Oral measurement of THC intoxication level is not feasible, study concludes

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate

Cannabis legalization poses considerable risks for drivers and policy makers, with multiple investigations converging on the conclusion that cannabis intoxication increases road traffic accidents and fatalities, likely due to a reduction in attention, reaction speed, and judgement of drivers (for a Lift review of the research see here).

Countries around the globe have implemented a range of policies regulating driving under the influence of cannabis. For instance, Australia prohibits driving under any detectable level of THC, whereas Switzerland has a more lax limit of 2.2 ng/ml. Across the U.S., states have imposed limits ranging from zero to 5 ng/ml.
Arguments for a zero-level tolerance posit that exact measurement of cannabis blood levels is not possible due to technological limitations and a great variability in how individuals metabolize the drug, added to the fact that even low levels of cannabinoids can impair driving significantly (especially if other substances like alcohol are also ingested).

Arguments for specific limits, on the other hand, are centered around pragmatic factors and findings that THC and other cannabis metabolites can remain detectable for nearly a week, presumably long after any psychoactive effects can still be felt. Some concerns shared by both sides revolve around the need for blood samples for adequate ruling of intoxication, due to the associated medical risks.

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate. The team, led by Dr. Amélie Marsot, described in great detail the pharmacokinetic profiles of THC and its metabolites in saliva, blood plasma, and urine during the first 72 hours. Their report can be accessed for free in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Eighteen male tobacco smokers and occasional cannabis users, aged 20 to 45 years, were recruited from the local community. Each participant underwent two treatments: a) tobacco cigarette as a control, and b) tobacco cigarette with 500 mg of cannabis (20mg of THC). To reduce differences in smoking technique, the participants followed a computerized procedure under medical supervision that explained how they should inhale the cigarette. The two treatments were separated by a 4-week washout period and randomly sorted in order to blind participants. Finally, they were asked to refrain from cannabis during the entire experiment as well as during the 28 days leading up to it.

In total, blood and oral fluids were collected 16 times each and urine was collected 6 times. The samples were tested for the presence of THC, 11-OH-THC (main psychoactive metabolic product of THC) and THC-COOH (inactive metabolite) with a minimum detection level of 1ng/ml.

The analysis yielded a wide variability in the levels of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of these metabolites. The maximum concentrations of THC ranged from 55.4 to an incredible 120000 ng/ml in saliva and 1.6 to 160 ng/ml in plasma, whereas the maximum plasma concentrations of the two metabolites varied 3 to 10 times less than this. Overall, THC salivary content was in no way indicative of THC blood content, nor were urinary samples. Other parameters such as time to maximum concentration and to last detectable concentration also varied widely across individuals.

The authors argue that oral and urinary samples can still be taken as evidence of recent use, but fail to specify what they subtend by it. In the study, half of the participants reached THC subthreshold levels in plasma in just 2 hours (maximum took 12 hours) against 18 hours in saliva (maximum took 48 hours). Urinary samples remained positive for even larger periods of time, and previous studies have shown that detection levels subsist up to 18 days after the administration of a single marijuana joint. It seems unclear what driving regulatory policy could be adopted that does not rely on blood sampling.

Featured image via Wikipedia.

Original article can be found here

Doctors group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids

As politicians debate and trade barbs about past marijuana use, a new study suggests smoking pot may be much worse for teens’ health than previously thought. Mike Drolet reports.

CHICAGO – An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana‘s potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use.

Many parents use the drug and think it’s OK for their kids, but “we would rather not mess around with the developing brain,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman.

The advice comes in a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published Monday in Pediatrics. The group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids. It says emphasizing that message is important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults’ recreational use.

Those trends have led parents to increasingly ask doctors about kids’ use, said Ammerman, a Stanford University pediatrics professor who co-wrote the report.

“Parents will say, ‘I use it moderately and I’m fine with it, so it’s really benign and not a problem if my kid uses it,”‘ he said.
Doctors need to know how to respond to that thinking, and parents and teens need to know the risks, Ammerman said.


The brain continues to develop until the early 20s, raising concerns about the potential short- and long-term effects of a mind-altering drug. Some studies suggest that teens who use marijuana at least 10 times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan. Some changes may be permanent, the report says.

Frequent use starting in the early teen years may lower IQ scores, and some studies have shown that starting marijuana use at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction than starting in adulthood. Not all teen users develop these problems and some may be more vulnerable because of genetics or other factors.


Solid research on medical marijuana’s effects in children and teens is lacking, although some studies have suggested it may benefit kids with hard-to-treat seizures. The report says other potential benefits, doses and effects are mostly unknown.

Recreational use is illegal for those under age 21 even in states that allow adult use. Parents should avoid using marijuana in front of their kids and should keep all marijuana products stored out of kids’ sight, the academy says. Some young children who accidentally swallowed their parents’ pot-containing cookies or drinks have landed in the emergency room for mostly minor symptoms although some developed breathing problems.


Government data show that almost 40 per cent of U.S. high school students have tried marijuana, about 20 per cent are current users and close to 10 per cent first tried it before age 13. Use has increased in recent years among those aged 18 and older but not among young teens. Still, kids aged 12-17 increasingly think that marijuana use is not harmful.

Dr. Sheryl Ryan, a Yale University pediatrics professor and lead author of the academy report, said marijuana “is the drug of choice” for many of her teen patients in New Haven, Connecticut. Some think daily use is safe, noting that their parents or grandparents smoked pot in college and turned out OK. But today’s marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky, Ryan said.

Original article can be found here

Landlord pays high price for renter’s medical marijuana grow-op

‘A grow-op, whether legal or not, is still a high-risk activity,’ Insurance Bureau says

The tenant had 60 plants growing near the laundry room, landlord Darryl Spencer says. (Darryl Spencer)

Longtime landlord Darryl Spencer was left scrambling for insurance after discovering a tenant was growing dozens of medical marijuana plants inside and outside his rental house.

When the landlord told his insurance company about the perfectly legal grow-op, his coverage was cancelled, leaving him with no insurance, few rights and a big cleanup bill.

Spencer says the downstairs tenant in the Kamloops, B.C., rental property got a medical marijuana licence that allowed him to legally grow as many as 60 plants without his landlord’s permission or knowledge.

A call from a concerned neighbour prompted Spencer, who is also a retired fire inspector, to check out the home he’s rented out to different tenants for a decade.

Spencer says he’s spent thousands of dollars in order to get his rental property insurance reinstated. (CBC)

He discovered a mess of extension cords, fans and bright lights packed into a room filled with dozens of marijuana plants. The upstairs tenant, a woman with a small child, was complaining about heat radiating through the walls and electrical breakers going off.

“I was worried about the fire hazard. That was my first thought because of the extension cords, the use of electricity and that something could catch fire,” Spencer told Go Public.

Spencer’s tenant started a medical marijuana grow-op in the lower level apartment without his knowledge. (Darryl Spencer)

Under new federal rules introduced last August, landlords have little recourse if a tenant is growing licensed medical marijuana. They don’t even have the right to know it’s happening. Yet it’s landlords who are being denied insurance coverage when a tenant is growing medical pot.

Go Public also found, while the federal government implemented the rules, it wants local authorities to ensure medical grow-operations are being set up and run safely. More than 30,000 people in Canada have permits to grow cannabis for their personal medical use.

Insurance cancelled

When Spencer notified his insurance company about the tenant’s grow-op, Gore Mutual Insurance cancelled his coverage.
“They wouldn’t cover claims to do with medical marijuana or air quality contamination,” he says.

‘You can lose everything you worked so hard for your whole life.’

– Darryl Spencer, landlord

In a statement to Go Public, Gore Mutual Insurance says it “does not provide coverage for marijuana grow-operations regardless of their legality because this type of operation in a residential building presents inherent insurance risks.”

Those risks, the company says, include “a greater likelihood of water damage, mould, fire, vandalism and burglary.”

A Federal Court judge ruled last year that Canadians have a right to grow their own medical marijuana. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Under most basic home insurance policies, marijuana-related damages or anything that companies believe is “high risk” is not covered.

That view is shared by many insurance companies, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“While regulations may allow for the legal growing of marijuana for medical purposes, it does not change the structural risk grow-ops pose to homes and condos,” Andrew McGrath, spokesman for the Insurance Bureau, tells Go Public in an email.

“The operation of a grow-op, whether legal or not, is still a high-risk activity.”

Landlord jumps through hoops

Gore Mutual Insurance told Spencer it might reinstate his coverage if he got rid of the tenant and took specific steps to ensure the house was safe to live in.

The insurance company also wanted air and soil testing, plumbing and electrical inspections, and the house checked for mould.
‘[Health Canada] basically made the decisions … in a vacuum’

– David Hutniak, Landlord B.C.

Spencer did it all, while searching for another insurance company that would cover him right away. None would.
“I went all that time with no insurance which was pretty nerve-wracking knowing there were many implications involved there. You can lose everything you worked so hard for your whole life,” he says.

The tenant did move out, but only after Spencer paid him $1,300 to leave and returned his full damage deposit despite issues with the suite.

All in, Spencer estimates he’s out more than $5,000 in costs related to the medical grow-op.

Privacy trumps landlord rights

In February 2016, a Federal Court judge gave Health Canada six months to come up with new rules that would give medical marijuana patients better access to pot, allowing more patients to grow it at home.

Spencer says he had concerns about electrical hazards in the grow-op. (Darryl Spencer)

Its response was the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, which came into effect Aug. 24, 2016.

“The new regulations do not require individuals who wish to produce a limited amount in their residence to notify or seek the consent of their landlords as such requirements would likely infringe on their right to reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes,” Health Canada spokesman André Gagnon wrote in a statement to Go Public.

Decisions made ‘in a vacuum’

Landlord B.C., an advocacy group for landlords, says it respects the importance of marijuana therapy for those who need it. But CEO David Hutniak says the group believes property rights also are important.

“[Health Canada] basically made the decisions, from our perspective, in a vacuum,” he says.

Spencer says he was worried about safety when he saw the amount of chemicals in the tenant’s unit. (Darryl Spencer)

Hutniak says the federal government failed to provide clear direction for landlords and insurance companies when it made changes to medical marijuana rules.

Safety inspections not done

Under the new rules, Health Canada gives specific guidelines on how to safely set up medical grow-ops.

But when it comes to checking if safety rules are being followed, the federal department is leaving that to municipalities.

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord B.C., says Health Canada should have considered the impact on property rentals and insurance when approving grow-ops. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The problem, according to the development and engineering services director for Kamloops, is federal privacy rules prevent local authorities from knowing where marijuana is being grown.

“We don’t get a list of the address, so we can’t proactively go around and do inspections,” Marvin Kwiatkowski says.

The tenant was also growing marijuana in a greenhouse on Spencer’s property. (Darryl Spencer)

There also is no system in place to proactively check if tenants are growing the allowed number of plants and following their permit.

Go Public put the issue to federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, but her office declined an interview, saying the federal government’s role is to ensure people who need medical marijuana have access.

Double the cost

Two months after his insurance was cancelled, Spencer found a company that specializes in covering medical grow-operations. The coverage cost almost twice what he used to pay and has a much higher deductible.

After Go Public contacted his original insurer, Gore Mutual, it offered to reinstate Spencer’s policy for almost the same amount he used to pay.

B.C. landlord Darryl Spencer found he had little recourse when his insurance was cancelled because a tenant was growing marijuana. (CBC)

Spencer took Gore up on the offer, and says it’s the federal government that needs to make changes.

“This has been a big mistake and I hope it gets rectified soon.”

Original article can be found here

Pinkman Goo: This Unbelievable Indica Produces Resin Dew Drops

Have you ever seen a cannabis strain that produces sap like a pine tree? One Southern Californian grower has created an indica strain unlike any other. Pinkman Goo, a strain developed by CaliCropDoc, produces a syrup-like resin that seeps out from calyxes just like sticky pine sap. Here’s why this one-of-a-kind strain is so gooey.

Pinkman Goo is one unique strain

Pinkman Goo is cannabis elevated. This indica strain produces a full droplet of resin, similar to the sticky sap found on the outside of pine trees. Such a strain is a rarity, and the stabilization of Pinkman Goo is certainly a step up in growing and cultivation.

In laboratory tests, the pinky resin from Pinkman Goo tested 4% higher in THC than resin from a non-gooey flower. The sap oozes out from between leaf margins and the bottoms of the calyx. Nighttime photosynthesis pushes plant resins up through the stem and seeps out from wherever it can.

The strain’s unique ability to produce this sap so frequently is thought to be a genetic trait, though the overall grow environment can have an impact on whether or not this process occurs.
Perhaps a bit like maple syrup, the concentrated resin from Pinkman Goo has a sweeter taste and aroma. Some suspect that the sap contains sugar crystals, that come out in the form of a sweat. The end result is a strain that looks like it has produced its own rose-colored dew droplets.

Apart from the impressive stickiness, this one-of-a-kind flower also has some seriously good looks. The leaves feature a beautiful purple-rimmed coloration and dense purple tinted buds.
This strain tests at around 18% THC, making it quite potent. The overall effects of this flower are peaceful and relaxed, and the strain features a soothing earthy aroma overall.

Who created Pinkman Goo?

Pinkman Goo was developed by grower Twompson Prater of CaliCropDoc. He inherited his gifted cultivation skills from his father and grandfather, who had purple thumbs themselves. Prater’s fifteen years of experience in medical cannabis cultivation shines through in the obvious craftsmanship behind Pinkman Goo.

CaliCropDoc wants you to know that it is possible to increase resin and coax a sappy goo from your cannabis plants. Prater offers free cannabis education through his website.

Medical and recreational growers alike can learn from Prater’s experiments, which include side by side testing, grow journals, and product reviews. Prater began CaliCropDoc to help growers sort through all of the misinformation out there and utilize safe methods that work.

For more information on expert medical cannabis cultivation or the Pinkman Goo strain, visit CaliCropDoc.org.

Original article found here

Harvard Study: Smoking Weed Improves Brain Functions

Cognitive function goes better with pot.

People are forever wandering onto KINDLAND territory and wondering out loud: What makes you people so goddamn smart?

Well, scientific findings recently published in Frontiers in Pharmacology may have cleared up that mystery once and for all. Preliminary investigations by medical researchers from McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Tufts University indicate that pot use improves cognitive performance.

Cognitive performance, no need to tell you, is “our ability to utilize the knowledge acquired by mental processes in our brains.” In other words, perform tasks that require thinking, as in to be so goddamn smart.

The behavioral scientists behind the work summarized in “Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function” tracked 24 certified medical-marijuana patients over a three-month dosing period. The patients were repeatedly measured for cognitive proficiency through challenges to the intelligence that included the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test.

Staci Gruber, PhD, director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital—Harvard Medical School’s largest psychiatric affiliate—is the lead “Splendor in the Grass?” researcher. Her initial report is twofold positive. For one thing, weed treatment led to patients breezing through an array of brainteasers with enhanced speed and accuracy.

From a McLean Hospital report:

“After three months of medical marijuana treatment, patients actually performed better, in terms of their ability to perform certain cognitive tasks, specifically those mediated by the frontal cortex,” explained Gruber.

Study participants also reported improvements in their specific clinical conditions, sleep, and overall health as well as a decreased use of conventional medications, particularly opiates.

“We saw a 42 percent reduction in opioid use,” reported Gruber. “This is significant, particularly for those of us in Massachusetts and other areas of the country where the opioid epidemic is ravaging so many. This preliminary finding certainly warrants deeper and broader investigation.”

In less than a week, electorates in five states (one of them being Massachusetts) have the opportunity to vote themselves into the legal-marijuana club. If just one of these states, California for instance, opts for legal adult use, literally millions more Americans will be granted the option to use marijuana without fear of police intervention. Perhaps not everyone who picks up a joint in this newly normalized landscape will become as intelligent as the Kindland smarty’s.

But you don’t need to be a brilliant visionary to recognize that the preliminary findings from McLean Hospital’s pilot study assessing the favorable impacts of cannabis on adult human brains demand further exploration. Deeper, broader investigations into marijuana’s ability to improve our mental functioning and reduce our susceptibility to opioid dependence should be happening sooner than later.

In that regard, “Splendor in the Grass?” lead Staci Gruber appears to be every bit as invested in the public wellbeing as she is smart in her approach to unraveling and establishing best marijuana practices.
“People are going to use it,” she concludes. “It’s up to us to figure out the very best and safest ways in which they can do that.”

Original article can be found here 

Can Cannabis Chewing Gum Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

A biotech firm has launched clinical trials in the Netherlands to test whether its CBD chewing gum could help treat irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers will give a group of 40 adult patients CanChew Plus chewing gum, which contains 50 mg of hemp-derived cannabidiol per serving. Subjects will be able to take up to six servings per day under the study, which will record general relief of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms—most often stomach cramps, bloating, and lower abdominal pain—along with any “change in stool frequency,” according to a press release.

The mint-flavored chewing gum was developed by Axim Biotechnologies, which has offices in New York and the Netherlands.

“IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder and affects up to 15 percent of the worldwide population,” Axim CEO Dr. George E. Anastassov said in a statement, “and It has no sustainable cure.”
The forthcoming IBS trials were developed by Axim and clinical investigators at the Wageningen University, a leading Dutch research institution and where the trials will be held.

“IBS is a very common and often painful disorder which is still difficult to manage,” Renger Witkamp, a nutrition and pharmacology professor at the school, said in a statement that accompanied the announcement. “People often experience sudden flare-ups and for many it has a negative impact on their quality of life. CBD has shown to have promising effects, but there has been a clear need for practical and effective formulations.”

While CBD is currently available in various forms, Witkamp claims that “providing it via a chewing gum results in sustained release of the compound and better bioavailability.”

Axim also makes CanChew, a controlled-release CBD chewing gum, and a combination CBD/THC gum called MedChew Rx, which is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related pain and spasticity. Standard CanChew gum is already available in all 50 US states, the company says, as it contains only hemp-based CBD.

If the IBS trial is successful, said Axim CEO Anastassov, “we will be ready to proceed immediately with further trials on our pharmaceutical grade CanChew Rx products to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.”
In a legal disclosure, the company says it “does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act”—although the DEA might disagree.

Original article can be found here

Canadian Researchers Present Weed as Treatment for Alcoholism

If it’s a question of switching dependencies, which does less harm?

Marijuana is medicine. But can weed––which is still a drug––serve as a substitute for substances that are more dangerous? What about alcohol? Can pot provide an effective course of treatment against the most destructive drug of them all? Well, some behavioral scientists believe that the leafy green herb has potential to help addicts and alcoholics kick the real-deal poisons that have measurably worse impacts on life outcomes.

According to a University of British Columbia-conducted study of Canadian medical marijuana patients with and without addiction histories: Cannabis can indeed be a substitute for alcohol and harder drugs. The study, which was led by Zach Walsh PhD, an assistant professor at UBC and co-director for the Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and Law, found that 55 percent of a pool of more than 400 participants responded with a yes, they substitute weed for other substances.

From the study: “Patients with treatment histories were more likely to substitute cannabis for illegal drugs than those without treatment history. Patients with no treatment history were more likely to substitute cannabis for alcohol.”

Image via University of British Columbia

The UBC study is part of Cannabis Access for Medical Purposes Survey (CAMPS)––an ongoing exploration into the medical benefits of marijuana. Walsh and the study’s collaborators see medical marijuana, which in Canada is regulated under that country’s very own Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as an ally to harm reduction.

Surely, addiction is serious business, and people can develop dependencies on marijuana just the same as any other substance, although with less risk of lethal consequences than habitual use of alcohol or opioids, for instance. As weed reform sees international expansion and access to cannabis widens, researchers such as Walsh will continue to ask these questions, and more. And who knows, maybe someday weed will go to Mars––or perhaps it will just bring users back to Earth.

Original article can be found here

Marijuana is dangerous, regulating it will benefit Canadians: MP Bill Blair on Channel Y 

Mississauga – Marijuana can be a very dangerous drug particularly for kids and while saying we will legalise marijuana, quite frankly that’s not all what was said. What we had said was that we intend to legalise marijuana, regulate and restrict it. This was said by former Toronto police chief and now Liberal MP Bill Blair and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice during an exclusive interview to Yudhvir Jaswal, Group Editor and CEO of YMedia. It is worth noting that Prime Minister Trudeau has asked MP Blaire has appointed to lead marijuana legalization in Canada.
Explaining further Blair said: “The current system of control is failing. The current system has allowed in Canadians the highest rate of marijuana use in the world. We believe that we can do a better job, of protecting our kids, and keeping our communities safe, by regulating and restricting access that people have to marijuana. Thus marijuana will be available but in a highly regulated way and we can do a better job at keeping it away from the hands of kids and we will take all those profits away from the organized crime that are responsible for much of the crime, and victimization that takes place in our communities.”

Blair explained how after retirement people asked him that after retiring as police chief would he move to politics? He informed: “I spent my life in public service. I was very privileged. I was a police officer in Toronto for nearly 40 years, and in the last 10 years, I served my community as the chief of Toronto police, as a public servant, responsible for protecting our kids, and keeping our communities safe, and when I retired from that position, I wanted to continue to serve, and so people asked me, are you going to be a politician. I said I am not really a very good politician but I am a good public servant and wanted to continue to help my government, keep out kids safe and keep our communities safe. And that is why when Mr Trudeau asked me to run for office and come and work with him in Ottawa, I thought it was a good opportunity to continue in the life of service to my community and I’m honoured that people of Scarborough West elected me and gave me the opportunity to serve them. I also had the opportunity to serve all the Canadians, and working with my government to make sure that we have laws and regulations that do a better job of protecting our citizens and in particular our kids.”

When asked if the move will promote the use of marijuana, Blair said: “Let me reassure everyone that it is not our intention to promote the use of marijuana. I believe marijuana is a very dangerous drug, but we want to make sure that we reduce the harm associated with this drug. One of the greatest concerns that we have is that today Canadian young people use marijuana more than young people in any other part of the world. We are very concerned because of this because this is a dangerous drug for the young people and interfere with the development of their brain. It can also interfere with their outcomes like their education and their life.
“And so we want to do a better job than is currently being done, by restricting the access of marijuana to young people, and we believe that today frankly it is easier for young people to buy marijuana than to buy alcohol because one is prohibited under the criminal law but the other one is being strictly regulated. So we want to remove the criminal prohibition but replace it with a very effective system, a comprehensive system of regulating and control and doing a better job in keeping that drug from the hands of children and youth, and so it will not be available as we are restricting its availability for children under 18.”

Explaining further the details, Blair said: “For adults, there will be restriction on its production, its distribution and its consumption which we believe will lead to the healthier and more responsible use of this drug to make our community safe and right now it is the sad reality that billions of dollars in criminal profits go to gangs and organized criminal groups who use its profits to commit other crimes and victimise people in our society. So we want to take those profits from them. We want to take that business from the hands of the criminals and want to put it in the hands or accountable, responsible business community through strict government regulation and we think we can do a much better job of protecting our communities and ensuring Canadians’ health.”
Blair clarified: “The goals of our government are doing a better job in protecting our kids and communities. I want to assure all the Canadians that we will be very careful and responsible. Our main task will be to protect our children. I have children and grandchildren. I have served my community and I have worked with people from across the country. I know that people want us to do a better job in protecting their kids. It is everyone’s priority. But the current system is not achieving that and so we wish to bring a change. I frequently meet with the police chief here in the Peel region and in York region. I have been speaking to the Canadian association of chiefs of police and we know we are responsible for keeping our communities safe across the country. We have also been meeting the medical community, other public officials, the business community and the businesses to talk about this important issue. We all have a responsibility to protect this community.”
Talking about the misconception on marijuana use, Blair informed: “There is s lot of misinformation among our young people on the effects this drug can have. The science is very clear. I have met with a number of people who work in a problematic substance abuse but also in public health, and the negative affect the use of this drug can have on the developing adolescent mind. So marijuana can have irreparable harm to the mind’s development. It can also lead to very bad outcomes in their ability to complete school, to complete tasks and be successful in life and so we can restrict its job through public education.

“And so we work with the parents, with youth, with teachers, and other medical professionals, making sure that people have the right information so that the kids know the risks, and so they can make a good judgment about their own health and their own futures. So we have the responsibility of giving the facts and telling them what the risks are and not all risks can be avoided. Even in adult use, there are risks. There are dangers that can affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle. It can have other health affects so we have to ensure that when adults want to use it, should have restrictions in its use, its distribution and its consumption, but we also have the adults to have the facts, they should have the evidence and information they need to have so that they can be responsible and healthy in their choices.”
Blair also informed how the drug would be regulated. He stated: “We will ensure strictly regulated system for its production, and see what is produced is safe for anyone’s consumption, its produced in a healthy way, in good environment, by following good production practices and that we know its potencies as to how strong it is and we know where it came from. We can ensure that it is produced safely, and so it can be tracked down from the seed to the sale though a licensed regulated system. We will also put in place a strict regulation that will restrict access to young people get this drug. Today the drug being sold to a 14-year-old is not done by a responsible adult but by someone who is a criminal and wants the money, and so unfortunately it is very easy for young people to get marijuana in today’s society. Under a strictly regulated system, the drug will only be available in government regulated drug outlets, and so it will be against the law to sell it to that child. And it will be sold by a regulated, responsible adult instead of a criminal. It will be a more serious crime to sell that drug to a teenager. It will be a criminal offence and we’ll deal with it in a very strict way.”
Talking about the laws, Blair said that the currently the only thing in place is the criminal law, the statistics they have tell them that “among our high school students, 20% have reported they have abused the drug. By the time those kids go to grade 12, 35% are reporting they are using the drug and they have also reported quite frankly it is easier for them to get marijuana than alcohol. Let me give you an example. Alcohol is regulated and restricted to young people. In order to purchase alcohol, a young person will go in the alcohol store where he will be asked for his identification. If he is unable to prove that he is not of legal age, he will not be allowed to buy alcohol. But if he wishes to buy marijuana, there is no control, so we wish to ensure that the places where marijuana is sold, its sale is restricted and young people do not have easy access so that we prevent its access to young people.

“It’s not only the matter of restricting the access also but that they have the information they need to make the right decision about their health and future. So there is a significant public education programme. Another thing we did is not make criminal offences against young people and put them in jails, but regulate and restrict access, give education to help them make better choices. Stop criminalising young people because that have a huge impact on their life and opportunities for them in life, that is why we are working with the justice community, police and medical community, educators and kids.”

When asked how he will deal with the challenges, Blair said: “I fought organized crime all my life. One of things I think I can do is take away some of the opportunities from organized crime by having a properly regulated product that Canadians can have and be confident that it is produced safely, without any adulterations or chemical drugs that have harmful effects or other harmful drugs, that often is the case in street drugs today. To tell them there is a safer place that they can choose from and it is at a reasonable price and reasonably accessible. That we can compete effectively with the criminal market, but that alone is not enough. The criminal market is operating outside that regulated system. If they are either producing or selling marijuana that is not safe, not tested or inspected, they are illegally selling it. Therefore they will be subject to strict criminal sanctions. We will have police enforcement against criminal activity and criminal groups. But we will also compete with them in the marketplace by giving Canadians a better choice, to buy from a source that is safer than from a criminal. Canadians will make that choice, I’m sure. Also for adults to acquire, buy and possess from a source that is under some regulation and control.”
Giving another reason of legalizing marijuana, Blair said: “Billions of dollars can be invested in treatment, education, prevention, rehabilitation. We can have regulatory framework and resources to whereas they buy guns to harm our societies. As police I had the opportunity to go to a community where a young man had been shot in dispute of the territory to sell their drugs. Today marijuana market in Canada is over $7 billion and I have read various studies that suggest it. Ideally we would like to take it all away but I’m not naïve as I’ve been fighting crime all my life and so what we need is time to convince Canadians to make smarter choices. It will take time to convince them this is the right thing to do. For example for a long time organized crime controlled all the gambling in this country, was responsible for all the illegal gaming that was taking place. So almost 35 years ago, the government started to make a decision to regulate gambling through introduction of lottery tickets, through the opening of casinos. They put in a very strict regulatory regime. They put taxes, they redirected profits away from the criminals and into the community.”

Blair continued by saying: “Organised crime was driven out of the business of gambling, not entirely but almost completely. So gambling in our society is a highly regulated activity, subject to restriction, oversight and accountability by government authority. We can learn from that experience and we can apply it for marijuana, and if people get in trouble as they do, there will be resources to help them through prevention treatment and rehabilitation. We are talking about only cannabis and that’s the only drug we are talking about for regulating and restricting. We still have regulations for tackling other more serious drugs that we have no intention of changing except it is important to take a public health approach, and reduce harm. When we looked at cannabis, we talked about how to reduce its harm related to this drug’s use, we looked at all of them that harm our communities and citizens.”
On the issue of legalising prostitution, Blair said: “The current Canadian law that has been in place for the last 100 years, in that prostitution is not illegal but there are a number of activities around it which are illegal. In my experience and I have enforced them for many, many years, in the city of Toronto that was a challenge and a greater responsibility – to protect our citizens and maintain a good quality of life in our community and I’ll again talk of reducing the harm. The main problem with those involved in this business is that most of them are not willing. They are coerced and forced. They are victims of human trafficking. We have a responsibility in our capacity to protect our society, and hold to account who have victimized them, and so we need laws to protect the unwilling, and those who victimize, force or traffic in fellow human beings, they are dealt with very severely and in an effective way.

“We also want to make sure that when adults make certain choices about how they wish to conduct themselves, if they make those choices freely that are not in the interest of the greater society, to have necessary criminal sanctions about those things. So it is not the issue of prostitution but to ensure it is done in a way that it does not interfere with the quality of other people’s life and does not compromise the safety of our communities, and does not put in jeopardy the lives of those who participate in those activities. Their safety, security, and their health is important to us and we need to protect those people. And that they do it lawfully and safely.”
On the issue of Iqra Khalid Blair said: “We have chatted about it and it is a concern. It happened because of the motion she brought in and I support her motion. We as a nation have a responsibility to stand against any hatred and bigotry in any form wherever it occurs. Iqra has brought to the forefront a lot of hatred directed towards the Muslim community in Canada so it is our responsibility to stand up for the Canadian values. But on the issue of threats particularly on social media, that is one of the challenges. People say some of the most outrageous and hateful things on it even to the extent of issuing threats. Some of the things said to my colleague crossed the threshold of criminal threat and will be looked at in that lense. And if the crime is committed and if we can identify the person, for that there are a lot of laws that can hold those individuals accountable, and they should be. But at the same time, we as society have to look at various communications tools that are available to us. There are countless youth who are using twitter, facebook, and instagram. We want to ensure they are doing it safely. It is widespread and we must all take steps to ensure there is a safe environment. We as a society denounce the hatred and bigotry shown to my colleague. It is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. They are contrary to the values that bring us together as a community.”

Taking the issue further Blair said: “I’m proud of the fact that this country has embraced diversity which is the strength of our country. In my opinion and experience that is the most important value, so the way we support each other, stand by each other, that is why people have chosen to come here from all parts of the world, from every culture, speaking every language, and come here to live together. We all live here in harmony and peace, with respect and tolerance – things that define this country. When we see evidence of threat to those values, we come together as people, and stand against that saying we will not accept that. We should not take for granted what is great about this country. We must be prepared to defend it and stand for it which is what makes us a great nation and great people, and these are the values we all share.”
On the use of word Islamophobia, Blair said: “We are just using it as an excuse. It came up in October last year and was unanimously passed. So it was not a concern in October why is it now. We will stand against it, and bigotry against the Muslim Canadian community. Recently six people died in Quebec City Mosque while they were praying. As a nation we denounce it and the words are just being used as a distraction but the spirit is crystal clear. I personally stand behind her and makes for an important statement as a country. In my constituency, one in five people are Muslims and I stand by them.”

He said he has travelled around the world and he was asked about the integration in society and the remarkable diversity in Canada as more than half of the people in GTA have come from places of conflict, have come from both side of divide, so how they live together. He said he always tell them Canadians embrace diversity which is our strength and respect for each other. He quoted the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who said when you board a plane to go to England, France or Germany and when you came out of that plane you will not be an Englishman, a Frenchman or a German. But when you flew on a plane and came to the bottom of that flight’s steps and land in Canada, you’ll be a Canadian. Thus he said he is inspired by that notion. Toronto is the safest and the most diverse place where people come to live together. He said this is achieved through respect for each other and embracing them and these values cannot be attained through policing. He said media and communities can play a major role in keeping that harmony.

Original article can be found here

What’s the Best Way to Store Your Cannabis?

When looking for the best way to store cannabis, there are a few things that will affect your cannabis. These are temperature, oxygen and light. You will want to use an air tight jar, keep it out of direct light, and ideally store it at a cool temperature.

There are many ways to create an environment ideal for storing cannabis. The easiest way to do this at home is by putting your buds in a mason jar to keep the air out. To keep your cannabis out of direct light you can put your mason jar into paper bag or drawer. If you like to personalize your stash, you can paint your mason jar to decorate it and keep the light out.

When storing your cannabis over a short period of time, room temperature is fine. It’s more important to keep it out of a warm spot or drastically changing temperatures, like above the fridge or by a door. When storing cannabis for a long time (months) it is best to keep it in a sealed mason jar, out of light, in a fridge or another cool storage place.

You can also control the humidity of your container through the use of humidifier packs. There are a few different brands on the market, with Boveda being one that works well with cannabis. This will keep your weed squishy and tasting good for a fraction of the cost of a cigar humidor. It would be ideal to store your cannabis in a humidor, but isn’t realistic for the average patient.

Original article can be found here

Colorado Reports $13 Billion In Marijuana Sales In 2016

The Colorado Harvest Grow is part of Colorado’s booming marijuana industry.

The Colorado Department of Revenue just released its final statistics for 2016, the state’s third year of recreational marijuana sales — and MMJ and recreational marijuana sales combined totaled $1.3 billion in sales. In 2015, total sales came close to a billion but didn’t top that number.

Recreational marijuana accounted for $875 million in sales, while medical sales were just under $440 million.

Combined sales reached nearly $100 million in eight of the twelve months of 2016, and the total topped $1 billion after a record-breaking summer. Sales in July, August and September alone totaled $376.6 million.

The state collected nearly $200 million in tax revenue, and Colorado plans to use some of the additional revenue to help the state’s homeless population and chronic drug users.

In Governor John Hickenlooper’s 2017-’18 budget proposal, he’d asked that $12.3 million in marijuana taxes be put aside to fund housing for Colorado’s homeless. Last week, he also proposed that $6 million annually from the marijuana-tax cash fund be used to fund a new program that would offer help to chronic drug users instead of criminalizing them.

“Roughly 70 to 80 percent of all homeless people have some drug-abuse problem, and one of the best public-health solutions is to give them housing and get them out of the cycle of dependency,” says Andrew Freedman, former director of Colorado’s Office of Marijuana Coordination.

Original article found here

Canadian Marijuana Stocks Tumble As Trump White House Talks Crackdown

TORONTO — Shares of Canadian and U.S. marijuana producers fell Friday after the Trump administration suggested a crackdown on recreational marijuana may be in the works.
Most of Canada’s publicly traded pot growers ended Friday lower after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer predicted the Justice Department will be looking more closely at the issue.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said at a White House briefing.
Spicer said “there is a big difference” between medical marijuana, which Congress has in effect condoned, and “recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice I think will be further looking into.”

Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. (stock ticker symbol WEED), which bills itself as the world’s largest cannabis company, tumbled 4.64 per cent on open Friday.

Canopy became Canada’s first marijuana “unicorn” last fall, with a market value of $1 billion or more, after voters in four U.S. states — California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — voted to legalize recreational pot.

More than a fifth of the U.S. population now lives in a state where recreational weed is legal, and many more live in states where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on Feb. 23, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Some firms sought to reassure investors.

“We do not believe the Trump administration will take significant action to shut down the recreational cannabis industry in states like Colorado, where the cannabis industry employs tens of thousands of people and contributes more than $100 million in taxes annually,” pot producer MassRoots said, as quoted at Business Insider.
Others vowed to fight any moves to roll back the moves made on marijuana decriminalization in recent years.

“The cannabis industry will fight any pressure from the federal government to set back the significant progress that’s been made thus far,” said Jeffrey Zucker, head of Denver-based strategy firm Green Lion Partners.

“Singling out the adult-use market is short-sighted.”

Original article can be found here

Police announce Cannabis Culture charges

Police charged five people and seized close to $43,000 worth of drugs following two searches of the newly-opened Cannabis Culture store in Brantford last week.

The searches took place Wednesday and Friday. The drugs seized from the premises were marijuana and hashish.

Police also seized close to $5,700 in cash as proceeds of crime. The charges were announced on Friday night following a search of the premises on Friday morning.

The identities of those charged were not released by police.
However, those arrested include a 36-year-old male who was charged Wednesday. On Friday, those arrested and charged include a 25-year-old male, a 29-year-old female, a 30-year-old male and a 53-year-old male.

Police also seized packaging materials and scales.

Following is a list of the charges as announced by police on Friday:

In connection with the Wednesday search:

A 36 year old adult male charged with the following:

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to a wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: Hashish, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of property obtained by crime contrary to section 354(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

In connection with the Friday search:

A 30 year old adult male charged with the following:

* Trafficking of a substance in schedule II to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: hashish, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: cannabis resin, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of property obtained by crime contrary to section 354(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada
29 year old adult female charged with the following:

* Trafficking of a substance in schedule II to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: hashish, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: cannabis resin, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

25 year old adult male charged with the following:

* Trafficking of a substance in schedule II to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: hashish, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: cannabis resin, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

53 year old adult male charged with the following:

* Trafficking of a substance in schedule II to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: Marihuana, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: hashish, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

* Possession of a substance in schedule II for the purpose of trafficking, to wit: cannabis resin, contrary to Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances act

The accused parties have all been released on Promise to Appears and Officer in Charge undertakings.


Original article can be found here

Trudeau Has Overseen Over 56,000 Pot Possession Arrests

Since Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister, I estimate that there have been over 56,000 “police reported incidents” of cannabis possession in Canada.

“Police reported incidents” is a term used by Statistics Canada, and is essentially synonymous with “arrests” in practical terms. Police virtually never file a report if there is no arrest made.

Note that these are not cases where people are being arrested for a more serious crime, and the police also find a joint in their pocket. These are “federal statute incidents reported by police, by most serious offence.” So in all these “incidents,” cannabis possession was the most serious “crime” being committed.

In the majority of cases, these possession arrests do not lead to charges. However, being arrested results in a police record, is humiliating for the person being arrested, wastes police resources, and reduces public respect for police.

Also, the possession laws are primarily enforced against minority and first nation Canadians. Bill Blair himself called the disproportional enforcement of cannabis laws “one of the great injustices in this country,” and complained about “the impact that it has on minority communities, aboriginal communities and those in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods.” Yet still arrests continue.

Statistics for 2016 won’t be available for a few more months, but I derived the 56,000 figure as an educated guess based on numbers from 2015 and previous years.

In 2015, there was 49,577 arrests for cannabis possession, a drop of 15% from 2014.

Cannabis possession arrests had generally been rising under Harper from 2006 to 2014, but the drop in 2015 brought the number back down closer to the average level it had been from 2002-2005.

For all other cannabis “crimes” of growing, selling or transporting, there were slightly over 9,000 arrests in 2015, compared to 10,700 in 2014. That’s a 16% drop.

Looking back to 2002-2005, the last years of the previous Liberal government, we see that the current rate of these “other” cannabis arrests represents a big drop, down to about half of the arrest rate from that period.

So while possession arrests have bounced up and down a bit, but generally held steady over the past 15 years, from a low of 43,000 to a high of 57,880, all other cannabis arrests have been dropping, and are now about half the rate of 2005.

I don’t believe that this drop in arrests is due to any change in police policy, but rather due to the fact that there’s now many legal medical growers and users, which has reduced the number of people available for the police to arrest.

This is the cutline. (Photo: Brett Lewin/Bloomberg)

Estimating cannabis arrest rates under Trudeau 

I used the following method to estimate the number of possession arrests under Trudeau.

In 2015, the rate of possession arrests was 135.8 a day. So in the 58 days following Trudeau’s election victory on November 4, there were 7876 arrests for cannabis possession.

For 2016 and the beginning of 2017, I am going to generously assume there was another 15% drop in the rate of possession arrests. (We’ll get the real numbers in a few months.) So instead of 49,677 arrests, I’m estimating 42,140 for 2016, which is 115 arrests a day.

I’m writing this on February 22, so that’s 53 days days into 2017. At the rate of 115 a day, that’s an additional 6,095 arrests so far this year.

Add up all these numbers, and that’s 56,111 cannabis possession arrests since Trudeau was elected. And that number is getting bigger at a rate of about 115 people every day. By the time Cannabis-Canadians are celebrating 4/20 on April 20th, there will have been over 5,500 additional arrests.

Trudeau’s team is now saying it could be 2019 before we see legalization in Canada, and that they want the police to “enforce the law” until the law changes. This will mean over another 100,000 more arrests for cannabis possession under Trudeau.
It is time for action. Trudeau can easily end arrests for possession under 30 grams, by simply removing this amount from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

“For most Canadians, especially in the north, arrests and charges for small amounts of cannabis are a sad reality.”

The Liberals could also do the same for cultivation of a small number of plants. If cultivation of just 6 plants or less was removed from the CDSA, then every Canadian could produce their own supply. If the Liberals are serious about eliminating the black market, then allowing personal cultivation should be an immediate priority.

These actions don’t even require the approval of Parliament, but with a solid majority and the NDP already pushing for immediate decriminalization, stopping possession arrests would be very easily done.

Some big cities in Canada, like Toronto and Vancouver, have already dramatically reduced cannabis possession arrest rates over the years. But for most Canadians, especially in the north, arrests and charges for small amounts of cannabis are a sad reality. We don’t need more studies or more delays, we need action, and an end to arrests now.

Want to help make a difference? Join me in Overgrowing Canada with cannabis plants!

Original article can be found here

Police raid Cannabis Culture Brantford again!

VINCENT BALL/The Expositor A Brantford police officer puts yellow tape in front of the Cannabis Culture store on Friday. Police raided the store, which opened last Sunday, for the second time in less than a week.

Brantford police have shut down the Cannabis Culture store for the second time in less than a week.

Members of the police street crime unit executed a search warrant at the Colborne Street West business on Friday less than an hour after local media had visited the store to interview employees.

Police took at least two people into custody during the raid. Officers remained on scene for the better part of the day.

Prior to being taken into custody, Mat Ferguson, a spokesperson for the store, had provided a tour of the business to an Expositor reporter.

The store opened on Sunday. On Tuesday night, police shut down the store and charged the owner, a 35-year-old Stoney Creek man, with possession for the purpose of trafficking. It remained closed for most of Wednesday while police waited for a search warrant to enter the premises.

“They packed everything up and left sometime around 3 or 4 p.m. (on Wednesday),” Ferguson said. “They haven’t said how much they got which is a little bit odd because usually they like to announce that.

“It couldn’t have been very much.”

Ferguson and others re-opened the store after police left but had no marijuana product to sell. Instead, they gave away T-shirts, sold non-marijuana items and spoke to customers.

The store opened again on Thursday, serving people throughout the day. Business was steady, said Ferguson.

On Friday morning, he and others were at the store welcoming customers.

“People support us,” said Ferguson.

“People want to be able to get what they need from us. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”

He said that the store is a “recreational” dispensary and sells to anyone, including those who don’t have a medical licence to buy marijuana.

“People were coming in and pulling out their cards but we told them … it was unnecessary,” Ferguson said. “We sell to anyone 19 or older and we ask for ID.”

He said that the store also stocks products that are medicinal and don’t provide the consumer with the “high” associated with recreational use. There are some products that help deal with issues such as inflammation, insomnia and pain.

Ferguson said he understands that police are just doing their job.
“I have no problem with them doing their raids but I think they need to do it right,” he said.

Brantford police said they planned to provide a public update once the investigation is completed.

Before being taken into custody, Ferguson said that Cannabis Culture is “leading the way for others,”

He said that people are welcome to visit to learn more about its products.

The Cannabis Culture chain is a creation of Marc and Jodie Emery, two of Canada’s best known crusaders for the legalization of marijuana. Marc Emery was at the Brantford location on Wednesday.

About 20 Cannabis Culture stores have opened across Canada.
Emery has said his goal is to open 200 stores across the country this year.

Meanwhile, city officials are in the process of developing a report about what steps, if any, can be taken to regulate marijuana dispensaries. The report is due to come before city councillors for discussion in March or April.

The federal government has promised to introduce legislation this spring to legalize recreational marijuana.

Original article can be found here 

Governments making millions on illegal pot shops  Owners

Cannabis Culture owner Mark Emery (right), the city’s self-proclaimed Prince of Pot, and Weed the North owner Cory Stoneham, now jokingly referring to himself as the King of Cannabis, peruse the front-page story on marijuana dispensaries in Tuesday’s Toronto Sun. (Chris Doucette/Toronto Sun)

Governments have reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, licensing costs and other fees from just two illegal Toronto pot shops, say the dispensaries’ owners.

And they estimate federal, provincial and municipal governments have already collected millions from the rogue businesses across Canada while the country waits for marijuana to be officially legalized.

“My one Cannabis Culture on Church St. paid $434,000 in HST payments for the three months, from October to December, and $22,000 in payroll deductions,” the self-proclaimed Prince of Pot Mark Emery said Tuesday, disputing a recent Toronto Police claim that dispensaries are not paying taxes.

Emery claims that when he made his first HST payment to Canada Revenue Agency, he was informed as many as 100 pot dispensaries across the country have been paying their taxes.

A perpetual line of customers with cash in hand, filed through his smoke-filled shop on Church St. Tuesday afternoon. A private security guard, hired in the wake of the recent spike in pot shop heists, kept watch nearby.

Emery said business has been growing so rapidly since he started selling dispensary weed at the location last fall that the store’s 28 employees can barely keep up.

The booming location typically handles more than 1,500 customers a day, but last Friday the shop soared to a new high when 1,932 people stopped in to buy cannabis prior to the long weekend, he said.

“Sales from that one day alone amount to about $10,500 in HST for CRA,” Emery said, adding the shop’s HST total for 2017 could be close to $2 million by year’s end.

“That’s all new revenue that used to just end up on the street,” he said. “So the government is the biggest stakeholder in my business.”

Weed the North owner Cory Stoneham, who jokingly referred to himself as the King of Cannabis after appearing on the front of Tuesday’s Toronto Sun, said he faces similar dilemmas but on a smaller scale because he’s still growing his business.

The ongoing threat of police raids also go hand-in-hand with operating an illegal business, but Stoneham claims cops went too far when they raided his Eglinton West location for a second time last month — allegedly damaging his storefront sign, tearing the wrap plastered across the shop’s front windows and smashing open an ATM owned by a third party.

Police deny any wrongdoing.

Original article can be found here