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  1. B.C. nurses call on feds to decriminalize drugs as opioid overdoses climb Supplies to be used by drug addicts fill baskets as nurse Arvita Cotter prepares for a shift at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday April 18, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck) CTV Vancouver Island Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 B.C.'s nurses are calling for significant changes to how the federal government treats illicit opioids – including decriminalization of the drugs. The BC Nurses Union issued a news release Tuesday saying it wants the federal government to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. It's also calling for the decriminalization of personal possession on all opioids – and wants Ottawa to provide users access to a safe supply. “There is a growing concern among nurses across B.C. that more needs to be done,” says Christine Sorensen, the president of BC Nurses’ Union. “The preventable death of Comox’s Ryan Hedican as just one example of the devastating toll the crisis is taking on families and communities.” Sorensen argues Ottawa can reduce preventable deaths like Hedican's by declaring a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act. So far, the federal government has responded to the crisis by easing rules to allow the expansion of supervised injection sites and making naloxone available without a prescription. However, Sorensen believes they need to do more. “B.C. has some of the most progressive harm reduction programs and policies and has been a leader in promoting supervised injection sites,” she says. “Yet the province continues to face one of the worst overdose crises in the country – almost 2,000 British Columbians died of preventable opioid overdose in 2016 and 2017. And in March of this year, we saw overdoses spike to 160, the second highest monthly toll in the province’s history.” In the wake of Hedican’s death, a petition was made calling for decriminalization and safe access. The petition will be presented to the House of Commons. The Ministry of Health and Addiction issued a statement Tuesday saying people who are addicted to drugs should not be considered criminals, and should receive treatment just like those with other health conditions. "Minister Judy Darcy has brought up the need for a courageous conversation around drug policy with her federal and provincial counterparts. We recognize that the Criminal Code is a federal matter, and our government is doing all we can to respond to the overdose crisis to save lives and link people to treatment where and when they need it," the statement said. "We are taking immediate action to increase the availability of naloxone and to increase access to a full spectrum of treatments so that people can ask for help once, and get help fast." https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/b-c-nurses-call-on-feds-to-decriminalize-drugs-as-opioid-overdoses-climb-1.4017265
  2. Some Recreational Cannabis Products to Remain Banned Under New Canada Law By Jen Skerritt and Josh Wingrove July 18, 2018 A key segment of Canada’s marijuana industry will remain banned for up to a year after the drug becomes legal for recreational use — making it harder for Justin Trudeau to kill off the black market. Edibles, beverages, and pot for vaping are among products that will still be outlawed when the drug is legalized on Oct. 17. The government has said it wants more time to address the “unique risks” around that slice of the market, including quality control, dosage, portion sizes and packaging. Until then, a vital part of the market will remain on hold, which could undermine the government’s stated goal of legalization — starving out illicit trade. Products from THC-infused lollipops to cookies and truffles are already available online in Canada and through dispensaries that aren’t sanctioned by the government. “You either switch to what we provide, or you stick with the illicit market,” said Bruce Linton, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest marijuana producer, said in a telephone interview. Deloitte said in a June report there’s been an “explosion of interest” in edibles such as hard candies, beverages, ice cream and baked goods. Deloitte estimates that six out of 10 consumers will consume pot in this form, eventually becoming a key part of a legal cannabis market that is projected to reach about C$4.3 billion ($3.3 billion) in its first year. Raise Eyebrows The government has already been urged to make such products available more quickly to allow legal suppliers to compete with the “same diversity of products” available on the black market, according to a summary of consultations. “We will have a consultation in the fall and we will adopt the regulations for edibles in 2019,” Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for Canada’s health minister, said in an email. The government has chosen to initially legalize products that “won’t cause eyebrows to raise” and introduce others incrementally to be more effective against taking out the illicit market, Linton said. That will give companies like Canopy “breathing room” as it and others prepare products for the initial launch this fall, he said. Vape Pens Last year, Corona beer seller Constellation Brands Inc. bought a minority stake in Canopy. Rivals such as The Green Organic Dutchman plan to develop a product-testing and manufacturing center to explore using cannabis in everything from iced teas, juices and sports drinks. Linton said he expects different products will be allowed as of “mid-2019.” Edibles could account for about 10 percent of Canada’s market once the government allows for a broader range of products to be sold legally, Matt Bottomley, a Toronto-based analyst at Canaccord Genuity Corp, said in a phone interview. “You’re not going to convert them into a legal customer or legal patient until you have the product classifications that will appeal to them,” he said. “Vape pens, edibles, beverages, things like that still need to be formulated in a version of this legislation.” https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2018/07/18/495452.htm
  3. 07/17/2018 14:30 EDT | Updated 19 hours ago U.S. Border Officials Might Already Know All About Your Cannabis Use Records of your legal purchases or weed-related employment history may reach the border long before you do. By Kyla Lee 07/17/2018 Since the legalization of recreational cannabis, cross-border travel has been on the minds of many Canadians. The United States government still considers cannabis to be an illegal drug, and those who admit to using cannabis or working in the cannabis industry may be subject to a lifetime ban on entry into the United States. Right now, we do not know much about what will happen when Canadians involved with recreational cannabis attempt to enter the United States, other than that it will cause a host of problems. And with relations between Canada and the United States strained over trade and tariffs, those concerns are at an all-time high. Christopher Morris - Corbis via Getty Images Cars line up to enter the United States at the Peace Arch border crossing, between British Columbia and Washington State. Why can the United States deny entry to legal cannabis users? Despite the fact that many states have legalized recreational cannabis, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug because drugs are regulated federally, and not by individual states. The United States is the birthplace of the war on drugs, and law enforcement operates on the assumption that the sale and distribution of cannabis is connected to violent crime. Canadians who use marijuana or who earn their income from the sale of cannabis are effectively admitting to what amounts to a criminal act under American law. The United States is entitled to pass laws as it sees fit, even if its laws are in conflict with other countries. And where those laws conflict, such as will be the case with Canada and marijuana, the sovereign state has the right to deny entry to those who violate their laws, even if it occurs outside the country. Questions about employment in the cannabis industry could be fatal to a request to enter the United States, as could answers that reveal the use of cannabis. Think of how Canada prosecutes individuals who travel outside Canada to engage in child sex tourism, and how it can deny entry to individuals who participate in those activities even where they are considered lawful. How can border officials determine a person is a cannabis user or worker? Typically, a border agent will ask a person questions to determine whether they are inadmissible. Questions about employment in the cannabis industry could be fatal to a request to enter the United States, as could answers that reveal the use of cannabis. But border officials do not always have to ask these questions to determine whether a person is inadmissible because of cannabis use. One way that Canadians could be denied entry may be by way of their driving record. Convictions for cannabis-impaired driving offences could lead to a denial of entry. Similarly, administrative prohibitions for drugged driving can also have an impact. There are also concerns that U.S. border officials may have access to Canadian information about the purchase and sale of recreational cannabis. Canadian provinces will keep various databases, including online purchase records and registered grow operation records. Canadian registries of marijuana purchases have been alleged to be potential sources intended to be used by federal border offices in the U.S. to deny entry. Even the U.S. Patriot Act permits border officials to access information like credit card data. Bloomberg via Getty Images A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision might be able to put a stop to that. A challenge to an application for disclosure of evidence in a tobacco company lawsuit might put the brakes on the United States having access to this information as it related to lawful cannabis. The British Columbia government sued tobacco companies for recovery of health care costs. In the course of the lawsuit, the tobacco companies sought production of health care records contained in provincial databases. The Supreme Court of Canada determined that because those records are part of private medical records, they were exempt from disclosure. As a result of this Supreme Court decision, U.S. border guards may not have access to cannabis records much longer. However, there may be a way around the results of this decision. The need to share this information may nevertheless win out over privacy rights. The level of privacy expected at the border is very low. Moreover, because the issue arguably relates to national security and the drug trade can be considered a national security issue, the need to share this information may nevertheless win out over privacy rights. Nevertheless, there is at least a foothold from which Canada can position itself to protect its citizens by denying access to this data. If American authorities are capable of accessing this information, and our governments are aware of the potential consequences, governments should think twice about what type of information they retain about cannabis purchasers and employees — even collecting or storing it at all. This would be a relief to many Canadians hoping to light up after Oct. 17, 2018, the date cannabis is expected to become legal. It is important to bear in mind that Canada and the provinces do not keep records of who purchases alcohol — so why would it be necessary to keep records for cannabis after its legalization? Inevitably, this decision will have an impact on how cannabis data is collected, stored, accessed — and possibly shared — by government. One thing is clear: this Supreme Court decision is a step in the right direction toward protecting Canadians from border-related consequences in relation to lawful cannabis. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kyla-lee/us-canada-border-marijuana_a_23481830
  4. West Vancouver votes to prohibit cannabis shops and production West Vancouver has become the latest municipality in Metro Vancouver to ban all cannabis retail and production facilities within its boundaries. 'Things move slowly in West Vancouver,' says mayor, who promises new regulations in the fall Justin McElroy · CBC News Updated: July 17, 2018 The municipality of West Vancouver says the bylaw would allow companies to still apply to operate in their jurisdiction, but it would have to go through rezoning. ( Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg) West Vancouver has become the latest municipality in Metro Vancouver to ban all cannabis retail and production facilities within its boundaries. By unanimous vote, councillors decided that no businesses could apply to set up in the municipality without a rezoning hearing. Staff will begin working on a larger regulatory framework that could allow retail operations without rezoning, but that won't be presented to council until after legalization and municipal elections in October. "I think staff are on the right track, and we're moving forward, but as per usual, a little on the slow side," said coun. Nora Gambioli. In its cannabis legislation passed earlier this year, the provincial government has given municipalities veto power over approving retail licences. Residents in municipalities with bans will still be able to purchase cannnabis through a government-run website. B.C. unveils pot plans: marijuana to be sold in standalone government stores, separate from liquor Jim Bailey, West Vancouver's director of planning, emphasized that the city could still allow businesses to set up shop. "In a way, it's prohibition light," he said, arguing there was no confusion over passing the bylaw and telling businesses they are still welcome to work with the municipality. "Staff don't believe it's contradictory. By not allowing them outright … it gives you an added level of control." West Vancouver council approved a prohibition on cannabis retail facilities on July 16, 2018. (Justin McElroy/CBC) Several cities have bans The municipality becomes the latest in Metro Vancouver to put a pre-emptive prohibition on non-medicinal cannabis sales before it becomes legal on Oct. 17. Maple Ridge, Delta and Richmond are among those with complete bans on retail operations, all opting to wait for legalization before beginning any process for allowing stores to open. White Rock passed a retail ban in January, but has since moved forward on public hearings to allow one in the town centre. As legalization looms, more Metro Vancouver cities outlaw dispensaries and cannabis production "Why are we [adding] a bylaw in July when October and November is when you would need something in place?" said Ian Dawkins, president of the Cannabis Commerce Association of Canada, which represents small producers. "Can't we have months of public hearings and fact finding?" With the Lower Mainland a patchwork of different municipalities, he said jurisdictions that lag behind in allowing retail and production facilities would lose business to those that have already set up regulatory regimes. "If you're West Vancouver, Squamish has a bylaw just north of you, North Vancouver will be putting something in place. It's not like there's not going to be any legal cannabis in West Vancouver, all there's going to be is a lack of jobs, a lack of opportunities," he said. "You can't hand wave it away and kick it too the next municipal government, which is a lot of what's going on here." But Mayor Michael Smith characterized their pace as reflective of the municipality's political culture. "Once staff have completed their review, we will have rules and regulations as to how we move forward ... we don't mind playing catchup, as long as we eventually catch up," he said. "Things move slowly in West Vancouver, but eventually we get there. And when we do get there, we want to make sure we have the right regulations in place." https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/west-vancouver-cannabis-ban-1.4749554
  5. notsofasteddie

    Amsterdam for Christmas? I'll wait for May!

  6. notsofasteddie

    Amsterdam for Christmas? I'll wait for May!

    Winners of the 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup The 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup had some stiff competition. Here’s who came out on top. By Chloé Harper Gold Published July 16, 2018 Sean Cooley/ High Times This past weekend, we traveled abroad to the Netherlands for this year’s Amsterdam Cannabis Cup. The competition brought attention to dozens of hard-working and inspiring people—growers, innovators, and company owners. Here are the seed companies that are the winners of the 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup: Winners of the Seed Competition Hash 1st Place: Gelato 41 by Field Extracts x Connected Cannabis Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Headbanger by Nature Boyz x Karma Genetics Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Sour Power OG by Karma Squad x Flawless Extract Sean Cooley/ High Times Hybrid Flower 1st Place: Biscotti by Connected Cannabis Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Rainbow Rider by Karma Squad Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Smarties by Kush for Breakfast Sean Cooley/ High Times Indica Flower 1st Place: Wedding Cake by PhenoFinders Seeds Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Spumoni by The Plug Seed bank x Alien labs Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Gelato 41 by Connected Cannabis Sean Cooley/ High Times Sativa Flower 1st Place: Gelonade by Connected Cannabis Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Purple Strawberry Sherbert by PhenoFinders Seeds Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Purple Lemon Punch by The Plug Seed Bank Sean Cooley/ High Times Winners of the Coffeeshop Competition Coffeeshop Edibles 1st Place: Amnesia for Time Bomb Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Voyagers for Lemon Bubble Space Cake Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: The Dolphin’s for®†Dolphin Muffin Sean Cooley/ High Times Coffeeshop Nederhash 1st Place: Barney’s Coffee Shop for Liberty Dry Freeze Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Grey Area for Grey Crystals Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Solo for Platinum Valley Ice O Lator Sean Cooley/ High Times Coffeeshop Import Hash 1st Place: Amnesia for Amnesia Polm Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: Voyagers for Atlas Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Grey Area for Golden Souls Sean Cooley/ High Times Coffeeshop Flowers—”The Cannabis Cup” 1st Place: Barney’s Coffee Shop for Strawberry Jaffa Sean Cooley/ High Times 2nd Place: The Plug for Skittles Sean Cooley/ High Times 3rd Place: Voyagers for Chem Head OG
  7. Police ‘decriminalising cannabis’ as prosecutions fall away Government figures sent to Norman Lamb MP reveal fall of 19% since 2015 in people prosecuted for possession James Tapper Sat 14 Jul 2018 Marijuana plants grow under artificial light Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Nearly every police force in England and Wales has reduced its numbers of cautions and prosecutions for cannabis possession. Police forces are in effect decriminalising cannabis, campaigners say, after uncovering figures that show a substantial fall in the number of prosecutions and cautions for possessing the drug. Last year only 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis, a fall of 19% since 2015. Police issued cautions to 6,524 people in 2017 – 34% fewer than two years before. The figures from the Ministry of Justice were released in response to a parliamentary question from the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who called for a “regulated cannabis market” to protect public health. “It would confound all expectations if the number of people actually in possession of cannabis is falling, which strongly suggests that police are starting to decriminalise regardless of the government’s stubborn refusal to legalise and regulate the sale of this drug,” he said. The debate on cannabis has reopened since the case of Billy Caldwell, the severely epileptic boy whose mother has been fighting to be allowed to treat his condition at their home in Northern Ireland using cannabis oil. Although the home secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced a review of cannabis for medical use, Downing Street has said the government has no intention of decriminalising the drug. Yet there have been a growing number of calls from senior politicians and police chiefs for Britain to join Canada and US states including California, Massachusetts and Colorado, where cannabis is available for recreational as well as medicinal use. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said this month that “criminalising people” was not a good idea, while William Hague, the former Conservative foreign secretary, has said Britain ought to be preparing a lawful, regulated market in cannabis for recreational use. The ministry’s figures show that nearly every police force gave fewer cautions and pursued fewer prosecutions for cannabis possession. Only in Cheshire was there a small rise in prosecutions, of 3%. “The fall in prosecutions and cautions for cannabis possession is a welcome trend and a victory for common sense,” Lamb said. “The ‘war on cannabis’ unfairly stigmatises and criminalises young people who are doing no harm to others, while tying up police resources which should be better used tackling harmful crimes. “However, this issue should not be left to individual police forces. We cannot tolerate a postcode lottery where cannabis users may or may not be prosecuted depending on where they live. The government must bring forward proposals for a regulated cannabis market in the interests of public health, with strict controls on price and potency, and give parliament a free vote.” The Lib Dems have campaigned for legalisation since 2017, while the Green party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru favour decriminalisation. Around 2.8 million people aged 16 to 59 took a drug last year, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, and more than one-third of adults have taken illegal drugs at some point. The total number of arrests made for drug possession was 108,098 for the year ending June 2017, according to the latest available figures for police recorded crime, which is 36% down on 2006-07 and 10% less than the previous year. Instead of offering a caution or prosecuting offenders, police have other options to sanction those in possession of drugs. They can give an official “cannabis warning”, which places a record of the incident on the police national computer, and a penalty notice for disorder, which is similar to a parking ticket. But uses of both have fallen dramatically over the past decade. Police issued 139,666 notices in 2007, but only 18,211 last year. Similarly, the number of cannabis and khat warnings has dropped from 107,241 at their peak in 2009 to 33,514 in 2017. theguardian
  8. Will over-regulation of cannabis help sustain the black market? Tony Coulson Contributed to The Globe and Mail Updated July 15, 2018 With the legalization of cannabis, the Government of Canada has a range of objectives: protecting children and youth by limiting their exposure and access to cannabis; protecting adult consumers by establishing a secure and high-quality supply of legal cannabis; and diminishing the black-market role in the Canadian cannabis market. These objectives are interconnected and to a large extent depend on the creation of a legal cannabis regime that offers users convenient access to desirable products. Shifting adult users to safe, quality-controlled products protects the public and allows opportunities for education around safe usage and potential harms. Protecting young people from enticements to cannabis use and restricting youth access to it both depend on reducing or eliminating the black market. As long as the black market operates, young people who are barred from the legal market will be an attractive target for sellers. Reducing or eliminating the black market depends on shifting adult users to the legal market; this will require legal sellers to respond to users’ preferences regarding retail arrangements and access to products, product types, marketing and so on. The key to all three objectives – public safety, youth protection and shrinking the black market – is moving enough adult users toward legal regulated cannabis. That transition will depend on the accessibility, convenience and desirability of legal products. Given these objectives, how does the government’s approach to legalization stack up? First, consider the branding and packaging regulations the government has devised. Based on the tobacco control model, legal cannabis will have to be made available in plain, standardized packaging with warning messages taking up a good portion of the space. Retail access under the legal regime will be a mix of online and bricks and mortar, with the latter split between government-owned and operated stores, and private retail. The details of retailing are yet to be worked out in many provinces, but Ontario, for example, will have orders placed at a counter with no product in sight, creating a rather sterile consumer experience, reminiscent of alcohol retailing two generations ago. This level of control will make it difficult for brands to differentiate themselves and build market share. This approach to regulation – plain packaging, non-visibility in retail, no branding – is based on Health Canada’s approach to tobacco control. In the case of legal cannabis, these decisions appear to respond to the concerns of non-users rather than the needs of current and potential cannabis users. Our research shows that only about one-quarter of Canadians will either admit to using cannabis currently or say they might try it once it is legal. Three-quarters are not interested. These proportions may change somewhat once cannabis is officially legal, particularly as it becomes more normalized in society over time; but rapid, dramatic shifts are unlikely. The research also shows that cannabis users have a preference for branded products and a liquor-store-type retail experience, where a range and variety of products are on display and available for purchase. Even at the level of social values – underlying world views and motivations – cannabis users are distinguished from non-users by the importance they place on brands and their expectations of brands. More so than non-users, cannabis users value brand authenticity; they’re attracted to brands that communicate effectively and feed their imaginations by telling true and compelling stories. This crowd also scores high on the value “joy of consumption,” meaning they take pleasure from browsing and buying, even apart from the products they end up taking away and using. For them, the process of shopping and selecting can be as exciting as using the products they buy. Given this profile of the core user market, using a tobacco-control playbook for the regulation of legalized cannabis may diminish demand for legal products. This, in turn, may leave more room for the black market to continue functioning, meaning that the government may not achieve its objectives for legalization. Not only is a tobacco-control-based regulatory structure unlikely to appeal to the target audience for cannabis products, it also overlooks the likely shape of the legal market, which research suggests will feature more demand for edibles and other non-combustible products than combustibles, once the former are made legal. It is telling that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario which offers a master-class retail experience for alcohol will, reportedly, be providing a very different (that is, inferior) experience in its cannabis subsidiary. The government should be careful that the particulars of its regulatory approach don’t undermine the policy objectives that caused it to propose legalization in the first place. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-will-over-regulation-of-cannabis-help-sustain-the-black-market
  9. Cannabis advocates and illicit growers have burning questions about government contracts By Perrin Grauer StarMetro Vancouver Sun., July 15, 2018 VANCOUVER—The B.C. liquor board’s announcement last Thursday of the cannabis companies it will partner with come Oct. 17 has small-business advocates raising red flags while some of B.C.’s illicit growers are decidedly indifferent. A comparison of the liquor board’s list of suppliers alongside Health Canada’s records of the licensing status of those cannabis companies reveals five of the 31 partners announced by the liquor board have yet to obtain “sales” licences allowing them to provide cannabis to a retailer. Michael, a veteran grower of cannabis for the illicit market, in one of his outdoor gardens on Crown land in the B.C. interior. Michael, who also maintains an indoor grow-op, believes the government is ill-prepared for legalization and says the province's illicit market will thrive for the foreseeable future. (Perrin Grauer / StarMetro) A spokesperson from Health Canada confirmed that a licensed producer, (LP) who is authorized to grow but not sell cannabis should not be able to distribute or sell cannabis to a retailer in the period leading up to legalization. “However,” the spokesperson continued, “there is no provision in the Cannabis Act that prohibits a licensed producer from entering into a business agreement with a province or territory in anticipation of having a licence to sell cannabis.” The agreement is conditional, the spokesperson said, on both the liquor board and the cannabis companies having all their ducks in a row before cash or cannabis actually change hands. Kirk Tousaw, a B.C. cannabis lawyer, pointed out the agreement is structured as a “memorandum of understanding,” which he said is “likely non-binding and contingent on eventual licensing.” “I suspect there are simply not enough producers with sales licences to meet B.C.’s requirements,” he told StarMetro in an email. Ian Dawkins, president of the Cannabis Commerce Association of Canada, said supply is very much an issue and one of the government’s own making. Dawkins said B.C. has one of the most robust communities of experienced small- and medium-scale growers of quality cannabis in the country. Federal regulations that skew for big business, he told StarMetro, are the only thing stopping those growers from entering the market and filling the supply chain gaps that legalization will inevitably bring. “It's really inappropriate for the government, whether by intent or by accident, to create a scenario where a bunch of large corporations, which have been trading on a medical licensing category, are now getting first crack at a recreational market against the interests of small business,” he said. “To me, that’s a double-whammy of gross.” This federal oversight, he continued, is also responsible for a Crown corporation like the liquor board having to sign conditional agreements with cannabis companies who aren’t yet licensed to sell to them. “It's getting to a really dangerous point,” Dawkins said, pointing out that supply problems not only leave consumers in the lurch but provide golden opportunities for the same illicit suppliers legalization was supposed to eliminate. “The illicit market is just going to explode,” he said. One illicit cannabis grower, meanwhile, is sure Dawkins is right. For “Michael,” a veteran B.C. grower of 25 years who agreed to speak with StarMetro on condition his real name not be used, it’s “business as usual.” Having spent years supplying cannabis to dispensaries, as well as to medical and recreational cannabis users, Michael believes the federal and provincial governments are ill-prepared to take over the industry. A supply shortage is inevitable, he said, citing examples from legalization south of the border in states like Colorado, Maryland and Nevada as evidence. In 2017, a shortage in the latter state resulted in Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval declaring a state of emergency to manage the shortage. B.C. consumers, Michael said, may also be wary of purchasing pot from their government when many of them have had ready access to cannabis either directly from a grower or one-step removed for decades — and with no tax to inflate the price. “I just don't think (legalization) is going to work,” he said, adding he and his colleagues in the illicit market haven’t seen any indication the federal government is willing to consider a system for them to enter the market profitably in the first place. A cannabis plant in an outdoor garden on Crown land in B.C.'s interior belonging to Michael, a veteran grower of cannabis for the illicit market. Michael, who also maintains an indoor grow-op, believes the government is ill-prepared for legalization and says the province's illicit market will thrive for the foreseeable future. (Perrin Gauer/ StarMetro) “Why wouldn't we just keep doing what we're doing? As long as people keep buying our products, why would any of us care?” The office of the Attorney General — the ministry responsible for the B.C. Liquor Distribution Board — told StarMetro in an email that the 31 companies announced last week were chosen because they “demonstrated that they could provide (an) appropriate supply of cannabis product at the time of legalization.” The liquor board will be purchasing cannabis in three-month increments based on the number of retail stores anticipated to be operating during that time period. The board “will continually update its forecasting” to meet market demands, the email said. The liquor board would not have entered into an agreement with an LP whom it had reason to believe would not have proper licensing in place before legalization went live, the statement continued, and the board had chosen its partners carefully to ensure LPs from across the country would have equal opportunity to enter the retail market. (A spokesperson from Bloomera — a subsidiary of RavenQuest Cannabis BioMed and one of the suppliers named by the liquor board, which does not yet have its sales licence in place — told StarMetro the company is on the verge of obtaining authorization and will be legally able to sell to the government well before legalization). Jordan Sinclair, vice-president of marketing for Canopy Growth, said from a business perspective, the problem of a run on retail cannabis supplies come Oct. 17, is “a great problem to have.” Sinclair told StarMetro he recognizes his company takes a lot of flak for its size (Canopy owns more than a dozen subsidiaries and currently has a market cap topping $8 billion). But it was a small company just a few years ago, he said, and is currently reinvesting in ways to empower small growers to enter the market. Sinclair pointed to Canopy’s “CraftGrow” program, which he said provides space for small-scale cannabis growers by allowing them to focus on growing while Canopy takes care of investments in infrastructure and marketing. Dawkins, however, is unconvinced. While a micro-licensing provision for small-scale growers was recently introduced, a full-time quality assurance staff member — who has a master's degree in chemistry — must be present at a cultivation site at all times in order for the business to become an LP. With so little time left before legalization, said Dawkins, this is neither realistic nor economically possible. People with that kind of education have already been hoovered up by the billion-dollar LPs, he said, and those that haven’t currently command a six-figure salary to work in an industry desperate for their expertise. Dawkins said this has the knock-on effect of forcing those small-scale growers into wholesaler relationships with LPs, where they provide cannabis at a reduced price to a company with a huge market footprint. The LP marks that product up and sells it to a retailer, who then marks it up again before selling it to the consumer. For growers accustomed to managing a few hundred or thousand square feet and interacting directly with customers, there just isn’t any hope of competing, he said. But Dawkins, like Michael, has no quarrel with the LPs who’ve landed government contracts. Rather, both men believe the whole governmental framework for legalization favours big money and wilfully omits reasonable pathways to legalization for those growers who have supplied communities with cannabis for years. And both men believe there probably isn’t a way to turn the ship around. “It would be such a radical shift in the way the legislation has been written to this point,” Dawkins said. “I think it’s too late.” https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/07/15/cannabis-advocates-and-illicit-growers-have-burning-questions-about-government-contracts.html
  10. Premier Doug Ford Renews Hope For Private Cannabis Retail In Ontario By Kieran Delamont Jul 16, 2018 A year ago, an alliance between the cannabis industry and the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario might have seemed like a far-off dream. In November of 2017, the party was critical of the then-governing Liberals’ plan to impose a restrictive crown monopoly scheme on cannabis sales, saying they were only “paying lip service to protecting public safety,” and asked for more police funding. Under then-leader Patrick Brown, they also supported selling cannabis through the LCBO, Ontario’s liquor control board. But a lot can change in a year. Under newly-minted Premier Doug Ford, the province is under new management. The new administration is igniting renewed hope in cannabis entrepreneurs who want to see Ontario reconsider its plan to initially open just 40 government-run Ontario Cannabis Stores (OCS). “Through the campaign Ford mused about it, and since he’s become premier-designate, he’s said he plans on holding consultations,” says Will Stewart, vice-president of communications with Hiku, who currently run five Tokyo Smoke coffee and head shop locations in downtown Toronto, and one in Calgary. “We’re just excited to have that conversation. [...] What we have said to the OCS is that there’s a really interesting model in British Columbia,” — referring to that province’s hybrid model that allows for both private and government-run stores. “I think that perhaps that’s a model that Ontario can look at.” Then last week, the company scuttled a deal to merge with WeedMD, and instead were acquired by cannabis giant Canopy Growth in a $326 million retail play. Canopy has long been pushing to get a retail store at its Smiths Falls, Ont. plant — a concept similar to buying beer straight from the brewery. Jordan Sinclair, vice-president of communications at Canopy said that the Doug Ford government has, on the subject of private sales, given them “a lot of hope.” "We want this badly. We want to be able to sell,” he tells Lift & Co. “If we can’t open our own retail stores in a more free market way, we at least want to be able to sell at the point of production.” They’re hoping that Ford will be willing to play ball — and soon. “We are trying to be respectful of how many things he’s got to do in his first couple of weeks, but the calls have been put out,” said Sinclair. Derek Ogden, president of National Access Cannabis, is also excited about the prospect of opening up the Ontario market. “I’m thinking that the Progressive Conservative government will at least consider opening up the province to private sales,” he said. “They could scrap the system that’s in place. They could certainly move to a hybrid system.” (National Access Cannabis recently announced a partnership with Second Cup to operate a network of dispensaries under the brand Meta Cannabis Supply.) None of this, strictly speaking, has anything to do with Doug Ford specifically, who has so far not made any moves on the cannabis front. But with industry players chattering both in his ear and in the press about privatizing sales, it may look like an attractive thing to do for a Doug Ford government whose ethos has, so far, been essentially just to undo what Kathleen Wynne’s government did while it was in office. Plenty of other ideas have gone to the chopping block already: if privatizing pot sales looks convincingly profitable to Ford, there’s nothing to say it won’t be considered. Ford is, however, open to changing the government’s approach to cannabis sales. “We’re going to sit down with the caucus and I’ve always been open to a fair market,” he told the CBC in March, ahead of the provincial election. “I let the market dictate. I don’t like the government controlling anything, no matter what it is.” Since his election win, he’s become a bit cagier when it comes to the idea of private sales. “I'm private sector, I don't believe government should stick their nose into everything, but again, this is a path we have never went down," he told the Canadian Press in June. A spokesperson for Ford said that they would “will have more to say once we form government.” They did not give any further details on whether or not they were planning to hold consultations. A spokesperson for the LCBO referred all questions back to the provincial government. Unsurprisingly, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents LCBO workers, would like to retain the monopoly. “I say, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” wrote union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas in an email. “With the LCBO, we’ve got a 90-year-long success story right in front of our eyes, and on top of all that, Ontarians support it! … If Premier Ford is really ‘for the people,’ why waste their taxpayer dollars on useless consultations, just to reaffirm what we already know?” Plus, he says, it’s best to keep pot revenues in public hands. “Privatized sales mean less money in our public coffers,” he wrote. “Those are funds that pay for important public infrastructure like hospitals, highways and schools; they mean less public control over cannabis sales, and they help the criminal element sink their teeth into this lucrative market.” From the point of view of those in the privatization camps, Thomas’s claims are up for debate. In 2014, a C.D. Howe Institute study found that the lack of competition for the LCBO is restricting its revenues, and the high costs of union jobs depressing its profit margins. Plus, the initial roll-out of 40 stores is unlikely to be enough to meet demand, which will mean more people turning back to the black market where they’ve always got their weed before. “To Premier Ford I say, let’s meet,” wrote Thomas. “As a new government, you’ve got a lot on your plate. We’ve been around a long time, we know our stuff, and we can help. A lot of hassle could be avoided by giving cannabis consultations a sober second thought.” https://lift.co/magazine/doug-ford-private-cannabis-ontario
  11. Cannabis producers sound warning on Ottawa's new tax plan Submitted by Marijuana News Mon, 07/16/2018 Marijuana firms are warning that Ottawa’s move to impose an additional $100-million in taxes ostensibly to recoup regulatory costs – on top of hundreds of millions in government revenue expected from excise taxes − will hurt their ability to undercut the cannabis black market. Health Canada, which recently announced a proposed “annual regulatory fee” of 2.3 per cent on the gross revenues of big cannabis producers, is facing industry pushback on the levy in the runup to the Oct. 17 legalization of the recreational market in this country. The fee would be in addition to the $1-a-gram excise tax on cannabis that has already been announced and will go mainly to the provinces. Health Canada is giving companies and other interested parties 30 days to comment on the plan. According to the federal agency, the proposed fees would allow the federal government to meet all of its costs by 2020, except in terms of law enforcement. However, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, a spokesman for a coalition of many of Canada’s biggest cannabis producers said the new fee would be premature and hurt the nascent industry as it tries to compete with well-established illegal producers. “We don’t believe it’s appropriate at this time to enact this new policy, until we have a few years under our belts and we have some hard data to be able to track our success in moving toward our goal of suppressing the black market,” said Allan Rewak, executive director of the Cannabis Canada Council. The root system from a cannabis cutting is photographed at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility during the grand opening event in Fenwick, Ont., on June 26, 2018. Mr. Rewak, who said the council was concerned and surprised by the proposal, underlined that it could adversely affect the business models of many industry players. “Obviously, the industry wants to pay its fair share and contribute,” he said. “But the timing is intensely problematic, as many of our members have signed multiyear supply deals that didn’t factor in this additional and very, very significant cost.” Mr. Rewak said a formal submission will be made in the coming weeks to Health Canada to oppose the planned fee structure, or at least to defer its implementation. Known as C3, the council represents companies such as Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Tilray Inc. Deepak Anand, a consultant in the cannabis industry, said the exemption of the fee on companies that only grow cannabis for medical purposes stands to have unintended consequences. “I fear that this will cause larger licensed producers with multiple sites to allocate all medical production and sales to a specific site, which may as a result reduce the strain and product selection available to medical patients,” he said. The proposed annual regulatory fee would aim to cover the overall costs of evaluating and approving new production licences, inspecting facilities and other regulatory enforcement activities. The money would be used to cover expenditures that will be borne by Health Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Public Safety Canada. In addition to the annual regulatory fee, Health Canada is planning to impose smaller fees to screen licence applications (up to $3,300 per application) and to conduct security screening of employees ($1,650 per employee). Those are not opposed by C3. “Cost recovery is a standard practice across the Government of Canada to support program delivery. The proposed fees have been designed to enable a diverse and competitive legal industry made up of large and small players, to facilitate research and development, and to maintain access to cannabis for medical purposes,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement. Health Canada it is planning to approve about 200 new production licences every year. There are currently 112 licensed producers in Canada, with hundreds more awaiting approval. As part of its plan, Ottawa will start granting a new category of licences that cover microcultivation and microprocessing. The small-scale producers could grow cannabis in production facilities of less than 200 square metres, or process less than 600 kilograms of dried cannabis a year. The 2.3-per-cent annual regulatory fee would apply to large producers, while microcultivators and microprocessors with gross revenue under $1-million would pay a fee of 1 per cent. https://420intel.ca/articles/2018/07/16/cannabis-producers-sound-warning-ottawas-new-tax-plan
  12. Health Canada 'concerned' by cannabis companies sponsoring music events By: David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted: 07/13/2018 Health Canada said Friday it's prepared to crack down on licensed medical marijuana producers who are sponsoring music festivals and other events. The federal department said it's "concerned" about some companies that have engaged in corporate sponsorships and other promotional activities that go against the Cannabis Act. Flowering marijuana plants are pictured during a tour of Tweed in Smiths Falls, Ontario on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. Health Canada is prepared to crackdown on licensed medical marijuana producers who are sponsoring music festivals and other events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick It said the government has made it "abundantly clear" what isn't permitted under the laws, such as marketing to minors. Health Canada issued a statement noting that cannabis companies have been dabbling in various forms of marketing that raise red flags, although it highlighted music festivals as a particular point of concern. Tweed, a brand owned by Canopy Growth Corp., is among the companies that have been sponsoring events, including the Field Trip music festival and Pride Toronto this summer. The company's spokeswoman, Caitlin O'Hara, wrote in an emailed statement that Canopy is focused on education and responsible use of its product. "We have reviewed all activities with counsel to ensure compliance and continue to work collaboratively with regulators in support of this shared objective," she said. Aurora Cannabis is another producer has taken a prominent sponsorship role at various Canadian events, including the North By Northeast music festival in June. Representatives for the company declined to comment on Friday. Eileen McMahon, a partner at Torys LLP who leads the drug and regulatory practice, said Health Canada's warning doesn't come as much of a surprise, since the cannabis market is experimenting ahead of legalization on Oct. 17. She said many companies are attempting to get their brand names into public consciousness before they expect regulations to be enforced. "This is an opportunity where companies say, 'What is legal and illegal under current law? What is grey and in the grey area? And can we play there in a way that's defensible?'" she said. "Some companies will take some risks ... others won't. I think you see that activity taking place and the government's reaction." While Health Canada didn't directly acknowledge companies it deemed offenders, it said the actions have underscored a need for "rigorous enforcement" of the laws. "The department is reviewing the actions of existing licensed producers and will be taking every possible step to bring them into compliance or prevent non-compliance with existing laws," it said. "Those who do not adhere to the applicable prohibitions will face serious consequences, which may include, if appropriate, suspension of their licence." https://www.theleafnews.com/news/health-canada-concerned-by-cannabis-companies-sponsoring-music-events-488137791.html
  13. How Canada Could Start Pardoning Cannabis Convictions By Don Davies, MP Jul 13, 2018 After nearly a century of criminalization, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health estimates that at least 500,000 Canadians remain saddled with records for cannabis possession. And as we stand on the cusp of cannabis legalization, we face the deep irony that Canadians continue to be arrested at alarming rates for behaviour that will soon be legal. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 (the most recent year of available data), there were about 55,000 cannabis-related offences reported to police and 17,733 people were charged with simple possession. From 2012 to 2016 alone, there were 115,506 Canadians charged with cannabis possession. There is a Kafkaesque quality to the notion that, as you read this, Canadians are being charged, convicted and sentenced every day in Canadian courts for offences that the highest government in the land – and the Governor General – have proclaimed to be perfectly legal. Given the extensive body of research on the negative impacts of carrying a criminal record, it is clear that pursuing thousands of convictions for actions that we no longer view as criminal needlessly harms vulnerable Canadians. The discriminatory impacts of enforcing our current cannabis laws have been well documented by Canadian researchers. Poor, black and Indigenous men and women have long been over-represented in cannabis possession arrests. We are also well aware that those who have criminal records face significant barriers to obtaining employment and housing, crossing international borders, and engaging in educational and volunteer opportunities. Among youth, a record can restrict a student’s ability to perform the volunteer work required by high school curricula and even affect entrance to post-secondary programs. Pardons are therefore a critical means of providing fair restitution to those affected most severely by cannabis prohibition. But instead of incorporating pardons into their legalization regime, the Liberal government has chosen to kick the can down the road with vague pledges to address the issue once Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, comes into force on Oct. 17, 2018. They refuse to specify in any detail what options they are considering. They justify this position by claiming that as-yet unnamed barriers prevent them from announcing a specific plan for pardons while the old law is still in place. This is simply not true. In fact, there is no principled reason or legislative obstacle to dealing with pardons and record expungement, either in advance of or simultaneous with cannabis legalization. We even have a perfect template. Parliament’s recent action to address historical discrimination against homosexuality provides a concrete example of expunging unjust criminal records for acts that are no longer considered criminal. This legislation (Bill C-66) allows Canadians, or family members of Canadians who have died, to apply to erase past criminal convictions for homosexual offences that no longer exist as listed in the bill’s schedule. As New Democrats have argued for the past year, the Cannabis Act could have included a similar provision for cannabis offences that will cease to be offences once the legislation comes into force. Notwithstanding that missed opportunity by the Liberals, we would support a new bill to do so on an expedited basis, and NDP Justice critic Murray Rankin is presently drafting a private member’s bill to do exactly that. Automatic statutory expungement of records for cannabis offences that C-45 will make legal is also an idea worth considering. At a minimum, we must act swiftly to amend the Criminal Records Act to facilitate pardons by waiving the five-year waiting period and $631 application fee for cannabis offences that will no longer be criminal acts. As it currently stands, the last offender convicted of cannabis possession in the final days before Bill C-45 comes into force will be required to wait five years before they're even eligible to apply for a pardon. That is unjust, creates base inequality and inflicts unnecessary damage to Canadians. At the Standing Committee on Health, Canada’s New Democrats put forward an amendment to do exactly that. Unfortunately, this amendment was ruled “outside the scope” of Bill C-45 as drafted by the Liberal government. It was rather shocking that the Liberal government would structure a cannabis ”legalization” bill in such a way that pardons could not be included through amendment. One would have thought that the drafters of a cannabis legalization bill would have had the forethought to include some measure to rectify the damage that criminalization has had on so many Canadians and their families. In any event, the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who carry unjust records for cannabis use deserve amnesty. They deserve to get it soon. https://lift.co/magazine/canada-cannabis-pardons-amnesty
  14. New York State Health Officials Conclude ‘Legalize It’ David Downs July 13, 2018 (Seth Wenig/AP) One of the nation’s most powerful, prosperous, and populous states is laying the groundwork to end cannabis prohibition. On Friday, July 13, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released a 75-page Marijuana Legalization Impact Assessment, concluding that “the positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in [New York State] outweigh the potential negative impacts.” Drawing on findings from nine other legal-cannabis states as well as medical marijuana in 29 states, the assessment made about a dozen sweeping conclusions that advance the argument for cannabis regulation and taxation in the Empire State. Among them: “Marijuana regulation could generate long-term cost savings.” “Changes in overall patterns of use are not likely to be significant.” “The majority of credible evidence suggests legalization of marijuana has no or minimal impact on use by youth.” “Regulating marijuana reduces risks and improves quality control and consumer protection.” “There has been no increase in violent crime or property crime rates around medical marijuana dispensaries.” “Marijuana may reduce opioid deaths and opioid prescribing.” “Marijuana has intrinsic health benefits and risks.” “There is little evidence that marijuana use is significantly or causally associated with more common mental illnesses (such as mild-tomoderate depression or anxiety) or other adverse outcomes (such as suicide) in the general population.” Differing Opinions, Same Facts New York has almost 60,000 patients enrolled in its medical marijuana program who so far have experienced just 27 reported adverse effects and no reported deaths, Zucker found. The assessment, ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, will act as a common set of facts lawmakers can draw from during a potential 2019 legalization drive in the state Legislature, said Chris Alexander, policy coordinator for the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance. That group worked to pass decriminalization as well as medical marijuana measures in New York, which does not allow citizen initiatives. “It refutes misinformation about what’s happening in other legal states with regard to underage use, traffic fatalities, mental health impacts, and all that stuff. The report is going to make sure when we get to the point where we’re ready to talk about this, we have the same facts,” he said. The report has historical echoes, too. New York state health officials recommended against cannabis prohibition in the now-prescient LaGuardia Report — which came out in 1939, just as prohibition was gaining speed. With legalization polling at more than 60% in New York, real reform could happen not in five years, but beginning in January when the Legislature reconvenes. “Next year is feeling more and more real,” Alexander said. New York State might have a $3.5 billion cannabis underground market, the assessment found. Legalizing the botanical drug could generate anywhere from $248 million to $667 million per year in tax revenue, it concluded. Clarity on Drugged Driving The report also adds some much-needed clarity on the issue of drugged driving, finding that: “Conclusions cannot be drawn from the existing research on the impact of marijuana use on motor vehicle traffic crashes. … However, three years after the legalization of regulated marijuana in Colorado, motor vehicle crash rates overall were not statistically different, although this evidence is still preliminary. … A study comparing motor vehicle-related fatalities in Washington and Colorado to eight similar states found that three years after marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle fatality rates were not statistically different from those in similar states without regulated marijuana.” The report notes that the lack of historical data makes definitive conclusions unreliable. “Few states collected pre-legalization baseline data to use as a comparator for evaluation purposes. States that have regulated marijuana have an inability to conclusively state the role that marijuana has played in traffic safety. Data from the National Highway Transportation Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System on crashes contain the caveats that they cannot be reliably compared across or within jurisdictions or across years.” And the report makes clear that having cannabis byproducts in one’s blood does not make that person impaired. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have both made the distinction that unlike alcohol, presence of THC in an individual’s blood stream does not equate to impairment.” Weed War A Minority War The report also notes cannabis prohibition’s toll on the citizens it’s designed to protect, particularly black communities and other people of color. “Criminalization of marijuana has not curbed marijuana use despite the commitment of significant law enforcement resources,” the report states. “Marijuana prohibition results in disproportionate criminalization of certain racial and ethnic groups.” Nine out of 10 New York City marijuana arrests are of black and Latino individuals, despite similar usage rates among all races, Alexander said. The report seems destined to help Cuomo continue evolving on the issue of cannabis policy, he said. The governor had been a leader on decriminalization since 2012. But as recently as last year, he said cannabis might be a gateway drug to heroin. Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon attacked Cuomo on the left for not moving fast enough to unwind the war on weed, which Alexander said could have pushed Cuomo to speed up. “He was already moving on this issue. If anything, she might have accelerated [Gov. Cuomo’s] timeline,” he said. https://www.leafly.com/news/health/new-york-state-health-officials-conclude-legalize-it
  15. notsofasteddie

    Medical Marijuana Update

    Medical Marijuana Update by psmith, July 11, 2018 Arkansas finally issued some cultivation licenses, Maine legislators override a gubernatorial veto to expand medical marijuana, Michigan adds more qualifying conditions, and more. Arkansas Arkansas Issues Cultivator Licenses. The state Medical Marijuana Commission has awarded cultivation licenses to five medical marijuana businesses. The move comes after an injunction blocking the move was lifted. Another 90 potential medical marijuana businesses were out of luck, but the commission will keep their applications on hand in case one of the five awarded licenses is revoked or if the commission decides to award the three additional licenses it could issue. Maine Maine Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill. Gov. Paul LePage last Friday vetoed a bill that would have allowed doctors to certify medical marijuana for patients for any reason, as well as revamping the caregiver system and removing some obstacles to obtaining patient cards. The bill will now go back to the legislature for a possible effort to override the veto. Maine Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto of Medical Marijuana Expansion. The legislature has overwhelmingly overridden Gov. Paul LePage's (R) veto of a bill, L.D. 1539. allowing patients to use marijuana if a doctor deems it medically beneficial, grant six new medical dispensary licenses, permit caregivers to expand their business operations and give the state and municipalities more power to regulate them. Michigan Michigan Adds More Qualifying Conditions. The state on Monday added 11 medical conditions, including autism, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome, to the list of ailments that could qualify a person for a medical marijuana card. That brings the number of qualifying conditions to 22. Oklahoma Oklahoma Losers Now Want to "Fix" Medical Marijuana Initiative. Opponents of State Question 788, the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters last month, are now demanding changes in the measure. At a Monday press conference, a coalition of medical groups called for three changes to the initiative: requiring dispensaries to have pharmacists on staff, limiting the number of dispensary licenses, and banning the sale of smokable forms of weed. The state Health Department was meeting Tuesday to vote on proposed rules, but it does not appear the department is going to consider the proposals from the medical coalition. Oklahoma Approves Emergency Rules for Medical Marijuana, Bans Sale of Smokable Medicine. The state Board of Health on Tuesday approved a proposed draft of emergency rules for the state's new medical marijuana program, but also voted to prohibit the sale of smokable marijuana at dispensaries. Licensed medical marijuana patients could still smoke it if they grew their own. [For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.] https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2018/jul/11/medical_marijuana_update

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