Canada’s Next Big Move? Legalizing Pot
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Canada’s Next Big Move? Legalizing Pot
Posted by CN Staff on December 07, 2015 at 05:51:16 PT
By William Marsden 
Source: Washington Post
Montreal -- For police forces across Canada, the month of August is harvest time. Officers slip on their coveralls, grab thick gardening gloves, shoulder machetes and begin the annual ritual of chopping down marijuana plants hidden in cornfields, remote mountain valleys and forest clearings.If growers are unlucky enough to be caught red-handed, they are cuffed and taken to court. Each police unit hits two or three of these hidden marijuana plantations, with the confiscated pot taken to incinerators. The destruction of marijuana plants goes on for about two weeks, and then it’s back to normal police work.
Has this war on marijuana worked?“No, it hasn’t,” said Clive Weighill, chief of the Saskatoon police force, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and a veteran of the August raids.Times, however, are beginning to change in Canada.The new Liberal government has promised to act quickly to legalize marijuana for general use, which would make Canada the first Group of 20 country to end cannabis prohibition on a national level.Weighill is among those in favor. “We are looking to the United States and the Colorado experience, the Washington experience, and we hope to learn from that.”The opposition Conservative Party strongly opposes legalization, arguing that it would make cannabis “more easily available to youth.” During the recent election campaign, former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper said marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco and “is something we do not want to encourage.”But faced with a large Liberal majority supported by the socialist New Democratic Party, the Conservatives are powerless to stop legalization.Although the war on drugs in Canada has been nowhere near as dramatic as the ones waged in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and the United States, it has nonetheless involved violence and consumed considerable financial and human resources. In the late 1990s in Montreal, an outlaw biker gang war claimed 165 lives and ended only after a crime reporter was shot seven times (he lived) and the Hells Angels threatened to assassinate politicians. The violence was all about the control of illegal drug sales, including marijuana.The Liberals point out that more than 600,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple possession of marijuana and that the number continues to grow. They say it is a needless destruction of lives.Each year, the federal government spends as much as 500 million Canadian dollars (roughly $374 million) on drug enforcement and prosecution, according to the auditor general. About 50 million Canadian dollars go to raiding marijuana plantations. These figures do not include the money spent by provincial and municipal authorities.Yet a large number of people still use cannabis. For about a decade, studies have shown that past-year use among Canadians ages 15 to 24 is the highest in the developed world, with a recent study putting the rate at 24.6 percent. For adults 25 and over, the figure drops to 8 percent.“Our system is badly, badly flawed,” said Eugene Oscapella, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and a longtime advocate for legalization. “I keep asking myself a question that I have been asking for 30 years: ‘Could we have done a worse job if we tried? Could we have found a way to create more dysfunction than we managed to create?’ ”The Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, a federally funded research organization, has already cautioned against rushing into legalization.After a fact-finding mission to Colorado and Washington, the organization’s answer was to “go slow.”“We have to be clear on what our goal is, why are we doing this,” said Rebecca Jesseman, a specialist in performance mechanisms at the center. “Are we looking to promote public health? Are we looking to reduce youth access? Are we looking to cut out the black market? What is the primary goal, because that will also help us shape regulations, monitor our progress towards that goal and monitor our success.”She added that the center believes the dominant concern should be public health.‘Selling cannabis as candy’One of the more important lessons from Colorado was that the state appears to have lacked a sense of clear purpose and finds itself unable to control a growing industry that is clearly targeting young people, Jesseman said.“They are selling cannabis as candy,” she said, referring to products laced with THC (the main psychoactive element in cannabis).She noted that in the absence of regulations, companies will push the envelope to make a profit.“You have established new corporate and consumer interests, and it’s very hard then to roll that back,” she said.The center’s director of research, Amy Porath-Waller, said that the health effects of marijuana on adolescents must be considered. Studies show that daily or weekly cannabis use can slow brain development and impair cognitive functioning, memory and decision-making.“It’s not clear yet if these deficits last beyond a month [of nonuse], if they are permanent, irreversible,” she said. “These are areas of active research.”Nor is it clear, she added, whether occasional users are similarly affected.Canada legalized medical marijuana about 15 years ago. Canada’s health department has so far issued 26 production and distribution licenses to about 20 companies.Recent mergers and acquisitions indicate an industry consolidation as companies compete for a bigger share of a still-developing business, which Canada’s health department claims has about 450,000 potential daily customers. At current prices, that represents an industry worth 1.2 billion Canadian dollars — about $900 million.Canopy Growth, which operates out of a former Hershey’s chocolate factory in the small town of Smiths Falls, Ontario, recently bought two additional medical pot producers and is eager to expand into the recreational market.So too are investors. When Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won the October election, Canopy’s stock price jumped to $3.65, from $1.50, before falling back to the $2.30-$2.50 range, which puts the company’s value at about 220 million Canadian dollars (roughly $164 million).Canopy, the largest medical marijuana company in Canada, has 7,300 registered medical customers and is “very well positioned” to jump into the recreational market, company founder and chief executive Bruce Linton said.“We already have been ramping up to be ready for that,” he said.He said the medical marijuana production model should be transferred to general use. Production has to be completely natural, using no chemicals. Packaging is restrained. Sales could be made through the same type of government-owned outlets that sell alcohol in most of Canada.Law professor Oscapella, however, looks at the growth of companies like Canopy as a potential nightmare. He fears the concentration of corporate power into “Big Pot,” with the kind of vested interests associated with global alcohol and tobacco companies.“My goal is to have what is inevitable in our society be as safe as possible and to try to discourage harmful use,” he said. “That is very different from what big industry would want with cannabis.”Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:    William Marsden Published: December 6, 2015Copyright: 2015 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: -- Canada Archives 
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Comment #18 posted by afterburner on January 09, 2016 at 13:15:30 PT
Slow Deliberate Progress: Don't Go too Slowly
International treaties a concern before Feds can legalize marijuana Alan Young told Dale Goldhawk that he doesn't see international treaties as a major concern since quite a few governments have already legalized.More about Alan Young:
Liberal government's throne speech promises to 'legalize, regulate ... to put Blair on point for legal-pot mission worries marijuana activist Emery: In Canada, cannabis regulation is the new prohibition
by Marc Emery on November 19th, 2015 at 2:05 PM
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Comment #17 posted by The GCW on December 13, 2015 at 21:13:29 PT
Canada is moving
Egan: Judge fines pot grower $1 for 30 plants, mocks 'ridiculous' law day last week, the main Gatineau courthouse was buzzing with a judge’s ruling, a loonie sentence that says much about marijuana’s road to respectability.A man was before Justice Pierre Chevalier charged with cultivating 30 pot plants. The Crown was looking for a sentence of 90 days in jail.The judge had a different idea. He fined the accused, Mario Larouche, $1, throwing in a victim surcharge of 30 cents.Justice Chevalier called Canada’s cannabis laws “outdated and ridiculous” and pointed directly at the intentions of the new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana.And he was just getting warmed up.Cont.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on December 11, 2015 at 22:25:40 PT
But of course, he does.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown: Swapping arrests for tickets in marijuana possession cases ‘hard to argue with’
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Comment #15 posted by Universer on December 11, 2015 at 09:17:13 PT
OT: Forbes piece on Young Dead Informants
A 20-year-old college student is brutally murdered because of the War On Drugs.LEO Jason Weber is pure evil and going to burn in hell. Someone should tell him so, and then another someone should tell him so again.
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Comment #14 posted by Universer on December 11, 2015 at 09:05:49 PT
OT: Troop Movement (To Legal Medical States)
Excerpt:“No one seemed to care,” she said. “As an advocate and a caregiver for my husband, it is my job to work towards legalization for medical cannabis. However, we will now be moving.” few excellent supporting comments, too.
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Comment #13 posted by The GCW on December 10, 2015 at 14:22:18 PT
Stand Down
CN BC: PUB LTE: Police Should 'Stand Down' On Pot ShopsConsidering Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mandate - to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould - to begin the process of legalizing and regulating cannabis in Canada, isn't it time for RCMP to put a moratorium on investigating cannabis dispensaries ( "Pot shops stand firm after visit from cops," Dec. 3 )? The institution of policing must accept cannabis prohibition is practically over. Discriminating against citizens, including sick citizens, who choose to use the relatively safe, extremely popular God-given plant is on its last leg and should not be tolerated by civilized society any longer. Stand down. 
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Comment #12 posted by observer on December 10, 2015 at 12:57:11 PT
Harping with their Harps
re: Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper said marijuana is "infinitely worse" than tobacco and "is something we do not want to encourage."I think he means that, politically, to Harper's police-state heavy neocon political faction, that great political harm would result to his regime's political fortunes from any back-down from the rhetoric that cannabis causes such great harm to kids. Terrible political damage would result to the Canadian neocons like Harper, should he cease promoting laws arresting people and jailing people (and of course shooting them dead, on the spot, should they resist in any way), over cannabis. His regime, his faction, the neocons, must maintain all the police-statery using cannabis as excuse, is justified. Harper and his gang of neocon police-staters who placed him there, by using the secret police to throw elections for him, rely on scapegoating "drugs" (read: pot). Legalization is a severe rebuke to neocons, especially to politically-motivated lies about pot, and so it hurts their political credibility., pot may be less harmful than coffee, but politically, to admit that would hurt the neocons; it costs them politically. So better to maintain that cannabis is the root of all evil, and maintain a stiff (and profitable) neocon upper lip, than to admit the truth about pot and suffer a political loss of credibility. (Not to mention loss of police-state budgets.) First things first. Alas and alackaday, the Canadian neocons suffered a setback. Hopefully they have learned their cannabis lesson, but somehow I doubt it.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on December 09, 2015 at 19:33:46 PT
And just another assumption, loosely 
based on Dr. Tashkin's findings, I would bet that you could chew on plugs of cannabis, day in and day out, for years, or dip cannabis snuff for decades without developing mouth cancer because of it. But, that's just an assumption and I, unlike some people we know of, don't want to imprison or persecute people just because they don't believe in or want to live by an assumption I have.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on December 09, 2015 at 19:26:39 PT
If you question people like Harper that believe that smoking cannabis is more harmful than smoking tobacco, you will find they believe they are both burning material, and because cannabis cigarettes have no filtering device, as packaged cigarettes usually do, and people hold their inhalation longer, they totally believe that it has to be worse on the lungs and on the body in general. They assume.Sounds like a reasonable assumption, but as we know, it's not. In spite of being inhaled in a similar fashion... cannabis is not tobacco and burning cannabis has proven to not be as deadly as inhaled burning tobacco can be. It's just a fact. People like Harper don't know it and they don't want to know it... so they don't. Actually they are kind of simple minded about it all. They could easily research and find the information... but why? Why would they do that? They don't want to know the truth about the cannabis plant. A true prohibitionist does not have an open mind. At all. They are pretty much unteachable.On another note... some more good news.Marijuana has huge influence on Colorado tourism, state survey says
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Comment #9 posted by vincent on December 09, 2015 at 19:10:05 PT:
Harper's mouth
That imbecile Harper says that Marijuana is WORSE than tobacco?!!! When did he hear that...on VJ Day, 1945? 
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on December 07, 2015 at 18:02:43 PT
naked Emperor
someone should remind the USPS - Washington DC voted to legalize by what, 20 points? maybe they should focus on their back yard, instead of trying to bully a state 3000 miles away???
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on December 07, 2015 at 18:01:22 PT
Post office
If they don't like the cannabis newspaper ads (which have been running since the 90's - nice job staying current guys)É.what do they think about all the people who have been using priority mail to send weed and forth to each other????Prohibition has always had this surreal quality to it - Orwellian smart-is-dumb type stuff. You need the ability to return to a child-like state of make-believe. Peter Pan is coming to take the nasty cannabis away! I'm surprised the USPS hasn't tried that one.
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on December 07, 2015 at 17:40:03 PT
Also Found at Leafly
Chile Removes Cannabis from Its Schedule of Hard Drugs: The Leafly Legalization Roundup
By Lisa Rough — 12/7/2015 of international and state-side action.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on December 07, 2015 at 17:23:48 PT
Freak show
U.S. Postal Service Memo Warns Newspapers That Cannabis Ads May Violate Federal Law
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on December 07, 2015 at 11:58:31 PT
the motivation for cannabis prohibition - oppression - hasn't gone away, or decreased even 1%. So the propaganda continues to churn. Now the goal is to slow down reform as much as possible. Make activists spin their wheels on cannabis reform, instead of on reforming militarism, Wall Street, or global warming.We can see the new propaganda themes - we have to keep arresting and jailing becauseÉ..Big Business will come in! Cannabis will be sold in edibles!!!  etc. etc.Well if you're concerned about Big Business, fine. Just remove all prohibitions on home growing, possession, and sales of less than $20,000 per year. They'll never do that. Always look at how legalization proposals treat home growing and possession - it's unlimited for tobacco and alcohol.  The only reason to regulate home growing & possession is to oppress people.They don't want to free the slaves - they want to push us into a sharecropper system of servitude. They are twisting and turning, trying to figure out ways to "legalize" while retaining the black market that enables them to militarize & subjugate the masses of lower-income people.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on December 07, 2015 at 10:06:42 PT
I am extremely impressed.
"Clive Weighill, chief of the Saskatoon police force, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police"."Has this war on marijuana worked?“No, it hasn’t,” said Clive Weighill, chief of the Saskatoon police force, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and a veteran of the August raids.Times, however, are beginning to change in Canada.The new Liberal government has promised to act quickly to legalize marijuana for general use, which would make Canada the first Group of 20 country to end cannabis prohibition on a national level.Weighill is among those in favor. “We are looking to the United States and the Colorado experience, the Washington experience, and we hope to learn from that.”""‘Selling cannabis as candy’"Ms. Jesseman, this activity is not directed at children. Sugar is attractive to most adults. The taste of sugar has commonly been used to try to overpower the taste of cannabis for many, many years. For centuries. Turkish Delight. Alice B. Toklas Brownies. The work of Brownie Mary. It has nothing to do with children or attempting to tempt them. It's always been the first choice when dealing with taming the pungent plant taste of cannabis. It's not being aimed to try to suck children into anything. Gah!
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Comment #2 posted by End of the Rope on December 07, 2015 at 08:31:22 PT:
Good Steps
History only repeats a wrong when ignorance was the first course. Maybe now, ignorance won't be the course and reason will win out in the end.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on December 07, 2015 at 06:47:56 PT
Two conservative govs at work.
While doing nothing to improve in American or Canada to cut waste or improve our countries, they did conspire to imprison Marc Emery after dragging him across the boarder illegally. Then to imprison Tommy Chong 9 mo. For his son selling bongs with Tommy's name.Are these people more vidictive than smart? They are not consequential thinkers and should never hold a public office.I believe that by going after two popular icons they excellerated our cause by quite a bit!I am glad we now have our naked titty ladies back at the DoJ. Ashcroft's Mommy did a real head job on that boy!
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