Legalizing marijuana will hurt Canadian alcohol sales, study predicts

Some U.S. brands saw 4.4% drop in sales when states legalized pot. 
By: Jerri Southcott. 

 In the United States, beer sales declined in areas where cannabis became legal. (CBC)

The legalization of marijuana may cut into beer and other alcohol sales across Canada, a study by the firm Deloitte says. 

“If marijuana is legalized in Canada, we will see a decrease in purchases of beer, wine or spirits. So that’s something that the alcohol industry is going to have to understand and think about and try to anticipate what that means,” said Mark Whitmore, who co-authored the study on recreational marijuana. 

Some of the study’s findings show that about 80 per cent of current cannabis consumers rarely mix the drug with alcohol and they’re also drawn to marijuana for the same reason people choose alcohol: to have fun or help connect with others. 

Beer sales fell up to 4.4% in U.S.  

Recent reports show domestic beer sales fell in Colorado, Washington and Oregon after pot was legalized, with sales of Coors Light and Bud Light dipping as much as 4.4 per cent. 

Matthew Bellamy, associate professor of history at Carleton University and a brewing historian, believes Canadian beer sales will fall after the legalization of weed. 

 Legal marijuana may cut into beer sales in Canada, a Deloitte study shows. (CBC)

“The Canadian brewing industry has passed through many of the same phases in its evolution as the industry in the United States,” he said. 

“Like its counterpart south of the border, Canadian brewing emerged as a significant industry between 1865 and 1915; went through the dark years of prohibition from about 1915 to 1930; experienced a renaissance between 1930 and 1945; witnessed the emergence of a national brewing oligopoly after the Second World War; saw the onset of a craft beer revolution in the early 1980s; and underwent significant restructuring since 1990 due to globalization.” 

There will be competition 

Justin Zinck of Garrison Brewery in Halifax says the legalization of marijuana is certainly on their radar, but argues the decline in sales in the U.S. is limited to beer sold in retail establishments, not to bars and restaurants. 

Zinck said they have to be ready for the day when consumers will have a choice of spending their money on alcohol or pot. 

Garrison has been in the craft beer business for 20 years and Zinck says they plan to stay the course and advertise quality over quantity to maintain their hold on the craft beer market. 

“You’re trying different things; the marketplace is the market. It’s our job to make sure that we’re the best craft brewery we can be and market ourselves the best way we can and make people enjoy our product the best,” he said. 

“So it’s our job to realize there’s a new player in the game, we have to up ours as well. Just like if there was a new craft brewery coming along, we have to up our game.” 

Original article can be found here

Ottawa councillor says marijuana won’t be sold in current dispensaries

Coun. Mathieu Fleury says delay in legal framework frustrating.
By: Ryan Tumilty. 

 Product on display at the Cannabis Culture location on Bank Street. The dispensary opened Feb. 22, 2017. 

Ottawa city councillor Mathieu Fleury said he’s frustrated by news that it could be another 15 months before there is a legal framework for marijuana sales. 

Reports surfaced this week that the federal government intends to have marijuana legislation in place by July 1, 2018. 

Fleury has said previously that the dispensaries operating in Ottawa now won’t be the way marijuana is sold legally, and he is frustrated about the resources they’re consuming now. 

He said this news is just a continuation of that problem. 

“It feels like we have been in that grey area for over a year now, so its frustrating but there are no new pressure points,” he said. 

He said if the government waits until 2018 it won’t change anything for the dispensaries, which are — and, he believes, will remain — illegal. 

“It’s a reminder that buying marijuana within those dispensaries is the same as buying marijuana off the street,” he said. 

Fleury said when the time comes he hopes the city will regulate locations for marijuana dispensaries and have them in regulated stores.  

“We prefer having a model like the LCBO, understanding it won’t be in the LCBO,” he said. 

An independent panel reviewing marijuana legislation concluded that it should not be sold in places where alcohol is sold. 

“The product will be sold as a controlled substance just like it is for alcohol,” said Fleury. 

He said police have begun to warn landlord of dispensaries that they can’t just look the other way and he hopes the dispensaries will find it more difficult to operate. 

Original article can be found here

Marijuana producers lobby Ottawa ahead of legalization legislation

By: Alexandra Posadzki. 

 Medical marijuana is ready for shipping is pictured January 21, 2016 at Tweed Inc., one of the marijuana producers lobbying the federal government.DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL. 

Several licensed marijuana producers have penned a letter to Ottawa, urging the federal government to allow them to brand their products and provide medical cannabis on a tax-free basis. 

The seven producers – Tilray, Tweed, Mettrum, CannTrust, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, RedeCan Pharm and Delta 9 Bio-Tech – are lobbying the government ahead of the week of April 10, when legislation legalizing recreational use of the drug is expected to be introduced. 

A federal task force has recommended requiring plain packaging for cannabis and advertising restrictions similar to those placed on the tobacco industry. 

But in their letter, the licensed producers argue that preventing them from branding their products will make it tougher for them to compete with black market operations such as illegal dispensaries. 

“Brands allow professional companies to separate themselves from less scrupulous competitors,” says Brendan Kennedy, president of B.C.-based marijuana producer Tilray. 

Some health advocates have argued that restricting branding and advertising is necessary in order to ensure that users are aware of possible health risks associated with the substance. 

Another concern is that cannabis producers could use advertising to compel widespread usage of the drug, similar to what occurred with tobacco and alcohol in the past. 

But the licensed producers say they aren’t looking to lure people into consuming marijuana. Instead, they wish to use branding and in-store advertising to educate users about various strains and their impacts, according to the letter. 

“No one in this industry is looking to repeat the same mistakes as tobacco or alcohol,” says Kennedy. “No one wants to see a Joe Camel of this industry.” 

Cannabis producers also take issue with the tax force’s recommendation that medical and recreational cannabis be taxed the same amount. 

This would “unduly burden” medical cannabis patients, according to the companies, who argue that medical cannabis should be sold tax free. 

“Other pharmaceutical products aren’t taxed,” says Kennedy. 

Original article can be found here

Toronto police raid 4 marijuana dispensaries

Raids follow report of Ottawa’s intention to introduce marijuana legalization bill next month. 
By: Sammy Hudes, Staff Reporter. 

 Toronto police also raided Cannabis Culture locations across the country, including this location at 461 Church St., in Toronto, last Thursday. (JESSE WINTER / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO). 

Toronto police raided four marijuana dispensaries Tuesday, charging nine people with drug-related offences, just days after reports that Ottawa would introduce legislation next month to legalize pot by Canada Day 2018. 

Toronto police spokesperson Const. Victor Kwong said the raids weren’t meant to target average marijuana users. 

“I know that it seems like we’re just shutting down places for marijuana, but it’s no different than people would expect us to investigate a grocery store if they were selling things that were not tested to be safe for consumption,” Kwong said Wednesday. “It’s been a while now since we’ve charged anyone with simple possession, like, you know some guy walking around with a joint.” 

Rather, he said, police are responding in cases where the city has notified them about locations with more widespread issues. 

“It’s when we’ve been notified by the city that there are contraventions to the zoning and bylaws,” Kwong said. “It’s when undercover operations have shown that they don’t check for age, for any other type of medical need or credentials and when they’re selling things that have not passed any type of safety inspection. That’s when search warrants are applied for.” 

The raids occurred between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The first took place at Buds 4 Life on Broadview Ave. south of Gerrard St. E. Five people were charged with drug-related offences, and one also faces weapons charges. 

Police said they seized 1,146 grams of marijuana, 51 grams of “shatter,” a cannabis extract, 21 grams of hashish, two concealed steel expandable batons and $15,190. 

Cassandra Higgins, 26, Robertha Johnson, 25, Victoria Robbins, 23, Melanie Marshall-Lazou, 25, and Brennan Steinberg, 30, were each charged with possession of an illegal substance following the Buds 4 Life raid. 

They were also charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by crime. Steinberg was additionally charged with two counts of carrying a concealed weapon. 

At 6 p.m., police raided Canadian Green, at Bloor St. W. and Lansdowne Ave., and Village Cannabis Dispensary, on Church St. south of Maitland St. No arrests were made at either location. 

Police raided The Open Dispensary at 801 Queen St. W. at 8:20 p.m. and four people were charged with drug-related offences. 

“It’s crazy for so many reasons,” said Toronto lawyer and cannabis advocate Paul Lewin. He said it was “morally wrong” for police to carry out the raids as the federal government gets set to legalize marijuana and blamed the Liberals for not having an interim enforcement plan as it studies how to do so. 

“They’ve really created a complete mess for police and prosecutors throughout the country,” said Lewin. “This is at a time in which we have scarce judicial resources. Police budgets are tight, courts only have so much time, we only have so many judges and so many prosecutors and we’re going to waste court time with this?”  

Moments before police arrived at Village Cannabis Dispensary on Tuesday, patron Froses Berkovitch described the atmosphere as “very peaceful.” 

“There was music playing. There wasn’t any loud talking. Everybody was just mellow,” he said. “But as soon as that happened, everybody came out and people filled the street.” 

Several police officers were seen still inside the dispensary at about 7 p.m., while nearly a dozen people protested outside. 

Berkovitch said that as he was getting ready to leave, police showed up and told patrons that if they were not working there to leave immediately. Police then brought in a bucket to fill with marijuana and proceeded to raid the store, he said. 

Berkovitch streamed the event in real-time via Facebook Live and put out a call to action. 

Mark Harrison, a manager at the Village Cannabis Dispensary, said police took about 10 pounds of their product. 

The dispensary was formerly known as Cannabis Culture, and had already been raided this month. That brand was co-owned by prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery, who were arrested on a number of drug-related charges March 8. 

The Emerys were granted bail with several conditions, such as being barred from going to any Cannabis Culture location or other dispensary, and from facilitating or participating in running any Cannabis Culture shop. 

Harrison said staff members purchased the store on Mar. 9 and changed the name following the Emerys’ arrests. 

With files from Hina Alam and Andrej Ivanov 

Original article can be found here

Medical marijuana mess: Winnipeg doctor censured after charging patients for pot paperwork

Dr. Roman Chubaty billed patients up to $300 for authorization, says College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

 A Winnipeg doctor has been censured after charging patients for authorization paperwork in order to get medical marijuana. (Sara Calnek/CBC). 

A Winnipeg doctor has been censured after charging patients for authorization paperwork in order to get medical marijuana. 

On Dec. 9, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba censured Dr. Roman Chubaty for charging patients between $200 and $300 to complete paperwork around medical marijuana, a violation of the college’s standards and conduct. 

“Physicians are entitled to charge patients a fee for uninsured services, but the fee must be reasonable in the circumstances,” the disciplinary report said. 

Censures create a disciplinary record which may be considered in any future investigation or hearing about a doctor, according to the college.  

Chubaty, who runs two walk-in clinics in Winnipeg, started providing medical marijuana authorization to patients in July 2014 and stopped a year later, according to the report. 

Assessment form 

Patients had to complete an assessment form before they saw the doctor which explained the condition for which they needed marijuana and other treatments attempted. 

In its investigation, the college said it was concerned that Chubaty also required patients to provide him with a release of their right to complain or take legal action before he would authorize the use of medical marijuana. 

“The physician/patient relationship is a fiduciary one, which requires the physician to place the interests of the patient above his or her own interests and which requires good faith and candour on the part of the physician in dealing with his or her patient,” the disciplinary report said. 

“For those reasons, requiring a patient to sign a release of legal action and of the right to complain before providing care to the patient is inappropriate and outside of the standards of the profession.” 

Chubaty paid $3,803 for the costs of the investigation, the report added. 

Connected to dispensary 

In July 2015, Chubaty distanced himself from Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters on Main Street after police forced the dispensary to shut down. 

Dispensary owner Glenn Price said Chubaty was the only doctor willing to help people get proper medical documentation. 

At the time, Chubaty said he was following Health Canada’s guidelines and charged $300 for paperwork. 

He added he didn’t encourage patients to purchase marijuana through dispensaries, and instead gave them a list of licensed producers. 

Records destroyed 

“I can’t control what happens once they go out of the office,” Chubaty told CBC in 2015. “I can tell them, ‘You want to be legal, here’s your certificate, here are the dispensaries that Health Canada has authorized.'” 

However, the college’s investigation found that Chubaty saw some patients at a marijuana compassion club and left the medical records of the patients with the club. 

The records were later destroyed, leaving Chubaty with no record of the care of patients received at the club, the college’s report says. 

In July 2015, after the college expressed their concerns to the doctor, Chubaty stopped issuing authorizations of marijuana except for two patients who see him as their family physician.

Original article can be found here

Introduction & Basic Concepts (Probiotics)

By: The Modern Farm.
Science and a Smile.

Photo by Dab Canada

Introduction & Basic Concepts
I’ve recently realised it can take a lot of reading, searching, and other hard work to even begin to understand this subject. Whether it’s called probiotic / biointensive / no-till growing it can all be daunting, especially if it’s your medicine or livelihood on the line. So, in an effort to ease that, I’ve written this short introduction into the topic. If anything’s unclear, or you ever need one on one help just message me on facebook.

What does probiotic growing even mean, and is it the same as XXXX?
This is one of the most common questions I’m asked, so before I dig into the science, I’d like to address this real quick.
Despite the inclusion of new vocabulary to help inform people what grow methods are being employed, it’s ended up in a lot of misused terms, and confusion. This confusion is understandable, the terminology is pretty scattered. In an attempt to clear this up, I’ve been spending some time tracking down the origins, division of terms, and their interconnections and this is what I’ve found.

KNF (Korean Natural Farming) – KNF is an accumulation of farming techniques, that are widely accepted as required reading for Probiotic Farming practices, as many of the practices originated from there, such as BIM or FPE. I can’t track down the origination of KNF, but I can provide a link to one of the most informative KNF sites I’ve come across.

No Till Farming – This is the practice of planting your next plant into the soil, right as one is coming out, so as to not disturb the pre-equististing microbial / fungal network in the soil, at its most basic. It has a number of proven benefits, like increasing carbon sequestration by the soil(1)(2), reducing fossil fuel usage in major agriculture dramatically (2), reducing soil erosion(3), and controlling soil moisture evaporation better than traditional farming practices(3). No Till can be done in beds, shared beds, or even the traditional potted plant set ups, however with pots make sure to by a little bigger pots (10 – 15 Gallons is a good minimum), utilize a mulch, and fabric / breathing pots are highly recommended.

Probiotic Farming – In the simplest form, it’s a focus on soil dwelling bacterial and fungal homeostasis in the garden. In practice, this usually means an amalgamation of KNF, traditional organic growing techniques (composting, aerated teas), and either ROLS or No Till depending on how the soil is reused, with a few unique practices, such as anaerobic teas thrown in. Understandably, this can be a bit daunting, but hopefully this site can serve as a bit of a companion in taking in all of these system and consolidating them to what’s needed for you. Why call it probiotic you may ask? Well, you are probably familiar with ‘probiotic‘ bacteria, usually in relation to cultured and/or fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt). When we buy probiotic food, we are buying something with live cultures of beneficial bacteria. Often, the bacteria that are helpful in our intestines, can catch a happy ride into us by being helpful to the soil and plants as well. With probiotic farming practices, we’re reintroducing beneficial bacteria and fungi into the soil, while using growing methods that promote the proliferation of these soil dwelling colonies, using amendments that help them thrive, and in return, the microlife does most of the hard work. Sadly, in more common agricultural practices these beneficial colonies are lacking, which has played a part in our ever rising rate of over farming of agricultural land(4).

Soil probiotics are commonly known as soil-based organisms (SBOs). SBOs are referred to a probiotics because they are beneficial bacteria that live in the soil. “Until the 19th century, when food processing replaced hand-to-mouth ingestion of raw fruit and vegetables, [SBOs] formed a regular part of our diet.” Soil based organisms are considered “friendly” non-resident or transient microorganisms. “Transient micro organisms are different from resident micro organisms in that they do not take up permanent residence in the gastrointestinal tract. Instead, they establish small colonies for brief periods of time before dying off or being flushed from the intestinal system via normal digestive processes, or by peristaltic bowel action.” Even though these types of beneficial bacteria are only in the digestive system on a temporary basis, “they contribute to the overall function and condition of the digestive system.” From

1 – Current Status of Adoption of No-till Farming in the World and Some of its Main Benefits
2 – Preliminary estimates of the potential for carbon mitigation in European soils through no-till farming
3 – Evolution of the plow over 10,000 years and the rationale for no-till farming
4 – Organic agriculture key to feeding the world sustainably
Common Acronym You Will Need To Know

Check out this wonderful PDF guide here!

IMO – Indigenous Microorganism – Often used interchangeably with the acronym BIM, ( meaning Beneficial Indigenous Microorganism. )

BIM – Beneficial Indigenous Microorganisms – A culturing method for transplanting microbes from a thriving biointensive (lots of bacterial / fungal life) ecosystem to a new ecosystem. For more info click here 

EWC – Earthworm castings / compost – For a wonderful write up on the difference in vermicompost vs castings read this. Once you’ve read that, you’re checked that out I want to convey how SERIOUSLY important quality EWC is. If your soil is a house, the EWC & your compost are the foundation. They are your most reliable home for the colony of biotic life you are bringing into your garden. I use Malibu Compost & EWC from BuildASoil, in addition to whatever compost I make at home.

 SST – Sprouted Seed Tea – These provide hormones, amino acids, enzymes, and tons of other wonderful compounds. The most commonly used are barley (which I use mostly for amino acid content), corn (which I use for cytokinin content), and alfalfa (which I use mostly for triacontanol content). Great recipe on how to use, from Some Old Coot and can be found here.

Do keep in mind that triacontanol is so strong you’ve got to use 1/3 the amount of any other seed.
There’s a wealth of content on this but to get started check out this photo tutorial.

Modern Gardening Notes:
Use alfalfa SST when transitioning to flower to reduce internodal space.
Use barley SST once a week in veg, and at week four of flower in conjunction with corn SST.
Use Corn SST once a week for first three – four (up to week 7 in on a 12 week plant, up to week 9 in a 14 week plant) weeks of flower.
Every other SST in veg I use the 1/2 cup of flax with the barley.
Past two nodes, they start getting full strength SST.
At one node I give them 1/3 strength SST.
No SST for sprouts
The high enzymatic content of barley aids in the conversion of dead roots by beneficial bacteria, keeping roots healthy, and the soil moving (in terms of the soil food web). This and much more is accomplished, in part, because enzymes lower the energy potential required to complete metabolic action by microbes, fungi, and the plant itself. This is one of the ways we can speed up the actions happening in the soil-food web, while maintaining balance of the life in the soil. (a concept I like to call ‘Accelerated Homeostasis’; more on that another time)
Alfalfa’s tricanotol rate when used correctly will thicken root mass, and keep slightly shorter internodal space (esp. when used during transition to flower), by making the plant focus on lengthening / strengthening the branches which allows it to more easily support higher yields. Try using Corn at double strength (twice the amount sprouted), with the normal 1/3 a standard measurement for the alfalfa (don’t mess with high Alf Seeds, your plants will look like mutants if you do) – At this strength a plant really squats and become quite buff!
The corn SST provides the highest cytokinin, which promotes thicker stems, for better transport of nutrients, and of course the easier time supporting larger fruits.
Don’t sprout the flax, add it when blending / grinding the sprouted barley. The reason we don’t sprout it is that flax is mucilaginous it doesn’t sprout like most sprouts. This is because once it meets water it forms a gel sack which surrounds the seed. This evolved to interfere with bacterial bio-slime from what I’ve read. I use it almost solely for its unique fatty acid complex, so sprouting would cause it to start using these fatty acid to make hormones/phytohormones we are getting elsewhere.

SWC – Seaweed Concentrate – Kelp, but treated with an acid to increase solubility. This akin to Orange Juice vs Tang, (Not sure who said that first, it was someone over at LOS Forum, cheers to them, it’s a perfect metaphor).

Ascophyllum nodosum extracts contain various betaines and betaine-like compounds. In plants, betaines serve as a compatible solute that alleviates osmotic stress induced by salinity and drought stress; however, other roles have also been suggested, such as enhancing leaf chlorophyll content of plants following their treatment with seaweed extracts. Yield enhancement effects due to improved chlorophyll content in leaves of various crop plants have been attributed to the betaines present in the seaweed. It has been indicated that betaine may work as a nitrogen source when provided in low concentration and serve as an osmolyte at higher concentrations Betaines have been shown to play a part in successful formation of somatic embryos from cotyledonary tissues and mature seeds of tea. – The use of seaweed-based products from Ecklonia maxima and Ascophyllum nodosum as control agents for Meloidogyne chitwoodi and M. hapla on tomato plants
Application of seaweeds and seaweed extracts triggers the growth of beneficial soil microbes and secretion of soil conditioning substances by these microbes. As mentioned, alginates affect soil properties and encourage growth of beneficial fungi. Ishii and others (2000) observed that alginate oligosaccharides, produced by enzymatic degradation of alginic acid mainly extracted from brown algae, significantly stimulated hyphal growth and elongation of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and triggered their infectivity on trifoliate orange seedlings. – Seaweed Extracts as Biostimulants of Plant Growth and Development.

LAB – Lactobacillus Serum Click here for a guide to culturing LAB

EM-1 – Effective Microorganism. First defined by Teruo Higa in the paper: The Concept and Theories of Effective Microorganism.

Effective Microorganisms, aka EM Technology, is a trademarked term now commonly used to describe a proprietary blend of 3 or more types of predominantly anaerobic organisms that was originally marketed as EM-1™ Microbial Inoculant but is now marketed by a plethora of companies under various names, each with their own proprietary blend. “EM™ Technology” uses a laboratory cultured mixture of microorganisms consisting mainly of lactic acid bacteria, purple bacteria, and yeast which co-exist for the benefit of whichever environment they are introduced, as has been claimed by the various em-like culture purveyors. It is reported to include:
Lactic acid bacteria: Lactobacillus plantarum; L. casei; Streptococcus Lactis.
Photosynthetic bacteria: Rhodopseudomonas palustris; Rhodobacter sphaeroides.
Yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Candida utilis (These species are no longer cultured for, but some some palustris does end up from the basic LAB process).
Actinomycetes (no longer used in the formulas): Streptomyces albus; S. griseus.

So these days, for one reason or another, what is sold as EM-1 is Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rhodopseudomonas palustris.

“Effective microorganisms make amino acids useful to plants, and organic acids, polysaccharides and vitamins strengthen their immune systems. EM1 consists of a water solution that contains compounds that promote nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis, along with lactic bacteria, yeast and other components that these microorganisms need to live ” – (Shablin, 2006)

Commonly, you will be referred here when you learn about EM-1. Which you will notice is the same recipe when we speak of LAB. This recipe gives you LAB, not EM-1, as there are no PNSB / Yeast.

What is sold here is different then when we make LAB.

PNSB – Purple Non-Sulphur Bacteria – Rhodopseudomonas palustris, and other purple non-sulphur bacteria are powerhouse of bioremediation, among so many uses It’ll take me a while to source all the relevant studies on it. Some quick highlights from a grower’s perspective, keeps stagnant water from becoming a death trap for clones & beginners that are over watering, eats algae, helps keep balance of ph in the medium esp. in the first cycle or two of the soil.

FPE – Fermented Plant Extract – A great way to create a organic fertilizer for your garden. Wonderful introductions to this can be found here and another here.

AACT – Actively Aerated Compost Tea – Sometimes people just write ACT, still referencing the same thing; brewing tea with some form of oxygen stimulation (bubblers, whirlpool). You can find recipe on the Methods page.

SAR – Systemic Acquired Resistance – Please start by reading this journal . This is such a massive and important subject it will demand its own post.

IPM – Integrated Pest Management – This is one of our primary ways of increasing SAR, and utilizing practice that make our gardens inhospitable to pest. To take your first steps down this road read here.

Less common:
SA – Salicylic Acid

Original article can be found here

Former Mountie teaching safe workplace marijuana use

Ed Secondiak says adjustments in someone’s position might be required

Ed Secondiak wants employers to be informed about medicinal marijuana as well as the implications of recreational legalization so they can respond appropriately in the workplace. (Julie Gordon/Reuters)

Ed Secondiak thinks workplaces need to educate their employees on safety with regards to cannabis in light of increased use and pending legalization.

The former RCMP officer said the goal isn’t to punish people, but to be proactive to avoid unintended consequences of marijuana use, like workplace accidents.

“We’re not concerned about whether it’s illegal or legal. Our concerns more so are the impact on the workplace, in particular with safety,” said Secondiak, who is president of the occupational health company ECS Safety Services.

Medicinal marijuana use is on the rise and the federal government has promised legalization legislation.

Rules similar to alcohol, except … 

In light of that, Secondiak said there can be confusion about who can smoke marijuana before work.

He said the rules around recreational pot use are no different than regulations on alcohol. The substances are different, but intoxication at work remains the same.

However, he noted, people are prescribed pot and may need to use it at work.

‘We’re trying to make sure people go back home with all the parts they came to work with.’
– Ed Secondiak, ECS Safety Services

The level of impairment varies from person to person based on factors such as the amount consumed, the method of consumption and their level of tolerance.

“In many cases you actually have to go through a trial and error to see how it’s affecting that employee,” said Secondiak.

Employers should be open to discussing marijuana at work so they can collaborate with employees to find the best solution for everyone, he said.

Extra care with ‘safety sensitive positions’ 

Secondiak said it’s important that people don’t work in “safety sensitive positions” if they’re using recreationally or medicinally. A safety sensitive position is one where accidents, injuries or fatalities can happen, such as a machinery operator or a medical professional.

“We’re trying to make sure people go back home with all the parts they came to work with.”

Ed Secondiak has given several presentations on drug use in the workplace across Canada and says he’s witnessed a decline in workplace accidents in the aftermath. (Robert Short/CBC)

Employers may need to accommodate medicinal marijuana users who do work in safety sensitive positions by finding them a different role or examining types of leave, he said.

He noted it often comes down to whether or not the individual can do their job and that often depends on how complex the job is.

On Tuesday, Secondiak will give a talk at a Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board event in Saskatoon.

Original article can be found here

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

By: Sera Jane Ghaly

The amount of time that weed stays in your system depends on the user and how frequently they smoke. There are other factors involved, too, such as how it is being tested. THC binds the longest to the hair follicle and to saliva for the least amount of time. 

THC has a cumulative effect in the body and includes other factors such as the metabolic rate. However, as a general rule of thumb, this is how long cannabis stays in the system.

THC in urine. 

Photo credit: Smoking Pagoda
The most common way to test for THC is in the urine because it is the cheapest method and has a long detection period. However, the length of time will vary depending on the frequency of use because of the cumulative effect of THC. 

  • Someone who has smoked for the first time can test positive for THC for up to 8 days in urine.
  • Someone who smokes frequently can test positive for THC for up to 15 days in urine.
  • Someone who smokes heavily can test positive for THC for up to 30 days in urine.
  • Some heavy marijuana smokers have been tested positive for up to 45-90 days in urine after stopping smoking cannabis.

As a guide, if you´re a heavy smoker, chances are THC will remain in your urine for up to a month after stopping. This is also the most likely way you’ll be tested for weed in your system.

THC in saliva.

THC lasts the shortest time in the saliva. This is the method most often used by road police in checking for drugged drivers. It starts to test positive about 1 hour after smoking and can remain positive in saliva for up to 12 hours.

THC in hair. 

In the case of hair follicles, THC binds for the longest period of time. A single use of cannabis can test positive in the hair for up to 7 days, and most hair follicle tests are for a 90 day period. However, it is not always certain that cannabis actually binds to the hair follicle, so this method is hardly ever used.

THC in blood. 

THC is hardly ever measured from the blood because the metabolite of THC doesn´t bind to the blood for very long. As a result, testing cannabis in the blood only detects recent use. 

How to pass a urine test

Unfortunately, there´s no certain way to pass a urine test if you´re a heavy smoker. There are products that can be purchased solely for the purpose of cleansing urine, but their reliability is questionable. 

The most scientific way to pass a urine test is to drink a lot of cranberry juice or a lot of fluids. Adding more water to the system will naturally dilute whatever is in your urine. 

But the surest way to pass a urine test is to stick safely and generously to the time guidelines! 

How long other chemicals stay in the system

While on the topic, it´s interesting to note how long other chemicals remain in the system after use. 

  • Heroin can be detected in blood and saliva for up to 12 hours, and in urine for up to three days.
  • Amphetamines can be detected in blood and saliva for 12 hours after use and in the urine for 1-2 days after use.
  • A standard drink of alcohol can be detected in the body for only about 5 hours after use (the more that is consumed, the longer the it takes to metabolize, but is the shortest detection time of them all).


So many employers these days are testing their employees for drugs. However, it is easier to get away with having a problem with amphetamines than it is to be a cannabis smoker. Given the technology that is available, shouldn’t there be some leniency towards frequency of use with cannabis? It is legal now, after all. In fact, after legalization, the risk to the workforce if drug testing is not altered is extreme. It could result in a giant loss for the workforce in the USA.

Cannabis stays in the system longer than almost all other chemicals in the body because of it´s cumulative effect. However, everyone knows that you´re not necessarily high 12 hours after use. The best advice to smokers out there afraid of the ever prevalent urine test, stick to jobs that don´t require it!
Original article can be found here

Should Your Insurance Company Pay for Medical Marijuana? Judges Are Starting to Rule That Way

As marijuana proves safer and more effective than opiates, several court rulings may set a new precedent.
By: April M. Short / AlterNet. 

Recent court rulings in Canada and the U.S. could set a new precedent for insurance companies to pay for doctor-prescribed medical marijuana. In the last few months, in consideration of the addictive potential of opiates and relatively few safety concerns over marijuana, judges in both the U.S. and Canada have ruled in favor of insurance companies covering medical marijuana for pain patients. 

In January, a judge in New Jersey made a historic ruling that workers’ compensation must cover the costs of medical marijuana. After hearing testimony from Andrew Watson, a lumber worker who used marijuana for a work-related injury, New Jersey administrative law judge Ingrid L. French ruled that workers’ comp must cover the costs of Watson’s medical marijuana. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports in a detailed article on the case, this could set a new precedent for medical marijuana patients.  

In 2014, Watson used cannabis obtained legally through the state’s medical marijuana program to treat intractable neuropathic pain in his left hand. He testified that it was the best treatment available for his injury and that it did not have the negative side effects of opiate painkillers.

Psychiatrist and neurologist Edward H. Tobe also testified about the well-known risks of taking opiates and the benefits cannabis medicine provided Watson. He said marijuana helped Watson reduce his opiate use, and was also likely to help him, “achieve better function.” 

“Opiates can shut down breathing (whereas) marijuana cannabinoids won’t….Marijuana does not affect the mid-brain. The mid-brain is critical in controlling respiration, heart rate, many of the life-preserving elements,” Tobe said, according to an excerpt of his testimony included in the opinion Judge French issued last month. 

French’s opinion states that the evidence from the court proceedings, “show that the petitioner’s ‘trial’ use of medicinal marijuana has been successful. While the court is sensitive to the controversy surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana, whether or not it should be prescribed for a patient in a state where it is legal to prescribe it is a medical decision that is within the boundaries of the laws in the state.” 

Watson’s lawyer, Philip Faccenda, said Watson stopped using cannabis in 2014 because of its cost. Meanwhile, the insurance carrier continued to pay for his use of opiates to treat his pain. Faccenda argued that Watson should be reimbursed for his past medical marijuana purchases, and that the insurance company should continue paying for his medical marijuana. 

French’s decision ultimately ruled in Watson’s favor, stating that the evidence convinced the court it was “reasonable and necessary” for Watson to relieve his pain using marijuana. The judge explained that she found Watson’s pain management approach “mature” and “cautious.” 

“He testified that the effects of the marijuana, in many ways, is not as debilitating as the effects of the Percocet (which is how he refers to his prescriptions for Endocet or Oxycodone)….Ultimately, the petitioner was able to reduce his use of oral narcotic medication.” 

As the Philadelphia Inquirerreports, “John Gearney, a Mount Laurel lawyer who writes a weekly blog on workers’ compensation cases, says the written ruling may be the first in New Jersey to address whether an insurer should pay for marijuana.” 

Gearney reportedly told the Inquirer, “It’s not binding, but it’s really an important decision. There are about 50 workers’ compensation judges in the state, and they will read it and see what the judge thought when a case like it comes before them.” 

A similar case took place in Nova Scotia, Canada in February, when a judge ruled that medical marijuana patient Gordon Skinner’s cannabis must be paid for by his employee insurance plan. 

Skinner suffered chronic pain following an on-the-job vehicle accident. When he was denied coverage of his medical marijuana, he claimed discrimination. A human rights board ultimately determined that his prescribed medical marijuana must be covered by his insurance plan, as Keith Doucette reported for the Canadian Press. Benjamin Perryman, the chairman of the inquiry board, made his descision based on the fact that the marijuana Skinner used was prescribed by a doctor for pain managment. 

“It seems there is prima facie support for its medical necessity, owing to the fact that conventional prescription pain management drugs are normally eligible for coverage,” he said, according to the Canadian Press. The article notes that Deepak Anand, the executive director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association, thinks the ruling is likely to encourage more people to apply for coverage through their provincial human rights commissions. 

Opiate overprescription and a lack of alternative options for pain patients contributes to an epidemic of addiction and overdose in the U.S. and globally, according to the CDC. Numerous pain patients in the 28 states with legal medical marijuana programs report that the federally illegal herb helps reduce their pain while causing few or no negative side effects. 

Original article can be found here

When Is The Right Time To Harvest Marijuana Buds

The answer we’re all thinking is – Not soon enough! For  growers, harvesting at the right time is just as important as how you grow the plant. Harvest too soon and you lose potency and cannabis yields; too late and you can end up making a batch of sleep medicine. The hardest part of growing cannabis for many new growers is waiting for the right time to harvest. There is a strong tendency for new growers to harvest the plant early due to excitement. Unfortunately, this often results in low yields and lower-potency buds.

You only need 3 things to determine the best marijuana harvest time:

  • The knowledge of when to harvest – You get that here!
  • Eyes for visual inspection – You’ve probably had these for a while!
  • A magnifying tool – Makes the glittery, resin-filled trichomes on your buds easier to see; although not 100% necessary, this lets you time your harvest perfectly to get the exact effects you’re looking for!


Here are two basic ways of determining the optimum time to harvest marijuana:

Pistil Method

Not Ready for Harvest 
The vast majority of pistils (hairs) are still white and sticking out straight. This is definitely too early to harvest, and these plants have many weeks to go!

Not yet Ready
We’re waiting for at least half of the white hairs to darken and curl in. Some of the pistils are starting to turn color, but there are far less than 50% curled/darkened pistils. These buds still have several weeks to go before they’ll reach their highest levels of THC. The good news is your buds will  get bigger and more dense in that time!

Ready To Harvest

  • Harvest when 60-70% of hairs have darkened for highest levels of THC.
  • Harvest when 70-90% of hairs have darkened for a more calming, anti-anxiety effect as some THC turns to the more relaxing CBN
  • With some strains, you may see a bunch of new pistils appear right when you think you’re getting close. This is normal, but it happens more than 3 times you’ve eventually got to just make the decision and chop.

With some strains, it is much harder to tell when the time is right. Different strains can look different ways at harvest. For example, some strains can keep most of their pistils white even when they’re ready to be harvested.

Trichome Method

With this method, you look at the glandular stalked trichomes on the buds under a magnifying glass. Trichomes are the the mushroom-looking growths on cannabis that are responsible for it being so popular! These trichromes are the ‘crystals’, or ‘frosty stuff’ you see accumulating on your bud/leaves. They’re also what makes weed so sticky. You may also see tiny, clear hair-like trichomes without the mushroom head but these don’t affect potency so you can ignore them. You are interested in the trichomes that have a little ball on top. This is where a lot of the THC and other good stuff in cannabis is located. Since these trichomes are what contribute the most to bud potency, being able to tell when they’ve reached their highest levels of THC will help you be able to choose the exact right time to harvest your marijuana.  Cannabis trichomes are difficult to see with the naked eye, so you’ll need a jeweler’s loupe or other way to magnify the image in order to use the “trichome method” for determining harvest time.

If you put the loupe right up to your buds, you’ll get a better view of the trichomes, letting you better determine their color and shape.

It can be hard to tell the difference between clear and cloudy trichomes, especially if you don’t see both types of trichomes at the same time! This is completely normal, and it takes a little experience before this part becomes totally easy.

The trichomes in this picture are still mostly clear, but that may be difficult to know immediately if you haven’t really looked at trichomes before! You can see mostly clear trichome heads. This is an indicator that the plant is not quite ready for harvest. But even without looking the trichomes, the fact that all the pistils are sticking straight out has already shown that this bud isn’t ready. If there aren’t any pistils curling in, it means you still have several weeks to go!

Here are some general rules about harvesting marijuana based on trichomes and the color of the hairs / pistils. If you follow these rules, you’ll know how to harvest weed perfectly every time!

  1. If white “hairs” are almost all sticking straight out and trichomes are all still translucent (clear) then your plant is too young and not ready for harvest. Harvesting now will result in low yield and non-potent harvests.
  2. The beginning of the harvest window opens when your plant has mostly stopped growing new white “hairs” or pistils and at least 40% of the white hairs have darkened and curled in.

3.  Highest level of THC is when many/most of the trichomes have turned milky white / cloudy (when viewed under a magnifier). Trichomes that are milky have the highest levels of THC are “ready to harvest” and contribute to more euphoric and psychoactive effects. At this point 50-70% of the pistils have darkened.

4.  Some Sativa & Haze strains have trichomes that never really turn amber. If they’ve turned mostly white and don’t seem to be progressing further, it may be time to harvest!

5.  The most “couchlock” or sedating effect happens towards the end of the pot harvest window, when the trichomes have become a darker color (usually amber/gold). The best results from amber trichomes come from indica strains. The amber/yellow trichomes contribute to a ‘body high’. Some of the THC has converted into less psychoactive CBN, which has calming and anti-anxiety effects. With some strains, the trichomes will even turn red or purple! I like to harvest around when 20% have turned amber. At this point 70-90% of the pistils have darkened. Harvesting later will increase the sedating effects, but may also start reducing the psychoactive effects.

6.  When trichomes start looking grey or withered, the harvest window has passed, and buds will make you sleepy without many psychoactive effects. Usually it takes several weeks (4 or more) from the beginning of the harvest window for this to happen. It’s much easier to harvest too early than too late!

7.  Harvest your buds earlier, when only 40% of hairs have darkened and curled in and more than half of the trichomes are part clear/ part milky or mostly cloudy/milky. For the “strongest” marijuana buds with the most psychoactive effects, and the highest levels of THC, harvest when almost all trichomes are cloudy/milky. For more relaxing, anti-anxiety buds, wait until at least some of the milky / cloudy trichomes have darkened to amber. More amber = more relaxing, though the effects may be somewhat less psychoactive. Remember, curing your buds properly for at least 2 weeks to a month will also give them more of an anti-anxiety effect. When growing your own marijuana plants, you can certainly sample buds off your plant at different stages to get an idea for what your preferences are.

If you combine both methods you’ll get the best results! Although looking at your buds isn’t the most precise way to know when to harvest, it does give you a really good idea. Try to take everything together. If your buds just have white pistils sticking out, you know for sure that it’s no where close to ready, so you also know that the trichomes on the buds aren’t all cloudy yet. It’s only when your buds are getting close to looking harvest-ready that trichomes are going to have something to tell you!

  • If you aren’t sure where to purchase quality seeds with great genetics, check out our reputable seed bank.

Original article can be found here

Cannabidiol potentiates stem cell differentiation into neurons

A recent article in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry produced some interesting resultsBy: Ricardo Oliveira

Stem cell research has generated countless waves of enthusiasm and controversy throughout the decades. Now and then news emerges of promising new stem cell techniques, only to be followed by negative or mediocre clinical results. Potential applications have included treating heart disease, eye lesions, diabetes, stroke, spinal cord injury, dementia, neurological degeneration and cancer, but to this day only bone marrow transplants have proved feasible. 

The technical problems are manifold, ranging from extraction, culturing and implantation challenges, to safety issues and donor rejection. Perhaps the most prohibitive aspect of all is the deep lack of understanding of how stem cells are actually regulated. 

This problem is well illustrated by the surprising finding that endocannabinoids could very well play a decisive role in cell maturation and differentiation. 

Two recent preclinical studies (2014, 2016) concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) strongly regulates the proliferation, migration and neurogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MCSs). These adult stem cells are able to differentiate into the main types of precursor cells and have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, immune, metabolic and self-renewal properties. As of now, there are over 500 ongoing or concluded clinical trials based on MSCs. 

At the turn of the century, researchers found MSCs present in the mouth cavity. Besides being easier to collect, these cells also showed some stronger properties compared to MSCs from other tissues. In light of this knowledge, Dr. Emanuela Mazzon and colleagues became interested in finding out whether oral MCSs were also responsive to CBD. 

MCSs were collected from the gums of five healthy patients and incubated with CBD for 24 hours. Analysis of cell proliferation and viability revealed that an optimal concentration of CBD was set at 5 μM, with higher dosages being increasingly toxic. 

The researchers then analyzed changes in the genetic expression of cells treated with 5 μM CBD, compared to controls. The analysis showed that almost 6000 genes had been modulated by CBD, with a near 50/50 split in terms of being over-activated or inhibited. 

Interestingly, several of the genes with altered expression are known to be involved in neurodevelopmental processes, including the proliferation of cells that precede new neurons, neurogenesis itself, and more coarse regulation of the nervous system. On the other hand, several of the inhibited genes are associated with the formation of other types of cells such as glial cells, bone tissues and blood vessels. 

To test the ability of CBD to promote the differentiation of MSCs into neuronal precursor cells, the authors labeled the latter with a colorful marker and proceeded to quantify them. As can be observed in the figure below, CBD was strongly associated with an increase in neural precursor cells after 2 and 4 days of incubation, compared to the control (DMSO). The relative decrease from the 4th day is explained by the further differentiation of those cells into fully fledged neurons. 

In sum, these results suggest a strong regulatory role of CBD in the differentiation of stem cells into neurons. Further in vivo studies are required to assess the therapeutic potential of combining MSCs with CBD in animal models of neuronal diseases. 

The original study by Dr. Mazzon and colleagues can be found in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry

Featured image via Виталий Смолыгин.

Original article can be found here

‘Budtender’ says marijuana dispensary bosses left him high and dry after raid

By: Jacquie Miller

A “budtender” who was arrested in a raid on an Ottawa marijuana dispensary says he feels betrayed by his former employer, who has refused to help him with legal bills.

Shawn McAlesse says he believed he was working in a “legal grey zone” and helping people when he accepted a job with a B.C.-based dispensary chain in Ottawa last summer. 

And while McAlesse says he’s glad that charges have been thrown out against 151 Toronto budtenders who were arrested at dispensary raids in that city, he has no indication the same thing will happen in Ottawa. No charges have been withdrawn against the 22 dispensary employees arrested in 12 raids in this city. 

McAlesse was behind the counter when police raided the Green Tree Medical Dispensary on Montreal Road last November. He faces 11 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, one count of possessing the proceeds of crime, and one count of simple possession because he had a joint in his pocket.  

Shortly after his arrest, McAlesse says his Ottawa manager delivered the bad news: The bosses in Vancouver would not pay his legal bills and did not want any further contact with him. Green Tree was one of seven related stores, the others operating under the names WeeMedical Dispensary Society and CannaGreen. All of them were raided; four have since re-opened. 

McAlesse said he was given the impression by managers that he didn’t need to worry about being arrested, but that if it happened the company “would have a lawyer standing by us.” 

He said managers stressed how the dispensaries were helping medical marijuana patients, an ideal that McAlesse embraced, because he has benefited himself.  

“They took advantage of the fact a lot of us (budtenders) are for medical marijuana. They (said they) shared those ideals, then they threw us to the wolves when we got arrested. 

“It angers me. I feel they manipulated me, they abused me, 100 per cent. There aren’t enough metaphors in the world to explain how I feel about those guys.” 

The nine employees arrested at the Green Tree-related stores face serious criminal charges, while the owners “rack up the cash,” McAlesse said. 

He worked at both a WeeMedical and a Green Tree store. He estimates each store took in $8,000 to $12,000 a day from sales of dried pot, candy, pop, cookies and oils, and they are open seven days a week.

“I’m sure they can afford lawyer fees.” 

His boss was Justin Liu, said McAlesse. Liu is one of the directors of the WeeMedical Dispensary Society, according to registration papers filed in British Columbia. The Citizen has been unable to interview Liu or anyone from Green Tree, WeeMedical or CannaGreen despite repeated efforts since the dispensaries first arrived in town last summer. 

Requests sent to the email addresses on the Green Tree and WeeMedical websites have not been returned. The Citizen reached Liu once, using a phone number that was briefly listed on the CannaGreen website, but he quickly ended the conversation, saying he was about to hop on a plane and would call back, which he did not. The voice mailbox for that number is now full. 

At the WeeMedical headquarters in Vancouver, in three calls over the past week, the people answering the phone said they would try to find a company spokesperson, but no one phoned back. They refused to provide contact information for Liu. 

McAlesse said that because the stores operated openly he didn’t think he was doing anything illegal. “A storefront operation, with multiple locations across the city, seems so above-board – even though it’s a grey area.” 

McAlesse is proud of his work at the dispensaries, saying they provide a valuable service. He says he helped many people, including giving advice on how to sign up to buy medical marijuana legally.  

Medical marijuana is legal if bought from a Health Canada-licensed grower. But some people can’t find a doctor to prescribe marijuana or can’t afford the fees charged by clinics who employ cannabis-friendly doctors, he said. Others want edible products such as cookies and brownies that legal suppliers aren’t allowed to sell. 

McAlesse said his managers told him to ask customers to fill out a form listing their medical conditions, and advise them that a “company doctor” would contact them later. He said he had no concerns about the safety or quality of the cannabis products, because it was better than what can be brought on the street. Health Canada has warned that products at dispensaries are unregulated and may be unsafe. 

McAlesse said the owner of a vapour lounge in Saskatoon, a fellow cannabis community activist, has agreed to help with his legal fees, which he said are about $5,000 just for the lawyer retainer. He has also set up a crowd-funding page. 

As he waits for his next court date on April 5, McAlesse said he rarely leaves home. “I’m quite an anxiety-ridden mess.” He held previous jobs at a plumbing store and a Tim Hortons, but it will be hard to find work now. “It’s a little hard to find a job when you’re a suggested drug dealer.” 

Original article can be found here

People Will Die From Cannabis Dispensary Raids

By: Dana Larsen 

Canada’s ongoing war on cannabis causes harm and death in many ways. There’s the people sometimes injured and killed in cannabis raids, there’s the people who suffer or die because they don’t have access to cannabis medicines, there’s the murderers and violent criminals all across the country who won’t ever face trial because our courts are clogged with pot cases, and there’s the increased opioid overdose deaths that come when dispensaries are not available. 

This last point is especially relevant right now, as Canada is in the middle of a fentanyl crisis, with many deaths every day across the country. One effective way to fight this crisis is to increase access to cannabis! 

Two major studies in the US have found that the states which have cannabis dispensaries have much lower rates of opioid use and deaths. 

A major study in 2015 found that states with legal cannabis dispensaries had up to 31% lower rate of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses. Researchers noted that the longer the legal cannabis dispensaries were in place, the more the rate of opioid-related problems declined. 

This makes sense, because cannabis is often used as a pain reliever, just like opioids are. When people have easy access to a safer pain-reliever, cannabis, they are less likely to use the more risky one, opioids. 

This confirmed a 2014 study which found that states with medical cannabis dispensaries had a 25% lower rate of opioid overdose deaths. 

It’s important to note that the 2015 study confirmed that it was specifically dispensaries that reduced overdose deaths, and not just any form of medical cannabis access. “We find no impact of medical marijuana laws more broadly,” concluded the 2015 study. “The mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.” 

A third study, published last year, found that in American states with medical cannabis access, “the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly.” This means that when cannabis is available, fewer doctors prescribe opiates, and fewer patients use them. 

The evidence from these three major American studies is clear. Cannabis dispensaries reduce opioid use, and can prevent up to a third of opioid overdoses in their communities. In the midst of a nationwide fentanyl crisis, cannabis dispensaries are saving lives every single day. 

If we’re going to have “evidence based” laws and policies in Canada, then we should recognize that Canada needs much more cannabis access, and we need it now. If Trudeau’s Liberals are serious about the opioid crisis and saving lives, they should announce an immediate moratorium on dispensary raids. 

Canadians can’t wait as more years pass and the death toll continues to climb. We need action from Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. The war on dispensaries must end today. 

Original article can be found here

‘High time’ for police to prepare for pot legalization

There’s demand across Canada to get officers trained to recognize drug impairment
By: Darren MacDonald

With laws allowing the legalization of marijuana in Canada expected sometime this year, Greater Sudbury Police are trying to prepare for the impact on law enforcement. File photo. 

With laws allowing the legalization of marijuana in Canada expected sometime this year, Greater Sudbury Police are trying to prepare for the impact on law enforcement. 

Police Chief Paul Pedersen said Wednesday that currently, there are no drug recognition training courses available in Canada. That’s a problem considering officers will be tasked with detecting drugged drivers. 

“The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the chief of police of Sudbury all agree that one of the things we’re going to need more of in this country as marijuana becomes legalized is what’s called drug recognition experts,” Pedersen said.  

“They are officers who are specifically trained to find drivers who are impaired by drugs. Right now, Sudbury has a very limited number of those officers. And right now in Canada, there isn’t a drug recognition training program. We have to send our officers to the States to learn how to become drug recognition experts.” 

That training, as well as manuals and policies governing the detection of drug impaired drivers, will be important tools police will need soon, he said. 

“We know, from coast to coast, we’re going to need that in Canada in time before the legislation comes into effect,” he said. 

While there was speculation that legalization would happen early in 2017, the federal government now says that legislation will be introduced this year, but won’t come into effect right away. 

“The new legislation would come into force after being passed by Parliament and once regulations have been developed,” says a post on the federal justice ministry’s web page.  

“These regulations would set out the details of a new system for access to cannabis. For example, they would define who could produce and distribute marijuana, standards for labeling and packaging, and important safeguards to restrict access to keep it out of the hands of children.” 

For his part, Pedersen neither he or other police chiefs have been told when legalization will actually take place. 

“I haven’t received any formal update that gives me any more insight than the general public has from the newspapers.”

Original article can be found here

End The Unfounded Paranoia Around Minors Scoring Marijuana

By: Dana Larsen Director, Sensible BC Campaign For Marijuana Reform, Vancouver’s Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary. 

I bet most people reading this are aware of the controversy around kids buying pot at 4/20 — events related to the annual day of advocacy for the legalization of marijuana — but don’t think twice about the minors buying booze every single day in liquor stores, nightclubs, restaurants and pubs all across the country. 

Yes, it’s true that some minors do manage to score some bud at 4/20 celebrations, rallies and other gatherings. Despite our best efforts, a determined minor can usually acquire cannabis or alcohol if they set their mind to it.

A man smokes marijuana in a pipe as thousands of people gathered at 4/20 celebrations on April 20, 2016 at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) 

But the way the media and government treats the idea of minors and cannabis or minors and alcohol is very different. When a dispensary is alleged to have sold some cannabis to a minor, they face a police raid and harsh commentary in the media. But the daily sales to minors from liquor outlets is not treated like a big deal at all. 

There’s political hand-wringing and big headlines about how terrible 4/20 is because some minors attend, while all-ages pubs and beer gardens are now the norm in our province. 

The hypocrisy here runs deep, because while the government is beating us up over teens buying cannabis at 4/20, their own liquor stores are pouring drinks for minors on a regular basis. 

Many parents are well aware that their 16- or 17-year-old kids use cannabis, and allow it because they consider cannabis to be relatively harmless. 

In 2012, it was found that about 30 per cent of all retail liquor outlets would sell booze to a minor. The B.C. Liberal government’s response to this problem was simply to have less inspections! 

With less inspections comes less compliance, so that by 2015, 40 per cent of outlets tested failed to stop sales to minors. But because there were less inspections happening, the total value of fines given out dropped from over $800,000 in 2012 to just $262,500 in 2015. 

To get your “serving it right” license is ridiculously easy. It’s literally an online multiple choice quiz with no time limit that you can do from home. No wonder licensed restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs all had a failure rate of 45 per cent or more when it comes to stopping minors buying alcohol. 

Compared to this utter failure of government-licensed and regulated liquor outlets to keep booze out of the hands of minors, I’d say marijuana advocates like us do a very good job in self-policing 4/20, despite a lack of cooperation from the Park Board.

(Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) 

We work with all our vendors to ensure they ask for ID and prohibit sales to minors. I expect that minors who get cannabis at 4/20 probably get an older friend or even their parents to buy it for them. Many parents are well aware that their 16- or 17-year-old kids use cannabis, and allow it because they consider cannabis to be relatively harmless, especially in comparison to alcohol and tobacco. 

Also, let’s not forget some minors can be medical cannabis users who smoke or eat cannabis to treat ailments ranging from epilepsy to cancer to attention deficit disorder. These young patients enjoy celebrating 4/20 because they directly experience the healing benefits of the cannabis plant. 

In 2002, Canada’s Senate put out a massive and comprehensive report on cannabis use in Canada. They recommended full legalization for all Canadians over the age of 16. “Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol,” said the report, and the Senators were right. It’s time for the paranoia and exaggerations around teenagers and cannabis to come to an end. 

Original article can be found here