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Legal pot won’t stop black market: RCMP

‘Naive’ to think that it will, health panel told

  • Calgary Herald
  • 12 Sep 2017
getimage.aspx?regionKey=xFzH%2bHcB5dt3iJe9Zr9POg%3d%3dTHEO STROOMER / GETTY IMAGES The Ontario government has announced plans to sell soon-to-be-legalized marijuana through outlets run by its LCBO alcohol monopoly, at a restricted number of locations. Critics say this will do little to eliminate the black market.

It would be “naive” to think that marijuana legalization will shut down the black market for the drug, an RCMP official stated during the first day of the House of Commons health committee’s study of the federal cannabis bill.

There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed to fight organized crime, including the possibility that the black market could undercut legal marijuana sales, Joanne Crampton, RCMP assistant commissioner of federal policing criminal operations, told the committee Monday morning.

As for the odds of eliminating the black market through legalization — it would be “naive to think that that could happen,” she said in answer to a question from Liberal MP John Oliver.

The Trudeau government tabled its bill to legalize marijuana in April, promising that pot will be legal by July 2018.

The legislation is being scrutinized before the House of Commons resumes on Sept. 18.

Anne McLellan, who led the federal task force on legalizing marijuana, told the committee that pricing will be key to the success of the legal market, but said that Washington state hasn’t seen an increase in marijuana use among young people since legalization.

Kathy Thompson, an assistant deputy minister in the Department of Public Safety, said it will take “some time” and a “robust regime” for legal marijuana to overtake the black market.

She said the government will need to meet the demand for legal pot, and that pricing will be “very important.”

Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2014, has been “slowly displacing organized crime year over year,” Thompson claimed.

Representatives from Colorado and Washington state will address the House committee on Tuesday.

Thompson also pointed to the federal government’s announcement of $274 million for pot-related policing and border enforcement on Friday, which she said will “ensure that (the RCMP and CBSA) have an intelligenceled approach to tackling and targeting organized crime.”

In answer to a question from NDP MP Don Davies, Thompson indicated the government will not consider a streamlined process for pardoning those who’ve been recently convicted of pot possession.

Statistics Canada data shows that 17,733 people were charged with possession of marijuana in 2016, equal to 76 per cent of all cannabis-related charges.

Currently, Canadians must wait at least five years after completing their sentence to apply for a pardon, and must pay a $631 fee to the Parole Board of Canada.

During a forum with VICE Canada in April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government would “take steps to look at what we can do for those folks who have criminal records for something that would no longer be criminal.”

But on Monday, Thompson said the government has “no plans at this time to introduce an automatic pardon.”

Many of the specifics around pot legalization have been left to the provinces to hammer out.

On Friday, Ontario unveiled its plan for legal marijuana, which would restrict the sale to 150 governmentrun stores opened throughout the province by 2020. Ontario also opted to set the minimum legal age for recreational consumption at 19, while the federal minimum age is 18.

Some questions have been raised about whether the provinces could effectively prohibit legal marijuana use by hiking the minimum age or decreasing the personal possession limit to zero.

But Diane Labelle, general counsel for Health Canada legal services, said it’s unlikely that would fly, because it would run counter to the federal law. “Then a court challenge could look at the situation and see to what extent Parliament’s law has been frustrated,” she said.

Davies also raised concerns about the fact that edible marijuana products aren’t covered by this bill, saying that edibles make up a growing portion of Canada’s marijuana market.

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so if you sell "black Market" pot after the legalization, what do you get charged with?  Tax Evasion?


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Seems that the additional tax revenue is not that great, at least south of us.

As provinces ponder how to regulate pot, Colorado offers a guide Staff
Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017 7:59PM EDT

Tax revenues from marijuana sales aren’t enough to justify legalizing the drug, but a “closed loop” system with proper rules can help keep pot out the hands of minors and criminals, according to a Colorado official who oversees cannabis.

Michael Hartman, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, sat down with a committee of MPs in Ottawa on Tuesday to discuss how his state has struck a balance between sales and taxation while enforcing strict regulations.

Colorado became the first state to legalize pot in 2014 and has brought in slightly more than $500 million since then -- a figure Hartman says doesn’t come close to


Michael Hartman, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, speaks to CTV's Power Play about how his state has regulated marijuana.

“One of the things that we spoke with the ministers today about was the fact that, candidly, the tax revenues that come in with it aren’t necessarily the justification for doing it,” he told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday.

The Liberal government plans to have marijuana legalized by July 2018. Last week, Ontario became the first province to outline its sales system, which includes 150 stand-alone stores opened by 2020 and a minimum age of 19.

Colorado has a 15 per cent tax on recreational marijuana, but local jurisdictions can add up to another 5 per cent to help offset costs such as law enforcement. Medicinal marijuana is treated differently, with a 2.9 sales tax tacked on at the state level.

Hartman said his department handles about $12 billion of revenue through four businesses, including marijuana. This year, pot is expected to account for just $200 million -- or 1.6 per cent -- of that figure.

“It’s just a pittance of the $12 billion in revenue that I touch,” Hartman said.

Those funds are earmarked for specific public services, such as Colorado’s highway transportation fund and school improvements. The state also puts money back into law enforcement to ensure that police have enough resources to enforce rules.

Colorado has divided marijuana sales into two markets: home growers, who are allotted a certain number of plants per home, and the regulated sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana through licensed dispensaries.

Hartman refused to weigh in on what he thinks Canada’s system should look like, saying it’s “not his place to comment,” but he did endorse the idea of limiting home growers.

“I did provide some level of kudos to the ministers today in terms of what they’re looking to do to limit the ability to grow it in homes, because that’s the marketplace where we see the most diversion,” he said.

Colorado and Canada share one of the biggest priorities in regulating pot -- keeping it out of the hands of criminals and cracking down on the so-called “black market.” Hartman says his state employs strict rules for anyone looking to sell marijuana.

“Anybody that comes in for a license, whether it’s on the medicinal side or the recreational side, is required to get a complete FBI background check, a complete check of all of the financial history to make sure that they don’t have any ties to illegal crime, that they don’t have ties to cartels overseas or anything along those lines,” he said.

The House Health Committee is meeting this week to study Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, before Parliament is back is session on Monday.

The committee is expected to hear from dozens of witnesses from Monday to Friday on issues such as public safety, policing and the responsibilities of the federal and provincial counterparts.

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Why has the public come to expect that governments have an automatic Right to place their filthy corrupted hands in the people's pockets in the first place? If little t ever does decriminalize / legalize the stuff the cost of the new revenue protecting police force will exceed the associated taxes collected, which will force ongoing tax increases, and so it will go.



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49 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

Why has the public come to expect that governments have an automatic Right to place their filthy corrupted hands in the people's pockets in the first place? If little t ever does decriminalize / legalize the stuff the cost of the new revenue protecting police force will exceed the associated taxes collected, which will force ongoing tax increases, and so it will go.



We gave them the right when we accepted taxation with representation (so to speak) :D

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Not unlike 'the budget will balance itself' but in this case, 'the law will figure itself out'.


"That's incredibly concerning. Because you have the government saying we don't think this is criminal but we're going to create a criminal offence for it in order to prevent it from getting to the level where it might be criminal. That's unheard of in our legal history,"

Government releases legal limits for drugged driving but can't say how much pot is too much






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I was speaking with an officer several weeks ago nad they were fighting the first case in court already.  I am not sure if it had gone to trial yet but the challenge was made.

I am sure people are awaiting the outcome of that one.


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A lot has been posted both pro and con re the legalization of pot here in Canada. Following is an article on how Colorado has faired. Note their age limit.

No 'significant issues' from marijuana legalization, says Colorado medical officer

Keep marijuana and alcohol separate, Dr. Larry Wolk advises

By Kevin Yarr, CBC NewsPosted: Oct 23, 2017 9:25 AM AT Last Updated: Oct 23, 2017 9:25 AM AT

The Chief Medical Officer in Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2014, has some advice for Canada leading up to the legalization of marijuana on July 1.

Dr. Larry Wolk told Island Morning host Matt Rainnie Canadians have been interested in hearing his opinions on the subject since it was confirmed marijuana legalization was coming to Canada, and to hear what his state's experience has been.

"The short answer is we haven't seen much," said Wolk.

"We haven't experienced any significant issues as a result of legalization."

One in four adults and one in five youth use marijuana on a somewhat regular basis," said Wolk, and those numbers haven't changed since legalization.

More hospital visits

Wolk noted marijuana has caused a few more visits to the ER, but most of those people are visitors, not residents. He credits an extensive education campaign with helping residents use marijuana safely.

On the subject of safety, Wolk cautioned against selling marijuana in liquor stores or bars.

It makes some sense to align the legal age for marijuana and alcohol use, says Dr. Larry Wolk. (Radio-Canada)

"The co-use of marijuana and liquor is a bad idea," he said.

"Marijuana in of itself — or the THC — and alcohol in of itself can cause impairment, and we know that those effects are not just additive but exponentially increased if somebody chooses to co-use both substances."

Health issues versus practical issues

Setting a legal age for use is tricky, said Wolk, because there are both health and practical factors to take into consideration.

"Biologically we know the correct age should be 25," he said.

"Nineteen may be a little too young, I mean because, again, of the developing brain issues, but if that's the legal drinking age and you already have a high prevalence … then it may make sense to align that with the legal drinking age."

In Colorado the legal age for marijuana use is 21, the same as for alcohol.

The Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey has found that P.E.I. youth already have the highest rates of marijuana use in the country, with about one in four reporting in 2014-15 they had used it in the previous 12 months.

Wolk said there are still unanswered questions about legalization. There has been no increase in recorded impaired driving, but the numbers are difficult to track.

It terms of marijuana being a gateway drug, he said Colorado has seen an increase in heroin-related deaths, but those increases are in line with national trends, and again there is no clear evidence either way.

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Another State to ramp up legal pot on Jan 01/2018 but apparently they are not ready.

Oct 29, 12:32 PM EDT

Confusion coming with California's legal marijuana

Associated Press


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ready or not, California kicks off recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1. And, mostly, it's not.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are among many cities still struggling to fashion local rules for pot shops and growers. Without the regulations, there could be limited options in many places for consumers eager to ring in the new year with a legal pot purchase.

"The bulk of folks probably are not going to be ready Jan. 1," conceded Cara Martinson of the California State Association of Counties.

In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six marijuana plants at home.

Come January, the newly legalized recreational sales will be merged with the state's two-decade-old medical marijuana market, which is also coming under much stronger regulation.

But big gaps loom in the system intended to move cannabis from the field to distribution centers, then to testing labs and eventually retail shops.

The state intends to issue only temporary licenses starting in January, and it has yet to release its plan to govern the estimated $7 billion marketplace, the nation's largest legal pot economy.

If businesses aren't licensed and operating in the legal market, governments aren't collecting their slice of revenue from sales. The state alone estimates it could see as much as $1 billion roll in within several years.

Operators have complained about what they see as potential conflicts in various laws and rules, or seemingly contradictory plans.

The state expects businesses that receive licenses will only work with others that hold them. But that has alarmed operators who wonder what will happen if their supplier, for example, decides not to join the new legal market.

Others say it's not clear what could happen in cities that don't enact pot laws, which they warn could open a loophole for businesses to set up shop. Some communities have banned recreational sales completely.

Most banks continue to refuse to do business with marijuana operators - pot remains illegal under federal law - and there are also problems obtaining insurance.

With recreational legalization fast approaching, "we don't have enough of anything," lamented Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, a marijuana industry group.

The route to legalization began last year when voters approved Proposition 64, which opened the way for recreational pot sales to adults in the nation's most populous state.

Unlike the state, cities and counties face no deadline to act. However, the concern is that confusion and a patchwork of local rules could discourage operators from entering the legal economy, feeding a black market that could undercut the legitimate one.

Local regulation is a foundation block of the emerging pot economy: A grower or retailer needs a local permit first, which is a steppingstone to obtaining a state license to operate.

But those rules remain in limbo in many places.

San Jose, the state's third-largest city, has a temporary ban on sales other than medical pot but officials this week proposed hearings to take another look at how to regulate the local industry.

Kern County, home to nearly 900,000 people, has outlawed recreational pot. Supervisors said they see it as a danger to citizens and also voted to phase out more than two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries.

In Los Angeles, which by some estimates could be a $1 billion marketplace, voters have been strongly supportive of legal pot.

But its proposed regulations hit snags, including a dispute over a proposal for so-called certificates of compliance, which operators feared would not meet qualification requirements for state licenses.

Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, an industry group, warned last month that L.A.'s draft rules could upend the emerging industry by failing to provide a prompt way to license suppliers, potentially forcing then to shut down. And he's dubious that the city will be ready to begin issuing licenses on Jan. 1.

"There's not a lot of calendar days left in the year," he said.

San Francisco, another city that strongly supports legalization, still is debating local rules. Again, it's uncertain what will be ready, or when.

"What we want to do is bring everything into the daylight, regulate it, get fees for the cost of regulation and collect taxes as appropriate," said county Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.

San Diego is among the cities ready to get the recreational market going.

Phil Rath, executive director of the United Medical Marijuana Coalition, a San Diego trade group, said years of disorder in the medical market led to increased black market business. That provided a ready example of how not to manage recreational sales.

San Diego moved promptly, setting up a system that will allow recreational sales at dispensaries permitted under the medical system, once they qualify for a state license.

Industry experts say the distribution system - a sort of main artery where pot will be received from growers, sent out for testing, taxed, and eventually shipped to retail stores - is not robust enough to support the vast new market.

The distributor model "was the subject of most of the political wrangling over the last two years," Allen said.

"That's the control point," he said, but "we don't have enough of them."

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Nov 5, 10:25 AM EST

Sticker shock coming with California's new pot market

Associated Press

AP Photo/Richard Vogel

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Consumers eager for the coming of California's legal recreational marijuana market should be ready for sticker shock.

An array of new taxes and fees will be attached to pot sales next year, driving up prices.

For example, a small bag of good-quality medical marijuana in Los Angeles now runs about $35.

But in the legal recreational market next year, industry experts say the same amount is expected to ring up at the retail counter for $50 or $60.

At the high end, that's a 70 percent boost.

Medical pot purchases are expected to jump in price too, but not as steeply.

Some fear bargain-hunting consumers will turn to the black market, undercutting efforts to establish the legal one.


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3 hours ago, Malcolm said:
Some fear bargain-hunting consumers will turn to the black market, undercutting efforts to establish the legal one.

There is virtually no doubt as the bootleggers are already making plans.... Is there any other possible outcome here? There will be more grow ops not less. This time next year, my question will be, "what did you think was going to happen?" 

Edited by Wolfhunter

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11 minutes ago, Wolfhunter said:

There is virtually no doubt as the bootleggers are already making plans.... Is there any other possible outcome here? There will be more grow ops not less. This time next year, my question will be, "what did you think was going to happen?" 

I imagine the "real product" will bear some sort of tax stamp that will of course end up be counterfeited. This will be impossible to enforce as loose weed is loose weed.  

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I don't know about you, but I would rather buy a certified product from a licensed legal distributor, same as I do for my wine and whiskey. You might have a bit of trouble trying to sue the Hells Angels if there was some fentanyl in your product and a family member died.

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3 minutes ago, mo32a said:

I don't know about you, but I would rather buy a certified product from a licensed legal distributor, same as I do for my wine and whiskey. You might have a bit of trouble trying to sue the Hells Angels if there was some fentanyl in your product and a family member died.

As would I but then there are those looking for a bargain, somewhat like those who book on a fly by night carrier because of the price and then get burnt when it closes it's doors.  And of course we can not ignore the great unwashed mass of folks that buy illegal smokes because of the price ..... Those chasing "chear" have parked with comment sense in exchange for common cents.  :D

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Private stores will sell pot in Manitoba while province will control distribution

Progressive Conservatives explain their plan for the legal trade of marijuana next year

CBC NewsPosted: Nov 07, 2017 1:02 PM CT Last Updated: Nov 07, 2017 2:47 PM CT

Winnipeg-based producer Delta 9 went public on the TSX Venture stock exchange last week, gearing up to expand production ahead of legalization.

Winnipeg-based producer Delta 9 went public on the TSX Venture stock exchange last week, gearing up to expand production ahead of legalization. (Travis 

Manitoba has unveiled a "hybrid model" for selling pot in the province when recreational marijuana use becomes legal next July.

The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp. will secure the supply of marijuana and track it in Manitoba, but private retail stores will be in charge of selling it.

Pot won't be sold where alcohol is sold, which means the province won't have to pay for new storefronts, Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will deal with supply chains and orders from retailers, and retail stores will open as early as July 2, 2018.

Marijuana is scheduled to be legalized under federal legislation on July 1, 2018.

The province is now taking applications from retailers to open one or more stores to sell pot. That process will remain open until Dec. 22, 2017.

"This is a step by step process," said Pallister, who did not reveal at what age people will be able to legally purchase pot.

Pallister also did not say how many stores will be allowed.

"We'll wait and see what the request for proposal allows as a response, I suppose. We remain anticipating we'll have a great response," said Pallister.

Applications from retailers will have to meet a "wide array of stipulations," including things such as distance from schools and protection of cannabis supply sources, he said.

"We also want to be sure that we get access to the Manitoba market. This is important in terms of competitiveness. This is one of the main concerns. It's fine to say, 'We have stores,' but people don't go to stores unless there's a competitive service or product being offered there," said Pallister.

The province is open to private retailers selling online, he said, and cannabis should also be accessible within a 30-minute drive for about 90 per cent of the population. 



The government said there was great interest when it put out a provincial expression of interest to test the market. That expression of interest closed in September. 

The province's approach will make sure there's a consistent and affordable supply chain, preventing diversion to the black market, said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen. It will also send a message: "Manitoba is open for business."

A regulatory framework and licensing regime is in development, the province said.

All of the cannabis in stores must be purchased by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, which will get it from federally licensed producers.

There aren't currently enough licensed producers in the province to meet demand, Pallister said, but he hopes it will be an opportunity for the industry to grow at home. 

The province plans to displace 50 per cent of the illegal market within a year of legalization because the province "wants to push gangs out of the business, so we need to be able to expand."

Anyone who wants to get into the Manitoba marijuana retail business needs to show they can adapt as the industry changes, including for edible cannabis products, which are not currently included in the legalization.

Some Manitoba companies already have major money on the table and pushed for a private distribution and retail model. 

Winnipeg-based producer Delta 9, the only producer licensed to sell medical cannabis in Manitoba, went public on the TSX Venture stock exchange last week, gearing up to expand production ahead of legalization. CEO John Arbuthnot said he would like to see Delta 9 storefronts selling recreational cannabis. 

In the wake of Tuesday's announcement, Delta 9's stock prices jumped up around 25 per cent in just over an hour. 

Many smaller players, such as vape shops, also pushed for private enterprise, but Vape Haven and Hemp Haven owner Jeremy Loewen said the government needs to play a role to make sure it's a level playing field for those who want to open dispensaries. 

Pallister also has seen pressure from the public sector, with a union saying ahead of the announcement that government stores are the safest way to run the industry.

Union wanted government-run stores

Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union president Michelle Gawronsky said the sale should be through stand-alone stores operated by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries staff. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries did respond to the government's call for a request for expressions of interest.

Most provinces and territories are still working through how cannabis will be sold. 

Alberta announced cannabis will be sold in specialty stores, separate from alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, but there are no details about whether the stores will be publicly or privately operated. 

In Ontario, the cannabis plan announced earlier this fall included about 150 stand-alone stores and an online ordering service that will be overseen by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. 

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Some timely information for those who will want to try cannabis when it becomes legal. 

and also of course for those who are presently using it but since the police are not yet actively checking for it, may be caught up in the new law.


How much is OK before taking wheel?

  • Calgary Herald
  • 20 Nov 2017

One toke of a joint is enough to lead to a traffic fine under rules rolled out ahead of cannabis legalization across Canada.

Drivers who smoke weed and don’t want to get caught legally impaired would need to wait at least several hours before getting behind the wheel, said Doug Beirness, senior research associate at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

“There really is no amount of cannabis you can smoke and stay under a level of two (nanograms per millilitre),” he said in an interview from Ottawa.

The Alberta NDP introduced Bill 29 Tuesday to update the provincial Traffic Safety Act in response to federal legislation and pending changes to the Criminal Code of Canada. Use of recreational pot will be legal July 1.

Under Bill C-46, impaired drivers face a maximum $1,000 fine if their blood tests positive for two to five nanograms per millilitre of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Those penalties increase as THC levels rise — drivers face a minimum $1,000 fine for blood tests showing more than five ng/mL for a first-time offence.

Second offences and beyond are subject to harsher penalties, such as jail time. That goes for combined alcohol-cannabis use of 2.5 ng/mL of THC with a blood-alcohol level of .05 as well.

The rules include zero tolerance for new drivers under Alberta’s graduated licensing program.

A CCSA study released earlier this year found that in 2012 there were 75 fatalities across Canada due to cannabis use while driving. Add to that more than 4,400 injuries and close to 7,800 victims of property damage.

Edmonton-McClung NDP MLA Lorne Dach — who supported Bill 29 — told the Legislative Assembly on Thursday about the death of his younger brother Kevin Dach due to impaired driving.

On Grey Cup day in 1977, his 17-year-old brother was killed by a drunk driver, along with two others in the same car.

“All were students at Lakeland College, full of promise, and every family affected horribly by it,” he said during a committee of the whole, recorded in Hansard.

“I seldom will have a drink if I’m going to drive, and I do ask myself whenever I’m at a function — how many joints or drinks would I like my airline pilot to have before they get into the cockpit?”

Dach — who said that’s the question that needs to be asked when debating impaired driving legislation — touted a zero-tolerance policy in the long term.

“In the meantime implementing the legislation now will act as a deterrent and save lives even as we seek a reliable test method,” he said.

Transportation Minister Brian Mason said drivers who use cannabis should wait at least 24 hours before heading out on the road. “The cannabis enforcement mirrors what we do with alcohol.”

But using alcohol regulations as a framework for cannabis could be problematic, Beirness suggested.

A blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher can lead to a criminal charge. That number — 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood — amounts to around four drinks or more for most people, he said.

“We could easily say ‘You could have a couple (of drinks) and you’re probably under the limit,’ ” Beirness said. “You can’t say to someone, ‘You can have no more than a joint.’ ”

Until relatively recently, THC content in cannabis was around five per cent, he said. Now that’s closer to 20 per cent. “It’s gone up dramatically.”

Potency is even higher for products including cannabis oil, shatter, wax and butter, which can have 90 per cent THC content.

So, what is the minimum amount of time someone should wait to drive after consuming cannabis?

“I would say at the very, very minimum four hours and that probably isn’t good enough ... eight would be better,” Beirness said. “Then again, it depends on how much you smoked, what you smoked or how you used it, and how often you use it.”

Although there aren’t easily determined thresholds for cannabis use and driving, he said the regulations act as a deterrent — “there’s a value in having a limit.”

The federal government has said saliva-based screening is under development, which would give police a roadside tool to screen drivers under suspicion of using drugs.

But there’s no test that determines an individual’s impairment, and even waiting 24 hours doesn’t guarantee a negative THC blood test.

A chronic cannabis user who smokes three or more blunts a day could test positive for THC two weeks after quitting, Beirness said.

“You accumulate this level of THC in your fat cells which is slowly being released in your blood,” he said.

“Cannabis impairments are highly variable.”

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not currently checking for it?  The first case is alread in the courts.


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For those who have the time and of course the interest: 

OTTAWA -- Health Canada has unveiled a consultation paper with a suite of proposed cannabis regulations, including mandatory warnings on all products, similar to those on tobacco.

The regulations released today are now up for public consultation for the next 60 days.

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14 hours ago, Malcolm said:

which province?

Ontario.  halton Region specifically


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On 22/11/2017 at 5:28 AM, boestar said:

Ontario.  halton Region specifically


Thanks, It would be interesting to know the charges and of course the final decision. 


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Smoke, mirrors in kerfuffle over legal cannabis


  • Calgary Herald
  • 27 Nov 2017
  • CHRIS NELSON Chris Nelson is a Calgary writer.

Only government could get rid of something and then announce it’ll now cost more to do less.

And you wonder why we relentlessly borrow so much money across this country?

It’s because when it’s not your own pocket you’re digging into, then suggestions of expediency and cost control remain vague murmurs on a passing breeze.

Take the ludicrous faffing-about going on since the feds followed through on an election promise — wonders never cease — and announced they’d legalize cannabis.

There are fine people who oppose this on moral and health grounds, but the history of fighting and losing this endless “war on drugs” gives credence to this directional change.

Anyhow, Justin Trudeau’s bunch ran on it and won so, fair enough, they possess a mandate for change.

Other than the shock of politicians doing as promised, the looming legalization should not surprise anyone — the public, police, health service, courts and all levels of government.

Now I say “looming”with tongue planted in cheek, because only in officialdom could two year’s notice be deemed speedy.

Yet to listen to these various public bodies, you’d think they’d awoken one Monday and were told to get this done by Tuesday.

The Grits won in October, 2015, and never wavered this was coming.

The bill landed with a thud back in April, while implementation takes place next July. How long do these people want?

Instead, we hear: “Oh what are we going to do, how will we police this, who will pay for this, that and the other? How much? How young? How often?”

Frightening people is the quickest route to the public trough.

This isn’t to suggest we should ignore such questions, but does it take two years to decide if someone 18 or 21 should be allowed to purchase pot — it was always going to be one of the other. Should it be sold in private stores or public, how much should the tax be, how much can you grow at home? OK, give ’em three months — that should be enough to figure this stuff out.

We’re ditching a law that’s branded otherwise reasonable citizens as criminals and yet hardly made smoking a joint some rare or bizarre act.

Yep, people have done it for a long time, causing cops, lawyers and prison guards extra work enforcing a law so many ignored.

In the real world, where people pay their own tab, you imagine ridding the books of such hard-to-implement legalities would save both time and money. Even if you didn’t back legalization, you might think: “Oh well, at least it’ll curb the violent, illegal drug trade, free up courts and cops, bring in some tax dollars from levies on legal dope and — yahoo — save me and mine when we do our yearly due diligence with Revenue Canada. Silly you. Save those yahoos for the Stampede. Premier Rachel Notley says she’s worried legalization will drive up policing and court bills the province cannot afford. She’s hardly alone. Watch the city come up with a bunch more bylaw Billies and Brendas to check every regulation they can dream up to implement.

Frightening people is the quickest route to the public trough. Heck, it once was the impending horror of Reefer Madness that necessitated tax dollars going down the drain.

That hand’s been played out long ago, so now it’s the looming onslaught of dozy drivers, toked up and roaring down a street near you. So we need more training to catch them, stop them and jail them. And that means more money.

So, given the bucketfuls that Calgarians are smoking of dope right now, and a fair few will then drive off somewhere, have we not already got cops trained to deal with it?

After all, it’s already an offence to get behind the wheel in such a state and yes, sure, we probably do need a better type of pot-fume breathalyzer, but Armageddon isn’t around the corner come July 1. It’ll be just another day in Canada.

Except it’ll cost you a little more.

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it will be interesting to see how the "New Non Partisan" Senate deals with this:

Federal marijuana legislation clears House of Commons, headed for the Senate

Bill C-45 will now go to the Senate for further scrutiny

By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: Nov 27, 2017 5:12 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 27, 2017 7:28 PM ET

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, from left, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and then health minister Jane Philpott introduced the federal government's legislation last April. Bill C-45 could pass a key hurdle tonight. (The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld)

MPs passed the Liberal government's bill to legalize cannabis Monday evening, sending the legislation down the hall to the Senate for further study and debate.

The legislation was largely supported along partisan lines, although it secured the support of the NDP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The final vote was 200 MPs in favour, with 82 against. Conservative MP Scott Reid voted for the bill after he polled constituents in his eastern Ontario riding, Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, and found a plurality supported the Liberal plan.

A last-ditch Conservative effort to delay the bill — and send it to the Commons health committee for further study — failed by a vote of 83 to 199 with some Bloc Québecois MPs voting with Tory legislators. Conservative opposition will now fall to their national caucus colleagues in the Red Chamber, where some senators have already signalled they are prepared to give the bill a rough ride. Some Tories have said the government's timeline for legalization, July 1, 2018, is far too ambitious.

The Liberal government ultimately accepted three significant amendments to the bill made by the Commons committee tasked with studying the landmark legislation — the government has agreed to ditch its plan to cap marijuana plants maintained in a person's home to 100 centimetres tall. MPs felt such a requirement would be too difficult to enforce. The government also accepted an amendment that would demand regulations be enacted, one year from Bill C-45's passage, on edible cannabis products, something ignored by Liberal legislators in this bill.

The government also agreed to review the bill in three years.

The bill will have to secure the support of an increasingly independent Senate where a plurality of members now sit as members of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and thus owe no loyalty to the government's agenda or their Liberal colleagues in the House. However, based on a CBC News analysis of voting patterns, many ISG senators have shown to be faithful backers of Liberal legislation.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould had said, before the vote, that Bill C-45 marks an "important milestone" in the government's plans to keep pot profits out of the hands of organized crime and marijuana out of the hands of kids.

She also says she looks forward to further debate in the Senate.

The federal NDP supported the government's legislation, adding it was pleased to see amendments to the bill, including a decision to scrap a requirement that limited home-grown marijuana plants.

New Democrat health critic Don Davies said the original bill was also amended to require that legislation for cannabis edibles and concentrates be brought forward within a year.

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Tories have been pushing for the Liberal government to reconsider its arbitrary timeline for implementing marijuana legalization, noting it would be more responsible to consider a July 2019 deadline instead of July 2018.

With files from the Canadian Press

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Not surprising.

Pot black market isn't expected to disappear even as marijuana becomes legal

Knowing a guy who knows a guy who gets you your pot: it's familiar, trusted and feels safe

By Colin Perkel , The Canadian Press Posted: Dec 04, 2017 9:48 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 04, 2017 9:48 AM ET

From texting a local dealer to dropping into a neighbourhood dispensary or ordering online, Canada's black market for recreational marijuana has seen significant changes in recent years and, no doubt, will see more as the country hurtles toward a new world of legalization next summer.

What does seem clear, however, is that the illegal market is unlikely to disappear in a puff of smoke come legalization day.

"There's a huge, complex system out there operating in the world that has been delivering excellent product to people at reasonable prices for 40 years now," says Donald MacPherson, the executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, an organization based out of Simon Fraser University that advocates for evidence-based policy-making and harm-reduction strategies.

"It's really the degree to which the regulated system can, over a period of years, encroach on as much of that pre-existing market as possible — that is the key question."

Talking to users quickly reveals three major strands that make up the current system, starting with the traditional approach: knowing a guy who knows a guy who gets you your pot. It's familiar, it's trusted, it feels safe.

More recently, street-level dispensaries have offered a somewhat normal retail store-front experience, though some offer only delivery, but perhaps the biggest change has been in what appears to be a very Canadian phenomenon: the burst of website-based mail-order marijuana suppliers, or MOMs as they are known.

A plethora of websites now feature different cannabis products along with prices and, in some cases, testimonials, contests, specials, and freebies. Most ask for proof of age in the form of an uploaded ID document — 18 or 19 is generally minimum — and payment takes place via Interac. The vacuum-packed product is shipped to the buyer via Canada Post or courier.

Francois, 34, an IT professional in Quebec City, says he now buys exclusively online.

"The convenience factor is what brought me there," says Francois, who like other users interviewed for this article only wants his first name used. "It's delivered to your doorstep. It's super easy, it's super discreet."

Marie-Helene, 26, a journalist in Montreal who smokes recreationally most evenings and weekends, says she doesn't expect much will change for her post legalization. She plans to stick with buying from a guy she knows who sells medical grade weed. She trusts him, she says, and she enjoys the personal touch — he knows what strains she likes — and what she calls their "professional-business relationship."

"It doesn't feel super shady," she says. "It probably sounds silly (but) it's the same thing as people who enjoy buying stuff in stores — because it's customer experience."

Robert, 55, an IT professional based in St. Catharines, Ont., a recreational user for decades, says he now has a medical prescription and can avoid a black market he believes was tied to organized crime. The illegal market is doomed over time, he says, because every gram sold legally is a gram the black market won't need to grow.

"Most of my friends can't wait to purchase legally and are quite jealous that I am currently able to do that," Robert says. "Friends who have more libertarian leanings swear they will never buy from the Ontario government (but) I bet that changes. People are lazy and follow the path of least resistance, so if they can buy a couple grams in the same shopping plaza that they are grocery shopping, they are going to do that."

Statistics Canada data indicate about 12 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older — or 3.6 million of us — reported in 2015 having used cannabis in the previous year, with 840,000 saying they used it most every day.

Robert, however, says he thinks governments have hugely underestimated the prevalence of use and the Ontario government's plan, for example, to start out with 40 retail outlets is laughable.

"People don't honestly answer surveys about sex and drugs, so nobody really understands how big the market will be," Robert says. "I predict massive lines for legal weed next year."

Whether the black market shrinks and how quickly, observers say, will depend on what the legal market ends up looking like. It's far from clear. Each province is charting its own course, with some tending toward maximum restrictions in terms of retail outlets, while others talk of stiff criminal sanctions for selling product to underage buyers or near schools.

"These new laws are going to make the black market thrive," says Chad, 40, who produces edible cannabis products in Toronto. "The black market is really vast. It's really huge, right now, the competition."

The advent of dispensaries, he says, forced the black market to up its game in terms of quality and price. While the recent police crackdown on storefronts in Toronto has just pushed them underground, it has not dented what is a plentiful supply, he says. What Chad does believe is that many online sellers will go dark post-legalization.

"Being online is just a way to get caught," he says.

The challenge facing federal and provincial governments, says MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, is the fact that the current system is so large, diverse and filled with expertise — in other words, it is mature.

Police concerned

Across Canada, hundreds if not thousands of small-scale growers along with some large grow-ops supply a seemingly ravenous consumer cohort that includes younger Canadians who have some of the highest usage rates in the world, according to various surveys.

Canada's police services, however, have expressed concern they won't be ready to enforce the new laws by next summer. They told a Commons committee earlier this year that among other things, they would need more time to train officers and increase the ranks of those certified to do roadside drug-impaired driving testing.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum warned that organized crime will flourish.

"Policing will not be ready to go Aug. 1," Barnum told the committee. "The damage that can be done between the time of new legislation and police officers ready to enforce the law in six months or a year can make it very, very hard to ever regain that foothold."

Enforcement is unlikely to make the illegal market go away, MacPherson says, but legalization does afford governments an opportunity to deploy policing resources elsewhere, and to make reliable public health information readily available as cannabis use becomes normalized in the way a glass of wine or beer already is.

Most importantly, he says, displacing well entrenched networks now used for selling and buying good quality pot from people users know will require hassle-free access.

"It's a really interesting and complex thing that the government is trying to do," MacPherson says. "It's trying to take a very robust, complex pre-existing market and basically put it out of business by coming up with a better robust market."

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