Employers want Ottawa’s help to deal with marijuana-smoking workers

Lack of hard science on marijuana impairment and testing raises concerns among employers over safety
By: Dean Beeby

 Some employer groups are asking Ottawa not to legalize recreational marijuana until workplace safety issues are resolved. (CBC) 

More stoned workers will be showing up in Canada’s workplaces with the coming legalization of marijuana, but companies have few tools to cope with potential safety risks.

That’s the message from some employers, who say they’ve received no assurances from Ottawa so far that the new pot regime will include workplace safeguards.

“We’re caught in a potential Catch 22: how do you protect the worker and those around them as well as deal with legalized marijuana?” said Cameron MacGillivray, president of Enform, a Calgary-based oil-and-gas safety group.

“It is a pressing concern for the industry because of the … potential catastrophic impacts of somebody doing a critical safety job when they’re impaired.”

The Liberal government is expected to introduce legislation by the summer making recreational marijuana legal, at a time when the science of detecting and measuring impairment is incomplete.

 Cameron MacGillivray, president of the oil-and-gas safety group Enform, wants the federal government to convene an expert panel to review the science around measuring and testing for marijuana impairment in the workplace. (Enform)

Marijuana is not a new arrival in the workplace, and over the last decade, the legalization of medical marijuana has already made cannabis a more frequent job-related concern.

Full legalization, however, is expected to boost the number of employee users. That’s based on spikes in the number of users in Colorado and Washington after recreational pot was made legal there.

“The landscape has changed,” said George Waggott, a labour lawyer with McMillan LLP in Toronto, who represents employers.

“The stigma of using marijuana, such as it might have been, is going to be nearly eliminated.”

A federal task force report on legalizing and regulating cannabis, released Dec. 13, highlighted “workplace safety” as an issue, especially in the fields of health care, law enforcement, transportation, construction and resource extraction, such as mining.

Under review 

“Employer groups called for more guidance from federal, provincial and territorial governments about appropriate workplace drug use and drug testing policies,” it noted.

But there were no concrete recommendations, other than to encourage more scientific research on impairment and as well as further consultations with the provinces on the “development of workplace impairment policies.”

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu said the government is working closely with the provinces and territories to “come up with a framework that will address substance abuse at work.” But she said those consultations are broadly based.

“I think legalization of marijuana is renewing our conversation about substance abuse at work, and I am very, very seized of the issue. But I think there’s more to do than just look at marijuana,” Hajdu said in an interview with CBC News.

 Officials in Employment, Workforce Development and Labour — now headed by Minister Patricia Hajdu — have argued against new regulations for marijuana in the workplace, according to a document obtained by CBC News. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Enform wants the federal government to declare a prohibition against the use of marijuana in safety-sensitive workplaces and for a pre-determined period before workers show up on the job.

It also wants an expert panel to examine and report on how to reliably measure marijuana impairment in workers before full legalization occurs.

An internal document, however, suggests federal officials are not inclined to take any special measures with regard to marijuana in the workplace, preferring to leave the ball in the employers’ court.

A July briefing note for then-employment minister MaryAnn Mihychuk, says “it would be premature to make new rules or introduce legislative or regulatory amendments, which may place the labour program and our stakeholders at odds with emerging jurisprudence, until the issues are settled.”

“The upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana may require employers to update their alcohol and drug policies to include marijuana use and provide parameters around it as it relates to the type of work being done,” the note says.

The document, obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act, also acknowledges that testing devices and protocols are still under development.

Special cases 

Currently, random alcohol and drug-testing is permitted in Canadian workplaces only in special cases, where there are demonstrable safety risks. However, employers can prohibit drug and alcohol use in the workplace, with some exceptions for medical marijuana patients.

 Labour lawyer George Waggott says identifying impairment from marijuana use is the biggest challenge for employers. (McMillan LLP)

Some labour lawyers say they expect no significant changes to those rules, even with the arrival of legalized recreational marijuana.

Rather, the real challenge will be accurately measuring work-related impairment from marijuana, because the science is murky compared with a much clearer understanding of the effects of alcohol, the most commonly abused substance in the workplace.

“The impairment question is the bedrock of where this will be fought,” says Waggott.

Another employer group representing federally regulated companies is also pressing Ottawa not to legalize marijuana until the measurement issues have been sorted out.

Derrick Hynes, executive director of FETCO, an employers’ association comprised of federally regulated transportation and communications firms — including the CBC — addressed his concerns to the marijuana task force in a submission Sept. 5.

In it he said the government should delay legalization until experts agree on an established definition of marijuana impairment and “the technology exists to test for impairment to this standard in a proven and reliable manner.”

‘It’s what makes marijuana different. There is no “road side test” to determine impairment.’
– Derrick Hynes, executive director of FETCO

“It’s what makes marijuana different,” Hynes said in an interview. “There currently is no ‘roadside test’ to determine impairment. And further, there is no legislated standard for what level constitutes impairment in an individual.”

Toronto employment lawyer Peter Straszynski agrees that the quality of testing methods for marijuana is a problem. But he says the current legal and regulatory regime around drug-and-alcohol prohibition in the workplace and around random-testing may be adequate.

“We do have some framework in place,” he said in an interview. “It’s not obvious they will have to change it.”

But Hynes argues the legalization of recreational marijuana is exactly the right moment for Canada to consider a comprehensive system for random testing in the workplace.

“This is a logical time to have that conversation.”

Original article can be found here 

Neurologists to draw up guidelines for safe use of medicinal cannabis

Expert group to look at use of a cannabadiol product to treat patients with epilepsy
By: Paul Cullen

 Irish neurologists are to draw up guidelines on the safe use of medicinal cannabis for patients with epilepsy. 
Irish neurologists are to draw up guidelines on the safe use of medicinal cannabis for patients with epilepsy.

An expert group made up of consultant neurologists is to begin drawing up the guidelines shortly in order to provide clarity for doctors and patients on the issue, according to the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.

While certain cannabis-containing products “show promise” in the treatment of severe epilepsy, others are “inadequately tested or known to be potentially harmful,” according to Dr Colin Doherty, spokesman for the clinical advisory group on epilepsy. 

“As a group, we are committed to the care of all patients with epilepsy but it is our solemn duty to ensure that all treatments are proven to be both beneficial and safe. This is particularly important when a new drug is used in a child’s developing brain” he said.

Neurologists were mindful of the impact of the diagnosis of serious conditions they encounter and recognised the “devastating effects” of severe epilepsy on children and adults and the “desperation felt by families to help their loved ones”. 

Dr Doherty said evidence was emerging for the use of a cannabadiol (CBD) product known as Epidiolex, which is on fast-track designation for the treatment of severe epilepsy in the US. It is expected Epidiolex will be available in Ireland through a Government-sponsored access programme later this year.

“No other cannabis derivatives or products have been adequately studied to a level that they are proven to be effective and safe to use in clinical practice.” 

“Specifically, products containing THC (a cannabis derivative with potentially harmful psychoactive effects) remain inadequately tested,” Dr Doherty said.

Currently, the main barrier to the prescribing of cannabis derivatives for epilepsy is the lack of clinical evidence of its long-term efficacy, as well as a lack of data on long-term side effects, he said. 

“Apart from Epidiolex no other cannabis product has been endorsed by any scientific or licensing authority.” 

Original article can be found here

Police order pot shops close

By: Colin Dacre 


The message is clear. Cease operations or face arrest. 

After months of sitting on the sidelines while the City of Penticton struggled to license marijuana dispensaries within city limits, the local RCMP detachment has stepped in and ordered three operating pot shops shut down. 

The move comes a little more than three months after the city granted two of those shops, Green Essence and Okanagan Cannabinoid Therapy, temporary use permits. 

A third shop, Herbal Green Apothecary, which has remained open against the the city’s wishes was also ordered closed. 

In a trio of letters sent to the shops this week, acting officer in charge of the Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Kirsten Marshall provided a “warning in regards to the possible ramifications of certain business practices that do not comply with the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.” 

Castanet News was shown the letter sent to Herbal Green Apothecary by the shop’s owner, Jukka Laurio, who says he will be complying with the order. 

“If this is being done to all of us, then it’s the end of the game,” adding that fighting with the city over it’s bylaws and with the RCMP are two very different things. “I’m not going to argue with the federal government. 

“I don’t think the people in the city are going to be too pleased with the whole thing, all it really does is drive the market out into the street,” Laurio said. “They can either have it here in a controlled location or have a couple hundred people selling it out of their homes.”

Okanagan Cannabinoid Therapy declined to comment and the manager of Green Essence could not be reached. 

It’s not clear what caused the change of heart for the Penticton RCMP, which has been hands-off while the city spent a considerable amount of time and effort licensing two of the shops after multiple sprung up in the city, unchallenged by police. 

In a statement, Staff Sgt. Kirsten Marshall confirmed all three dispensaries in Penticton received the letters. 

“The RCMP is responsible for enforcing Canadian laws, as they stand today. Our communities expect that we will take enforcement action to meet this responsibility, and do so in an impartial and professional manner.”  

When questioned about the sudden change of enforcement, Marshall stated that the RCMP has “nothing to do with the City licensing or permits, that is a separate process.” 

“Nothing has changed, trafficking in marijuana remains illegal at this time. If we have concerns expressed by the public in regards to criminal action we have the ability to investigate and, if appropriate, take enforcement action,” Marshall continued in an email. 

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit was caught completely off-guard by the news. 

“Marijuana dispensaries have been in the spotlight not only in Penticton but elsewhere, and to date the RCMP have not provided enforcement,” Jakubeit said in an email. “The City created and allowed two (six month) Temporary Use Permits to enable access to medical marijuana and to weed out the growing proliferation of dispensaries in the City. 

“The enforcement of the law is the jurisdiction of the RCMP and we will have to see what course of action they take next,” he added. 

Original article can be found here

Health Canada issues recall for mislabelled THC level

Health Canada announced today that on March 8, 2017, Aphria, a licensed producer of cannabis for medical purposes located in Ontario, began a voluntary recall of one lot…By: David Brown 


Health Canada announced today that on March 8, 2017, Aphria, a licensed producer of cannabis for medical purposes located in Ontario, began a voluntary recall of one lot of dried marijuana under a Type III recall. One lot (652-4883) of cannabis was mislabelled as containing 22.3% THC instead of 21.1% THC. 

A Type III recall refers to “a situation in which the use of, or exposure to a product, is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.” 

Health Canada says they have not received any adverse reaction reports for products sold by Aphria. Health Canada recommends that any individual affected by the recall immediately stop using the recalled product and to contact Aphria at the following number: 1-844-427-4742.

Official link here.
Health Canada lists their three recall types as such 

Type I: a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, a product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death, 

Type II: a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a product may cause temporary adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote, or

Type III: a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a product is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.

Type III recalls do not generally warrant a public recall, but a Type I or II recall does. In the past, Health Canada has issued public recalls for other medical cannabis, but has not detailed if it was a Type I, II or III. 

Earlier this year, Health Canada Media Relations Officer André Gagnon said the agency has already begun to list all cannabis-related recalls, regardless of concern for public health.they would be announcing cannabis recalls of all kinds, regardless of risk to public health. 

“As a part of its commitment to openness and transparency, and in an effort to ensure Canadians are well informed of recalls under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, Health Canada has begun posting all cannabis for medical purposes recalls, regardless of public health risks, to the department’s online recall database. In addition, we will continue to publish annual and quarterly compliance and enforcement reports with information about medical cannabis recalls and other compliance and enforcement actions undertaken by the Department.” 

Original article can be found here

Marijuana-filled cooler worth $24G donated to Goodwill

Cooler full of marijuana donated to a Goodwill in Monroe, Washington. (Monroe (Washington) Police Department via Twitter)
Somebody donated a lot more than they intended to the Goodwill in Monroe, Washington last week. 

Goodwill employees got a surprise when they opened a donated cooler and found marijuana. 

Make that lots of marijuana. 

Monroe police were called in to investigate. 

“(The) employees were surprised when they opened the lid,” the police said in a tweet. 

The Monroe Police Department said the cooler contained 3.75 pounds of pot, with an estimated street value of $24,000. 

Police said Goodwill was examining its surveillance video to see if it can find an image of the person who may have dropped off the cooler.

Original article can be found here

Edmonton to close zoning loopholes for cannabis lounges and pot shop

By: Elise Stolte 

Photo taken by Dab Canada
Edmonton moved to close loopholes in the zoning bylaw Tuesday to ensure marijuana sales can’t happen in corner stores and residential neighbourhoods.
The zoning changes will also specifically ban toking in pubs, a move city planners called “preventative maintenance” to prepare Edmonton for the coming legalization of recreational marijuana use. 

“So operations aren’t able to legitimize blended uses,” said senior planner Colton Kirsop at council’s executive committee. He recommended other zoning changes and smoking bans be delayed until the federal rules are clear so council debate doesn’t “get lost in the weeds.” 

Ottawa is expected in June to introduce legislation regarding recreational marijuana, with legalization to follow in 2019. Based on task force recommendations, it appears it will also legalize cannabis lounges, but ban drinking and smoking there, say city staff. 

The federal government would also regulate the personal production of marijuana, likely to four plants per site, said staff. In addition, it has moved from the term and spelling of “marihuana” to “cannabis.” Edmonton is now using the term “cannabis” for its bylaw.

Les Hagen with Action on Smoking and Health argued at committee any stiff zoning regulations also be applied to tobacco sales, since they are causing more health problems. His concern is increased marijuana use will “re-normalize” smoking. 

Councillors debated whether enforcement costs could be recovered through high business licensing fees. But that’s still unclear. 

“We don’t want to be stuck with ridiculous costs on this,” Coun. Michael Oshry said before committee approved the report, sending the basic zoning changes to a public hearing. 

Zoning changes 

The proposed zoning changes would specifically prohibit the sale and consumption of cannabis in bars, neighbourhood pubs, nightclubs and private clubs. It would prohibit the sale of cannabis from convenience stores and general retail stores, and prohibit the sale, production or shipping of cannabis as a home-based business. 

The changes would also prohibit an area zoned for a greenhouse, garden centre or nursery from being used to grow cannabis. That would only be permitted, if licensed by Health Canada, in areas zoned for urban indoor or outdoor farm, rural or non-commercial farm or urban garden. 

The Health Canada licence prohibits production beside a school, playground or other place frequented by children. 

Edmonton’s zoning regulations would allow a Health Canada licensed production and distribution facility in any areas zoned for general industrial use. 

City officials said any further zoning changes should wait until the federal rules around recreational use become more clear. The federal task force has suggested anyone growing cannabis for personal use should be limited to four plants, which city officials say shouldn’t need further municipal regulations 

What are other cities doing? 

Calgary: A medical marijuana counselling centre where counselling is done by people who are not medical professionals must be located 150 metres from a school and 300 metres from any other centres. 

Toronto: Marijuana production facilities must be 70 metres from a home, institution, school, place of worship or daycare. 

Vancouver: Compassion clubs and medical marijuana retail stores must be 300 metres from a school, community centre or residence and 300 metres from another marijuana facility. Facilities are also banned from areas with vulnerable populations such as the Downtown Eastside. 

Victoria: Any medical marijuana-related business, including bakeries or shops, must be 200 metres from a school and 200 metres from another related business. Hours of operation are limited to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and there are limits on advertising, a prohibition on using the drug on site, and other security precautions. 

Original article can be found here

Canada’s Justice System Is Crumbling As Cannabis Raids Continue


Canada’s justice system is in the midst of a major crisis. Many hundreds of important cases across Canada have been dropped due to a lack of court resources. These include some very serious crimes. 

In Ontario, 6,500 cases in provincial court could soon be dropped due to delays, including 38 for homicide or attempted murder. In one terrible case last year, a man named Kenneth Williamson was convicted of raping a minor over 100 times, but because of lengthy delays in taking his case to trial, his conviction was overturned. 

Late last year, two men had charges of first degree murder dropped because of long delays in getting to trial. In unrelated cases, alleged killers Lance Regan and Adam Picard both walked free from murder charges. Regan was accused of murdering a fellow inmate, while Picard was accused of shooting a man to death during a robbery. 

Cannabis cases clogging courts 

Considering this justice system crisis, cannabis should obviously be the lowest priority for police and the courts, but it’s not. Not only are police launching more raids against dispensaries than ever before, but ridiculous charges for small-scale “cannabis crimes” are continuing from coast to coast. 

Every single one of these cannabis raids is an assault on our justice system.

In Alberta alone, over 200 serious criminal charges have been dropped this year due to clogged courts. Yet I’ve got a two-day hearing in Calgary May 9 and 10, over giving away low-THC cannabis seeds! My trial will begin next year. Seeds for high-potency cannabis plants are openly sold in every Canadian city, including over a dozen outlets in Calgary, but prosecutors are willing to waste precious court resources on me for a free seed giveaway? How absurd. 

The recent raids on Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton are the result of a lengthy investigation, and have taken months of police work to pursue. Hundreds of hours of precious court time will now be spent on processing and hearing these charges over the coming months and years, along with charges from many dozens of other pointless dispensary cases in other cities. 

Every single one of these cannabis raids is an assault on our justice system. Every dollar spent charging, processing and trying people for cannabis is a dollar taken away from the enforcement of serious laws against violent criminals. 

  Employee Alyssa Vail sits in front of a police vehicle during a police raid of the Cannabis Culture shop in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday March 9, 2017. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/CP) 

Mandatory minimums and more police 
Back in 2013, the National Post was reporting on the clogged-courts problem, noting that “the recent introduction of mandatory minimum sentences” was also a big part of the problem, as they delay trials and “give greater incentive for charges to be more vigorously and aggressively fought.” Yet Trudeau hasn’t done anything to get rid of Harper’s vicious mandatory minimums, even though his party voted against them when Harper was passing the legislation. What’s he waiting for? 

Meanwhile Bill Blair, Trudeau’s spokesperson on cannabis, is telling us that the biggest impact of legalization will be that “we’re going to have to ask more of the police.” How can this be? Under what rational form of legalization will we need even more police to arrest more people? If cannabis legalization doesn’t mean a massive reduction in police time spent on cannabis, then it’s not really legal at all. 

Alleged killers are walking away without trial while dispensary raids are accelerating and minor cannabis cases are getting high priority. Now Trudeau’s spokesperson is saying we’ll need more cops after legalization than ever before! This is not what Canadians voted for, and after having had a year in office to fix these problems, Justin Trudeau should be ashamed of himself. 

Original article can be found here

RCMP says Nanaimo pot dispensaries “on notice” after recent raid

 Nature’s Source Dispensary,Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW 

NANAIMO — After another pot shop raid, Nanaimo RCMP say all dispensaries in the city are on notice. 

On Thursday, March 9, police raided Nature’s Source Dispensary in the 600 block of Fifth St. RCMP Cst. Gary O’Brien said two were arrested with 15 lbs. of marijuana and $2,000 in cash seized. 

O’Brien said the raid was triggered by numerous concerns. 

“In this particular case, this storefront was located about 500 metres from a local elementary school (Georgia Avenue Elementary). It was also generating a significant amount of foot and vehicle traffic. Nearby residents were also complaining to use and they were saying it was disrupting their enjoyment of their neighbourhood.” 

This was the second raid is less than a month. 

O’Brien said police action at this rate can be expected since they’ve got a stronger handle on the fentanyl and carfentanil situation in Nanaimo. 

“It’s still a significant issue in our community but we recognize that we’ve identified the lines of who is distributing it. At this time we can safely commit some resources and time and energy to deal with the store front issue,” he said. 

The two employees arrested and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking will appear in Nanaimo Provincial Court on Tuesday, Aug. 8. 

Original article can be found here

Aurora Begins Construction on 800,000 Square Foot “Aurora Sky” Expansion

Aurora presents Aurora Sky (CNW Group/Aurora Cannabis Inc.)
World’s Largest, Most Advanced, Automated Cannabis Production Facility Strategically Located in Leduc County, Alberta



VANCOUVER, Nov. 30, 2016 /CNW/ – Aurora Cannabis Inc. (the “Company” or “Aurora”) (TSXV: ACB) (OTCQB: ACBFF) (Frankfurt: 21P; WKN: A1C4WM) is pleased to announce that it has broken ground, and initiated construction on an unprecedented 800,000 square foot production facility. To be known as “Aurora Sky”, the new hybrid greenhouse facility, with a footprint larger than 16 football fields, is expected, on completion, to be the largest, most advanced and most automated cannabis production facility in the world. Situated on 30 acres of leased land in Leduc County, Alberta, management anticipates Aurora Sky to be capable of producing in excess of 100,000 kilograms of high quality, low cost cannabis per year. The location of the new facility provides unrivaled access to transportation, industrial infrastructure, power, water, gas, and courier services.

The Company, which currently operates a 55,200 square foot purpose-built facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, has selected a closed-system, hybrid greenhouse concept of Dutch design for the expansion. This system will give Aurora’s cultivation specialists precision control over all critical environmental variables to ensure production quality is consistent with the Aurora Standard. The high level of automation at Aurora Sky, management believes, will provide for ultra-low per-gram cost of production. In addition, the modular nature of the design will allow for a rapid construction process, minimizing the risk of potential delays, with completion of the new facility targeted for October of 2017. Construction of the facility’s pre-engineered structure has been underway in the Netherlands since October, 2016.

Massive Scale, High Quality, Low Cost Production

“Our objectives are very clear: to build the largest production capacity, with the highest production quality and the lowest production cost,” said Steve Dobler, P. Eng., President. “We spent the past year evaluating and selecting the world’s best design concept for cannabis production on a massive scale. We are confident that the Aurora Sky project will achieve all of our key objectives, and further establish Aurora as an innovator and world leader in the cannabis sector.”

World-leading Design and Supply Partners

The Aurora Sky project team includes designers and suppliers with impressive track records from the very best greenhouse projects around the world, collectively holding several patents and protected design integration techniques, including  Larssen Ltd, KUBO, Verkade, PDI, PB Tech, Codema and PRIVA.

Design features of the Aurora Sky project include:

  • Forced air, bottom-fed positive pressure grow facility with supplemental sun through a specialized glass roof, optimizing micromole levels for cannabis health and yield.
  • The latest in anti-reflective and diffusion glass technologies resulting in greatly reduced fan leaf shadows.
  • Meticulously placed glass in a 4-sided rubber gasket system, minimizing heat and CO2 loss, while eliminating odor escape.
  • Self-cleaning glass with snow melt technology, providing 365-day optimum supplemental sun.
  • All steel in facility will be white powder coated for maximum reflection and GMP compliant cleanliness.
  • A separated condensation system to remove humidity issues common to cannabis growth.
  • Exterior walls with the optimum combination of insulation and light penetration.
  • Rainwater harvest and full re-use technology with the latest UV and mechanical filtration technology.
  • Unique heating and cooling systems for climate uniformity, which balance temperature, air flow and humidity to avoid vapour pressure deficits.
  • Double, self-adjusting, wire driven screens for maximum energy savings, plant protection and 99.9% effective blackout.
  • Highly flexible, component-based, multiple-stage water filtration, irrigation and nutrient delivery with full recirculation and cultivar-specific feeding systems.
  • Electronic, automated climate control.
  • Full “seed-to-sale” tracking systems.
  • Fully automated, mobile platform growing system ensuring plants are positioned optimally for climate, irrigation, light, and growth at all stages.
  • Deployment of cranes and conveyors throughout the facility, providing efficiency and a safe work environment for employees.
  • Latest lighting technology with hybrid HPS and LED installation.
  • Establishment of the world’s first industrial scale Plant Tissue Culture process specific to cannabis.

Additional Expansion Proposed at Mountain View County Location

Concurrent with construction of Aurora Sky, the Company will be proposing a significant, additional production and processing expansion at its existing location near the Village of Cremona, in Mountain View County. On November 23, 2016, after four months of discussions, community engagement and four public meetings hosted by Aurora, the municipal Council of Mountain View County approved a re-designation of Aurora’s current property as a Direct Control District, allowing for the option to expand, subject to Council approval of development plans.

The proposed Mountain View County expansion, would be devoted, in part, to the establishment of a centre of excellence for the propagation of cannabis starting materials for the Leduc County greenhouse and Health Canada licensed home growers. It will also allow for additional cultivation of high-demand medical cannabis strains, large scale expansion of Aurora’s processing of cannabis oils and other derivative products, as well as high-technology upgrades to the Company’s packaging operations.

“It is important to us that we expand responsibly in Mountain View County, where the Aurora story began,” said Terry Booth, CEO.  “Having now received re-designation approval from Council, we will continue with plans to increase and enhance our presence in the County, with additional investment, employment and economic development. Our rate of growth, with rapidly increasing demand for Aurora’s high quality cannabis products, clearly justifies our expansion in both Mountain View County and Leduc County. The Aurora story, and our contribution to the Alberta economy, will now continue to evolve in at least two jurisdictions in this province.”

About Aurora

Aurora’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., is a licensed producer of medical cannabis pursuant to Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) and operates a 55,200 square foot, expandable, state-of-the-art production facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, Canada. Aurora trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “ACB”.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Terry Booth

This news release contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of such statements under applicable securities law. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “continue”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “potential”, “proposed” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. These statements are only predictions. Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the projections contained in the forward-looking statements throughout this news release. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. The Company is under no obligation, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law.

The TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE Aurora Cannabis Inc

Original article can be found here

Future of Cannabis Culture dispensaries up in smoke after police raids

“Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!” says owner Marc Emery, after co-ordinated police operation shuts down storefront marijuana shops in Toronto and franchise’s head office in Vancouver 

 Cannabis Culture’s Queen West location was closed after Friday’s police raids. 

The faint smell of marijuana smoke hung in the halls of Old City Hall on Friday, as dozens turned out for the bail hearing of Cannabis Culture dispensary owners Marc and Jodie Emery.

The “Prince and Princess of Pot,” were arrested, along with business partners Chris Goodwin, Erin Goodwin, and Britney Guerra, on Wednesday night and charged with raft of marijuana-related offences, including trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime. The arrests were part of Project Gator, a nationwide operation co-ordinated by Toronto police specifically targeting six Cannabis Culture locations in Toronto and Hamilton, and Cannabis Culture’s magazine offices in Vancouver, where no charges were laid but computers seized. Two Cannabis Culture stores in Ottawa were also raided, though police say those were not connected to Project Gator.

Police seized more than 65 kilograms of cannabis and 2.4 kilograms of concentrates, as well as more than $250,000 in cash, ramping up a police war on dispensaries that has been escalating in recent weeks as the Trudeau government, which has promised a recreational marijuana regime by spring, continues to drag its feet on legalization.  

It’s unclear why Cannabis Culture was targeted. One might interpret Project Gator as a final swipe by the police at the Emerys, who have had a long history of facing off against law enforcement as the faces of the legalization movement in Canada. The couple were front and centre during last May’s Project Claudia raids, with Jodie Emery crashing the police press conference at City Hall to protest the police action. 

But a number of armed robberies of dispensaries in recent months, including at a dispensary on Eglinton West in midtown February 15, has sparked renewed calls from local politicians to shutdown the operations.

And while the Emerys were released Friday, there will be questions about the future of their storefront franchise, which boasts some 19 locations in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

As a condition of their release, both Marc and Jodie Emery must not aid in the operation of their businesses. The Emerys were given two weeks to extricate themselves from the day-to-day operation of Cannabis Culture or risk violating the terms of their release and being sent to jail.

There are no clear answers on how the stores will operate without the involvement of the Emerys, who have been the face of the franchise. But the couple seem prepared to comply with the terms of their release for now. 

“Jodie and I can no longer be involved with Cannabis Culture stores or the brand, despite it being the culmination of 24 years of hard work and struggle,” wrote Emery in a Facebook post late Friday, that he says was written in an internet cafe after police seized their phones and computers. “You won’t find me at any Cannabis Culture stores, or any dispensary, for that matter. Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!” 

Emery writes that plans are in the works for a cross-Canada tour in May, but the couple’s current bail conditions forbid them from leaving Ontario. 

According to Emery, Cannabis Culture employees are “keen to take over” the businesses.

Certainly, by Friday afternoon, even before the Emerys had been released, Cannabis Culture’s Church Street store had re-opened, with staff openly defying the police by selling a special strain, “OG Gator,” as a middle finger to the police operation.

“We’re going to re-open every time,” said Chris, an employee at the store, who did not provide a last name. He, along with other employees and the store manager, were present during the raids, but not charged. It was another twist in a day full of them.

What should have otherwise been a fairly routine bail hearing was marked by confusion from the start. First scheduled for 10 am, the start time was pushed back an hour to accommodate the large crowd of supporters in the courthouse. Proceedings were delayed again, because the defendants had not fully read the 50-page summary setting out the charges against them. Shortly after noon, the court learned that the Justice of the Peace assigned to the court had become ill and needed to be taken to hospital, delaying proceedings until after 2 pm, when another justice could be found. All five were eventually released at around 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Emerys will appear in court again on April 21. Their lawyer had initially proposed April 20 (also known as 420, the day reserved for the annual smoke-out at Nathan Phillips Square), but moved the date at Marc Emery’s immediate – and passionate – objection. 

Original article can be found here

Pot shops: Tasty Budd’s owner among those charged by London police in last week’s raids

   Mal McMeekin, Tasty Budd’s franchise founder (Free Press file photo)

The owners of three London pot shops are among eight people charged in a crackdown on marijuana dispensaries. 

But a critic said he doubts the charges announced Friday by London police will hold up in court with Canada set to legalize the drug. 

Five men and three women face a combined 24 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking following police searches of five marijuana dispensaries across London on March 2. 

Those charged include Mal McMeekin, 34, the Tasty Budd’s franchise founder; Kara Barber, 30, owner of Healing Health; and Charles Colvin, 28, chief executive of the Chronic Hub. 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for McMeekin, a Halifax native who travelled to London in August to open the Wharncliffe Road dispensary. 

McMeekin, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, wasn’t charged when police previously searched Tasty Budd’s in the summer. 

Authorities across the country stepped up their battle against dispensaries this week. 

Former Londoner Marc Emery and his wife, Jodie, were released on bail Friday after they were arrested Wednesday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. 

Police across the country launched a series of co-ordinated searches Thursday of marijuana dispensaries linked to the Vancouver-based marijuana advocates. 

Police seized $250,000 in cash in several currencies after searching seven Cannabis Culture stores and several homes. 

Officers seized more than 65 kilograms of marijuana, 2.4 kg of cannabis extract and other drug paraphernalia. 

Authorities searched Cannabis Culture locations in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Vancouver. By Friday, most of the shops had reopened. 

Emery, 59, faces 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery, 32, is charged with five similar counts. 

One leading lawyer for marijuana activists says the charges against people swept up in recent searches won’t stick in court. 

“They’ll most likely be dropped or stayed,” Vancouver-based lawyer Robert Laurie said. 

“If the court system is already overstrained . . . dealing with serious crimes, then I honestly think judges are going to be scratching their heads and saying, ‘Why is this in front of me?’ ” 

Dispensaries are illegal under a federal law that limits the sale of marijuana for medicinal use to a few dozen government-approved commercial producers. 

Hundreds of pot shops have sprouted in Canadian cities since the federal Liberals swept to power in 2015 with a vow to bring in legislation this spring to legalize recreational marijuana use and regulate its sale. 

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, now a Liberal MP, is the point man on the plan. 

Blair’s recent visit to London on Feb. 28 — just two days before the raids — prompted many to speculate that he delivered the Prime Minister’s message that municipalities should enforce the law when it comes to dispensaries to Chief John Pare. 

But police denied the crackdown had anything to do with Blair’s visit, saying the raids were a response to citizen complaints. 

So far, three of the raided London dispensaries have vowed to reopen. 

Dispensary client Cayla Cornell started a petition demanding city officials allow the shops to operate freely. 

Cornell, 26, said she’s already collected hundreds of signatures for the petition, which is available at the Chronic Hub on Dundas Street. 

The charged:

  • Perry Middaugh, 55, of Markstay
  • Emily Pavlech, 23, of London
  • Kara Barber, 30, of London
  • Fallon Altwasser, 26, of Kitchener
  • Mal McMeekin, 34, of no fixed address
  • Nathan Hall, 26, of London
  • Charles Colvin, 28, of London
  • Paisley Grey, 23, of London 

Original article can be found here

Jodie Emery forced to give up Cannabis Culture

Canada’s “Princess of Pot” has been dethroned.

After her recent arrest along with husband Marc at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport as part of a sting operation targeting Cannabis Culture outlets across the country, Jodie Emery has been set free but with cruel and unusual bail conditions.

Including giving up her life’s work with Cannabis Culture.

In a Facebook post, she recounted her ordeal to supporters:

“I’m finally free, along with my beloved husband and friends, after I spent two long nights in remand and then a women’s jail here in Toronto. It was horrific and degrading and unjust, being stripped naked twice, caged in numerous cells, and put through that entire ordeal but now I know first-hand what so many hundreds of thousands of people have suffered and experienced at the hands of sadistic prohibitionists.”

In order to be released on bail, I am no longer allowed to be the owner and operator of Cannabis Culture — including the magazine, headshops, and vapour lounges. I cannot attend any location, not even our 307 West Hastings Street headquarters, where I’ve spent 13 years devoting my life 100% to ending cannabis prohibition and the drug war worldwide. My advocacy won’t end. My activism won’t stop. But it will all be done as the individual Jodie Emery, not as part of Cannabis Culture, which utterly breaks my heart.

We have had everything taken from us by these actions of the Toronto Drug Squad, Toronto Police, and the Trudeau Liberal government but we have survived cruel injustices before, and we will survive this massive effort to destroy us and our hard work. And I know I can live in peace, knowing that we have NEVER hurt anyone — it’s the prohibitionist government and police who have hurt and even killed millions of people in their drug war — and knowing our decades of activism work has helped millions of people worldwide. The aggressors and oppressors are the evil-doers… we’ve only every been peaceful and passionate in our campaign for true cannabis freedom.

Tomorrow, we hope to get phones so we can speak with family, friends and loved ones. For now, I want to say thank you to everyone who supports us, and I promise that I will NEVER stop pushing for liberty for our people, our culture, and our plant. That’s been the goal all along, even those long hard years of Marc’s 2005-2014 extradition battle and imprisonment, when we had next to nothing, but still gave our all to the marijuana legalization movement.

Sending love to everyone who fights alongside us for freedom.”

Original article can be found here

4 arrested after police bust marijuana dispensary in Kitchener

Police seized large amounts of money, marijuana and hash, as well as edible treats and beverages

Waterloo Regional Police arrested four people Friday after searching a marijuana dispensary in downtown Kitchener. (Colin Butler/CBC News) 

Waterloo Regional Police arrested four people Friday after searching a marijuana dispensary in downtown Kitchener. Police say they initiated an investigation last month into the illegal sale of marijuana and other cannabis products from dispensaries in the region. 

The dispensaries investigated received multiple warnings to suspend operations, police said, noting that the sale of cannabis is illegal unless a distributor is licensed by Health Canada. 

During Friday’s search, police seized large amounts of marijuana, hash, and other cannabis products, like edible treats and beverages, from the dispensary. Money was also seized. 

Three women and one man have been arrested and face charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking.  

Original article can be found here

Justin Trudeau backs controversial medical marijuana shop in Winnipeg

Throwback article from July 23rd 2015

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has unveiled his environmental platform, saying he would work with the provinces to put a price on carbon pollution if he becomes Canada’s next prime minister. Trudeau tours Jericho Beach Park before his platform announcement in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2015. DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is speaking out in support of a controversial medical marijuana store in Winnipeg. 

During a stop in the city on Wednesday, Trudeau said marijuana storefronts like “Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters,” owned by Glenn Price, should be allowed to operate. 

At a Liberal campaign office just blocks away from the shop, Trudeau reiterated his pledge to legalize marijuana if elected. 

He said by licensing and restricting the sale, it keeps the drugs out of the hands of kids and criminals. 

Police closed down Price’s store last week, saying he is not a licensed producer so it’s illegal for him to sell medical marijuana. 

Supporters of Price held a rally this week outside of police headquarters, and Price has since reopened the store in defiance of the police order. 

Price has said he only provides the product to people with appropriate medical documentation and said he’s helped hundreds of people since opening on July 1. 

Original article Can be found here

Project Gator is a crock

By: Andrew Fleming


There’s no shortage of ridiculousness regarding the recent Project Gator raids on Cannabis Culture shops across the country. 

There’s the fact that people were thrown in jail due to selling products that are supposedly going to become legal any day now. 

Or that the raids were organized by Toronto police, whose former chief is meant to be the person steering the path towards legalization. 

Or that Vancouver police, who had previously made the principled decision to leave dispensaries alone pending new laws, were evidently happy to do the bidding of their bigger city counterparts. 

Or that the value of LP stock shot up due to the perception this was a victory for Big Pot at the expense of the underground craft cannabis industry. 

Or that Ottawa cops are pretending they weren’t actually part of it and simply happened to raid a newly opened Cannabis Culture shop the same day by coincidence. 

But perhaps the most ridiculous thing about this whole fiasco is the name Project Gator itself. It’s easy to assume it was chosen because alligators are apex predators and some cop – probably the kind of guy who calls his biceps “pythons” – thought it sounded badass. 

Like the trenchcoat-wearing McGruff the Crime Dog, Project Gator would take a bite out of crime! 

But it’s worth keeping in mind the Toronto Police Service actually have a history of choosing names for their major investigations quite carefully. For people who regularly spell marijuana as “marihuana,” they have a surprisingly good way with words. 

For example, they named a major drug bust Project Bread Maker because it began at a Dempster Street location and Dempster is one of the country’s biggest bread brands. Project Decepticon was named after a Transformers robot who showed up on ecstasy tablets, and Project Marvel was inspired by suspects who used comic book characters for codenames. 

Typically the lead investigator is in charge of picking a handle, but they sometimes ask underlings to come up with suggestions. 

“Yes, sometimes [investigators] agonize over them,” Staff Inspector Randy Franks told the National Post in 2012. “I shouldn’t say we insist, but it’s been a standard that projects come along and they have names… These are serious investigations and if we add a little bit of lightheartedness, it isn’t intended to diminish the seriousness of the investigation.” 

So it’s hard not to wonder about how Project Gator got its name. Here are some possible, albeit unlikely explanations:

  • Alligators aren’t native to Canada, so perhaps this was a subtle dig about the time Canadian police busted Cannabis Culture founder Marc Emery at the DEA’s request for selling seeds through the mail and he ended up serving hard time at federal prisons in Georgia and Mississippi. States that both have alligators.
  • It’s a play on the expression “see ya later, alligator.” Which could work given how frequently Emery finds himself arrested on pot charges.
  • “Project Gator raid” sounds like Project Gatorade and even cops can appreciate a good pun.
  • Project X was already taken.
  • Project Croc would’ve reminded people of “crock” – a word meaning nonsense – and this would’ve been a bit too accurate for this vast waste of taxpayers’ money.
  • Alligators are green. So is weed. Creativity at the T.O cop shop could be slipping.

But I’d like to think someone simply misspelled the word “gaiter,” a garment worn over shoes to keep feet dry. Because Toronto police have just stepped into a river of shit when it comes to popular opinion and they’re probably going to need them. 

Original article can be found here