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Former Mountie teaching safe workplace marijuana use

Former Mountie teaching safe workplace marijuana use

By: CBC NEWS – March 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

Rules similar to alcohol, except …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra care with ‘safety sensitive positions’

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

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

Mettrum recalled its products after 'small amounts of Myclobutanil' were found.

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

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

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Manitoba wants to set limit on marijuana consumption in public places

Manitoba wants to set limit on marijuana consumption in public places

BY: The Canadian Press – March 20, 2017 – CBC News

The Manitoba government is moving to set restrictions on marijuana similar to those on alcohol.

Proposed legislation would list marijuana as an intoxicant and ban people from consuming it in a vehicle.

Police would also have the right to suspend a driver’s licence for 24 hours — similar to an alcohol provision — if they thought a person was under the influence of pot.

Medical marijuana user and legalization advocate, Steven Stairs said he is disappointed by the proposed legislation.

He called it overly broad and said it fails to distinguish medical marijuana use from recreational consumption.

“If I’m a medical user and I have pot in my car, do I have to put it in my trunk too? That is kind of stupid,” he said.

“So the police can pull you over and say ‘you look stoned we’re going to arrest you,’ well what if I was really tired or what I have some allergies?” Stairs said.

“Unless you can prove how impaired I am with a tool or a test, I don’t think it’s fair.”

Under the new bill, marijuana, like tobacco, could not be smoked in enclosed public places.

Stairs also wants to know how the proposed legislation would impact people who use marijuana for medical reasons.

Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says the province is laying the groundwork for when the federal government legalizes cannabis.

“This is by no means the end of this this, this is just the beginning,” Stefanson said, adding more bills could be coming on marijuana restrictions and how it impacts drivers.

“We’re actually the only province across Canada that’s bringing forward this kind of legislation now to help deal with some of the safety and health issues, so we’re out in front of this,” Stefanson said.

If someone has “a trace of marijuana” in their system and is not impaired, they should not have their licence taken away, said Swan.

The Manitoba bill says public schools would be required to ban marijuana under their codes of conduct, even after it becomes legal.

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Study: People Prefer Medical Cannabis to Other Medications

Study: People Prefer Medical Cannabis to Other Medications

BY: Zawn Villines – March 20, 2017 – GoodTherapy

People taking psychoactive medications and drugs for conditions such as chronic pain tend to prefer medical cannabis to other drugs, including sedatives, opioids, and antidepressants, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy has found.

Many analysts have expressed concerns about the use of opioids to treat chronic pain. More than 183,000 people died of prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2015 in the United States. Some research, such as a recent study that looked at states with medical cannabis laws, suggests access to medical marijuana could reduce opioid abuse.

Medical Cannabis: Alternative to Opioids and Other Drugs?

The study used survey data from 271 people registered to purchase medical cannabis. Participants answered 107 questions covering demographic data, use of cannabis, reliance on other drugs, and health history.

Survey respondents had been prescribed drugs for a range of reasons, including chronic pain, mental health conditions, and gastrointestinal issues. Overall, 63% reported using cannabis instead of prescription drugs. The most common drug class for which participants substituted cannabis was opioids, accounting for 30% of the total. Sixteen percent of participants used cannabis to replace benzodiazepines, and 12% used cannabis instead of antidepressants.

Cannabis was also a popular replacement for potentially addictive nonmedical drugs. Twenty-five percent of respondents used cannabis instead of drinking alcohol, 12% used it instead of cigarettes or tobacco, and 3% replaced illicit drugs with marijuana.

The study’s authors suggest side effects, concerns about addiction, and level of safety figure prominently among the decision to use cannabis instead of other drugs. Some medical cannabis users report cannabis works better than more traditional prescription drugs.

Barriers to Medical Marijuana Continue

The study found participants often faced barriers to accessing medical marijuana. More than half (55%) were charged for their cannabis prescription, with 25% paying more than $300 for the prescription. Some participants still purchased cannabis from unregulated sources despite having a prescription.

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Sir Patrick Stewart reveals he uses marijuana every day to help deal with debilitating arthritis symptoms

Sir Patrick Stewart reveals he uses marijuana every day to help deal with debilitating arthritis symptoms

By: Rebecca Lawrence – MailOnline – March 16, 2017

Patrick Stewart has revealed that he uses medical marijuana daily to help him deal with the symptoms of his arthritis.

The veteran actor, 76, made the admission as he threw his support behind a UK-first research initiative by Oxford University which aims to explore the benefits of cannabis-based medicines.

In a powerful statement, the X Men star explained that he uses an ointment, spray and edible marijuana medicine to help him with his condition.

He explained: ‘Two years ago, in Los Angeles, I was examined by a doctor and given a note which gave me legal permission to purchase, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the ortho-arthritis in both my hands.

‘This, it would seem, is a genetically-based condition. My mother had badly distorted and painful hands.

‘I purchased an ointment, spray and edibles. The ointment, while providing some relief from the discomfort, was too greasy to use during daytime and so I only use it at night.

‘It helps with sleep as the pain was reduced. The spray, however, is much more usable and I spray my fingers and particularly my thumb joints several times a day.’

Describing the process, Sir Patrick detailed: ‘The spray very quickly evaporates and leaves my hands quite dry, though with a slight burning or tingling sensation, which is not unpleasant.

‘I believe that the ointment and spray have significantly reduced the stiffness and pain in my hands.

‘I can make fists, which was not the case before I began this treatment.”

‘I have had no negative side effects from this treatment and the alternative would have been to continue taking NSAID’s, Advil, Aleve and Naproxen, which are known to be harsh on the liver and to cause acid reflux.

‘This is an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has for too long been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance. I believe this programme of research might result in benefits for people like myself as well as millions of others.’

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The granting of preliminary approvals to build farms comes just a week-and-a-half after the cabinet authorized a plan to decriminalize marijuana use by first-time offenders.
In a move they hope will revolutionize the Israeli medical cannabis sector, 37 farmers received preliminary permits from Israel’s Health Ministry on Tuesday to construct facilities for the plant’s future cultivation.

“There is no doubt that this is truly good news for farmers and for citizens in need of medical cannabis treatment,” Weinstock said on Wednesday.

The granting of preliminary approvals to build farms comes just a week-and-a-half after the cabinet authorized a plan to decriminalize marijuana use by first-time offenders. While recreational use of marijuana remains illegal, medical cannabis has been legal in Israel since the 1990s.  However, because cannabis is defined as a “dangerous drug,” working with it requires a special license through the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the Health Ministry said.

The process toward opening up the country’s medical cannabis market dates back nearly six years, beginning with an August 2011 resolution that established the Medical Cannabis Unit within the Health Ministry.

By June 2016, the government passed a resolution regulating various aspects of the sector, including a policy for expanding the number of approved medical cannabis growers.

Yet after farmers still did not receive their cultivation permits, Weinstock submitted a petition to the Jerusalem District Court in January 2017, against a variety of government bodies and the Israeli Police, demanding that the latter conduct the necessary security checks on farmers interested in growing medical cannabis.

Weinstock expressed her hopes that from this point on, there would be no need to refile petitions, after learning that the Israel Police was performing the necessary checks on the farmers in accordance with previous judgments.

“On one hand, I am happy and proud that we reached this day on which the government and the Israel Police are honoring the judgment we received, and confirmed that dozens of our clients can establish farms for the production of cannabis for medical purposes,” Weinstock said. “But on the other hand, I am troubled that it required long legal battles to force the Israeli government to open the market for the growth and production of medical cannabis, and then to compel the Israel Police to act in accordance with the government decision.”

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People are giving their pets cannabis to cure their illnesses

With more people turning to medicinal marijuana to ease their ailments, others in the US are now using it to treat their pets.

Sick animals are being fed cannabis-based extracts, ointments and edibles to treat everything from arthritis to anxiety.

But the substances are not regulated and the health benefits have yet to be tested on animals, according to CNN.

Brett Hartmann gives his two dogs, Kallie and Brutus, a dose of liquid cannabis with their meals everyday.

Asked if he is just drugging his dogs, he said: ‘I beg to differ. I feel like this is botanical, this is plant medicine.’

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Cannabis firm aims to set safety standards for medical marijuana

Cannabis firm aims to set safety standards for medical marijuana

By: Grant Robertson – Globe and Mail – March 9, 2017

With the medical-marijuana industry caught in a tainted-cannabis scare that Health Canada has yet to fully confront, one company has struck out on its own to devise a solution to the controversy – and hopes the rest of the sector will voluntarily follow suit.

Aurora Cannabis Inc., one of 38 federally licensed producers of medical cannabis, is expected to announce on Thursday that it is unveiling the industry’s strictest consumer safety regime, testing all of its products for contaminants at a federally accredited lab, then making those certified test results public.

The program, which will test for moulds, bacteria, aflatoxins, heavy metals and 51 pesticides, including banned substances such as myclobutanil, goes beyond Health Canada requirements, and exceeds the standards used by the rest of the sector by making the information public on an continuing basis.

Some federally licensed companies in Canada’s medical-marijuana sector test for contaminants, but don’t make the data available for consumers to see. Others don’t test at all for substances such as dangerous pesticides, because Health Canada does not require it.

Aurora is expected to table the new procedures at a meeting of the Cannabis Canada Association on Thursday, urging the industry group’s 14 other members to adopt similar consumer safety plans. The company also hopes licensed producers who don’t belong to the trade association will adopt the same testing guidelines and make all of their results public.

“It is imperative that patients have confidence in the safety of the products they consume, and in the integrity of the medical cannabis system. We believe our testing disclosure process will raise the bar for the entire sector, and offer a model for other companies to follow,” Aurora chief executive Terry Booth said in a statement accompanying the company’s announcement, which was seen by The Globe and Mail.

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Rectal Marijuana Is More Effective Than Smoking Joints: Doctor

Not all medicinal marijuana is created equal. That’s what some experts are saying as they warn about the health risks and curtailed effectiveness associated with smoking medicine.

As medical pot becomes increasingly mainstream and Canada moves toward legalizing the substance, health experts are emphasizing the need for doctors and patients to consider the sometimes serious side effects linked to the various ways of consuming the drug.

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A “cannabis gym” is opening in San Francisco

By William Hughes – News Wire – March 3, 2017

Because nothing says “optimal work-out goals” like deadlifts and smoking weed, a San Francisco entrepreneur has announced that he’s starting a “cannabis gym” for fans of working out while high. That’s according to Teen Vogue, which reports that Jim McAlpine’s Power Plant Fitness wants to help athletes and fitness junkies get into “eye-of-the-tiger mode” with a little recreational help. According to Power Plant’s web site, the company hopes to buck the stereotype of regular cannabis users as lazy stoners (even as its promotional video shows plenty of evidence to the contrary, including shots of Arnold Schwarzenegger getting high in Pumping Iron).

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Young children with mental health issues could be treated with medicinal cannabis

By Lanai Scarr –  News Corp Australia Network – March 2, 2017


CHILDREN as young as twelve suffering anxiety and severe mental health issues could be treated with medicinal cannabis, as part of a world first study by former Australian of The Year, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry.

Professor McGorry has received private philanthropic funding through the Lambert Initiative to start medicinal cannabis trials in mentally ill young people aged 12-25 through Headspace centres from June.

Patients with anxiety and depression who have had trouble with traditional therapies will receive two to four powder capsules daily of cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive component of cannabis. Those taking part will receive the medication for twelve weeks to see the impact of the drug on their condition. If successful patients could receive access to the drug longer term.

Professor McGorry’s study will be the first in the world to look at the use of cannabidiol in youth.


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Cannabis Conversations continue. MP Blair on a Federal Roundtable Tour

In early spring, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a Task Force to undertake research and consultation with Canadians on the subject of cannabis legalization and regulation. ‘Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation’ (TFCLR) was born and consultations were undertaken June 2016 – November 2016 throughout the country.

MP Bill Blair (Scarborough-South West), in his role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was the government’s point person for TFCLR.

The final report of the ‘Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation’, was published Nov. 30, 2016.  MP Blair is continuing an outreach tour on the subject of cannabis through more roundtable forums in various communities across Canada, including Sault Ste. Marie, where he stopped on Monday, Feb. 27th, 2017.

“The Task force did a number of round tables, principally with people from four sectors; Justice, Public Safety, Public health and Problematic Substance Use. They were gathering evidence and speaking with a number of people in those sectors, including Medical Associations, asking for their advice and then making recommendations to the government. That process took place from June – December of 2016.  Now that we have received the recommendations from the task force, based on the evidence, the government has to now make some decisions.”

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Medicinal cannabis imported by Victorian government to treat ill children

By Rania Spooner – The Age – March 1, 2017

As little Gemma was settled for bedtime, she was given a dose of cannabis oil the Victorian government bought from Canada last week.

That was on Friday when the five-year-old who has near constant seizures became one of the first of 29 seriously-ill children to receive the imported medicinal oil product in Victoria. The remaining families will be able to access the oil – fully taxpayer funded – by the end of this week.

The scale of the importation, which has cost the state about $1 million to supply 29 families for a year, is the largest yet in Australia, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said, adding that the government’s focus was still “domestic supply of medicinal cannabis”.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the government felt there were children who could not wait for the state’s own locally made product – grown at a secret location – to become available. Victoria’s clandestine crop was harvested last week and is in production at the moment but not expected to become available to families for months.

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Is marijuana stronger than it used to be? Here’s what the science says.

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Australia Approves Immediate Medicinal Cannabis Trade

By LANAI SCARR | February 21st, 2017

Australia will now allow cannabis trade for medical use

Sick Australians with some of the worst ailments will no longer wait months for relief or be forced to turn to the black market to access medicinal cannabis with the government green-lighting the legal sale of marijuana products for medical use in Australia.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will on Wednesday announce companies will be permitted to apply to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally, establishing an immediate legal marijuana trade.


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News Corp Australia understands the government has been actively discussing the issue with half a dozen companies who are ready to distribute immediately.

Last year the federal parliament passed laws to legalize medicinal cannabis use in Australia for patients with painful and chronic illnesses.

Those include cancer patients, HIV sufferers and people with severe epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, among others. However the rules vary from state to state as to approved conditions and ages.

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Patients desperately wanting access to the drug for relief currently require a letter from their GP or an approved prescriber.

Due to no available legal market in Australia, until now they were forced to import medicinal cannabis products from overseas or turn to the black market. Importation from overseas often meant cannabis products were unable to be received for months due to regulatory paperwork and compliance. Patients were also forced to obtain an importation permit for each specific importation from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis

By: Winnie Hu – NY Times – February 19, 2017

When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis

Ruth Brunn finally said yes to marijuana. She is 98.

She pops a green pill filled with cannabis oil into her mouth with a sip of vitamin water. Then Ms. Brunn, who has neuropathy, settles back in her wheelchair and waits for the jabbing pain in her shoulders, arms and hands to ebb.

“I don’t feel high or stoned,” she said. “All I know is I feel better when I take this.”

Ms. Brunn will soon have company. The nursing home in New York City where she lives, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.

From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains. Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects.

For some people, it is a last resort when nothing else helps.

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New Workshop is Helping Seniors Navigate the World of Medical Marijuana

By CTV News | February 18, 2017

There Might be Something Special About Grandma’s Latest Batch of Brownies

A new monthly workshop north of Toronto is helping seniors navigate the world of medical marijuana.

“Our demographic is middle-aged to older people,” Rick Gillman of CanCann Consulting told CTV Barrie. “We do have lots of people in their 80s and even one I know in their 90s who are successfully using cannabis and having great results with it.”

Marijuana has been used to treat a diverse array of conditions, such as PTSD, epilepsy and arthritis. From general information about cannabis, as the plant is also called, to ways it can be turned into edibles, oils and tinctures, the workshop covered all aspects of using marijuana as a medicine.

People also showed up to tell others how the plant has helped them.

“I came today to share my experiences,” cancer survivor Jennifer May told CTV Barrie. “This excites me… to see how people are reacting, and it’s positive.”

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The workshop was held Saturday at The Barn Co-op, a community hub in Meaford, Ont. So many people came out that it was standing room only. The workshops have proven to be so popular that they are now being held on a monthly basis.

The events even feature a cannabis cooking class.

“I’m learning that it’s actually not a hard process at all,” Midland, Ont. resident Mary Ellen told CTV Barrie. “It looks like it’s something I could do myself.”

Organizers say the stigma of using the plant is now fading away.

“(That) allows us to share our stories, our experiences, with one another,” presenter Fred Harris said.

In Canada, it has been legal to use marijuana for medical purposes since 2001. Currently, the only legal way to obtain the plant, outside of growing it yourself, is through a licensed producer after receiving written approval from a health care practitioner.

The federal Liberals, who campaigned on the promise of legalizing recreational marijuana, are expected to unveil legislation to this effect this spring.


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