Canada

Canada: Government Won't Challenge Medical Home Grow Court Ruling

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Good news! The Canadian Government won't be appealing the recent Federal Court decision to allow authorized medicinal cannabis patients to grow their own marijuana.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Canada's Minister of Health, on Thursday issued the following statement regarding the matter of Allard v. Canada:

"Following a careful review of the Federal Court's decision in the matter of Allard v. Canada, the Government of Canada has decided not to appeal the decision. In the coming months, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) will be amended to give effect to the Court's judgement. The Government's intention is to have completed the amendment process by August 24, 2016, which is the timeframe set by the judgement.

"In the meantime, I would like to remind authorized medical marijuana users that the MMPR remain in full effect," Philpott's statement reads. "Unless one is covered by a Court injunction, Licensed Producers are the only legal way to obtain marijuana for medical purposes.

"At the same time, our Government will be moving forward with the legalization, strict regulation and restriction of access to marijuana," Philpott's statement reads. "In the near future, a Task Force will be established that will consult broadly with experts in public health, substance abuse and law enforcement in order to examine and report on all of the issues related to legalization."

Canada: New Marijuana Edible -- Weed Nutella

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Peanut butter and jelly, shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy; things that seem to just naturally go well together. Thank you, Canada: we now have weed-infused Nutella.

Nutella is the delicious chocolate and hazelnut spread enjoyed since World War II. The new product, Chrontella, is the famous spread with 300 mg of cannabis extract swirled throughout.

Available at some dispensaries in Canada, a small jar costs about $23. The product is quite potent; a small jar is considered three servings. You might not want to consume it in one sitting.

The folks behind Chrontella also make a weed-infused peanut butter named Pif and Smokers Strawberry jam.

Canada: Medical Cannabis Tax Petition Gains Momentum With Diverse Support

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Almost 7,000 Canadians who share the view that medical cannabis should not be subject to taxation have signed a petition in Parliament urging the federal government to address the unjust tax burden medical cannabis users pay on a daily basis.

With broad support from non-government organizations in the health sector, compassion clubs, marijuana dispensaries, clinics, and federally licensed producers, Petition e-190 has galvanized all corners of a diverse industry, according to supporters.

The petition is open for signature until June 14.

At present, cannabis is the only physician-authorized medicine subject to sales tax. Without insurance coverage, patients already pay for their medication out of pocket.

Adding another cost is a prohibitive barrier that affects Canadians' ability to choose the medical therapy that best manages their symptoms, according to Hilary Black, the petition's founder.

"The diversity of the organizations promoting this petition shows how important this issue is," said Black. "There is a very simple fix and I hope our new federal government will act swiftly to treat cannabis the same way it treats other prescription medications."

Organizations supporting this effort are as diverse as the Canadians who are prescribed marijuana by their doctors. These organizations include:

Dravet Syndrome Foundation
BC Compassion Club Society
Emerald Health Botanicals

Canada: Ban On Medical Patients Growing Their Own Marijuana Struck Down

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Canadian Federal Court judge on Wednesday struck down regulations restricting the rights of medical marijuana patients to grown their own cannabis. The judge gave the Liberal government six months to come up with new rules.

Judge Michael Phelan ruled in Vancouver that the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations were an infringement on charter rights and declared they have "no force and effect," reports CBC News.

The judge suspended his declaration for six months, to give the federal government time to come up with new rules for medical marijuana.

Judge Phelan also ordered that an earlier injunction, allowing thousands of Canadians with prior medical marijuana authorizations to continue to grow it at home, remains in effect. But Wednesday's ruling did not extend that to cover new patients.

The judge was careful to point out that his ruling doesn't change the laws that make it illegal for Canadians to use cannabis recreationally.

Lawyer Kirk Tousaw, co-counsel for patient Neil Allard, who was behind the court challenge, was very pleased with the decision. "Basically we won, and it was a complete victory," Tousaw said.

"[The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations] were declared to be unconstitutional and violate the charter rights of medical cannabis patients," Tousaw said, adding it will now be up to the new Liberal government to come up with new rules.

Canada: Tweed Partners With Iconic Cannabis Connoisseur Snoop Dogg

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Tweed Inc., a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation on Friday announced it has entered into a business partnership with entertainment icon Snoop Dogg.

"Snoop Dogg is one of the world's most respected cannabis icons and pioneers in the industry," the company announced in a prepared statement. "He is recognized as a connoisseur of quality, medical cannabis products and has expanded his entrepreneurial endeavors to provide expertise and strategy to business ventures that, like Tweed, represent the birth of a new industry."

"There are real social and medical benefits from the cannabis industry -- and the world is seeing this positivity in a whole new way," said Snoop. "Canada has been at the forefront of the business model, and I look forward to being a part of the road ahead."

Under the partnership, Snoop, through a controlled company, and Tweed have partnered on curated content and brand strategy exclusively in Canada. The license agreement is for an initial three-year term with a two-year extension.

As partial consideration for the arrangement, the controlled company will receive a combination of Canopy shares, royalties, and monetary compensation, released over the course of the agreement.

Canada: Trudeau Says He Needs Permission From Other Countries To Legalize Weed

JustinTrudeau[CBCNews]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked a good game during the election campaign, promising voters he was not only going to legalize marijuana, but he was going to "get started on that right away," in a clear departure from the anti-cannabis policies of his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper.

But now Trudeau's back pedaling, citing international treaties, reports Mike Blanchfield at The Canadian Press. Now, of course, these treaties were already in place -- and had been for decades -- during the campaign, but somehow ol' Justin never saw fit to mention them until now.

Trudeau is now faced with figuring out how Canada can legalize weed and still be in compliance with three international treaties which it has signed, all of which require the criminalization of marijuana possession and production.

The Liberals plan to remove marijuana consumption and possession from the Criminal Code, while creating new laws heavily punishing those who give cannabis to minors or operate motor vehicles while under its influence. Trudeau has promised to set up a task force to design a new system of marijuana sales and distribution.

His plan to legalize and regulate cannabis is proving thorny, as it requires working with all the provinces as well as walking an international tightrope, being in the position of essentially telling the United Nations and the world at large how it plans to conform to its treaty obligations.

Canada To Become First G7 Nation To Legalize Marijuana

CanadaCannabisFlag[TheDailyChronic]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canada next year will become the first country in the G7 bloc -- the seven largest economies in the world -- to legalize marijuana, the government reaffirmed on Friday.

The move was announced in a speech by Governor General David Johnson, reports Sarah Begley at Time. Johnson said the government would regulate and restrict access to cannabis, but details about those restrictions aren't yet available.

Johnson said getting rid of the "criminal element" of marijuana would help fix a broken system, adding that regulators would learn from recent recreational cannabis legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington.

Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to legalize cannabis during the recent campaign that swept the Liberals into power.

The previous administration under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper had scaled back the country's medical marijuana program and increased drug penalties in a move mirroring the mandatory minimums adopted by the United States.

Study: Marijuana Is Safe and Effective For Pain Treatment

PainkillerMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabinoid preparations including herbal marijuana, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC) are effective in the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between 2010 and 2014, reports Paul Armentano at NORML. Trials assessed the use of herbal cannabis, liquid and oral extracts, and synthetic THC.

Cannabinoids possess "significant analgesic effects" and were "well tolerated" in the majority of studies reviewed.

"The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain,” the authors concluded.

According to a 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids for pain management, "[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain."

Canada: Trudeau Prepares To Legalize Cannabis

JustinTrudeauMarijuana[ARYNews]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to legalize marijuana as part of his Liberal government's legislative agenda, experts say he'll be able to access a world-class cannabis framework set up under the previous Conservative government.

A renowned production and distribution system has already been established under Canada's medical marijuana system, according to Chuck Rifici, who cofounded the nation's first publicly traded cannabis manufacturer, reports Kristy Kirkup of The Canadian Press.

Rifici, also a volunteer chief financial officer for the Liberal Party's national board of directors, credits Stephen Harper's Conservative government for the country's marijuana infrastructure.

"I'm sure it's not something he would like to have on his resume but I think only a Conservative government could have created MMPR (Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations)," Rifici said. "I think if another government had been in power the Conservative base would have been up in arms.

"Obviously the courts have forced them along the way," Rifici said, "but they've put in a very robust ... system."

The Conservative government in 2013 announced Health Canada would no longer grow marijuana for patients, a decision that created a commercial industry for medicinal cannabis.

Washington: King County Sheriff Says Canada Should Use State's Legalization Lessons

SheriffJohnUrquhartKingCountyWA[StuffStonersLike]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If Canadian Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau intends to follow through on his promise to legalize marijuana, he might want to start by learning from Washington state, where recreational marijuana stores have been operating for more than a year, according to the sheriff of Washington's most populous county.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said the biggest lesson learned in Washington is that once marijuana becomes legal, cities shouldn't have the power to use zoning bylaws to completely ban pot stores, reports CBC News.

"There are several cities in the state and in King County that have outlawed marijuana stores, and that's a big problem as far as I'm concerned," Urquhart said. "One of the premises of legalized marijuana is to get the gray market and criminals out of it.

"If someone has to drive 30 miles to buy their joint, they're not likely to do that," Urquhart said. "They're going to buy it from their old dealer who's not licensed, who's not paying taxes."

Urquart, a former narcotic investigator, says he supports legalization because "the war on drugs just wasn't working." And, so far, he said, none of the negative scenarios of increased crime and addiction have come true.

Canada: New Prime Minister Plans To Legalize Marijuana

JustinTrudeauMarijuana[LiberalParty]

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party Supports Drug Policy Reform, including Marijuana Legalization and Cutting Edge Harm Reduction Policies

Trudeau Represents 180 Degree Turn From Prime Minister Harper’s Punitive Approach

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canada on Monday voted in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in a general election, which will have outstanding implications for drug policy reform in the country. The Liberal Party plans to legalize cannabis.

The election puts an end to Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 9-year rule, which was marked by a repressive approach to drugs, including a commitment to rolling out mandatory minimum sentences, pushback to effective supervised injection sites that reduce the harms of drug use, and strong opposition to marijuana reform. In contrast, the Liberal Party has promised to legalize and regulate marijuana and Trudeau has expressed support for harm reduction and the expansion of supervised injection sites across the country.

Canada: Demand For Hemp Exceeds Supply

HempField[ManitobaHarvest]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Demand for hemp has grown to the point that it is exceeding the supply in Canada, according to one industry expert.

"You talk about about canola being the miracle crop? Well, hemp has even more uses," said Kim Shukla of the Manitoba-based Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, reports Dave Simns at CNS Canada.

According to Shukla, most of the demand comes from the United States. Smoothies, cereals, hempseed milk, salad dressing aand biodiesel fuel are a few of the most popular uses for industrial hemp.

Protein powder is another common hemp product, Shukla said, and it's now catching on with the general public rather than being limited to its previous niche int eh bodybuilding community.

"That's where we're seeing it," Shukla said, "in the smoothie market for people's breakfasts."

Canada's 2015 hemp crop is estimated at about 100,000 acres, roughly the same size as last year's. The crop looks to offer a typical yield, despite some periods of drought in Alberta according to Shukla.

Yields between 750 and 1,000 pounds an acre are generally considered "decent," according to Shukla. Those numbers were reached last year, and she believes they'll hit them again this year.

"We're expecting decent yields based on the reports back," she said.

An estimated 90 percent of the yield has already been contracted to five key hemp processors across Canada, according to Shukla.

Canada: Vancouver Pot Shops Fighting New Regulations, Rejections

BCPainSocietyVancouver[TristinHopper-NationalPost]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensary owners who could be put out of business by Vancouver's new regulations are not planning on going away without a fight.

Only 15 to 20 dispensaries will be approved and licensed after the city goes through 176 applications for business licenses, according to Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang, reports Laura Kane at The Canadian Press. But owners who are expecting rejection letters said the first "no" from the city will just be the beginning of a process of appeals and legal action.

"With any new rules or regulations or licensing, it will take a long time," said Chuck Varabioff of the British Columbia Pain Society. "I do know a lot of dispensaries will file lawsuits."

"I'll never file a lawsuit against the city," Varabioff said, "but I definitely would appeal if I'm told that I have to move."

The city isn't imposing a cap on dispensaries, according to Jang, but only 15 are 20 shops are likely to meet its stringent requirements, including a clean criminal record and a ban on operating with 300 meters of schools, community centers and other dispensaries. Jang first revealed that estimate to local politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention on Monday; he said it was his own calculation and not an official figure.

Canada: Revenue Agency Confirms Medical Marijuana As Allowable Medical Expense

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The Canada Revenue Agency has officially confirmed that medical marijuana to be purchased by an individual patient from a licensed producer under Health Canada's Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) is an allowable medical expense under the Income Tax Act.

The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) on Tuesday announced it has received a letter from the CRA, dated August 24, confirming that registered patients under the MMPR who receive a prescription (authorization) for medical cannabis from a physician, and purchase cannabis from a licensed producer, may claim the cost of their marijuana as an allowable medical expense on their income tax.

Specifically, the letter notes that while amendments to the Income Tax Act have yet to be introduced to recognize the MMPR, "[T]he CRA will not disallow eligible medical expenses claimed for the purchase of medical marihuana allowable under these new regulations."

Allowable medical expenses under the Income Tax Act currently include prescription medicines lawfully acquired for use by an individual, when prescribed by a medical practitioner. Non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs cannot be claimed, even when recommended by a physician.

Canada: Marijuana Gold Rush As Vancouver, BC Gets 176 Applications

VancouverMedicinalCannabisDispensary[BenNelms-TheGlobeAndMail]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vancouver, B.C. says it has gotten 176 applications for medical marijuana related businesses after imposing new license requirements earlier this summer.

Sixty-nine of those have the potential to be licensed as compassion clubs, while the rest have applied as retail businesses, the city announced on Friday, reports Tiffany Crawford at the Vancouver Sun.

Business licenses for compassion clubs -- nonprofit groups also offering additional health services like nutritional counseling, massage and acunpuncture -- are significantly lower. Those clubs paid $1,000 each, compared to the standard retail license of $30,000 for the rest of the medical marijuana businesses.

The deadline for applications closed a week ago, on August 21, and any medical marijuana businesses that missed the window of opportunity must close their doors, or city officials warn they'll take enforcement action, including hefty fines and lawsuits.

City staff will now review the applications, with particular attention to zoning regulations. Some of these relate to whether the shops are located in permitted commercial zones, and whether they are at least 300 meters from schools, community centers, places that serve "vulnerable youth," as well as other medical marijuana related businesses.

Canada: Prairie Plant Systems, CanniMed Allowed To Begin Cannabis Oils Production

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Prairie Plant Systems Inc. and CanniMed Ltd. have successfully received Section 56 exemptions under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) governed by Health Canada and as a result have begun manufacturing cannabis oil for patients.

Similar to the seven dry cannabis products currently being offered, CanniMed® oils will be available in three distinct THC-to-CBD ratios, according to the company:

• CanniMed® oil 18:0 - containing 18.3 mg/ml THC and 0.2 mg/ml CBD
• CanniMed® oil 10:10 - containing 9.7 mg/ml THC and 10.3 mg/ml CBD
• CanniMed® oil 1:20 - containing 1.2 mg/ml THC and 20.5 mg/ml CBD

"We are very proud to be among the first licensed producers to receive the go ahead from Health Canada to manufacture CanniMed oils for our patients," said Brent Zettl, president and CEO of Prairie Plant Systems Inc. and CanniMed Ltd. "Patient requests for oils have been significant with as many as 67 per cent responding to an informal survey suggesting they would prefer this delivery method over smoking or vaporizing."

CanniMed® oil will be packaged in 60-milliliter bottles and include an oral syringe for consistent dosing and as a spill prevention.

About CanniMed and Prairie Plant Systems

CanniMed Ltd. was the first producer to be licensed under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Their pharmaceutical-grade cannabis is produced under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations, the criteria used to manufacture all pharmaceuticals in Canada.

Canada: Health Canada Plans Crackdown On Marijuana Advertising

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose on Saturday ordered a crackdown on groups that illegally advertise marijuana, and repeated the Conservative Party's promise to keep storefront dispensaries illegal on the eve of the launch of a federal election campaign.

"Today I directed Health Canada to create a task force to crack down on illegal marijuana advertising," Ambrose said, reports Morgan Lowrie of The Canadian Press. "This task force will ensure that those who engage in such illegal activities are stopped, and should these illegal activities continue, promptly referred to law enforcement."

Health Canada will begin actively monitoring cannabis advertising instead of acting mostly on the basis of complaints, the agency announced. Under current law, only licensed producers of marijuana are allowed to advertise basic, non-promotional information.

Health Canada said it will issue compliance letters in cases where violations are identified. The department said it will also be more active in working with businesses to make sure they are aware of the rules around advertising cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Businesses and individual Canadians will be provided an opportunity to file complaints about illegal advertising for follow-up, according to Health Canada.

Canada: Federal Court Certifies Privacy Class Action By Medical Marijuana Patients

HealthCanadaMarihuanaMedicalAccessProgramEnvelope[CBC]

The Federal Court of Canada has certified a class action commenced on behalf of more than 40,000 medical marijuana licensees alleging that Health Canada violated their privacy.

In November 2013, Health Canada sent notices to more than 40,000 participants of the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) to advise of changes to regulations governing the use of medical marijuana in Canada. The notices were delivered in oversized envelopes that had the words "Health Canada - Marihuana Medical Access Program" on the return address, revealing to anyone who saw the envelope that the recipient was licensed to possess or produce medical marihuana for medical purposes.

Previously, Health Canada's mailings to MMAP members were discreet and made no mention of marijuana on the envelopes. Despite the Government of Canada's acknowledgement of the error, it insists that no one was harmed by the breach.

Recipients were upset, and maintain their privacy had been violated. Some said they worried they'd lost their jobs or become victims of a home invasion, reports CBC News.

"It opened us up for discrimination," said Debbie Stultz-Giffin, chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society. She was one of 2,105 Nova Scotians who received the letter, and she said it left patients and caregivers open to everything from condemnation from family and friends to robbery.

Canada: Corporate Medical Marijuana Battle Imperils Access For Veterans With PTSD

MarijuanaForTraumaIncVeteransHelpingVeterans(logo)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Safe access to medicinal cannabis is being put in peril for hundreds of Canadian military veterans due to a battle between two companies, one comprised of veterans, in the Great White North.

Marijuana for Trauma Inc. and its principals/shareholders on Tuesday announced they have commenced a lawsuit against OrganiGram Holdings Inc., whose wholly-owned subsidiary, OrganiGram Inc. (OrganiGram) is a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada.

The lawsuit was filed with the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, Judicial District of Fredericton for breach of confidence, conversion, breach of contract, conspiracy and breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent misrepresentation, according to MFT.

The lawsuit alleges OrganiGram denied MFT its interest in Trauma Healing Centers Inc. (THC). THC, developed through a partnership between MFT, OrganiGram and Denis Arsenault, CEO of OrganiGram and also a Defendant in the lawsuit, opened centers in several cities in eastern Canada to provide services to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other chronic conditions caused by trauma.

MFT alleges that OrganiGram unlawfully terminated the relationship, unlawfully used MFT's proprietary information, business practices, and expansion plans for MFT. Following the termination of the relationship in February 2015, THC moved to restrict MFT from helping veterans and first responders outside of New Brunswick.

Canada: Free Online Resource Introduced For Medical Marijuana Patients

MarijuanaMedInfo.ca[logo]

MarijuanaMedInfo Inc. on Wednesday introduced www.MarijuanaMedInfo.ca a free, online resource for patients and healthcare professionals. The website provides scientific, clinical, regulatory, reimbursement and access information on the medical use of marijuana.

"The new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations simplified the process for patients and physicians and removed some barriers to access" said Dan Rego, president of MarijuanaMedInfo. "What has been lacking is the provision of an educational initiative on the clinical use of cannabinoids for healthcare professionals and the public."

MarijuanaMedInfo.ca is designed to allow visitors easy access to published medical information on the use of marijuana for medical purposes, sorted by condition or disease. Information is provided around all aspects of medical cannabis use in Canada including the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, the Guidelines of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, the Licensed Producers and the strains of medical marijuana available, coverage/ reimbursement of drug costs, medical marijuana clinics, routes of administration, precautions and warnings, as well as the medical document Healthcare professionals must complete.

Additional educational materials focused at healthcare professionals managing medical cannabis can be obtained at no cost.

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