Marijuana Advocate Marc Emery Vows ‘Political Revenge’ Against Tories

CANADA:  B.C. pot advocate Marc Emery has spoken to CBC News in his first interview since being transferred from a U.S. federal prison to a private deportation facility in Louisiana.

Emery was sentenced to five years in prison in 2010 for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana after his Vancouver-based mail order business was busted in a joint operation involving U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies in 2005.

After his paperwork is completed and a flight booked to Detroit, it is estimated he will return to Canada sometime between Aug. 10 and 25.

Speaking to CBC Radio, Emery said he was frustrated but doing well and eager to get home and continue his campaigning work.



Hemp Could Be Breakthrough Crop In Southern Alberta

CANADA:  Hemp could be positioned as a breakthrough crop for southern Alberta.

That’s the hope of a Manitoba company looking for more of the plant’s seed to aid in the production of a line of health-food products.

Last week, Manitoba Harvest officials visited southern Alberta to meet with growers and researchers, and encourage locals to jump on board.

According to Clarence Shwaluk, director of farm operations for Manitoba Harvest, the company is contracting about 6,000-9,000 acres of hemp in southern Alberta, and that’s poised to take off.


Clearing The Air On Medical Marijuana In The Workplace

CANADA:  Employers will ignore Mary Jane at their own peril in the wake of recent changes to Canada’s medical marijuana system, says one employment lawyer.

Companies should be prepared to accommodate a growing number of workers on weed after the federal government brought in its new regime, known as the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Under the new guidelines, a patient must obtain a prescription for marijuana that they can bring to a federally licenced grower.

Employers have to understand their legal obligations when facing an employee with a pot prescription, according to employment lawyer David Whitten, including the fact that they must find a way to accommodate the employee’s need to use the drug in the workplace.

Currently, an estimated 40,000 Canadians treat various conditions with pot. But Health Canada estimates that nearly half a million Canadians will be using medicinal marijuana within 10 years.


Canada Opens Floodgates For Marijuana Investments In The U.S.

CANADA:  It’s a thorny subject, no matter whom you talk to or whether it’s in the U.S. or abroad. The debate over legalizing marijuana — be it medical or recreational — has raged for decades, and has only just started to see the seeds of fruition stateside.

Now, however, Canada is weighing in on this controversial industry, by changing its production and distribution laws, making it legal for any licensed company to grow and ship medical marijuana to patients, and illegal for patients to grow their own. For their efforts, the country is seeing potential backers — both U.S. and Canadian — flocking to invest.

“It’s a much different time than it was a year ago,” Mark Gobuty, the chief executive of Peace Naturals Project Inc., told the Wall Street Journal. “Before, it was a reputational risk. Today they’re lining up.”


Canadian Marijuana Growers Should Get Agricultural Tax Breaks

CANADA:  Tax breaks and exemptions are created to help businesses grow and succeed so that they can contribute to the economy. Many business owners will tell you that without some of their larger tax breaks, they wouldn’t be in business. The agricultural industry is no exception.

Agricultural companies in Canada rely on a lucrative tax break to stay in business. Unfortunately, legal cannabis growers in Canada will not be able to eligible for that tax break.

The reasoning behind the extra taxes is that cannabis is grown in an industrial area, which is virtually a requirement in Canada given the outdoor climate combined with the code and security requirements involved. It’s a ridiculous way to discreetly discriminate against North America’s next big industry. I would be curious to know how many indoor grow facilities there are in Canada for non-cannabis agriculture items, and how they are taxed comparatively.



Medical Marijuana: Easy To Get, Easy To Buy

CANADA:  Recreational marijuana may as well be legal in the city of Vancouver, given how easy it is for an adult to buy from a fast-growing number of dispensaries openly selling cannabis to customers.

In 2010, there were five dispensaries in the city, according to police. In January last year, police counted a dozen. Most were concentrated in the city’s Downtown Eastside or along Kingsway.

Now city hall staff say there are 45 spread across Vancouver, with a handful in trendy neighbourhoods such as Yaletown and Kitsilano. Many have lounges where friends gather to learn about the pain relief brought by different edibles or the coolest new ways to smoke different strains of B.C.’s best bud.

Technically, it’s against the law for a person to buy marijuana without a federal certificate issued on the advice of a physician or nurse practitioner.


Halifax Medical Marijuana Lounge Opening This Weekend

CANADA:  Halifax’s first marijuana lounge is officially opening on Gottingen Street this weekend amid questions of its legality.

The lounge is called Farm Assists and while it welcomes medical marijuana users, smoking is not allowed.

Users can use a vaporizer, which doesn’t create smoke. The people must be licensed to use medical marijuana.

The front of the store is filled with display cases featuring bongs and marijuana accessories. A lounge area is just beyond that.


Six-Year-Old Medical Marijuana User Runs Afoul Of Health Canada Rules

CANADA:  Liam McKnight signed his medical marijuana licence when he was just five years old.

The boy from Constance Bay suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. It can cause nearly constant seizures that last three to four minutes each. His condition led him to miss time during kindergarten.

Liam had 67 seizures the day before starting cannabis oil treatment. The first 10 days he used cannabis oil, he was seizure-free, his mother says.

“He had new words,” said Liam’s mother, Mandy. “He was horseback riding. He was in a boat, he went tubing. He was so happy. We had a little glimpse of what life could be like.”

Even though Liam is licensed to use medical marijuana, taking it in extracted oil form violates Health Canada’s new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which came into effect April 1.


Medical Marijuana Users Concerned About Drug Supply

CANADA:  A medical marijuana user in Amherst, N.S., says he’s concerned about the supply of the drug after waiting almost a month to get a prescription filled.

Sam and his wife Tanya are among the roughly 40,000 Canadians with an authorization to possess medical marijuana. Their last names are being withheld for safety reasons.

Health Canada radically changed the rules for medical marijuana on April 1, moving approved production from a cottage industry of thousands of loosely regulated growers to a commercially competitive sector, with an anticipated 50 larger companies shipping high-quality weed in dozens of strains.

So far, only 13 licensed suppliers have made it to the finish line, listed on Health Canada’s website as authorized marijuana sources for patients who have their doctor’s approval to use cannabis for pain and other symptoms.​


Legalized Marijuana In Washington Could Hurt B.C.’s Multibillion-Dollar Pot Economy

CANADA:  B.C’s massive pot industry is in for some tough times because of changes in U.S. marijuana policy and a shrinking market south of the border.

The changes have raised questions about whether B.C.’s economy will take a hit.

Washington state’s liquor board is expected to issue the first wave of retail marijuana store licences on July 7, with some of the 334 outlets set to open the next day. Pot growers for recreational marijuana already operate legally in Washington state. Colorado began allowing the sale of recreational pot on Jan. 1.

Marijuana sales haven’t started in Washington but the effects of the loosened drug laws are already being felt in B.C., said Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd.