Not so fast: Health care needs reform before marijuana is legalized, says U of A professor

Alberta needs to better prepare its health care system for marijuana legalization, an academic told a Calgary seminar on the watershed drug reforms said Friday.

While Cam Wild praised Ottawa’s approach to legalizing the recreational use of the drug, he said the province has considerable work to do in the medical field to ensure the move’s success.

A priority should be dedicating tax revenues raised from pot sales to mental health and addictions programs, rather than putting them into general revenues, said Wild, of the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health.

That’s the policy followed by states that have legalized recreational pot, such as California, Washington and Oregon, he said.

“That concept is foreign to us,” he said.


The Global Marijuana March: Events Happening this Weekend


New York City
Parade Assembly: 11:00 a.m. | West 31st & Broadway, Koreatown, NYC
Parade Start Time: 12:30 p.m. | Parade will march to Union Square (Route South on Broadway)
Rally: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Union Square South Plaza
“The NYC Cannabis Parade is the longest running public expression of drug policy reform in New York City, with roots as far back as the early 70’s. This event have gone by many different monikers, but our purpose remains the same, to spread awareness throughout the world! In 1999, the Million Marijuana March brand exploded and has since turned into a annual event held in hundreds of cities across dozens of countries.”


Canada: High Employees Mean Higher Costs When Pot Legalized, Oilpatch CEOs Warn

Many oil and gas companies have strict bans on alcohol and drugs at work and some say more employees have failed drug tests in Colorado, since the state legalized marijuana in 2014.

Oilpatch CEOs fear their costs will rise when the federal government passes recently introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The issue of drug use is closely watched in the industry, where workers tend to be young and hazards include long commutes to and from remote drilling sites, wells that produce poisonous or explosive gas and exposure to heavy machinery. Many oil and gas companies have strict bans on alcohol and drugs at work.


Cannabis expos bloom in Calgary as marijuana's stigma dissipates

Taboos over marijuana are going up in smoke, supercharging cannabis expos in Alberta including one taking seed in Calgary next month, say organizers.

Fuelled by a buzz over impending national legalization and eight U.S. states that have dropped pot prohibition, an Edmonton trade show held in early April exceeded attendance expectations, said Kevin Blackburn of organizer Canwest Productions.

“We were hoping for 3,000 to 5,000 people and we doubled that,” he said. 

“We expect the same, if not better, in Calgary.”

There’s no question the momentum in marijuana’s mainstreaming is drawing both exhibitors and the curious out of the weeds for events such as the Calgary Cannabis and Hemp Expo at Stampede Park’s Big Four Building May 6-7, said Blackburn.


Alberta municipalities want more time for marijuana reform

As marijuana legalization looms, municipal governments are scrambling to develop policy to support the federal regulation of the drug.

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), which says it represent 85 per cent of Albertans in various cities, towns and villages, is one of the organizations that needs more time than the current July 2018 deadline.

Lisa Holmes, the president of the AUMA and the mayor of Morinville, said Thursday she's concerned municipalities won't have enough time to prepare themselves for cannabis legalization.

"Their [the federal government's] timelines are just too fast," Holmes said. "It will take longer than a year. There's no question."


It may not be legal, but marijuana-infused ice cream is now available in Calgary

Remedy Ice Cream is made in Calgary and infused with shatter — a concentrated form of marijuana.

The operation may not be legal but it's not exactly underground, either.

Co-founder Chris Vasconcellos says the ice cream is meant for licensed medical marijuana patients only. As a licensed user himself, he said he was looking for a different way to consume his medicine, which led him to the idea.

He doesn't have a licence to sell the drug, however, so he's wary of law enforcement — but still willing to talk publicly about what he does.

He's created a widespread online presence and has been making the rounds on pot-themed podcasts, promoting the product as a first of its kind in Canada.


Cannabis activist Dana Larsen 'a little nervous' about Calgary tour stop

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen is making another tour stop in Calgary a year after he was arrested for giving away cannabis seeds.

The Vancouver-based cannabis legalization advocate admits he is “a little nervous” about coming back to the city where he was charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.


Efforts to advertise Calgary cannabis expo go up in smoke

The federal government plans to legalize recreational use of marijuana next year and trade shows are popping up across the country but many are having a hard time getting the word out.

The Cannabis and Hemp Expo is coming to Calgary in May and some of the big broadcasters are saying no to its ads saying they can’t run them because it’s still illegal to promote pot in Canada.

It's the first year for the event and organizers say they’ve tried to buy ad time on major networks like CTV and Rogers, but the name they chose and their logo has brought up legal concerns.


The Cannabis & Hemp Expo is at Stampede Park on May 6 & 7, 2017.

The issues stem from the use of the word ‘cannabis’ and the depiction of a pot leaf in the logo.


Southern Alberta marijuana business growth exploding ahead of legalization

Before the end of 2017, a five-acre site near Claresholm, Alta., will be full of greenhouses growing medical marijuana plants.

The industry is booming in Alberta, despite the plans for federal legalization of marijuana being more than a year away — making for a lot of excitement, as well as some concern.

Construction is set to begin in June for the 65,000-square-foot medical marijuana greenhouse, with room for expansion into the production of recreational products, once pot is legalized on Canada Day next year.


Canadian Police: Marijuana legalization means money needed for training

The Calgary Police Service wants more information and more funding for drug impairment recognition training for front-line officers before marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

At a meeting of the Calgary police commission this week, CPS outlined the steps the service is taking following the announcement this week that the Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize pot by July 1, 2018.

Sgt. Richard Butler, who heads the force's alcohol and drug recognition unit, warned the legalization of the drug in other jurisdictions has been accompanied by a rise in collision rates and costs associated with policing drug-impaired drivers.


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