A medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Hamilton was robbed at gunpoint Saturday.
“Basically, four guys ran in with guns,” Mike Desrochers, who has run Delta Nine medical marijuana dispensary at 2 Catharine St. N. since August, said Sunday.
Desrochers said the armed robbers, who burst into the shop around 1:30 p.m., didn’t make off with much, however. “They were too stupid to open the cash drawer.”
Staff Sgt. Marco Del Conte said four suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.
Desrochers, who called 911 to report the robbery, says police stayed to investigate but then produced a warrant hours later.
“They took everything else that was in the store,” he said. “All our product was taken, and we’re back to zero.”
Police and the Hamilton’s bylaw department have raided several illegal dispensaries in recent months. Owners argue they’re providing an essential medical service that Health Canada-licensed facilities aren’t meeting.
The police’s BEAR, and vice and drugs units are working together on the investigation, Del Conte said, but couldn’t comment on the warrant.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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,
AURORA CANNABIS INC.
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.
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.
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.