Both sides now: Sell marijuana only in Canadian government liquor stores

The federal government is set on legalizing marijuana by summer 2018. While the Liberals will enjoy the political payoff of appearing progressive, all the problems and the logistics of legalizing pot will fall on the shoulders of the provincial governments.

There are strong correlations between how a drug or an indulgence, such as gambling, is made available to the public and the propensity for individuals to indulge in it, and the negative health and social outcomes associated with its use.

In other words, it matters how we legalize marijuana, not just that we legalize it.


Researchers investigating boosting organic hemp yields

There were a lot of guesses why one plot of organic hemp looked so poor compared to another a few metres away.

Competition from weeds? Soil compaction? Variety?

Finally someone correctly guessed seeding date. But there was a surprise. The thriving plot was planted later than the poor one — much later — which is counterintuitive. On average, earlier-seeded crops do better than later ones.

Organic farmer Wayne Williment seeded a field of organic hemp June 12 and the poor plot was part of it; the healthy plots were planted June 28, Hemp Production Services’ agronomist Alden Braul told two dozen people at a field day here Aug. 23.

Williment’s hemp emerged fine but soon after was hit by a heavy rain, he said.

“It just sat there,” he said.


Feds refuse MP's request for cost estimates associated with regulating marijuana

The federal Liberals are refusing a Manitoba MP’s request to divulge Ottawa’s cost estimates for regulating and policing recreational marijuana, saying they’re still working out the details.

"The government needs to be more upfront and tell people what it's going to cost," said Conservative MP Larry Maguire.

On June 12, Maguire asked the parliamentary budget officer to probe how much money federal departments believe they’ll need to enforce new laws that legalize pot, and to track associated public-health impacts.

In an Aug. 1 letter, the budget watchdog told Maguire he was facing stiff resistance from the Justice and Health Departments, as well as Public Safety Canada. All three confirmed they have cost estimates on hand, but won’t release them.


Cannabis industry to province: Make room for made-in-Manitoba weed

Winnipeg's modest legal-cannabis industry wants the Progressive Conservative government to foster a made-in-Manitoba marijuana sector as the clock ticks down toward the legalization of recreational weed.

Cannabis producers and retailers say Brian Pallister's government ought to allow an array of entrants into recreational cannabis production, distribution and retailing in Manitoba — and in a manner that doesn't allow large national players to monopolize the local marketplace after legalization next July.


Manitoba appears open to private marijuana sales when pot becomes legal

The Manitoba government raised the distinct possibility Thursday that it may allow private retailers to sell marijuana when recreational use of the drug becomes legal next July.

The Progressive Conservative government called for expressions of interest from potential producers and vendors in a 10-page document issued to “gauge options and possible participants in the new cannabis industry in Manitoba.”

Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said the government is willing to consider private sales for cannabis and go beyond stores run by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.

“No options are off the table right now. We are opening this up to get more ideas about how to do this,” Stefanson said.


Buzz Kill? Manitoba Premier Pushes Premiers to Delay Legalization of Pot by 1 Year

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is rallying support among his provincial and territorial counterparts to demand the federal government hit the brakes on its plan to legalize pot.

Pallister, who is attending the Council of the Federation meetings in Edmonton, said there are questions that must be answered before the "historic change" is brought into force. He wants to delay the implementation by one year.

"I think that there are too many unaddressed issues that need to be paid attention to for us to hurry into something like this, [given] the magnitude of this," he said.

The federal government has said it plans to pass legislation legalizing cannabis, which was tabled this spring, by July 2018.


Budding Chefs: Winnipeg Cannabis Cooking Class to Whet Patients' Palettes

National Access Cannabis to host first instructional cannabis cooking class.

After a crippling case of arthritis landed local chef Allan Pineda with a medical cannabis prescription, he started cooking with the drug.

Now he’s about to start teaching budding cannabis cooks how it’s done.

On Friday, Pineda will teach about 30 medical card holders at National Access Cannabis (NAC), located on Broadway Street, how to infuse a safe dosage of cannabis oil, butter, and tinctures into healthy dishes.

“I think it will help people who are afraid of the drug itself,” said Pineda, who said cannabis enables him to keep doing what he loves.


Manitoba Wants to Know About Your Marijuana Use as It Prepares for Legalization

The Manitoba government plans to poll residents about their marijuana consumption and what kind of rules they would like to see when recreational pot is legalized next year.

The provincial liquor and gaming authority is looking for a company to do 15-minute surveys of at least 1,200 Manitobans in the coming months as it prepares for the new law.

“We don’t have a great understanding about cannabis as a substance and how people use it,” said Kristianne Dechant, the authority’s communications and research manager.

“And this is really unlike with liquor and gambling — which are two products that we currently regulate — where we have a great understanding about the gaps in people’s knowledge.”


As Canadian Provinces Seek the 'Right' Price for Pot, How It's Sold Could Matter

Taxation isn't the only factor in the quest to undercut black market prices.

Provincial finance ministers are getting a clear message from the federal government this week: Keep taxes on legal marijuana sales consistently low across Canada, or risk undercutting the government's goal of ending black market cannabis sales.

But provincial governments may find that enticing consumers to buy legal marijuana over illicit weed will take more than just tweaking tax rates. The question of how provinces allow marijuana to be sold could also play an important role in pricing.


Manitoba pot bill a 'slap in the face' to medical marijuana users, protesters say

Around a dozen people met on the stairs of the Manitoba Legislature on Saturday to protest a new bill proposed by the provincial government that would change the rules on cannabis.

Bill 25, the Cannabis Harm Prevention Act, was introduced on Monday. It would put restrictions on cannabis similar to those on alcohol, banning people from consuming it in a vehicle and giving police the right to suspend a driver's licence for 24 hours if they thought the person was under the influence of the drug.


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