City Councillor wants pot lounges, not pot parks

 

The decision leaves many renters and condo owners hamstrung by city bylaws if they want to smoke legal pot, as recreational use is banned in all public places.

If approved, the proposal from Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra would have exempted cannabis users in Ward 9 from the public ban at pot parks in Inglewood, Bridgeland and Ogden.

The idea went up in smoke, at least for now. And while city councillors still have the option to designate cannabis consumption sites in their wards, Coun. Shane Keating believes the total public ban on pot use is only a temporary measure.

He said Calgarians will eventually be able to visit pot lounges, meeting the need of citizens who can’t smoke in their homes because of the bylaw while taking consumption out of the public arena.

“That will be coming, so skip all the hysteria about we don’t have anything today,” Keating said a day after proposed public consumption sites were taken off the table. “It’s change, it’s going to come.”

Pot lounges have been operating in Canadian cities for years, usually under the blind eye of law enforcement.

Vancouver’s Cannabis Culture — started by Canada’s self-proclaimed Prince of Pot Marc Emery — charges a fee to enter and access pipes, bongs, vaporizers and other pot paraphernalia.

They also have munchies available for a post-smoke snack.

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What are terpenes and how do they work?

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada looming, cannabis enthusiasts are becoming more of cannabis connoisseurs. The cannabis plant is extremely complex and multi-faceted. Users are interested in its medical healing properties, THC levels and other compounds, but more studies are coming out surrounding the unique terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenes are what you smell, and knowing what they are will deepen your appreciation of cannabis whether you’re a medical patient or recreational consumer. Terpenes are secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD; they are aromatic oils that give cannabis flavours such as citrus, mint, berry and pine. Terpenes help to repel predators and lure pollinators. Elements such as climate, weather, age and soil type have an effect on terpenes; there are over 200 terpenes in the plant that are unique and different. Terpenes are more than just smell. Much more. When a terpene interacts with cannabinoid receptors they can assist or hinder the effects of cannabinoids. More cannabis companies are working to enhance the flavour profiles of by maximizing and preserving terpene levels. Some people feel extracts with the full spectrum of terpenes available combined with cannabinoids are more effective than cannabinoids by themselves, so connoisseurs are looking for terpene percentages on lab testing instead of just THC and CBD levels. If you want a strain with high terpene levels, use your smell sense to guide you. Remember to store your cannabis properly in order to preserve those fascinating terpenes.

Top 5 Compounds Found in Cannabis

Growing cannabis is more complex than you think. Scientist are finding out more and more about the green plant and have officially identified five primary components of medicinal benefits. People use it to primarily treat chronic pain and nausea. Studies have shown that it can help with many different health issues as well as prevent the need to take harmful drugs.

THC

The compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical found in cannabis that causes that euphoric high we all love. Apart from the psychoactive recreational effects some people chase, it has a wide variety of medicinal purposes.

CBD

Cannabidiol has become nearly as well-known as THC in recent years, largely due to CBD’s effectiveness as a medicine. One of its main benefits as a treatment is that it’s non-psychoactive, making it more appealing to a greater number of patients than THC.

CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic; it can also help control nausea. The compound is already being used to treat arthritis and mood disorders, and has also shown great potential in aiding cancer treatment.

THCA

THC is formed when tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is left to dry. THCA itself is not psychoactive, but may still harbour some of the same medical properties as THC. This means patients can take much larger doses of THCA than they can of THC. Some proponents suggest that juicing raw marijuana is the best way to extract the THCA from the plant to treat immune system conditions like lupus.

CBN

CBN, or cannabinol, is a further degradation of the THCA compound that is created when THC is exposed to oxygen and light. On its own, CBN produces much milder psychoactive effects than THC, but CBN can increase THC’s psychoactive effects in patients. It has been used as an anti-spasmodic and can help those suffering from glaucoma, inflammation or insomnia. You may feel groggy or dizzy from CBN.

CBC

Another non-psychoactive compound, cannabichromene (CBC) is the second most abundant compound found in marijuana. CBC has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to stimulate brain growth as well as potentially inhibit tumors and fight cancer.

 

3 territorial capitals have highest percentage of recent pot users, says StatsCan

With the legalization of marijuana only two months away, new Statistics Canada data shows urban northerners smoke pot more frequently than their provincial counterparts.

Statistics Canada released the second-quarter results of its National Cannabis Survey on Thursday. It compared data collected from residents in the three northern capitals with those in the 10 provinces.

According to the survey results, per capita, more people in Iqaluit said they’d recently used cannabis than any other jurisdiction — about 33 per cent said they’d used it in the last three months. Yellowknife had the next highest percentage of recent cannabis users with 26.8 per cent of residents, followed by Whitehorse with 23.1 per cent.

Comparatively, the average response across Canada was 15.6 per cent. Saskatchewan saw the lowest number of people who had used cannabis in the last three months, at 9.9 per cent.

The data was collected over a one-month period.

Statistics Canada said the reason behind the high rates in the North most likely has to do with the territories’ young population.

Statistics Canada released the second-quarter results of its National Cannabis Survey on Thursday. It compared data collected from residents in the three northern capitals with those in the 10 provinces.(Associated Press)

Canada’s median age is 41 years old. In Iqaluit it’s 31 years old and 34 in Yellowknife, while Whitehorse’s median age is 37.

“When we look at cannabis use prevalence, we still have this really strong age effect,” senior analyst Michelle Rotermann said.

Rotermann? said the younger a population is, the more likely they are to frequently use marijuana.

Statistics Canada data says one-third of Canadians aged 15 to 24 reported using marijuana in the last three months. The rate of use for Canadians over 25 is less than half that, at 13 per cent.

Driving while high

Statistics Canada also reported that people in the northern capitals are more likely to drive while high.

Its report says 25 per cent of people in Iqaluit, 24 per cent of people in Whitehorse, and 17 per cent of people in Yellowknife have driven within two hours after using marijuana. The average for Canadians was 14.3 per cent.

But Rotermann? says those statistics have little to do with age.

The rate for driving while high is much the same for people under 25 as it is for older demographics.

Recreational marijuana use will become legalized across Canada on Oct. 17.

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Cannabis Producers Keep Up with Regulatory Development

Over the past several months, we’ve watched Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, along with each province and territory, begin to lay the down the groundwork for how a product that was previously criminalized should be legally produced, distributed and sold.

In recent months, we’ve had a glimpse of what the federal and provincial regulatory frameworks are going to look like on legalization day. Business leaders in the nascent cannabis industry have been watching the process closely, knowing that the way they strategize their businesses to work optimally with these regulations will make all the difference for their success.

Complicating matters is the fact that even after the first truly legal sales take place, provincial regulations will still be subject to change or outright overhaul as legislators have the chance to observe the effects of their regulations in practice. Provincial legislators including BC Premier John Horgan have expressed this possibility.

“This is not something that is going to end with the introduction and passage of legislation, but rather is going to be an ongoing evolutionary issue for quite some time to come,” BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told the press in April 2018.

The builders of cannabis brands know that they need to be prepared to not just work with the regulations as they are, but also to roll with future changes.

The process so far

The election of Trudeau’s Liberal Party to a majority mandate in 2015 kicked off the process of building a legitimate recreational/medical cannabis industry. The party had run on a platform that involved a public health approach to cannabis regulation. Trudeau’s comments on the matter both before and after the election centered around keeping the product safe and out of the hands of underage users. For the feds, the two-year long process involved creating regulations for production, branding, advertising, while the job of legislating distribution and sales fell to the provinces.

On the federal front, branding regulations present some of the biggest challenges for licensed producers (LPs). The feds have imposed heavy restrictions on cannabis packaging: all cannabis packaging must be limited to a single uniform colour; fonts must be standard; and graphics beyond a brand logo are not allowed. The federal government has also restricted the use of fictional characters or celebrity endorsements in cannabis branding. The goal of these measures is to prohibit LPs from using lifestyle associations to sell their brands.

On the provincial level, some provinces are more restrictive than others. In a general sense, the eastern provinces, particularly Ontario and Quebec, have the most restrictive sales and distribution schemes. These provinces are characterized by a monopoly system based on government distribution and complemented by a limited number of government operated retail outlets. These decisions are particularly limiting to producers that have plans for vertical integration. Western provinces like Alberta and BC, however, have opened up sales and distribution for free enterprise, allowing private ownership of cannabis retail stores.

That’s not to say the western provinces have taken an entirely open market approach. Manitoba has only opened the retail cannabis market to a limited number of private companies while Saskatchewan used a lottery system to decide who gets into its retail network. Even BC has proposed some significant barriers that will make vertical integration difficult.

The changes to regulatory policy that occur after legalization day could be a mixed bag for LPs. The election of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in Ontario has given LPs reason to hope for a reversal of the province’s public-only retail policy in the near future. Should this occur, the door could be open for private companies in Canada’s largest market. The biggest post-legalization threat for cannabis companies is the possibility of tax hikes, as governments look to increase tax revenues over the coming months and years and may see see little political risk in increasing ‘sin taxes’.

LPs work with the framework

Despite the challenges, there’s no reason cannabis producers can’t roll with the restrictions to great effect.

Over the past few months, one of the biggest challenges for cannabis companies has been the uncertainty presented by the provincial governments. According to Bruce Linton, founder of Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED,NYSE:CGC), the solution for producers has been to design their distribution systems for maximum flexibility. This approach makes distribution systems more complex, but mitigates the risk of regulatory roadblocks after legalization.

In large part due to the restrictions posed by provinces like Quebec and Ontario, licensed producer GreenTec Holdings (TSXV:GTEC,OTCMKTS:GGTTF), for instance, has opted to focus its production and retail initiatives on the western provinces. The company sees superior opportunities in the Alberta and Saskatchewan for a vertically integrated approach to the cannabis business through private sector participation in the cannabis retail space.

GreenTec is developing a significant retail presence in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Although currently BC does not allow vertical integration, GreenTec still believes that building a strong retail presence within its hometown province will still pave the way for exposure into the retail segment. This is a strategy that would be far more difficult, if not impossible, to successfully manage in provinces where the government holds the monopoly on cannabis retail, such as Ontario previously, which recently announced they will be looking to privatize the system.

Overall, GreenTec foresees more opportunity from potential policy changes than reason to worry.

“In simple terms, any policy changes that liberalize cannabis sales and distribution represent opportunities for LP’s such as GreenTec. Conversely, any policy changes that tighten regulations (or increase taxation) represent a threat to LPs,” GreenTec Chief Operating Officer David Lynn told INN. “Realistically, there is probably more upside than downside, as the overall regulatory environment is more likely to be liberalized over time.”

What Canada is undertaking with cannabis legalization is a process that has happened few times throughout history. To take a product that was criminalized and relegated to black markets and build a comprehensive regulatory framework from scratch within the span of two short years is no easy task. It’s also no easy task to build a strategic model for a business within that framework while the rules are still being written. For the cannabis companies working with the federal and provincial governments to carve out their places in what will certainly be a massive market, however, the opportunity is well worth the challenge.

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Now that pot is about to become legal, it’s time to talk about other drugs

We are witnessing the beginning of a real debate around the wider legally regulated availability of drugs in Canada. The legalization of cannabis has opened peoples’ minds to the idea of responsible regulation, whilst the opioid crisis has forced the debate into new territory. The window of opportunity is now wide open.

Public-health officials in Toronto and Montreal have publicly endorsed ending the criminalization of people who use drugs, as a key part of the public-health response to the opioid crisis. But beyond the immediate emergency, what are the options for dealing with the realities of illegal drug use and criminal-controlled drug markets?

“Legalizing all drugs” may seem a frightening proposition. But considering that prohibition and repression have only made certain products and behaviours more problematic, it is a perfectly reasonable option.

Regulation of risky products and behaviours is a key role of government and is the norm in most policy arenas. Prohibition is the failed and radical experiment here. Nor are legally regulated drugs purely hypothetical. Swiss doctors have been prescribing heroin for the past 25 years to stabilize and treat people with heroin dependency. This “legal” heroin is not associated with any of the criminality, violence, overdose deaths or HIV transmission of the parallel criminal market. The model has already been piloted effectively in Canada’s NAOMI (the North American Opiate Medication Initiative) trials.

The “war on drugs,” as it was named by Nixon, legitimizes the violation of human rights in many countries, represents a major obstacle in reaching public-health objectives, exacerbates violence and criminality, and is costing us billions. The rates of use of an expanding variety of substances are increasing in most countries, at the same time as more effective legal regulation of tobacco is decreasing harmful consumption. Should we continue investing in a strategy that fails so miserably? When decision makers are humble enough to recognize that the hypocrisy of harshly enforced prohibition has only amplified the problems related to drug use, they implement policies that are more efficient to regulate drugs.

Legalization is just the process; strict, responsible legal regulation of drug markets is the end point. This is quite different from the idea that it is liberalization, “relaxing” drug laws, or promoting drugs. We have to choose if we want governments or gangsters to be in control of drug markets. The past half century shows us no third “war on drugs” option in which they magically disappear.

Which drugs would be available, to whom, and where? These are tricky questions, but ones we are able to answer under a legally regulated model where government has taken back control, rather than abdicating all responsibility to criminal market forces. More risky substances could be available only via a medical prescription model with supervised use, like heroin in Switzerland. Certain medium-risk drugs, including certain stimulants and party drugs, could be available on a rationed basis to adults from pharmacies, perhaps with a licensed buyer model, once they have proven they understand the risks. Other lower-risk drugs could be more available through appropriate licensed retailing, as we are about to do with cannabis.

Wider drug regulation would allow redirection of resources into more efficient prevention and targeted treatment, facilitating better access to the most vulnerable individuals. And the forces of commercialization that have been so historically damaging with alcohol and tobacco could be curtailed with appropriate bans on marketing and branding. If done responsibly, drug use would be safer, pressures to increase use can be mitigated and resources for proven public-health responses increased, as criminality and the illegal market contract.

The idea of wider legalization may seem a counterintuitive response to the current crisis, but is in reality a rational, evidence-based, and responsible policy option that policy makers must now seriously explore. Canada has been a pioneer of innovative and successful drug policy reforms. Many seemed controversial at the time, but are now not only accepted, but internationally heralded. The war on drugs has failed. Canada can carry the torch of global leadership to the next level by showing the world how to end it.

— David-Martin Milot is a medical specialist in public health and preventive medicine in Canada and a fellow in research on drug legislation and social norms in France and the United Kingdom. Steve Rolles is Senior Policy Analyst for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, United Kingdom.

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Legal Marijuana Facility Set To Open in Calgary – CTV News

The location of a legal cannabis production facility in Calgary is one step closer to production.

Bloom Cultivation has plans to convert a warehouse on 30 Street S.E. into a large-scale marijuana production facility.

Commercial growers are the only legal way to obtain medical marijuana since Health Canada ended its regulated residential grow program in 2014. However, a court injunction is allowing home-based growers to continue.

All too often, licensed growers broke the rules and their grow ops were shut down by the city. Wayne Brown, the City of Calgary’s safety response team coordinator says a home is never a good place for a grow op.

“When you put the number of plants that are permitted under that medical marijuana license, there’s all sorts of issues,” says Brown, “Obviously structural; the building takes a beating because of the humidity and the growth of mould.”

Where Calgary could, it used the building code to shut down licensed grow ops that weren’t following the rules.  The city has condemned 32 homes. Many sit vacant and derelict.

Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart applauds the move to licensed commercial growers and says Health Canada should be responsible to clean up some of the mess from its mishandled residential grow program.

“Health Canada and the Government of Canada’s handling of this whole thing has quite frankly been a disaster.”

Bloom Cultivation still has a number of regulatory guidelines to meet before it can begin production at its Calgary facility.

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Two Calgary Companies Hope to Grow Medical Marijuana – Global News

CALGARY – A Calgary company wants to be among the first commercial medical marijuana growers, amid a revamp of the medical marijuana system.

The federal government will no longer allow medical marijuana to be grown in homes starting on March 31, 2014.

Due to the change, Health Canada is in the process of reviewing dozens of applications from companies across the country who want to help supply an estimated 50,000 patients with the drug.

Bloom Cultivation is one of two Calgary companies who have applied to Health Canada in hopes of becoming commercial growers of medical marijuana.

The owners plan to retrofit a building in the Foothills Industrial Park, and say they are expecting a ‘ready to build’ notice soon from the federal government.

City officials are in the process of outlining land use bylaws for the sites.

“There aren’t many problems that we anticipate with these facilities because they are similar to what’s happening in an industrial area anyways,” explains Salma Mohiuddin with the City of Calgary’s Development and Building Approvals.

It’s thought they would only be built in industrial areas, and would have to employ special security.

Officials say they would also keep the sites away from nearby homes, and wouldn’t be able to share space with other businesses because of odour issues.

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