Canada

Canada: Quebec Sets Minimum Age for Cannabis Consumption at 18

Quebec Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the call that the minimum age for the consumption of legal cannabis in Quebec will be 18.

After several caucus meetings, where everyone was allowed to express their views on the hot issue, Couillard made a ultimate decision, opting for 18 instead of 21 as some requested, government sources confirmed on Friday.

The opposition Coalition, led by Avenir Québec, had also been calling for age 21 because they believed smoking cannabis at such a young age can have negative effects on the brain. Health Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette was pushing for age 21, but voted for 18, after reconsidering.

U.S.: NFL Legend Joe Montana Invests in Cannabis Media Business

Joe Montana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana bought into cannabis technology company HERB.

HERB, a digital media company based in Toronto, Canada geared specifically for the cannabis industry, mixes original how-to videos with hard news and profiles. The company, which boasts 5.3 million unique visitors per month and 2 billion organic video views annually as of June 2017, aims to expand to Los Angeles and New York City, as well as build out new studios to offer online video content.

Liquid 2 Ventures, Montana's venture capital firm, was a part of a group that invested $4.1 million into Herb during the company’s seed-funding round.

Global: Uruguay and Canada Moving Forward on Cannabis Legalization

International Cannabis

Canada and Uruguay currently honor the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Uruguay‘s Ambassador to Ottawa, Martin Vidal, is working with Canada on the implementation of global cannabis regulations. To do so, Canada and Uruguay must comply with three United Nations drug control treaties, since they honor those treaties.

In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational cannabis by July 2018.

Canada: Labor Union Adds Medical Marijuana To Health Benefits Plan

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A labor union in Windsor, Ontario, Canada is now offering medical marijuana coverage options through its health benefit plans in an effort to fight the use of opioid-based pharmaceuticals by its members, according to a report by the CBC.

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) 625 will expand their benefits plan to cover full-plant medical cannabis for its retired or permanently injured members but will only cover reduced THC cannabis oils for members still on the job.

Members will have to pay out-of-pocket for the products and will be reimbursed.

Rob Petroni, business manager for LiUNA, said the “most important part” of the new plan is to “reduce the opioid use and/or abuse” and that because they are able to track the supply chain, “there’s no chance of manipulating the system.”

“Now that we’ve added this, we’re hoping more doctors … will move towards prescribing the cannabis oil as opposed to the opioids,” Petroni said in the report. “We’re able to keep an eye on exactly who’s prescribing (cannabis), how much is being prescribed.”

The union plans to monitor opioid prescriptions to track reduction as the medical marijuana benefits are rolled out June 15. Their data might help convince other benefits plans to offer their own program.

Canada: No Relief For Past Marijuana Convictions Under Legalization Plan

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canada's federal marijuana legalization plan does not include a provision providing general amnesty for past convictions of low-level marijuana possession, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a Canadian Press report.

“That’s not an item that’s on the agenda at the moment,” he said, adding that until the legalization bill is passed current laws pertaining to cannabis possession, use, and sale “need to be respected.”

In a policy paper released last year, the C.D. Howe Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank, said that legalization could initially result in an increase in cannabis consumption, and the need for more police enforcement and monitoring, which could force more government spending.

“This discussion suggests that dropping charges against individuals for illegal possession who have no other Criminal Code convictions or charges, would save considerable government resources without other significant offsetting adverse spillovers,” the paper stated. “Similarly, the federal government should consider pardoning individuals who have been convicted for illegal possession but have not been convicted or charged for any other Criminal Code offense.”

Canada: Legislation To Legalize Marijuana Announced

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Canadian government announced new legislation on Thursday legalizing marijuana, fulfilling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise.

Canada anticipates that legalization will take effect in the summer of 2018.

The new law will make it legal for adults to possess small amounts of cannabis throughout the country and will establish guidelines for who can buy, sell and grow the drug.

The individual provinces will be left to determine specifics of who can possess or sell marijuana.

Marijuana has been legal for some medicinal purposes in Canada since 2001.

North Carolina: N.C. Hemp Commission Considers Joining Lawsuit Against DEA

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission is considering joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association.

The commission announced its support of the lawsuit verbally last week and plans to announce Thursday whether it will become a party to it.

The lawsuit would be filed by Founder’s Hemp of Asheboro – the first company to register in North Carolina as an industrial hemp producer. Founder's Hemp said that it intends to sue the DEA over its ruling that products made with CBD or cannabidiol hemp, which are in the same cannabis family as marijuana, are illegal and cannot be transported across state lines.

“We cannot let this stand as an industry,” Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, said during a meeting of the Industrial Hemp Commission last week. “If we let what the DEA is currently doing stand, we need to fold our tents and give everybody their money back.”

Through the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research, and more than 30 states, including North Carolina, have passed laws allowing hemp research and pilot programs.

However, the DEA has maintained that the transportation of hemp seeds across state lines is illegal, and that it is illegal for farmers to sell their finished hemp products in other states within the U.S.

Canada: Broadcasters Deny Cannabis And Hemp Expo Ads

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Some of Canada’s largest television broadcasters have denied ad buys by the Cannabis and Hemp Expo scheduled to take place in Calgary, Ontario in May, CTV News Calgary reports. Bell Media, owner of CTV, and Rogers Communications rejected the ads due to laws that outlaw cannabis advertising in Canada. The logo for the expo also contains a hemp leaf and the word “cannabis.”

“CTV attempted to work with the client to ensure their creative conformed with statutes pertaining to promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of a drug…however the client chose not to move forward with the campaign,” Bell Media said in a statement.

Terra Connors, a representative for Canwest Production, sponsor of the event, said there won’t be any actual cannabis at the expo but it counts licensed producers, dispensaries, and headshops among the exhibitors.

“We understand to a point. I mean, nobody wants to portray illegal activity or anything but that’s not the case,” Connors said in the report. “We’re a legitimate business, promoting a legitimate trade show and we are not doing anything illegal.”

Broadcasters who break the cannabis advertising laws could be fined between $250,000 and $5 million.

Canada: Marijuana Stocks Soar After Reports That Trudeau Plans To Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canadian marijuana stocks were on a high Monday following reports that the government plans to legalize the substance for recreational use for adults by July 2018.

According to the CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is expected to announce the planned legislation the week of April 10.

Shares of Aurora Cannabis and Organigrams holdings were up 10 percent, Aphria rose 7.9 percent, Canopy Growth Corp. jumped 11 percent, SupremePharma and EmblemCorp rose 6 percent.

The minimum age limit for purchasing marijuana will be 18, according to the CBC, although individual provinces can set the minimum age higher if they wish.

Canada: Marijuana To Be Legalized By 2018

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to reports from Bloomberg and CBC News, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will introduce legislation to make recreational marijuana legal for adults by July 2018.

CBC expressed certainty that the government will make an official statement confirming the plan by April 10.

According to Bloomberg:

The federal government, which is following the recommendations of a government-appointed task force, will ensure the marijuana supply is "safe and secure," while Canada’s provinces will be allowed to determine how it is distributed and sold, according to CBC News. Ottawa will set a minimum purchasing age of 18 — in line with Trudeau’s comments that the legal age to purchase marijuana should be the same as alcohol — while the provinces could set a higher age, the report said.

Trudeau has made it clear, however, that current laws still apply, and that people found growing, distributing, or possessing marijuana before legalization occurs will be processed according to those laws.

Nova Scotia: Class-action Lawsuit Launched Against Canopy Growth Over Pesticide In Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

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

Wagner's filed a statement of claim with Nova Scotia's Supreme Court alleging that Mettrum breached its contract with consumers and that its development, distribution and sale of medical marijuana was negligent.

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

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

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

Ontario: Cannabis Culture Dispensary Back In Business One Day After Police raid

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary in Ottawa, Ontario reopened recently one day after a police raid had closed it down.

The shop had just opened about three weeks ago.

Police arrested five men at the shop Thursday morning and charged them with five counts of possessing a Schedule II substance for the purpose of trafficking (marijuana, THC oil, THC shatter, hashish and CBD oil) and one count of possessing the proceeds of crime under $5,000.

A spokesman for Cannabis Culture said Thursday night that the shop would reopen as soon as possible.

Customers were visiting the shop again by 10:30 am Friday.

Activists Marc and Jodie Emery, the couple that founded Cannabis Culture, have been granted bail.

Marc Emery faces 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery is charged with five similar counts.

Germany: Medical Marijuana Program To Begin In March

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Qualifying patients in Germany should be able to obtain medical marijuana as early as next month, as a result of medical marijuana legislation recently passed by the German government.

Regulators will license marijuana cultivation under the new program to provide the drug for patients with qualifying conditions. Patients will not be permitted to grow their own plants under the new law. Health insurance providers will cover marijuana-related expenses for patients.

Regulators will import marijuana from the Netherlands and Canada in the early stages of the program.

Germany joins several other nations, including Jamaica and Colombia, which have recently passed legislation to legally produce and supply medical marijuana.

Canada: Next Step Taken Towards Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canadian leaders have started moving closer towards legalizing marijuana.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau created a committee in the summer of 2016 to look into the possibility of making recreational marijuana use legal for the entire country.

The panel, chaired by former Canadian Deputy Primate Minister Anne McLellan, recently submitted its findings. The panel calls for a tightly regulated recreational market for adults while cracking down on the black market.

The report said their recommendations will “strike a balance between implementing appropriate restrictions, in order to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use, and providing adults access to a regulated supply of cannabis while reducing the scope and scale of the illicit market and its social harms.”

Trudeau has said he expects to file legislation based on the recommendations of the panel in the spring of 2017.

The Canadian Liberal Party website states: “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work,” the site states. “It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”

Recommendations of the report include:

Montreal: 'Prince Of Pot' Arrested When Police Raid Cannabis Culture Stores

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A day after opening, some Cannabis Culture stores selling recreational marijuana were raided last Friday, resulting in the arrest of owner Marc Emery. The British Columbia-based self-described 'Prince of Pot' was expanding his chain of of dispensaries, despite the fact that pot is still illegal.

The Mount-Royal store had sold out its stock, leaving only cash for the authorities to find.

“It’s despicable and it’s an injustice, but we will win,” Emery said while being escorted to a police cruiser. “This arrest is wrong and prohibition is wrong. The prime minister is a disgrace and so is the mayor,” he said.

Hundreds of clients had showed up at the Mount-Royal location to make their first weed purchases.

Police say that they have made 10 total arrests so far, none of which were clients. They also seized 40 pounds of cannabis at other Cannabis Culture locations.

Canada: Restrictions On Hemp Are Eased

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made marijuana legalization a campaign promise, and is slowly working towards fulfilling that promise. Health Canada has announced that it has made the process simpler for people to be permitted to grow hemp, marijuana's non-psychoactive cousin, in the country.

The cultivation of industrial hemp has been exempted from the nation’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The minimum acreage requirement has been removed as part of that change, allowing hemp to be grown in even very small fields.

Health Canada says the move “better aligns regulation of industrial hemp with the demonstrated low public health and safety risk of the crop.”

Changes being made are listed here:

--Planning sites no longer will need to be pre-approved, and applicants will no longer need to submit GPS and map coordinates.

--One hemp license will cover all cultivation sites, removing the requirement of obtaining multiple licenses for multiple crops.

--THC testing is no longer required for those growing hemp for grain and fiber.

--Applications will be accepted via e-mail, rather than exclusively in-person.

Canada: Pot Smokers Feel 'Cheated' By Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana users who helped Justin Trudeau get elected as Canada's Prime Minister now feel "cheated" by his support of a police crackdown on storefront dispensaries, according to a cannabis industry spokesperson.

Abi Roach, a director with the Cannabis Friendly Business Association, said that marijuana advocates and users helped the federal Liberals to gain a majority government because of the expectation that Trudeau would allow small businesses to legally sell cannabis to recreational users.

Trudeau has promised to legalize recreational marijuana this spring.

The crackdown under Trudeau has been stricter than under any previous government, Roach said.

“All we’ve seen is raids and arrests and more criminal records and more issues and more problems,” Roach said. “When Trudeau was elected, I cried ... We campaigned our butts off for Trudeau because we wanted him to win so bad because we believed what he was saying ... Wow, was I cheated or what. I think that’s the way most cannabis consumers feel.”

Trudeau supported the legal crackdown in a recent editorial board meeting with the Toronto Star.

Ontario: Study Shows Vaping Prevalent Among Medical Marijuana Patients

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vaporization is increasingly becoming the preferred means of patients using medical marijuana, according to a survey with results published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and in the Harm Reduction Journal.

Investigators from the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health surveyed the consumption habits of 364 patients registered in Canada's medical marijuana program. Authors reported that "the most popular mode of delivery for medical cannabis" among patients was vaporization. Those surveyed in the study said they preferred vaping because it "reduce[d] the negative health consequences associated with smoking."

Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 1,485 state-registered medical cannabis patients. Of those surveyed, 39 percent said they have vaporized cannabis during the past month. Most patients acknowledged smoking as the means of drug delivery.

Vaporizer technology heats marijuana to a point where cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion. Clinical trials evaluating the technology conclude that vaporization is a "safe and effective" cannabinoid delivery mode that "does not result in exposure to combustion gases."

Canada: Study Shows Recreational Marijuana Could Generate More Money Than Booze

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana in Canada could generate a nearly $23 billion industry, a new study shows.

According to the Toronto Star, sales would surpass the combined totals that come from beer, wine and liquor purchases. The Star quoted a soon-to-be-released Deloitte report on Thursday.

The newspaper said the report found that the base retail market alone would be worth $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion yearly, while the ancillary market would jump to about $22.6 billion.

Last November Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked federal officials to set up a plan to legalize recreational pot, and the country appears to be headed in that direction.

Ontario: Hamilton Teacher Is Jailed In Abu Dhabi

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A teacher from Hamilton, Ontario is serving time in an overcrowded prison in Abu Dhabi after airport screeners found traces of marijuana in her bag. Heather Augustyn's family is very worried about her, but don't want to talk publicly about her case. They are afraid that any attention that casts the United Arab Emirates in a negative light could affect her chances of release.

27 year-old Heather Augustyn's social pages show a love of travel and numerous messages from her students show how much she is appreciated as a teacher. She graduated from Western's Faculty of Education in 2015. She was headed back for her second term teaching English to students at Abu Dhabi International School when she was chosen for random airport screening. The search yielded traces of marijuana in her bag, one which she shared with others on a recent camping trip. Her family says only a few flakes of pot were found.

She was then forced to sign a confession in Arabic which she didn't understand, and was sent to Al Wathba prison, notorious for overcrowding and human rights abuses.

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