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Successive governments have funded studies for really obscure things like the sexual preferences of prawns. Accordingly, don't you wonder why the cash has not been made available to legitimate researchers when it comes to this important subject?


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29 minutes ago, DEFCON said:


Successive governments have funded studies for really obscure things like the sexual preferences of prawns. Accordingly, don't you wonder why the cash has not been made available to legitimate researchers when it comes to this important subject?


Lack of subjects, who because they were doing something that was illegal would not / could not participate in any in-depth study without being subject to criminal charges.

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And that's the kind of tom foolery that has placed the anti pot crowd in the background today.


Edited by DEFCON

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3 hours ago, DEFCON said:


Successive governments have funded studies for really obscure things like the sexual preferences of prawns. Accordingly, don't you wonder why the cash has not been made available to legitimate researchers when it comes to this important subject?


It is because they already know the benefits and it would destroy a lot of pharmaceutical profits.  Follow the science.

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N.W.T. defence lawyer on what legalized cannabis will mean for justice system

Longtime northern defence lawyer Peter Harte talks about what people in the N.W.T. need to know about fines and criminal offences when cannabis is legalized.

'I have never seen a fight associated with cannabis,' says lawyer Peter Harte

CBC News · Posted: May 06, 2018 7:00 AM CT | Last Updated: 15 minutes ago

As N.W.T. draft legislation for the legalization of cannabis is under review, many have wondered how it will affect the criminal justice system and policing. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewed his promise Thursday that recreational cannabis use will be legal by summer. The N.W.T.'s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act, or Bill 6, is currently under review.


The CBC's Lawrence Nayally spoke with N.W.T. defence lawyer Peter Harte who has more than 30 years of experience in northern courtrooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What effect do you think legalization will have on your work?

I have never seen a fight associated with cannabis, I have never seen an assault or a crime of violence associated with just cannabis — cannabis and alcohol, yes but not just cannabis.

Alcohol creates a huge amount of work for the criminal justice system in the N.W.T. and in fact throughout Canada but here there is a huge amount of violent crime associated with alcohol.

My hope is that if people turn to cannabis as their recreational intoxicant that we'll see rates of violence decline in the N.W.T. and that would be a significant difference, have a huge impact on local communities, because the violence that we see affects family members, affects the whole community, affects the law enforcement community and if we're able to get that under control by giving people a peace-inducing intoxicant then it's going to make a huge difference to the criminal justice system.

How are police, prosecutors and judges dealing with marijuana charges right now?

What I have seen so far in 2018 is that police tend to be simply throwing away minor amounts of marijuana. For significant amounts of marijuana, I would expect charges to be laid and then it would be up to the Crown to decide whether or not to proceed with the charges.

I suspect that in the event that charges proceed to trial or result in a conviction, fines would be moderated to some extent by the fact that the legalization is on the horizon. But generally speaking when something ends up in front of a judge it's going to be dealt with in a way that is consistent with the way judges have dealt with marijuana in the past.

What about people who have already been convicted of marijuana offences? What will happen to them once it's made legal?

I don't know of any proposals to deal with prior convictions associated with marijuana trafficking or possession.

It may be that there is pressure put on Parliament to make some sort of amnesty available for people who apply for it. But at this point the critical point to bear in mind is regardless of whether it was marijuana or not that was being sold or possessed, it was still illegal at the time and so the focus is on breaking the law not necessarily how you were breaking the law.

It also may be possible to obtain a record suspension more easily in respect of prior convictions for marijuana offences, but at this point nothing has been discussed to my knowledge about how that might work.

Legalization of cannabis is going to mean changes for the criminal justice system and policing in the N.W.T. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

What penalties should people be aware of when it comes to cannabis after legalization?

Cannabis and driving is going to change the environment associated with driving while impaired and it's going to be easier for police officers to pull people over and demand that they provide samples of saliva or breath for enforcement purposes.

The limits on the amount of intoxicant you can have in your system as far as cannabis goes are quite strict and police officers will have the power to administer what are called field sobriety tests, although in this case they'll be associated with whether or not people are stoned.

Police officers right now are being trained to identify symptoms associated with having too much cannabis in your system and they will be able to administer those tests with a relatively low threshold.

It would be extremely important that people stay away from cannabis while they're driving because the fines and penalties that are associated with cannabis and driving will be similar to those associated with drinking and driving.

In the event that it proves to be as much of a problem as alcohol and driving, those penalties can be expected to be stepped up because it's something that the government is desperately trying to bring under control.

How ready do you think the police force and justice system are to manage the changes in the law that you're seeing in Bill 6?

My experience in dealing with the RCMP is that generally speaking they're ahead of the curve. I know that officers are receiving field sobriety testing training and so in that regard they will be in a position to begin enforcing cannabis and driving legislation immediately.

To the extent that drug enforcement activities are already taking place, the enforcement activities that are necessary to deal with, for instance, having too much cannabis and selling it illegally, they're already in place, those officers are experienced and well trained and that part of the legislation is going to be enforced without any difficulty at all.

The one area which I think will take some additional work is saliva testing and gathering buccal samples [cheek swabs] that will be used to determine how much THC [active ingredient in cannabis] is in your system. That's something that's going to require some additional training and probably some new equipment.

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On 5/4/2018 at 4:30 PM, deicer said:

It is because they already know the benefits and it would destroy a lot of pharmaceutical profits.  Follow the science.

The first article is all about medical use and that is known. The 2nd is ????   My point remains that there had been no study of recreational use to any extent due to the fact that recreational use has been, until recently in most of the world to be illegal., therefore no data base.

Not sure how your two clips contain anything to dispute that.

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Hi Malcolm

The tie in for me is that if they did put money into `legitimate research' of pot, it would only confirm the benefits of what that plant contains.  Benefits that they haven't figured out how to patent yet.

As for health damage, smoking pot does cause lung damage, much like cigarettes and pollution.

With regards to pot causing lung cancer, there is no link at this time and to me, unlike cigarettes, pot doesn't have the harmful additives that the cigarette industry puts into it's products.  Maybe that is where the link is.  Or maybe it is because most people don't continuously smoke pot like cigarette users do.

Aside from the smoking of pot, there seems to be very little downside if it is consumed in other manners, ie: vaporising or consumables.


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deicer: more concern to me is the effect on young people whose brains etc are still developing and some have already started to address that potential problem.




At What Age Is The Brain Fully Developed?

It is widely debated as to which age the brain is considered “fully mature” or developed. In the past, many experts believed that the brain may have been done developing in the mid to late teens. Then along came some evidence to suggest that development may last until at least age 20. These days, a consensus of neuroscientists agree that brain development likely persists until at least the mid-20s – possibly until the 30s.

The fact that our brains aren’t developed until the mid 20s means that “legal adults” (those age 18+) are allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains.  Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain.  All behaviors and experiences you endure until the age of 25 have potential to impact your developing brain.

At what age is the brain fully developed?

Although brain development is subject to significant individual variation, most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25. For some people, brain development may be complete prior to age 25, while for others it may end after age 25.  The mid-20s or “25” is just an average age given as checkpoint for when the brain has likely become mature.



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Yes, there are all sorts of health concerns.  Hopefully they will continue the research as they have done with alcohol and it`s effects.  

That is why I support making the legal age older than younger.  Still, there will always be those who are underage who will get hold of illicit substances.

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At What Age Is The Brain Fully Developed?

As evidenced by some on this forum, never !

Edited by Jaydee

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In some people, like the young female zero in the clip posted earlier, maximum developmental potential is reached at the same time puberty begins.


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Now they are finding pot use is more beneficial than opioids for veterans with ptsd.

Only a fraction of Canada’s estimated 658,400 veterans is registered by doctors to use opioids, benzodiazepines or medical marijuana. This data pool is too small and unrefined to prove any concrete links between the use of the three types of drugs. But, it comes on the heels of relatively large-scale U.S. studies showing more access to cannabis was related to fewer harms associated with opioids, according to Bernard Le Foll, a clinician-scientist specializing in drug addiction at the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“This is going in the same direction so I think this is becoming a very interesting story that is supported by more and more data,” said Dr. Le Foll, who said he has failed to secure funding over the last several years to study the ways cannabis might be a substitute for opioids.

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There are medical studies underway that are looking at magic mushrooms as a replacement for opioids in the management of pain. It seems the agent works very well, it's non-addictive, the patient enjoys a sense of profound contentment versus entering into a state of opioid induced delirium and isn't prone to any of the other nasty side effects normally attributed to opioid use.

Nature seems to know what's best.


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1 hour ago, DEFCON said:

There are medical studies underway that are looking at magic mushrooms as a replacement for opioids in the management of pain. It seems the agent works very well, it's non-addictive, the patient enjoys a sense of profound contentment versus entering into a state of opioid induced delirium and isn't prone to any of the other nasty side effects normally attributed to opioid use.

Nature seems to know what's best.


on this we agree.

Crap.... Thats twice.


Edited by boestar
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Mother’s new little helper: Is the Pot Mom about to replace the Wine Mom?

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎3 hours ago | Sharon Kirkey

“And you’re why mommy drinks wine, yes you are, oh yes you are …..”

Oh, those edgy and ubiquitous wine mom memes, magnets and T-shirts, normalizing motherhood and booze. It’s all seen as good fun — empowering and rebellious, a way for women to challenge the expectation that mothers should be models of sobriety.

However, for seemingly growing numbers of women, pot, not pinot, is the new way to lubricate the stresses of motherhood. Proponents argue it’s a safer, less intoxicating and more controllable relaxant than alcohol, which is a depressant, and almost as calorie-loaded as fat. Women say it can help make them more tuned into their kids. More nurturing.

Some observers are predicting growing legalization of recreational marijuana could lead to a further feminization of weed — just as emerging research suggests the female brain is more susceptible to the rewarding effects of cannabis, and possibly, a faster trajectory to dependence.

For cannabis advocate Jessie Gill, weed enhances her patience, “greatly.”

“It puts you into almost a meditative, reflective state. It kind of helps you see your kid’s point of view,” said Gill, who blogs as MarijuanaMommy. The New Jersey-based registered nurse reluctantly began using medicinal cannabis for a work-related, cervical spine injury that doctor-prescribed opioids couldn’t touch.

“A lot of moms, a lot of women, are starting to see that it’s not this dangerous, scary thing,” Gill said. “The moms who are using cannabis recreationally tend to be self-medicating for stress — ‘I have so much anxiety at the end of the day, I can’t take it.’ It’s an alternative to wine.”

Women aren’t “zoning out” on the couch after school bus pickup or bedtime story time, insisted Gill, who recently launched The Pretty Pipe shop, curator and shipper of female-friendly paraphernalia, like purple and gold lace percolator bongs and the “little duck dabber.” The Pretty Pipe Shop, like MarijuanaMommy, is meant to challenge the “stoner” image surrounding cannabis, Gill said.

“When I came out, I was blown away by how many other moms, other women — grandmothers, business women, doctors — would say, ‘I smoke, I use cannabis occasionally.”

They’re just not likely to post it on Facebook. Yet.

Some predict the cannabis industry will take a page out of big alcohol’s playbook and its “pinking” of booze that began in the late 1990s, with the rollout of low-calorie, ready-to-serve cocktails and wines with names like “Skinnygirl” and “Girls’ Night Out.” This month, the makers of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky released a limited U.S. edition of “Jane Walker” in support of Women’s History Month, the label featuring an hourglass Jane striding in sexy riding boots, tailcoat and a top hat.

“In order to successfully market to women, you need to make it seem like it’s part of the well-balanced life — the good, happy life that includes yoga and running,” said Samantha Brennan, a feminist theorist and bioethicist and dean of arts at the University of Guelph. “I think lots of these activities are going to be tied to marijuana as a way to get women as customers.”


ada “It puts you into almost a meditative, reflective state. It kind of helps you see your kid’s point of view,” said Gill, who blogs as MarijuanaMommy.

But not all pushback against gender stereotypes is great for women’s health, she has argued. For example, doctors are seeing a startling rise in binge drinking among women. In 2013 more than a million women in the U.S. alone landed in an emergency room from heavy drinking, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data. After Phillip Morris launched Virginia Slims at the height of the women’s liberation movement (“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!) lung cancer deaths in women eventually surpassed those for breast cancer.

“Maybe we want to be a bit more reflective about what we want our lives to look like,” Brennan says.

Women have always smoked and dosed with marijuana, though traditionally at much lower self-reported rates than men, said sociologist Wendy Chapkis, co-author of Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine.  It’s still more a male than female phenomenon, but the gap is narrowing: According to the 2015 Canadian Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs Survey, the percentage of women aged 20 to 24 who reported using pot in the previous 12 months increased six per cent between 2013 and 2015. Among 25- to 44-year-olds it increased five percent.

However, “we didn’t see that same level of increase in the 15 to 19 age group,” said Rebecca Jesseman, director of policy for the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

“Is there a cohort effect happening there,” she asked. “Or is it simply that women are starting to use at a frequency that’s more parallel to men,” much the way more women are drinking more like men.

There’s some haze around just how far the industry will be permitted to go in promoting recreational pot. Ottawa’s Cannabis Act prohibits anything aimed at kids and youth, or that’s associated with “glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.” The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Branding, an industry group, has proposed no sexual language or imagery in the names for strains, though it does want to be able to advertise flavour and taste and make “factually based claims” about brand attributes.

Entrepreneurs like Jazmin Hupp, co-founder of Women Grow, a professional network for women in the legal cannabis business, are almost evangelical in their enthusiasm. Hupp, born in B.C. to American parents, says cannabis provides introspection, euphoria, creativity and relaxation, in addition to relief from physical aches and pains.

It also allows her to “give less f–ks,” she said in a Tech Open Air conference on her website. Granted, cannabis can also cause anxiety, paranoia, hunger and dry mouth, she was careful to note.

Brennan, for her part, is uneasy with the range of things for which marijuana is being purported to benefit women, from menstrual cramps and insomnia, to weight loss and a better sex drive. Similar problems that were bundled together to market benzodiazepines — mother’s little helpers — to women generations ago.

All of this is a bit worrying to Mohini Ranganathan, a psychiatrist and associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine. Studies in rats have long shown sex differences in response to cannabis, but Ranganathan is one of the few looking at the acute effects of THC in human females relative to men, hoping to tease out the mechanisms that may underlie gender differences.

In a recent study, she administered intravenous doses of THC — the main constituent of cannabis — or placebo to a group of men and women, then asked each to score their high on a scale of zero to 100.

The placebo group ranked their “high” as less than five, and there were no differences between men and women.


Christine Lowe, left and Russell Barth have published a children’s book called Mommy’s Funny Medicine, which deals with the medicinal use of marijuana. The pair, both medicinal pot users, hope the proceeds from the book’s sales will enable them to establish a Compassion Club in Ottawa to help people with medical conditions to obtain marijuana.

With THC, the mean high for men was close to 40. For women, it was 52. “So, close to an 18-to 20-point difference,” Ranganathan said.

It’s not clear why. However, in earlier work using sophisticated PET brain imaging, Yale scientists showed that women have more of a specific kind of cannabinoid receptor (CB1) that’s widely distributed in the brain, compared to men.

As legal pot becomes more accessible and socially acceptable, like alcohol, and as its potency increases, “if women truly are more likely to have a more rewarding experience with the drug perhaps we will see greater rates of addiction,” Ranganathan said.

Her finding fits with what others have seen in female rats. In experiments, rats are trained to hit a lever to self-administer cannabis. The control is usually water. “You look at how quickly the rats learn, ‘hey, if I hit the lever on the left I’m going to keep getting the drug,” Ranganathan explained. Female rats learn that faster than males.

After some time, the tap is turned off. The rats keep hitting the lever, but no drug. Eventually they learn to stop. Female rats take longer to stop whacking the lever.

When you remove their ovaries, they behave more like male rats.

There may be other risks specific to women. Importantly, heavy cannabis use during pregnancy has been linked with higher odds of having a low birth weight baby. Research also suggests children exposed to heavy amounts of pots in the womb have increased levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity, and higher rates of drug use in their teens, said Dr. Amy Porath, director of research at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

When used frequently, and heavily, pot might also lead to depression or anxiety disorders, although other research has shown a null effect. The mental health picture, said Porath, “is really a grey area.”

Still, proponents of recreational pot argue it’s a safer form of recreation than booze, that it’s not about enabling “stiletto stoners” and that it’s possible to parent responsibly under the influence of THC.

“It’s not like I’m smoking a joint and blowing it in my kids’ ear. He’s not my cat in my dorm room,” Amy Curran Zimmerman, who makes videos of DIY crafts sometimes attempted while high, told Splimm, an online pot and parenting newsletter.

Yet Splimm co-founder, former Oregon elementary school teacher Jenn Lauder, said the stigma around women and pot is “still so persistent.

“In a society where prohibition has been the overlay that we’ve all experienced for so long, it feels illicit even when it’s legal.”

Pot, she says, is wildly appealing to some mothers. “Once you’ve titrated and figured out you’re ideal dose, you’re just not intoxicated the way you would be with alcohol.”

“Even if after the kids are in bed and you’re enjoying a little bit of cannabis and one of the kids wakes up with a nightmare, you’re still going to be equipped to take care of your child. If you’d had those three or four glasses of wine maybe you wouldn’t be.”

Smoking doesn’t appeal to many women, Lauder said. “It’s smelly, it’s inconvenient, you’re going to draw attention to yourself and your kid is going to notice it.” More popular are micro-dosed edibles, teas and tinctures.


A woman smokes marijuana during 420. Women have always smoked and dosed with marijuana, though traditionally at much lower self-reported rates than men, said sociologist Wendy Chapkis, co-author of Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine.

Brennan, of the University of Guelph, wonders if the softening of the stigma around women and weed — and the narrative that it makes women better mothers — isn’t more about white, suburban mothers, not women who’ve lost custody of their kids in the past for their drug use.

And it also raises a larger social issue around the frustrations and demands of modern motherhood, of juggling caring for children and caring for elderly parents while working at full-time jobs.

Brennan gets the pot-for-chronic pain piece.

But, “If you think, “naturally I’m stressed out, and grouchy and angry and this is going to put me in a better mood,’ rather than thinking, ‘things here have to change for me to have a reasonable life,’ then I’m not so sure.

“I don’t think the answer can be have another glass of wine, or a joint, and everything will be okay.”

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YouthLink teaches parents signs their kids may be secretly using marijuana

Thu, May 17: As we get closer to legalizing marijuana, parents are being encouraged to have a conversation with their kids. Calgary police have a special educational program being launched at YouthLink in the next few weeks. Nancy Hixt has a preview. Link to the video:

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Will Yukoners get 'value' with legal pot? Government sets marijuana price at $8 per gram

‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2018, ‏‎3:27:33 PM | Dave Croft
Vendor weighing herbal cannabis

The Yukon government aims to undercut the illegal marijuana market in the territory, setting the price for pot at $8 a gram, which officials say is cheaper than marijuana sold illegally.

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We have low cost carriers and some signs of oversupply, it appears that the pot industry could face the same problem.

Oregon's flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale for Canada: economists

As marijuana farmers in Oregon say a flood of supply is killing their businesses less than three years after recreational cannabis was legalized, economists say it's a warning to Canada.

Oregon retail pot price has fallen about 50% since 2015, from $14 per gram to $7

Amy Smart · The Canadian Press · Posted: May 21, 2018 9:07 AM ET | Last Updated: 34 minutes ago
Large fluctuations in price and supply are bound to happen when you create a legal market where an illegal market already exists, says an economist, as Canada looks ahead to the legalization of recreational pot. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

As marijuana farmers in Oregon say a flood of supply is killing their businesses less than three years after recreational cannabis was legalized, economists say it's a warning to Canada.

Stephen Easton, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University and senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, says large fluctuations in price and supply are bound to happen when you create a legal market where an illegal market already exists.

"There is no reason to think it won't happen here as well. In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production," Easton said.

"Consumption may simply not increase in proportion to our ability to grow."

Price drop

Robin Cordell, owner and grower at Oregon Girl Cannabis Company, said she saw the influx of supply coming on social media that would choke out her farm.

"I saw just massive fields planted on Instagram, just huge acres and I just knew that was going to be the result," she said in an interview.

While she once sold her pot to a wholesaler for $2,200 US per pound, she said that dipped to $600 per pound.

Cordell said she's planning to pull the plug entirely on recreational pot and focus on medical marijuana and hemp products until new markets open up across the country.

"I think I am going to actually give up my licence and wait for nationwide legalization to happen, just because the market is terrible," Cordell said.

Oregon's inventory of marijuana is staggering for a state its size. There are nearly 450,000 kilograms of usable flower in the system, and an additional 159,000 kilograms of marijuana extracts, edibles and tinctures.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates the industry, said some of the inventory of flower goes into extracts, oils and tinctures, which have increased in popularity, but the agency can't say how much.

Yet the retail price for a gram of pot has fallen about 50 per cent since 2015, from $14 to $7, says a report by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

Commission spokesperson Mark Pettinger said the agency still doesn't have complete information about demand, but a comprehensive market study is underway that will be released in January.

He said about half of the 2,014 producer applications received have been granted in a process that has typically taken between two and six months.

"It's a free market and the legislature did not provide us with any authority to limit licences," he said, "so that's probably an issue the legislature will need to take up during the 2019 legislative session."

The regulatory framework emerging in Canada already looks a little different.

There are 104 licensed marijuana producers in Canada, including 57 in Ontario and 22 in British Columbia.

As of May 11, Health Canada had received 1,974 applications from producers and had refused 268, while others were in progress, incomplete or withdrawn. The entire application process takes more than a year to complete.

Under the federal government's proposed approach to cannabis, regulations would not prescribe a limit on the amount of cannabis a producer cultivates under a standard licence.

"However, the Minister of Health could establish a production limit as a condition of the licence if there were reasonable grounds to believe that a licensee was producing more cannabis than this licensee was able to sell, and that the excess inventory was at risk of being diverted to an illegal market or activity," a November 2017 consultation paper by Health Canada says.

Potential for undercutting 

Werner Antweiler, professor of economics at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, said market fluctuations will depend on whether the government restricts licensing and prices.

If left up to the free market, prices can drop to almost nothing, temporarily, he said. The market typically corrects itself over time, with smaller-scale producers that have higher production costs exiting the market and larger-scale producers being able to survive the roller-coaster because they work in economies of scale.

"If you want to prevent prices from dropping dramatically, there can be regulations in place that maintain a minimum price of some sort. That's easier to do if the distribution channel is regulated," Antweiler said.

But he said price controls can backfire.

"That said, the danger is then, if prices are regulated and we have players trying to sneak around them and provide their product illegally at a lower price, that could lead to an undermining of the idea of liberalization, which is getting the market into the legal domain and preventing an illicit market from surfacing," he said.

"It's much better to get it right from the beginning," he said, and decline to license more producers than the estimated demand can support.

One Canadian producer says he's not too worried about being pushed out of the market the way producers are in Oregon.

"I think it's a function of a far more relaxed regime," said Dan Sutton, CEO of Tantalus Labs based in Maple Ridge, B.C. "Right out of the gate, you've got a far more sophisticated production regulation regime, which inherently applies a barrier to entry."

Tantalus Labs is a small-batch producer, which grows unique strains and only harvests about 100 plants at a time, he said.

Sutton is counting on recreational consumers to pay more for a higher quality product, which could mean unique strains, cannabis with a "farm to table" story or organic cannabis that has been meticulously cared for.

"In Oregon, while there are massive over-supplies of commodity-grade quick and easily grown cannabis, there are still cannabis products that sell for $15 or $20 a gram at the dispensary level," Sutton said.

"All cannabis is not the same."

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RCMP rolls out drug-impaired driving training for officers

Smoke created by water vapor billows out of a car

Smoke created by water vapor billows out of the windows of a car during a demonstration by the Colorado Department of Transportation in southeast Denver, on April 16, 2015. (David Zalubowski / AP)
Published Tuesday, May 22, 2018 1:33PM EDT

OTTAWA – With marijuana legalization approaching, the RCMP is rolling out a new introductory training course for police officers across the country.

The in-person training will inform officers about the symptoms of drug impairment on drivers, “with a special emphasis on cannabis,” and includes information on impaired driving laws. The RCMP said the curriculum was developed alongside other Canadian police services.

The program, called “Introduction to Drug-Impaired Driving” will be required for law enforcement officers in addition to the preexisting standard field sobriety test training. Canada Border Service Agency officers will also be receiving the training.

The timeline and scope of the training was not announced. The federal government is eyeing late August or early September for when marijuana will be fully legalized across the country.

“Driving after using drugs, even some prescription drugs, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Everyone has a role to play in road safety. The RCMP is updating and expanding the training available to all Canadian police officers that will strengthen their ability to continue to detect drug impaired drivers,” said RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki in the statement announcing the new curriculum.

The legislation to implement new drug-impaired driving laws regarding marijuana is still before the Senate. There, senators and expert witnesses have expressed uncertainty about how to legislate and enforce ways to measure marijuana impairment.

Bill C-46 changes impaired driving laws to give police new powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests, and would make it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit.

There is currently no government-approved roadside testing technology for marijuana impairment. The RCMP, in conjunction with other Canadian police departments and Public Safety Canada, has recently experimented with roadside saliva tests.

Throughout the parliamentary process, Canadian law enforcement agencies have been vocal in asking for more time to make sure police officers are properly trained. They have argued that police will not be ready to properly apply legalized marijuana laws by the time the government wants.

According to documents tabled in the House of Commons earlier this year outlining the number of RCMP and CBSA officers that have received drug-impaired driving training, there is a ways to go.

As of February 2018, 665 police officers in Canada have received “Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)” training, including 196 RCMP officers. An additional 40 officers were set to be trained by the end of March.

This DRE trains police to use a 12-step system to detect drug impairment in drivers, including examining one’s eyes, attention, blood pressure and pulse.

The documents, provided in response to a Conservative MP’s Order Paper Question, outlines that this training has been provided in Vancouver; Winnipeg; Jacksonville, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.

In the 2017-18 supplementary estimates the RCMP has been allotted $1.67 million for drug recognition training for officers.

As for border officials, as of February, 20 CBSA officers have been trained as instructors for the standard field sobriety testing, with two more being trained by the end of the year.

These officers will then train 1,425 CBSA officers between 2019 and 2021. The training of the instructors took place in Halifax and Ottawa, the documents state.

In the 2017-18 supplementary estimates the CBSA received $45,827 for officer training.

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No doubt that this will increase once pot becomes more readily available.

Hospital ERs seeing increasing number of cannabis users


  • Calgary Herald
  • 28 May 2018
  • BILL KAUFMANN On Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

Emergency department visits by cannabis users in Alberta have been steadily growing, raising concerns among some doctors about the effect of impending pot legalization.

Among adults in 2015, there were 421 emergency department or urgent-care visits by those suffering cannabis “poisoning ” provincewide, according to Alberta Health Services.

That number jumped to 478 in 2016 and 619 the following year, while in January and February of 2018, those figures rose by 22 and 26 respectively. Of those under 18 years of age, the number went from 108 in 2015 to 136 two years later.

While he was reluctant to use the word “poisoning ” for many of those cases, Dr. Eddy Lang said the majority of the cases involve the smoking of cannabis because the use of edibles isn’t widespread.

“We see kids with bad reactions, kids becoming mentally unstable,” said Lang, department head for emergency medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. “It’s a problem, but it’s not an epidemic.”

Lang said those figures probably reflect an increased use of cannabis and increasingly potent strains.

He noted people aren’t dying from cannabis use, compared with hundreds of fatalities a year from fentanyl and still more from other opioids and even legal pharmaceuticals. But he said one consequence of regular, long-term marijuana use that’s troubling and becoming more common is cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, in which the drug triggers uncontrollable vomiting. Such patients can remain in hospital for a few days, said Eddy.

“Cannabis has been a very good anti-nausea medication for a long time, but somehow there’s a flip that’s switched that leads to uncontrollable vomiting,” he said.

“We’re seeing more and more of those, and we’ll see more and more with legalization.”

Some medical experts, including the AHS’s Chris Wilkes, are voicing concern about cannabis legalization and what they consider a cavalier attitude toward the drug.

They say marijuana use can have particularly adverse effects on youths’ developing brains until their mid-20s.

“If you’re a young adult, your brain is still developing and cannabis impacts memory, attention skills, control of your impulses, prioritizing and problem solving,” Wilkes, AHS’s head of child and adolescent psychiatry, told Postmedia last month.

Following recreational cannabis legalization in Colorado in 2014, there was an increase in emergency room visits related to the drug, said Lang. But he said that was fleeting and might be something Canada could expect to see once the drug is legalized, expected later this year.

“There was an increase for the first six months but then it went back to normal,” he said. “It was a brand-new thing.”

The minimum age for marijuana consumption in Alberta will be 18, and it will be prohibited in areas frequented by children.

In Calgary, public use of the drug will be banned.

We see kids with bad reactions, kids becoming mentally unstable.

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I wonder if this will happen in Canada?|

Glut of marijuana in Oregon a cautionary tale, experts say


  • Calgary Herald
  • 1 Jun 2018
  • GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press writers Gene Johnson in Seattle, Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles and Kathleen Foody in Denver contributed to this report.
getimage.aspx?regionKey=owgi7oAdtRnH9eMh%2bW1z5w%3d%3dRYAN KANG/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILES Customers buy recreational marijuana at Amazon Organics in Eugene, Ore., in 2015, the year marijuana sales in the state were broadly legalized. Three years on, prices are in free fall.

PORTLAND, ORE. When Oregon lawmakers created the state’s legal marijuana program, they had one goal in mind above all else: to convince illicit pot growers to leave the black market.

That meant low barriers for entering the industry that also targeted long-standing medical marijuana growers, whose product is not taxed. As a result, weed production boomed — with a bitter consequence.

Now, marijuana prices here are in free fall, and the craft cannabis farmers who put Oregon on the map decades before broad legalization say they are in peril of losing their now-legal businesses as the market adjusts.

Oregon regulators on Wednesday announced they will stop processing new applications for marijuana licences in two weeks to address a severe backlog and ask state lawmakers to take up the issue next year.

Experts say the dizzying evolution of Oregon’s marijuana industry may well be a cautionary tale for California, where a similar regulatory structure could mean an oversupply on a much larger scale.

“For the way the program is set up, the state (California) just wants to get as many people in as possible, and they make no bones about it,” said Hilary Bricken, a Los Angeles-based attorney specializing in marijuana business law. “Most of these companies will fail as a result of oversaturation.”

Oregon has nearly a million pounds (453,600 kilograms) of marijuana flower — commonly called bud — in its inventory, a staggering amount for a state with about four million people. Producers told The Associated Press wholesale prices fell more than 50 per cent in the past year; a study by the state’s Office of Economic Analysis found the retail cost of a gram of marijuana fell from $14 in 2015 to $7 in 2017.

The oversupply can be traced largely to state lawmakers’ and regulators’ earliest decisions to shape the industry.

They were acutely aware of Oregon’s entrenched history of providing top-drawer pot to the black market nationwide, as well as a concentration of small farmers who had years of cultivation experience in the legal, but largely unregulated, medical pot program.

Getting those growers into the system was critical if a legitimate industry was to flourish, said Sen. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat who co-chaired a committee created to implement the voterapproved legalization measure.

Lawmakers decided not to cap licences; to allow businesses to apply for multiple licences; and to implement relatively inexpensive licensing fees.

Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission announced Wednesday it will put aside applications for new licences received after June 15 until a backlog of pending applications is cleared. The decision comes after U.S. Attorney Billy Williams challenged state officials to address the oversupply.

“In my view, and frankly in the view of those in the industry that I’ve heard from, it’s a failing of the state for not stepping back and taking a look at where this industry is at following legalization,” Williams told the AP in a phone interview.

But those in the industry supported the initial decisions that led to the oversupply, Burdick said.

“We really tried to focus on policies that would rein in the medical industry and snuff out the black market as much as possible,” Burdick said.

Lawmakers also quickly backtracked on a rule requiring marijuana businesses have a majority ownership by someone with Oregon residency after entrepreneurs complained it was hard to secure startup money.

That change opened the door to deep-pocketed, out-of-state companies that could begin consolidating the industry.

The state has granted 1,001 producer licences and had another 950 in process as of last week. State officials worry if they cut off licensing or turn away those already in the application process, they’ll get sued or encourage illegal trade.

A company called Nectar has 13 stores in Oregon — with three more on tap — and says on its website it is buying up for-sale dispensaries too.

Canada-based Golden Leaf Holdings bought the successful Oregon startup Chalice and has six stores around Portland, with another slated to open.

William Simpson, Chalice’s founder and Golden Leaf Holdings CEO, is expanding into Northern California, Nevada and Canada. Simpson welcomes criticism that his business is to cannabis what Starbucks is to mass-market coffee.

“If you take Chalice like Starbucks, it’s a known quantity, it’s a brand that people know and trust,” he said.

Amy Margolis, the Oregon Cannabis Association’s executive director, says capping licences would only spur more consolidation in the long term.

The state is working on a study that should provide data and insight into what lies ahead.

“I don’t think that everything in this state is motivated by struggle and failure,” she said. “I’m very interested to see ... how this market settles itself and (in) being able to do that from a little less of a reactionary place.”

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Canada moves a step closer to legalising marijuana

  • 1 hour ago

A key legislative hurdle has been passed as Canada moves closer to legalising recreational cannabis.

Canadian senators passed the Cannabis Act by 56 votes to 30 with one abstention after studying the landmark legislation for six months.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to making marijuana legal by this summer.

Canada will be the first G7 nation to legalise recreational use of the drug. Medical use has been legal since 2001.

The vote on Thursday sends the bill back to the House of Commons, where members of Parliament will decide whether to accept the dozens of amendments added to the legislation by the Senate.


The vote had been expected to be close, and the Trudeau government moved on Wednesday to shore up support by assuring indigenous senators it would address significant concerns they had with bill.

That included committing more resources to mental health and addiction services for indigenous people in Canada.

Canadians will still have to wait up to 12 weeks after the bill finally becomes law before they can purchase recreational cannabis.

Provinces and territories are responsible for various elements of the retail market, including how marijuana will be sold and whether users can smoke in public.

They are expected to need that time to set up the new marketplace.

Various estimates suggest Canadians will be able to legally buy cannabis by late August or early September.

Canadians, especially the young, are among the world's heaviest marijuana users.

Ottawa says legal pot under a new strict regulation regime will make it easier to keep it away from young people, to deprive organised crime of drug money, to reduce the burden on police and the justice system, and to improve public health.

Mr Trudeau's promise to legalise recreational marijuana has fuelled investment and speculation in the cannabis sector, with cultivators like Aphria and Canopy Growth becoming stock market darlings.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and is grown by federally licensed producers.

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Calgary police await extra tools to help detect cannabis impairment

  • Calgary Sun
  • 10 Jun 2018
  • BILL KAUFMANN @BillKaufmannjrn
getimage.aspx?regionKey=8FhEXGllp4cvuu%2bqPN5aWw%3d%3dJIM WELLS/POSTMEDIA Calgary Police Service Const Dan Kurz with the service’s Checkstop bus, on display at Spruce Meadows. Murz is expecting lots of questions about pot legalization.

Const. Dan Kurz admits the Checkstop van parked on Spruce Meadows pavement isn’t equipped to detect pot-impaired motorists.

That’s one of the question marks igniting public inquiries about the impending legalization of cannabis that’s likely to dominate discourse at the exhibit this weekend, said the 13-year cop.

“On Law Day … something like 90 per cent of the questions were about how we’re going to screen for cannabis,” said Kurz, of the Calgary Police Service’s Traffic Section.

“A lot of the questions are about the oral fluid screeners … this is one of the biggest ”

Kurz said his police colleagues have just as many questions about the kits, whose delivery timetable remains up in the air even as recreational legalization of cannabis is expected to be implemented by summer’s end.

The system will involve mouth swabs as opposed to the breath test used for suspected drunk drivers.

Those swabs would then be analyzed by a drug recognition expert, with positive results of five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood or more leading to charges.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty how (federal officials) are going to roll that out,” said Kurz.

It’s one of the reasons why he welcomes a delay in cannabis legalization that was initially scheduled for July 1 of this year.

On Thursday, Canada’s Senate green-lighted the legalization bill, leaving the House of Common’s approval formality as a final hurdle.

That’s made training CPS members in drug recognition techniques all the more time-sensitive.

That drug and alcohol recognition unit has added two members to bump its ranks to a complement of a sergeant and six constables.

But because of the much more complex properties of cannabis’ presence in the human body, those uncertainties extend to the effectiveness of the oral fluid screeners.

Actual impairment can vary with the user’s tolerance level while the THC lingers far longer in fatty tissues, giving possibly inaccurate intoxication readings.

Then there’s the all-too common mixing of cannabis with other drugs to add to the complexity.

For police, it’ll largely be a case of back to the future in detecting cannabis-impaired drivers, said Kurz.

A prominent tool in their arsenal will remain what they’ve long employed — a three-pronged sobriety test involving tracking eye gaze, balance and coordination and a one-leg stand.

“It’s more about judging impairment than on a number,” said Kurz. “It’s what we’ve been doing since the 1990s ... we’re in the high 90s (percentile) in making the right call.”

A quarter to a third of the unit’s “calls” are for suspected drug impairment, he added.

Along with demonstrations of the CPS’s canine unit, HAWCS helicopter at Spruce Meadows is one of the traffic section’s two Checkstop vans, equipped with not one but two booths housing touch tone telephones for suspects’ use.

“It gets busy some days,” said Kurz.

At the back of the black van sits an alcohol breathalyzer unit, the shape and size of a computer printer.

“We don’t have the floor space to do our drug testing here,” said the officer.

Alcohol, said Kurz, results in far more disruptive, dangerous behaviour than does cannabis use.

“I’ve never had a violent confrontation with someone because they’re high on pot,” he said.

And while he said marijuana legalization will likely increase the volume of roadside impairment incidents, the officer said he’s not predicting a massive impact.

“I don’t think because we legalize a substance people’s morals change — I don’t think we’ll have a landslide of crashes,” said Kurz, noting cannabis use has been widespread for decades.

“It’s not the end of the world.”

But while there’s some disagreement among experts about the drug’s impact on driving capability, Kurz said he has no doubt it poses a safety threat on the road.

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