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Police raid Riverside Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary for third time this month


Police raid Riverside Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary for third time this month

By: Chris Fox – CP24.com – March 24, 2017

Police have raided a Riverside marijuana dispensary for the third time this month and the second time this week.

Around 4 p.m., Police say they executed a search warrant at the Cannabis Culture dispensary at Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue on Thursday.

A total of 1,640 grams of marijuana, 1.92 grams of ‘shatter’ and $3,770 in Canadian currency was seized during the execution of the warrant. Police also arrested four people and charged each of them with three drug-related offences, including possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The raid came one day after the execution of search warrants at the Queen Street East dispensary and another dispensary on St. Clair Avenue, which is also owned by Cannabis Culture.

Police arrested the same four people at the Queen Street East dispensary on Wednesday as they did on Thursday. Those people were also charged with the same three offences on Wednesday that they were charged with on Thursday.

Police have now raided the Queen Street East location of Cannabis Culture three times this month, with the first raid taking place on March 9. Investigators also executed search warrants at four other Cannabis Culture establishments during Project Gator, and at other locations in Hamilton and Vancouver.

Those raids resulted in the arrests of a number of people, including the self-proclaimed “Prince and Princess of Pot” Mark and Jodie Emery.

At the time, a lawyer for the Emery’s called the raids an “incredible waste of taxpayer dollars and police resources” and chastised the TPS for cracking down on dispensaries as the federal government prepares to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana.

“Unfortunately some of us are still in the dark ages on this and continue to take this authoritarian position that simply because something is on the books as illegal that means we need to waste our time enforcing those laws,” Kirk Tousaw said.

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Manitoba pot law shows ignorance, says cannabis expert


Manitoba pot law shows ignorance, says cannabis expert

By: Aiden Geary – CBC News – March 24, 2017

 

Critics of Manitoba’s proposed marijuana legislation say the province is showing its ignorance about cannabis and needs to consult more with experts.

The province is pushing unnecessary, short-sighted laws before waiting to see what the federal government’s approach will be to legalizing pot, said Zach Walsh, a former Winnipegger who is now an associate professor at the University of B.C.’s department of psychology, specializing in cannabis research.

The bill, introduced Monday by the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party, lacks consideration for medical cannabis and its users, which could further stigmatize those who rely on it, Walsh said.

“There’s a number of Canadians who are using cannabis to deal with serious medical conditions, and they already face substantial stigma,” he said.

“I worry that bills like this are going to exacerbate that and create further barriers for people who might be considering using an efficacious and safe medicine.

“I’m also concerned by the emphasis on harms that doesn’t seem to be founded by any reason or research, particularly the concerns about motor vehicle accidents,” Walsh said.

“We know from research over the past decade or so in the United States, where they can compare states that have permitted medical cannabis and recreational cannabis to those that haven’t, that those states with medical cannabis have seen sizable reductions in motor vehicle accidents and traffic fatalities.”

As well, American states that have allowed medical marijuana have seen substantial savings to the government when compared to those paying for other medications, he noted.

“It would have been nice if [Manitoba] would have consulted with some experts on cannabis or even if they would have consulted with the scientific literature — if they would have done their due diligence,” Walsh said.

“I think [this proposed legislation] is uninformed.”

‘Stop-gap measure’

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson told CBC News the province did not consult medical cannabis users specifically when drafting the legislation. Groups the province did consult include Winnipeg police, RCMP, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, CancerCare and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The legislation would bring in restrictions for marijuana similar to those for alcohol, banning people from consuming it in a vehicle and giving police the right to suspend a driver’s licence for 24 hours if they thought the person was under the influence of the drug.

Stefanson said the legislation is a “stop-gap measure” designed to maintain road safety as the province waits for the federal government’s laws.

“It is clear that there are public safety issues related to impaired drivers in Manitoba, as shown in the results of the MPI survey that indicated about one in 10 drivers tested positive for drugs,” Stefanson said.

“We have taken a proactive approach to addressing the concerns around public safety by proposing an interim solution in the absence of federal legislation.

Certainly, everyone wants people to be as sober, alert and vigilant as possible when they’re driving, but legislation already exists for dealing with impaired drivers, Walsh said.

“There’s no reason to make a special case for cannabis. It’s not at all like alcohol, where we see such pronounced and profound deficits [in judgments and co-ordination],” he said.

“It’s really a non-issue [when it comes to marijuana], and this legislation seems like a bit of time-wasting and posturing.”

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Ottawa Police Raid leads to charges and seizure of loaded handgun


Ottawa Police Raid leads to charges and seizure of loaded handgun

By: World Cannabis – March 22, 2017

On March 21, 2017 Ottawa Police Service Drug Unit carried out warrants on two dispensaries in Ottawa.  Police seized an undisclosed amount of cash, cannabis products and an unregistered, loaded handgun. Seven people were arrested and charged including four employees.

The list of charges are as follows:

  • CC 86(1) – Store Firearm Carelessly
  • CC 88(1) – Possess Weapon dangerous to public peace
  • CC 91(1) – Possess Restricted Firearm without Holding a license
  • CC 92(1) – Possess Restricted Firearm Knowing not holding a license
  • CC 95(1) – Possess Loaded regulated Firearm
  • CC 96(2) – Possess Firearm Obtained by Crime
  • CC 354 – Possess Proceeds of Crime Under $5,000
  • CC 354(1) – Possess Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime over $5,000
  • CDSA 5(2) – Possess Schedule II Substance for Trafficking
  • CDSA 5(1) – Traffic Schedule II Substance x 3

    The Ottawa Police Service media release is available here

Sergeant Rick Carey of the Ottawa Police Service Drug Unit released the following statement, “We continue to advise the public that these store front operations are illegal and the laws will be enforced. Drugs and Guns are continually being found in close proximity to each other and anyone thinking illegal drug trafficking from behind a store front counter is safer than on a street corner is fooling themselves.”

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Stephen Colbert Tries to Understand Jeff Sessions’ Insane Views on Weed


One of the many things that Trump voters almost certainly didn’t vote for, but are almost certainly getting, is a crackdown on weed. As Stephen Colbert reminded us last night, “Attorney General and Forest Gnome Whose Riddles Are Kind of Racist Jeff Sessions” has something of an issue with marijuana. For one thing, he seems to have a fairly insane view of how dangerous it is compared with other substances:

Colbert’s Alabama lawman voice was phenomenal, as was his destruction of Sessions’ argument. “Sure, marijuana’s only slightly less awful than heroin,” the Late Show host said, “like how burning your tongue on hot cocoa is only slightly less awful than being set on fire.” Colbert’s real assessment—that weed is of course far less dangerous and harmful than heroin—is backed up by science and data, so it won’t get much love in this administration. But for one thing, more than 30,000 people died after overdosing on opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers in 2016. There has never been a recorded death from a marijuana overdose.

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Ottawa police raid Magna Terra marijuana dispensaries


Jacquie Miller – Ottawa Citizen – March 21, 2017

Ottawa police raided two more marijuana dispensaries Tuesday, this time targeting a locally owned chain that was the first to open shop in town.

Police executed search warrants at the Magna Terra Health Services dispensaries on Carling Avenue and on Iber Road in Stittsville.

They carted away bags of dried weed, edible cannabis products and oils. No information had been released on arrests by early evening.

It was the 13th raid on a dispensary in Ottawa since last November.

Police have warned that the shops are operating illegally and drug laws against trafficking are still on the books. Dispensaries have been opening across the country in advance of the federal government’s promise to introduce legislation this spring to legalize recreational pot.

 

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From microbrews to marijuana: Is pot Vancouver’s next craft industry?


By Ben Miljure –  CTV Vancouver – March 21, 2017

Jodie Emery has returned to Vancouver after being arrested for running recreational marijuana stores in Ontario, and says she thinks the charges she’s facing are politically motivated.

The self-described activist called her and her husband Marc’s arrests the latest salvo in a battle between what she calls the grassroots industry and government licenced producers.

“In the future, it would be great to see cannabis normalized and easily available,” said Emery on her motivation for opening a chain of recreational weed shops across the country.

“That’s why we were demonstrating what legalization should look like: storefronts where adults can walk in and access cannabis.”

With legalization looming in Canada, Emery worries that people like her will be completely shut out of the industry.

Some businesses in Vancouver, anxious to get ahead of whatever regulation comes with marijuana legalization, have already dropped the requirement for customers to have a medical reason to buy pot.

One such business, the Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary on East Hastings Street, sits directly across the street from Strathcona Beer Company, one of Vancouver’s many flourishing micro-breweries.

“Certainly there are real distinct parallels between what happened in the beer industry and the spirit industry and now what we are starting to see with the marijuana industry,” said Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang.

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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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Jodie Emery returns home to Vancouver to begin cutting ties with Cannabis Culture empire


Jodie Emery returns home to Vancouver to begin cutting ties with Cannabis Culture empire

BY: Dan Fumano – March 20, 2017 – The Vancouver Sun

 

Jodie Emery returned to her Chinatown apartment for the first time since being released from custody earlier this month in Toronto, where she, her husband Marc Emery, and three other associates in the Cannabis Culture business were arrested and charged with a range of offenses including drug trafficking.

After two nights in custody, the Emerys were released on bail subject to conditions including a prohibition on “any business dealings with Cannabis Culture locations”. Emery has until Friday, she said, to remove herself from Cannabis Culture, a brand her husband started in the 1990s and she has helped develop since 2004.

“To be stripped of everything I have and everything I’ve done is degrading and upsetting,” she said, adding the end of her recent foray into running a franchise business means she can return to being “a broke activist” once again.

“I will fight this, I will not stop being an activist. You know, I was too busy with work to be an activist, and now, well, take away the business, and you’ve made a monster out of me,” she said with a laugh.

“There are many other people supplying cannabis in much larger amounts. But for us, everybody knows, it’s a very political persecution,” she said. “I’m more fired up than ever.”

Emery will spend this week removing her name from bank accounts, ending her directorship of the company, and planning for the handover of Cannabis Culture’s day-to-day operation to longtime employees, she said. She has been a director of Cannabis Culture since Marc removed himself from the company in advance of his 2010 extradition to the U.S. to serve a four-year jail sentence in connection with his mail-order cannabis seed business.

Cannabis Culture’s expansion into retail pot sales began with the opening last April of a Vancouver store, followed a month later by a Toronto location. The dates of the Emery’s alleged trafficking offences began the day the Toronto dispensary opened, last May 27, court documents show. In the last 11 months, more than a dozen Cannabis Culture dispensary franchises opened in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec.

Storefront marijuana sales remain illegal, despite the proliferation of dispensaries across Canada over the last two years, and some municipalities, led by Vancouver, moving to license them. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law in Canada, except for Health Canada-registered patients ordering by mail from the country’s 40 licensed producers.

And now, for the first time ever, the Emerys expect to soon be authorized medical marijuana patients.

Another condition of their release is not to consume unlawful substances, including cannabis, except “with a valid prescription.” Emery said she had a doctor’s visit last week, via Skype, to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana for anxiety. She hopes to have her medical card this week, and to place an order next week. In the meantime, she has tried to keep relaxed with an occasional glass of red wine.

While the Emerys await their next court appearance in Toronto — scheduled for April 21, coincidentally a day after the international 4/20 cannabis celebrations — neither is allowed to leave Canada. Marc must remain in Ontario, and Jodie is allowed to leave Ontario only for scheduled, police-approved visits to B.C.

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Manitoba Bill Will Help Police Crack Down On Marijuana-Impaired Drivers


Manitoba Bill Will Help Police Crack Down On Marijuana-Impaired Drivers

By: The Canadian Press – The Huffington Post – March 15, 2017

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is set to introduce legislation to help police crack down on drivers who are high on marijuana.

Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says the bill, expected Thursday, will also include measures dealing with health and safety concerns stemming from the expected federal legalization of pot.

Stefanson hasn’t provide details in advance of the bill’s presentation, but says the aim is to have checks and balances for when marijuana becomes legal.

She says technology that would let police officers test drivers for pot impairment is still being developed, and the bill will propose different tools for law enforcement.

One in 10 drivers tested had drugs in their system

Stefanson says she’s concerned by a survey from Manitoba Public Insurance that said one in 10 drivers who took part in a voluntary test had drugs in their system.

More than half of those with drugs in their system tested positive for marijuana, while cocaine came in second.

“We’re taking a proactive approach here to ensure that when that (federal) legislation does come forward, that we already have some checks and balances in place to ensure the safety and health of all Manitobans,” Stefanson said Wednesday.

Other details concerning legalized pot in Manitoba, such as where it would be sold, have yet to be worked out, she added.

“We have to wait for the federal legislation to come out.”

The Manitoba Public Insurance test involved breath and saliva samples collected last fall from 1,230 drivers. MPI said 124 tested positive for some form of drug. More than one in five of those had more than one drug in their system.

The data did not indicate whether the drivers had enough in their system to be impaired.

Only 2.4 per cent of the drivers had alcohol in their system, MPI said.

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Number of medical marijuana users has quadrupled since Liberals won election


By  Meredith MacLeod – CTVNews.ca – March 14, 2017

Data obtained by CTV News shows the number of Canadians registered to use medical marijuana has soared from 30,000 to nearly 130,000 since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, after campaigning on a promise to legalize the drug.

In the month before the October 2015 election, 30,357 people had prescriptions to use the drug, according to figures from Health Canada.

That number more than quadrupled to 129,876 by December 2016.

“I think it’s really gaining momentum. We’re seeing the same thing. We’re seeing growth in the industry of 10 to 15 per cent per month,” said Derek Ogden, CEO of National Access Cannabis.

As police in Canada’s biggest cities shut down unregulated pot dispensaries, many are obtaining the drug legally by seeking prescriptions from doctors at clinics so they can register with Health Canada.

Some of those clinic doctors never meet their patients in person — they communicate via Skype video conferencing.

Patients then get their pot in the mail.

“You do see across Canada a number of clinics opening up that charge money to sign people up with licensed producers,” said pot activist Jodie Emery.

She and her husband Marc Emery were arrested last week at Toronto’s Pearson airport and charged with drug trafficking, conspiracy and possession. The couple is accused of selling marijuana to people without prescriptions.

Search warrants were executed at the couple’s Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver, leading to three more arrests.

The couple’s bail conditions prohibit them from using illegal marijuana. If they want the drug, they would need to find a doctor willing to write a prescription.

If recreational pot smokers are gaming the system to get their marijuana legally, Health Canada says it’s not getting involved.

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


By Dean Beeby – CBC News Mar 15, 2017

Lack of hard science on marijuana impairment and testing raises concerns among employers over safety

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

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

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

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

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

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Owner of busted cannabis dispensary pleads guilty to two charges


The owner of a full service pot dispensary store that was busted last year pleaded guilty to two charges in February in Cobourg court.

South Shore Wellness – Full Service Cannabis Dispensary, which was located at 8987 County Road 45 in Roseneath, was busted on Aug. 17, 2016 by members of the Ontario Provincial Police Central East Drug Unit, assisted by Northumberland OPP.

The operator of the facility, Timothy Tucker, was arrested at the scene and taken away in handcuffs. He faced four charges under the Criminal Code including using a forged document, possession for the purpose of trafficking (marijuana), proceeds of crime (less than $5,000) and possession for the purpose of trafficking (cannabis resin).

On Feb. 27, 2017, Tucker pleaded guilty to using a forged document and possession for the purpose of trafficking (marijuana).

The two other charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking (cannabis resin) and proceeds of crime were withdrawn.

Northumberland Today first reported on the dispensary that had been operating for approximately two months prior to being taken down by police.

As a result of the story of the dispensary, Tucker had said the story in the paper was good for the business, but just hours after his arrest in August he had no comment.

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world cannabis news organigram recall lawsuit

Class-action lawsuit launched against Canopy Growth over pesticide in marijuana


The Canadian Press –  March 14, 2017

HALIFAX — A Halifax-based law firm has launched a class-action lawsuit against Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) and its subsidiary Mettrum over recalls of medical marijuana that contained unauthorized pesticides.

In a statement of claim filed with Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court, Wagners alleges that Mettrum breached its contract with consumers and that its development, distribution and sale of medical marijuana was negligent.

Canopy Growth, Canada’s largest publicly traded medical marijuana producer, purchased Mettrum earlier this year.

A spokesman for Canopy Growth said Tuesday he couldn’t comment immediately on the lawsuit because he hadn’t seen it.

Lawyer Ray Wagner says representative plaintiff Neal Partington, a house painter from Nova Scotia, says he suffered severe nausea and vomiting over the six months that he was taking Mettrum products to deal with symptoms of an injury.

Wagner says it could take six to eight months before the court decides whether to certify the class-action lawsuit.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

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Edmonton to close zoning loopholes for cannabis lounges and pot shops


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Canadian researchers to study cannabis oil to treat kids’ epilepsy


By Angela Mulholland – CTV News-  March 11, 2017 

One of the researchers launching a study into the potential benefits of cannabis oil on childhood epilepsy says he is interested to learn how the drug affects the children’s quality of life.

Dr. Richard Huntsman, a pediatric neurologist and a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, is leading the cannabis oil study along with Dr. Richard Tang-Wai, a pediatric epileptologist at the University of Alberta.

The main goal of their study is to learn if concentrated cannabis oil can be used safely in children with epilepsy. But they also want to look at whether it helps control seizures and whether it helps children’s lives improve, he told CTV News Channel Saturday.

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