Tag: marijuana legalization

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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Nova Scotia Announces Legal Age of 19 and Liquor Board to Sell Pot

It has been an eventful week for provincial pot announcements in Canada, with the first one coming from British Columbia Tuesday. Not to be outdone, on Thursday the Province of Nova Scotia announced their framework for the distribution and sale of legal cannabis starting in July 2018.

Like all other provinces, Nova Scotia has decided to set the minimum age to purchase marijuana alongside their drinking age, which is 19 years old. British Columbia also set their minimum at 19, but the similarities between the two frameworks end there.

Much like its closer neighbors of New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, Nova Scotia has made the controversial decision to have a government monopoly on all cannabis sales. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. (NSLC) will be in charge of selling legal cannabis through retail stores and online.

Causing further discord, Nova Scotia has no plans to create standalone stores to sell weed and will provide cannabis products alongside liquor. The decision has garnered significant criticism from members of Nova Scotia’s provincial government, who have called the idea “shameful.”

“The danger is impulse,” said Member of the Legislative Assembly Karla MacFarlane. “I’ve heard it from many youth, when you walk into a liquor store and you have the opportunity as well to purchase marijuana. The science is out there, the data is out there the two shouldn’t be mixed.”

The provincial government did not elaborate as to how many NSLC stores would sell cannabis and added that the decision would be made at an undetermined date.

“The NSLC has the experience and expertise to distribute and sell restricted products like alcohol and now cannabis in a socially responsible way,” said Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Mark Furey in a press announcement Thursday morning. “We believe the NSLC is best positioned to sell cannabis, keeping it out of the hands of young people and making it legally available in a safe, regulated way.”

Like many other provinces, Nova Scotia asked for opinions through an online survey, which received 31,000 responses. One of the interesting takeaways from the results of the public consultation was that 56 percent of Nova Scotians wanted government-operated, stand-alone cannabis stores as opposed to seeing marijuana sold alongside alcohol.

Nova Scotians will be permitted to cultivate up to 4 plants per household as per the federal government’s guidelines and every adult can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis.

Photo courtesy of Shawn Kent

 

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British Columbia Announces Its Legal Marijuana Framework

British Columbia is undeniably Canada’s most pot-friendly province, and today its government made a highly anticipated announcement regarding the future framework for legal marijuana sales. The decisions made by B.C. leadership were fuelled through a five-week public consultation period that began on Sept. 25 and concluded on Nov. 1. Ultimately, 48,951 British Columbians provided their […]

 

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