory framework is set, which must happen by April 30, 2018. Nevada Last Monday, dispensaries got tough edibles regulations as legal sales loomed. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed a Taxation Department emergency regulation that will impose tougher regulations beginning Saturday, the same day legal recreational pot sales through dispensaries begins. Under the new regulations, edibles can't contain more than 10 milligrams of THC per dose or 100 per package, they can't resemble lollipops or other products marketed to children, they can't look like real or fictional characters or cartoons, and they can't have images of cartoon characters, action figures, toys, balloons or mascots on the packaging. Pennsylvania Last Thursday, the Health Department announced it had issued dispensary permits. The Health Department announced it had granted 27 medical marijuana dispensary permits. Each permit holder can open up to three dispensaries. They will be permitted to begin selling medical marijuana in six months. Click on the link for a list of permit recipients. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit] stopthedrugwar
  14. “Amsterdam on steroids”: Las Vegas dreams big in new era of legal marijuana Sin City welcomes recreational marijuana sales with parties, prodigious projections and triple-digit temps. By Dan Hernandez, Special To The Cannabist Published: Jul 6, 2017 LAS VEGAS — The crowd shouted, “Freedom!” as a local politician made Nevada’s first recreational marijuana purchase, his eyes glassy with tears of joy. State Sen. Tick Segerblom, whose decade-long advocacy for marijuana legalization inspired a local medical strain named “Segerblom Haze,” purchased his flower at Reef Las Vegas dispensary and then addressed the assembled media. “This is the entertainment capital of the world. It’s a perfect complement to what we do,” he said. “We’re going to be like Amsterdam on steroids.” Nevada launched recreational marijuana sales on Saturday, July 1, and as it often does in Las Vegas, the party started at midnight. While Reef budtenders in “Day 1” hats served their first customers, an estimated 500 people waited outside for their chance to buy bud. Green fireworks sprouted from the rooftop, music thumped and food trucks selling fried chicken and chocolate cookies hummed by the curb. Twirling spotlights beaconed cabs, ride-shares and party buses arriving from The Strip. As the weekend stretched towards Independence Day, dispensaries across the city saw lines snake out waiting room doors around buildings and into parking lots. With temperatures reaching 110 degrees, some shops set up tents, fans and water misters so customers wouldn’t pass out from heat exhaustion before they reached the front door. By the close of business on July 4, the state’s dispensaries had racked up $3 million in sales revenue and about $500,000 in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales, according to the Nevada Dispensary Association. At this pace, the industry group reckons that the state could realize an estimated $30 million in marijuana sales revenue over the next six months. Nevada officials estimate tourists — more than 42 million viva Las Vegas every year — will make up 63 percent of recreational pot sales. Even when medical marijuana cards were required to purchase pot, The Grove, a dispensary situated near the airport and The Strip, saw 80 percent of its business come from out-of-town visitors, said owner Demitri Kouretas. Now, he expects an even larger share of customers to be tourists. “Vegas already has its sins — your liquor, your gaming — now we can add legalized cannabis to the equation,” Kouretas said. “We’re the most regulated state in the country, so we understand how to run these types of businesses — and we’ll do it well.” Outside of Pisos, a dispensary near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, a line of diverse cannabis consumers included off-duty casino limo driver Shawn Shaemaker. He said many of his clients have been asking when and how they can legally buy marijuana. “I’ve already driven people with (medical marijuana) cards to dispensaries, so I know it will be big,” he said. “There’s no reason they shouldn’t (consume marijuana) here of all places — they allow people to drink. Hopefully it cuts down on that, because that can’t be any worse.” Sin City’s stature as a global vacation destination could also translate to an outsized influence on future legalization efforts, said Scott Rutledge, who managed the 2016 campaign in support of Ballot Question 2 legalizing the use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana flower or up to one-eighth ounce of concentrates. “A lot of these people have been coming to Vegas for years for conventions or conferences, and now they have a chance to purchase legal cannabis,” he said. “It might not be the reason they come here, but it’s one of the things they’ll be able to do, and I think that will help change people’s hearts and minds about cannabis.” Nevada voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000, but the state legislature didn’t pass a law allowing for dispensaries until 2013. Of the state’s 66 medical marijuana dispensaries, 44 applied for and received recreational licenses. In preparation for a larger customer base, many of those stores stockpiled inventories to last for as long as two months of recreational sales. But based on the first holiday weekend of sales, demand may exceed their expectations. “One place I talked to was selling like $5,000 an hour,” Segerblom said. “At that rate they’re going to burn through whatever they have in a couple weeks,” he said. Due to a quirk in the way the ballot question was written, only alcohol distributors can be licensed to transport cannabis from cultivation facilities to retail shops — the language was included to ensure that taxes aren’t evaded. Now, cannabis companies that grow and sell pot in the same building need a third party to move product from the back-end to the storefront. Nevada cannabis companies are battling the alcohol industry in court to revise the law, but as it stands, the current system will complicate dispensary efforts restock inventory. Ironically, the zone most hostile to cannabis use in Las Vegas is the one famously associated with tourists, parties and consumption. Strip resorts donated millions to Super PACs denouncing cannabis legalization in the run-up to last year’s election. The Nevada Gaming Commission has warned casinos that they risk losing their gambling licenses if they allow marijuana use on their properties since that would violate federal law. Marijuana use is banned in all resort-casinos, and in any case there are currently no state regulations in place allowing for cannabis consumption inside any business. That leaves tourists without a place to legally consume cannabis. They could face a $600 fine if caught smoking on a sidewalk or other public place. “We have to figure that out,” Segerblom said. “It’s what Millennials want, and that’s who we’re trying to attract.” Segerblom, a Democrat in his second state senate term, sponsored a “marijuana lounge bill” in the last legislative session that would have allowed city and county governments to issue cannabis smoking permits for businesses and events, but it failed to garner enough support to pass. He envisions marijuana nightclubs adjacent to casinos; cafes attached to dispensaries; permits for concert venues, parks and hotels; and even a dedicated street for cannabis businesses. “One thing about Vegas: If there’s a demand we’ll figure out how to do it,” he said. thecannabist
  15. Majority of charges laid in Canada’s largest marijuana dispensary raid will not go to trial By Adam Miller Online Journalist Global News With files from Mark Carcasole and Ryan Rocca July 6, 2017 Many charges laid in 2016 Project Claudia marijuana dispensary raids withdrawn The majority of criminal charges laid in the single largest police raid on marijuana dispensaries in Canadian history will not go to trial, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada has revealed. Of the 90 individuals who were facing more than 180 charges in Toronto police’s May 26, 2016 Project Claudia raids of 43 dispensaries, 45 of those cases have been withdrawn or stayed and a further 27 have been settled through peace bonds — meaning the charges will not appear on the accused’s criminal records. The data, first revealed by VICE News Canada, showed seven of the cases will go to trial in Superior Court, two will face trial in provincial court, four do not have a trial date set, three individuals have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, one is wanted on a bench warrant and the court lost jurisdiction in two cases. Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash told Global News Thursday that although the majority of the cases won’t see the inside of a courtroom, many of the accused had forfeited significant amounts of money and marijuana products seized by police in the raids. He said that showed the profitability of the “current illegal cannabis dispensary environment.” “We know dispensaries are selling large amounts of cannabis, they’re generating large amounts of money,” Pugash said. “We have no idea where the dispensaries are buying their cannabis … which leads to, at the very least, the possibility that they’re buying it from organized crime. But we don’t know because they won’t tell us.” Pugash said dispensaries also pose a risk to public safety, as the businesses have been the targets of “violent armed robberies” in the past, possibly because perpetrators believed there was a copious amount of marijuana and money inside. Police raid marijuana dispensaries across the city “What is beyond any doubt is that dispensaries are against the law, there is no grey area … And so as long as it’s against the law we’ll continue to enforce,” he said. “There appear to be a number of dispensaries that are prepared to walk away from large amounts of money and large amounts of product, which suggests that they’re making even more money and have access to even more product.” Toronto lawyer Paul Lewin, who represented many of the accused along with several other lawyers, called the raids “a horrible use of very scarce police resources and court judicial resources” that only serve to push the market “further underground.” Police carry marijuana products out of the Toronto Cannabis Dispensary at 66 Nassau St. in Kensington Market on May 26, 2016. Global News “To say they don’t care about it, they walked away from it — I don’t think they have much of a legal choice in the matter,” he said. “What choice did they have but to walk away from it especially when the Crown is offering to drop all the charges? But legally it would be difficult to get it back and I’d say if they’re thriving, there’s a reason why a medical dispensary is thriving and that’s because the government system is no good, it’s broken.” Toronto Mayor John Tory said during a press conference Thursday that by previously “urging” Toronto police to crack down on the dispensaries, his “objective” was not to see anybody go to jail but to maintain “peace” in the city. “We cannot have the kind of popping up of these shops all over the place. And I’m absolutely certain that once the new regime is in place, whatever it is, it won’t contemplate marijuana shops popping up on every street corner,” he said, adding that he was “happy” there were fewer dispensaries in the city following the raids. “So, I just think that the justice system will grind on as it does on in many areas and that the police will do what they have to do, which is enforce the law and we’ll go from there.” Tory added he was “heartened” by the fact peace bonds would prevent individuals from opening more dispensaries in the future, something he said is not in the best interest of families and businesses in a “peaceful city.” w=300&quality=70&strip=all ‘If this is legalization, then Justin Trudeau lied’: Jodie Emery slams police crackdown on marijuana dispensaries It makes me happy to see that all of these victims of prohibition are having their charges dropped or thrown out but it makes me very sad to see that the police across this country are behaving like dinosaurs,” marijuana activist Jodie Emery told Global News Thursday. “They refuse to catch up with public opinion and the opinion of the public prosecutors and of the Crown that cannabis cases are a waste of time and shouldn’t be clogging up the courts.” “Imagine how much police time is actually spent going after people for pot and consider how much money people are actually being paid to continue this war on cannabis.” Pugash dismissed the notion that police were unable to investigate different types of crimes equally. “For the people like Jodie Emery that say, ‘Well they should concentrate on murders and other things,’ we are able to do many things at the same time,” he said. “Our homicide unit is solving homicides, our sex crimes unit is charging people with sex crimes of various sorts, our financial crimes unit is working very effectively — and so we make decisions about priorities and resources the same way as the prosecution service.” Lewin said he’s hopeful that more cases will be withdrawn in the future, adding he could not imagine a less harmful crime. “It’s the height of recklessness on the part of the authorities — John Tory for pushing this, Justin Trudeau for not having a plan, the Toronto police for sprinting forward with this knuckleheaded plan when the consequences are potentially so serious for these young people,” he said. “Either something is criminal or it’s not criminal, and if it is it should be prosecuted.” globalnews