Tag: International News

Happy Holidays Unlikely for Canada’s Senators

Provincial and territorial finance ministers met for a second time Monday to negotiate how revenue from legal marijuana will be shared. Although the marijuana meeting did not have high hopes for a resolution anytime soon, a surprising deal was struck as the feds offered a generous 70 percent (70 cents on every dollar).

On Nov. 10, the federal government announced a proposal to tax legal cannabis at $1 per gram, with all revenue split 50-50 between the provinces and the feds. This declaration quickly prompted opposition from provinces and municipalities that claim they should receive the lion’s share of the money. Their reasoning stems from the knowledge that local and provincial governments are doing most of the heavy lifting regarding the logistics of legalization. These tasks include training law enforcement, constructing retail outlets, and various other regulatory and oversight expenses.

Although the provinces and municipalities have been publicly griping about the tax revenue split for some time now, the various finance ministers have been “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a satisfactory deal after heavy negotiation this month.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, the marijuana bill has its own set of challenges that could put a lump of coal in Prime Minister Trudeau’s stocking.

Bill C-45 recently passed the House of Commons and is now with the Senate. At this stage in the political process, the Senate should simply provide checks and balances on the bill, but Conservative senators are seemingly holding up the legislation on purpose.

“I think we have to do our job properly, and that means months,” said Conservative Senator Claude Carignan. “The House took eight months to study, it will probably take the same timeline to do our job properly.”

Currently, provincial governments are negotiating contracts, selecting retail locations, and making business deals with licensed producers to ensure the market is ready for Canadians by the July deadline. If that timeframe were to be missed by a few months, the costs could be extreme.

Although the Senate is not supposed to operate with a political bias, some Senators are convinced this move by the Conservatives is intentional. “This is the opposition trying to throw a [wrench] into the works of government,” said Independent Senator Frances Lankin, who was appointed by Trudeau.

Senators are scheduled to begin debate on Bill C-45 when Parliament returns from holiday break Jan. 18.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

 

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Austrian Police Okay Granny’s Weed Grow Over the Phone

Last week, in Austria, a 78-year-old woman came out to the world as a successful cannabis grower. The pensioner and medical cannabis gardener shared her run-in with the law on Austrian television’s Die Barbara Karlich Show to a receptive audience.

“Mara” from the state of Vorarlberg wanted to try cannabis in the form of tea and oil to treat her chronic pain. So she recently started to grow a few plants, using cuttings purchased legally.

Now, the cannabis granny has three flowering plants that are already over two meters high.

"Mara" showing off the size of her cannabis plants.

Mara (right) showing off the size of her cannabis plants to an entertained studio audience.

Not interested in hiding from authorities, Mara dutifully reported the plants and her plans to produce medicine to the police because she was unsure about the legality of her operation.

In Austria, cannabis seeds and even non-flowering plants are legal because they can not be used to make narcotic drugs. Hundreds of aromatherapy strains are sold in the country’s many clone shops.

However, once the plants develop buds, they become illegal and their cultivation becomes a criminal offense regardless of the intended use.

The officer on the phone when Mara called squeezed both eyes in what must have been pure bewilderment before informing the polite woman she could only own a maximum of two plants. Thereupon, the 78-year-old answered, “That’s all the same to me, one could pine away.”

Despite her very public outing and three flowering plants, the police have not visited the green-thumbed pensioner’s garden.

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Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

 

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Newfoundland to Receive Over 35,000 Pounds of Weed for Two Years

Licensed marijuana producer Canopy Growth continues to dominate the impending legal landscape for cannabis in Canada.

This time, the pot cultivator secured a deal with Newfoundland to supply the Atlantic province with 16,000 kg (approximately 35,274 pounds) of marijuana over the first two years of legalization. The agreement between the province and the producer also includes a one-year extension option.

Once legalization is a reality, which is expected in July 2018, Canopy will ship the supply of cannabis from its various manufacturing locations, with a plan in place to build a Newfoundland-based facility at a later date.

The eventual expansion will cost approximately $40 million to build and will bring 145 new jobs to the province.

The new facility is expected to produce 12,000 kg (26,455 pounds) of pot per year starting in 2019, but the bigger news comes in the form of a retail agreement between the two parties.

Along with the aforementioned line items, Canopy is expected to open four retail stores in Newfoundland to sell its products. This portion of the agreement marks the first time a licensed producer in Canada would own and operate marijuana retail locations, with one of them expected to be at the production facility.

“Our intent is to produce far more than we’re actually going to be able to sell here because I think branded product coming from Newfoundland is going to be a very successful commercial enterprise,” said Bruce Linton, chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth in a statement to the media.

The exact address of the cultivation and manufacturing plant have yet to be determined but the company says it is scouting locations now.

On Sept. 15, the company announced a similar deal with the province of New Brunswick to supply 4,000 kg (8,818 pounds) per year for at least two years.

Photo courtesy of Kenny Louie

 

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