Tag: Canada

How Cannabis Can Combat the Opioid Epidemic: An Interview With Philippe Lucas

Philippe Lucas has deep roots in Canada’s cannabis culture. After co-founding the Vancouver Island Compassion Society medical dispensary in 1999, Lucas applied himself to cannabis science, working as a graduate researcher with the Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia and serving as founding board member of both the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies Canada and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. In 2013, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his research on medical cannabis.

Philippe Lucas

(Full disclosure/fun fact: He’s also Vice President of Patient Advocacy at Tilray, the cannabis production company owned by Privateer Holdings, which also owns Leafly.)

Most recently, Lucas is the author of a new study: “Rationale for cannabis-based interventions in the opioid overdose crisis,” published last month in the Harm Reduction Journal. In the study, Lucas lays out a variety of roles that cannabis might play in combatting the opioid epidemic, which currently kills 38,000 people in the U.S. and Canada each year and ranks as the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

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His study added an important perspective to the growing body of evidence supporting the notion of cannabis as healing tool in the opioid crisis. That idea is quickly moving into mainstream thought, as we’ve seen recently with the public pronouncements of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and, just this week, Dr. Oz.

Over the phone from his office in Nanaimo, Lucas let me interrogate him about specifics of the study.

Dave Schmader: What inspired you to undertake this study?

Philippe Lucas: Whether it’s medical use or recreational use, cannabis appears to be having an impact on the rates of opioid abuse. This study is a summation of the evidence, and I’ve taken that summation to suggest three opportunities for cannabis to intervene in the opioid crisis.

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And those are…?

First is introduction—if physicians start recommending the use of medical cannabis prior to introducing patients to opioids, those patients that find cannabis to be a successful treatment for their chronic pain might never have to walk down the very tricky path of opioid use that all too often leads to abuse or overuse or overdose.

“Patients that find cannabis to be a successful treatment for their chronic pain might never have to walk down the very tricky path of opioid use.”

The second opportunity is reduction, for those patients who are successfully using opioids in the treatment of their chronic pain or other conditions but are worried about increasing their use of opioids over time. The evidence suggests you can introduce cannabis as an adjunct treatment and reduce the cravings for opioids, therefore potentially steering people away and reducing the risk of opioid overdose and opioid dependence.

The third part is cessation. Once individuals have become dependent on opioids and they recognize that dependence and are seeking treatment for it through opioid replacement therapy like methadone and suboxone, you can potentially introduce cannabis as an adjunct treatment to increase the success rate of the methadone or suboxone treatment. The reason this point is so important is that when people with an opioid dependence fail out of treatment, that’s the period where they become the most vulnerable to potential overdose. Replacement therapy has failed, they’re at their most vulnerable, and they go back to the illicit drug market, potentially risking overdose.

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A key concept in the study is the “substitution effect.”

Yes. The substitution effect is an economic concept that suggests that the use of one substance never stands alone. In fact, the use of one substance can affect the use of another. When it comes to psychoactive substances, the use of a substance can be affected by changes in price, changes in legality or regulatory access, or changes in the product itself in terms of potency. And that can really affect the use of another drug.

“In medical cannabis states, there was a 25 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths.”

A 2014 study showed that in medical cannabis states, there was a 25 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths compared to neighboring states that didn’t have medical cannabis programs. There’s a growing body of research showing that simply making medical cannabis available in a number of US states and in Canada has reduced rates of not just opioid use, but also the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances,

often leading to total abstinence of those substances. So we’re looking at cannabis as a potential therapeutic agent, but also as a harm reduction agent when it comes to problematic substance use. This evidence suggests cannabis could be an exit drug to problematic substance use and addiction.

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In the study you write, “Cannabis augments the pain-relieving potential of opioids and can re-potentiate their effects.” Tell me about re-potentiation.

Research suggests that when you use cannabis alongside opioids in the treatment of chronic pain, you seem to get a synergistic effect—a greater effect than you might have if each was taken individually. People who have been using opioids for some time sometimes have to increase their dose, and cannabis presents another option for physicians, so instead of increasing the dose of opioids they can instead prescribe medical cannabis as an adjunct treatment in order to keep the patient at a lower dose of opioids, thereby reducing the risk of overdose.

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Another study quote: “[I]t would seem logical to seek to develop policies and associated education strategies to increase physician support for cannabis for therapeutic purposes in the treatment of chronic pain.” This does seem logical. What are the chances of it happening?

Right now we’re facing this tremendous public-health threat around the opioid overdose crisis. Opioid overdose is the most common cause of accidental death in Canada and the US right now. The over-prescription of opioids seems to be leading the way, in that four out of five people currently injecting opioids say that they started by using prescription opioids. There’s an oversaturation of the market and an over-availability on the black market.

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I think that if we can shift prescription patterns by physicians—so that instead of first prescribing opioids and then, if those opioids fail, moving on to medical cannabis—we can modernize those policies and instead focus on introducing medical cannabis first. That’s based on all the available evidence, which indicates that it’s far less harmful than prescription opioids in terms of dependence and risk of overdose.

Right now in Canada and in US states with medical marijuana, physicians are encouraged to prescribe opioids first and if those don’t work, cannabis is considered as a third- or fourth-line treatment option. We need to flip that around and make cannabis the second-line treatment option and move opioids to third or fourth options if indeed cannabinoids are not successful.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Ontario Hypes Penalties for High Driving While Awaiting a Reliable Test

It’s one of the loudest talking points among those who dread Canada’s impending legalization of cannabis: How will law enforcement handle the presumed influx of high drivers soon to be flooding Canadian roads?

On Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke publicly on the topic, announcing enhanced penalties for those caught operating motor vehicles under the influence of cannabis, with the harshest penalties reserved for young drivers, novice drivers, and commercial drivers.

“We had a goal to balance the new freedom that people in Ontario will have to use cannabis recreationally with everyone’s expectation that it will be managed responsibly,” said Wynne.

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Specifics of the upped penalties come from the Canadian Press, which reports young and novice drivers (with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence) caught driving high will face licence suspensions of three to 30 days and fines between $250 to $450. Similar fines await operators of commercial vehicles found driving high, along with three-day licence suspensions.

“Overall, under the proposed changes any driver who registers a fail on a roadside screening device would be fined anywhere from $250 to $450,” reports the Canadian Press. “The current fine is $198. Drivers who refuse to provide a sample for a roadside test face a $550 fine under the proposed law, up from the current $198 fine.”

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The perennial problem with tracking high driving: Authorities still lack a reliable roadside test for cannabis impairment, primarily due to cannabis’s ability to remain detectable in bloodstreams days and even weeks after impairment has waned.

The proposed best hope: oral test strips, which would examine THC levels in saliva and are currently awaiting approval by the federal government. (However, as the Toronto Star notes cryptically, “It’s unclear how effective they will be in cold weather.”)

As always, stay tuned.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

New Brunswick Announces $90 Million Cannabis Buy

Among the many questions facing Canadian provinces as the country speeds toward its July 1 cannabis-legalization deadline: Where will all this freshly legal recreational cannabis come from?

Late last week, New Brunswick stepped up with an answer, announcing multimillion-dollar deals with a pair of federally licensed medical marijuana producers. New Brunswick’s Organigram Holdings will supply the province with five million grams of cannabis a year, and Ontario’s Canopy Growth Corp. will provide an additional four million grams per year.

Together, the two producers will sell New Brunswick over $90 million worth of cannabis annually. “As part of their supply agreements with New Brunswick, Canopy and Organigram said they will help fund public education or social programs,” reports the Financial Post. (The Post also notes that shares of both Canopy and Organigram rose on the day of the deal’s announcement, “closing up by 2.09 per cent and 16.74 per cent, respectively.”)

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Speaking to CBC News, Canopy Growth president Mark Zekulin expressed excitement about “one of the biggest drug deals in Canadian history,” while Organigram CEO Greg Engel noted the deal will require his company to double its number of employees over the next six to eight months.

Along with its humongous cannabis buy, New Brunswick also announced the creation of a new Crown corporation that will oversee—but not conduct—cannabis sales. “[T]he creation of this new provincial Crown corporation provides the flexibility and lays the groundwork for the eventual retail model once final decisions around that have been made,” Provincial Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said in a press release.

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This “Crown corporation” model has already drawn criticism, with Tory MLA Ross Wetmore telling the CBC that such a model requires the government to assume the costs of distribution and all liability for sales. “We don’t know how the sales are going to go, it’s going to be legal all across the country,” he said. “People aren’t going to flock to New Brunswick.”

Meanwhile, the New Brunswick Medical Society praised the arrangement as the best approach for regulating recreational cannabis sales. “We reiterate our recommendation that, unlike NB Liquor, the corporation managing the sale of cannabis should not be profit-driven or subject to a profit target established by the provincial government,” said Dr. Dharm Singh, president-elect of the society, in a statement to the CBC.

Stay tuned for specifics on how and where New Brunswick’s $90 million worth of cannabis will be sold (and for how much).


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

“It’s Impossible”: Canadian Police Challenge Legalization Deadline

Many Canadians are pleased that the federal government is going to legalize recreational marijuana next July but others are not—and some of the most vocal critics of that date are those who will be responsible for enforcing the new laws.

The deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police made that abundantly clear on Sept. 12, when he appeared before the parliamentary health committee studying the proposed legislation. “If legislation is ready to go in July 2018, policing will not be ready to go in August. It’s impossible,” Rick Barnum stated plainly. He said the legislation represents “a great step” but added that it should be taken “slowly and properly.”

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Mike Serr, co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police drug advisory committee, asked members of parliament to consider giving law enforcement officials more time to get ready—a request that the association had submitted in writing days earlier.

Law enforcement officials say they need more time to teach police how to enforce the new laws.

Law enforcement officials across the country say they need more time to teach police officers how to enforce the new laws. They also need time to double the number of officers who are certified to conduct roadside tests for drug-impaired driving. In July, Canadian Association of Chiefs Of Police President Mario Harel said about 2,000 certified officers would be needed, more than three times the current total.

In an interview with Leafly, Wayne Kalinski, vice chair of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police’s substance abuse committee, explained that Canadian police officers have to be sent to Arizona to learn how to detect drug impairment in drivers. In addition to being time-consuming, it’s costly, he said, as is replacing those officers during their absence.

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Ottawa recently responded to the law enforcement community’s pleas for more resources by designating $274 million to help police and border officials cover costs stemming from the new law — but the timing was far from ideal. The money will start to flow after the legislation is enacted rather than before, which is when police say they need it.

Kalinski points to other problems that have yet to be addressed.

While a breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood stream, there is currently no equivalent device for detecting THC, he says, at least not one that has been given the stamp of approval by Canadian law enforcement officials.

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But even if there was such a device, how much THC would be considered too much? Though a driver with two nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood would be considered legally impaired under the new legislation, there is no scientific consensus on how much THC constitutes impairment. Also, that THC limit is low enough that a person could exceed it a week or two after ingesting cannabis.`

What if the federal government refuses to delay legalization?

As Barnum told the House of Commons committee, if legislation is enacted next July, police won’t be ready for six months to a year afterwards, creating a window of time during which organized crime could flourish. That would cause so much damage it would be “very, very hard [for law enforcement to] ever regain a foothold,” he said.

Kalinski told Leafly “police would continue to enforce laws as best they could” if the legislation was enacted in July but they are hoping the government will give them more time and resources.

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So far, Ottawa seems unwilling to budge on the legalization date. In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa had given authorities “lots of time” to prepare for legalization and added that it was “time to move on.”

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who is now parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and who served as chair of the federal task force on marijuana legalization, recently told reporters he doesn’t have authority to approve or deny a delay but seemed to imply one wasn’t necessary. “I think it’s important that we focus on getting this job done as quickly as we are able. We have established a pretty tight timeline, a difficult timeline, but that challenge is I think an important one, and everybody is working hard to get it done.”

We want to get our people proper training and equipment,” Kalinksi told Leafly. “There is no point in enacting legislation without us being prepared. That would just put us behind the eight ball.”


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Podcast: ‘The Roll-Up,’ Episode 2, Utah Thinks It’s Punny

The Roll-Up features Leafly editors Bruce Barcott, Ben Adlin, and Dave Schmader in a Friday morning roundtable about the week’s top cannabis news.

Leafly Podcast

Episode 002: Opening the Hatch

This week: Bruce, Ben, and Dave wrap their heads around Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s pun-tastic defense of medical marijuana and Ontario’s plan to open province-run cannabis stores. Also: Leafly writer Gage Peake explains how the cannabis industry supports 149,000 jobs.

What’s this show all about then? Every Friday, Leafly editors Bruce Barcott, Ben Adlin, and Dave Schmader dissect the week’s top stories in cannabis with analysis, arguments, jokes, and obscure cultural references.

‘The Roll-Up’: It’s a news and culture podcast that hits the sweet spot between stoned and scholarly.

Previous Episodes:

Stories Mentioned In Episode 2:

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“Exchanging Prohibition for Extreme Regulation”: Toronto Braces for New Cannabis Reality


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

“Exchanging Prohibition for Extreme Regulation”: Toronto Braces for New Cannabis Reality

A month before Project Claudia began, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would introduce legalization legislation in the spring of 2017.

On the heels of this announcement, the dispensary market in Toronto, which had previously been operating in relative obscurity for decades, exploded. “There was this little period where I promise you it felt like cannabis was legal in Toronto,” says Cory Thompson, who owns two dispensaries in the city. “There was this overall feeling that cannabis was legal in Canada. Like quasi. It’s coming. We’re there. It’s all good. Then boom. The raids start. They start swarming all the dispensaries.”

“I wanted to be a patient and patient provider at the table but they aren’t even listening to us.”

dispensary owner and MMJ patient Cory Thompson

Thompson has multiple sclerosis and in 2012, while confined to a wheelchair, he began studying the medical potential of cannabis. Intrigued, he sought out a compassion club which secured him affordable access to the plant. He purchased a pound of bud, turned it into oil, and a few days later, his big toe moved. He skipped his next doctor’s appointment. Three weeks later, he was out of the wheelchair and moving with the assistance of a walker.

During his recovery, Thompson had to travel long distances to pick up his medicine, making trips that were often difficult and exhausting. It was enough to push him into business. With a partner, he opened a compassion club of his own, with reduced prices for medical patients. After a few years of operation, the club was raided and shut down.

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“It’s frustrating,” he says. “If you want weed you can go get it but if you want medicine, and you need it at an affordable rate, what I call dignified access, that’s few and far between.”

For the time being, Thompson is optimistic that his dispensaries will remain open. He is extremely thorough with his client screening, checking paperwork and medical records and calling doctors, but he’s not sure what the future holds. The threat of robbery or raid, Thompson says, even for those doing their due diligence, is a thought that never really goes away.

“It’s fucking trying, man. It’s not what I signed up for. I thought we were going to get regulated. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be a voice for the future, for regulation, for patients voices to be heard.

“I wanted to be a patient and patient provider at the table but they aren’t even listening to us.”

Shocking News from Ontario

(John Hryniuk for Leafly)

Last week, things got worse for dispensary owners. The Ontario government unveiled their plan for legalization. The province intends to restrict sales of legal cannabis to 150 government-run stores and a government-run website. Like vermin, the independent dispensaries will be eradicated.

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Almost immediately, the announcement prompted anger and disappointment. “Prohibition is not being lifted,” Harris says, “They are exchanging prohibition with extreme regulation.”

“This is a tyrannical plan from the provincial government,” says Jack Lloyd, a Toronto-based cannabis lawyer. “It’s a ridiculous plan and it doesn’t respect the cannabis culture that exists. It doesn’t respect the cannabis community that exists. It’s an attempt to deracinate our entire community and it doesn’t respect patients’ rights.”

Lloyd is not interested in the recreational side of the issue. The government can have that, he says, “but medical cannabis dispensaries are vital and patients deserve to be able to go to a storefront dispensary to be able to access their medicine.”

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“Prohibition is not being lifted. They are exchanging prohibition with extreme regulation.”

dispensary owner Trevor Harris

Last month, in Ontario Superior Court, Lloyd argued that dispensaries cannot be prohibited from operating when the government’s current medical cannabis system is broken and can’t keep up with demand. He was fighting on behalf of the Hamilton Village Dispensary, which had been ordered to shut down by the City of Hamilton. The judge sided with Lloyd, ruling that the dispensary could stay open as long as they were supplying medical cannabis to patients with a valid prescription.

A similar case will be before the courts next week in Toronto. What happens there will impact how the city handles dispensaries moving forward. “If they win there, the city is going to be forced to license them,” Lloyd says. “This is the big fight.”

Paul Lewin is one of the lawyers involved in that case and, like Lloyd, he’s frustrated by the proposed Ontario regulations.

“This plan is not very popular across a large part of the cannabis community,” he says. “[The dispensaries] are going to be driven further underground, which of course makes things less safe for Toronto. Prohibition has that effect, you drive industry further underground. So instead of well-lit stores on main streets in which they are security guards and tested products, it’s a little more old-school, which is a little less safe, but I don’t think they’re going away. The cannabis community has suffered through 100 years of prohibition and they are resilient.”

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Lewin, who represented many of the employees who were caught up in Project Claudia, says that the raids disproportionately affect young working Canadians.

“These are very serious charges that are being laid against these young people,” he says, “Some of whom were having a hard time finding a job, some who are medical patients and have great sympathy for other medical patients and have valuable knowledge and skills. They are facing very serious jeopardy. They are still Harper-era mandatory minimums on the books. I think it’s really irresponsible to be using the criminal law in this way.”

It is difficult to identify the motivating force behind the raids, though they are some popular theories.

(John Hryniuk for Leafly)

“I think it’s being pushed by higher ups,” says Paul Lewin. “I can tell you that many cops are not very excited about these raids and realize that it’s really a very low policing priority. This is being pushed from above. Dispensaries have been operating openly in Toronto for about 20 years and no one cared too much about them until we started to get closer to legalization. Ironically, it’s on the eve of legalization, when the government announces their plans for legal cannabis, that they want to launch an enforcement summit to shut down dispensaries? They’re most concerned now? When it’s about to be legal? Which really tells you what their priorities about. They’ve got this public health fig leaf that they are trying to hold up but it’s not about public health, it’s about them making money and protecting their turf.”

“It reeks of cronyism. (LPs) are using the police to enforce their business plan. It’s terrifying.”

cannabis lawyer Jack Lloyd

Some point to Canada’s licensed producers (LPs), the federally approved growing operations whose relationship with the dispensaries is acrimonious, at best. Many of the LPs are staffed with board members with political ties and individuals who were once waging the war on cannabis and are now putting themselves in a position to cash in once legalization arrives.

Former Toronto Police chief Bill Blair is handling the legalization file for Trudeau’s government. Kim Derry, who served as deputy chief under Blair, is the security adviser for THC Meds Ontario. Former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman is also employed by the company. Canopy Growth, the largest publicly-traded medical marijuana company in Canada, was founded by Chuck Rifici while he was CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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“It reeks of cronyism,” Lloyd says. “The problem is they are using the police to enforce their business plan. It’s terrifying, to be frank. And mark my words they are going to go through and arrest literally hundreds of Canadians under the age of 25, who believe in the cannabis plant and work in this world and really would never have anything to do, or never have any interaction otherwise, with criminal law.

“They could have very easily, simply licensed all the existing dispensaries and that would have solved this problem. Instead, they’ve elected to declare war on a group of political activists, moderate civil disobedient activists, cannabis enthusiasts and cannabis legalization activists. They are just arresting the culture. To say that it’s draconian is an understatement.”


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Canadian Police Sound the Alarm Over Legalization Deadline

Canada’s police services told the Canadian government Tuesday that there is no chance they will be ready to enforce new laws for nationwide legalized cannabis by next summer.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police already wrote to the federal government this week officially requesting a delay in implementation of the plan by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to implement legal cannabis sales next July 1.

Police say they need more time to properly train officers about the new laws.

Some of the premiers of Canada’s 10 provinces told the government in June that they also might not be ready by that deadline, and only one province has completed and published its rules for the sale of recreational cannabis, including regulations on where it can be sold.

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Representatives from the police chiefs association, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Saskatoon Police Service said that they need more time to properly train officers about the new laws and that they will have to more than double the number of officers certified to conduct roadside tests for drug-impaired driving. They also said more time is needed for public education.

Appearing before a Parliament health committee studying Trudeau’s bill to make marijuana legal, the representatives also called for the government to reconsider allowing people to grow the plant at home. They said it will be difficult to police and could make it easier for young people to obtain marijuana.

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Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s minister of justice, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that police departments have questions that need to be answered and said the federal government knows there is an enormous amount of work to do.

“Certainly the time lines are tight. I very much respect what law enforcement said today. We’ve listened to their concerns,” said Blair, a former police chief in Toronto. “We can’t allow the status quo to remain because it’s unacceptable. We have the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. The entire cannabis market is controlled by criminal enterprise.”

Blair said the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec have said they will be ready and noted that Ontario has announced its rules for legal cannabis.

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Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province, announced Friday that marijuana will be sold in as many as 150 government-run stores and a government-run website. It decided pot would not be sold at government-run alcohol stores, and private marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up around the province will be illegal.

Legalization would make Canada the second country to have nationwide legalization, after Uruguay.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

The Ontario Proposition: Details and Feedback from the Scene

The Ontario government today announced that recreational marijuana will be sold only at dozens of province-run stores and through a province-run web site after the federal government passes legislation legalizing recreational cannabis next July.

The province also announced that the sale of marijuana will be restricted to those 19 years and older (a year above the minimum age recommended by the federal government’s cannabis task force) and that the consumption of marijuana will not be legal anywhere but in private residences.

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This makes Ontario the first province to establish a plan to manage the sale and distribution of cannabis—a task that has been delegated to the provinces by the federal government.

Forty cannabis stores will be up and running when recreational marijuana becomes legal across the country next July.

During today’s press conference, Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi also said the government is committed to shutting down the dozens of dispensaries currently operating in the province illegally. “Dispensaries are not legal now and will not be legal under the new model,” said Naqvi. “They will be shut down. If you are operating a dispensary, you are now on notice.”

He said provincial officials will meet with municipalities and law enforcement officials to create a plan of attack.

“Dispensaries are at a crossroads in Ontario with many storefronts choosing to shut down,” Lisa Campbell, of the Toronto-based Cannabis Friendly Business Association, said in response to today’s announcement. “There will be a long battle in the coming years ahead, which will be fought in courts. We have been fighting the government retail model for two years now, but the writing was on the wall.”

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Forty cannabis stores will be up and running when recreational marijuana becomes legal across the country next July, Sousa said, with another 40 opening within the next twelve months. He said he expects 150 marijuana stories to be operating in the province by the end of 2020. (For comparison, Ontario is home to 651 liquor stores.)

Pricing and taxation have yet to be determined, but Sousa said the price of cannabis in the stores will be low enough to discourage consumers from buying it on the black market.

“Currently the LCBO is the largest buyer of wine globally, which means they could easily be the largest buyer of weed in the near future,” said Campbell. “This has huge implications internationally as we are currently negotiating NAFTA. Having a government monopoly on distribution hopefully means stronger trade negotiations for cannabis. Ontario and California are trade partners, so potential for future LCBO import could be enormous.”

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Though the province is restricting consumption of recreational marijuana to private residences, it has not ruled out allowing it to be consumed elsewhere in the future. Sousa said the government could look at that possibility down the road.

In coming up with its new policy, Naqvi said, the province looked at the American states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Based on those observations, he said, he believes the province has come up with a “safe and sensible framework.” “The experience of those states has shown us that it’s better to start off with strong controls and re-evaluate later,” added Sousa. He added that the province’s goal is to “supplant the illicit market.”

“While it’s easy to see the negative there are many future possibilities,” said Campbell, “including licensing cannabis use in bars, lounges and restaurants once the federal government sorts out the final details.”


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Ontario Shocker: Province to Restrict Legal Cannabis Sales to 150 Government-Run Stores and One Website

One of the great questions leading up to Canada’s 2018 legalization of adult-use cannabis is how individual provinces will handle their Trudeau-given duties to hammer out details of the newly legal plant’s distribution and sale.

“Online sales will begin next July.”

Today, Ontario gave us a shocking example of what such provincial hammering might look like, unveiling a plan that would restrict sales of legal cannabis in the province to 150 government-run stores and a government-run website—a move that would completely outlaw the province’s thriving, beloved, and, yes, illegal independent dispensaries.

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Other details of the plan, announced today at a joint press conference held by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Health Minister Eric Hoskins, and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in Queen’s Park: the aforementioned 150 government-run cannabis stores will be overseen by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and sales of legal adult-use cannabis will be restricted to those 19 and above (the same as liquor).

“There will be 80 LCBO weed stores in place across the province by July 1, 2019 and another 70 by 2020,” reports the Toronto Star. “Online sales will begin next July.”

Some backstory and speculation: This summer, Ontario conducted an as-vast-as-possible survey of its citizens, seeking their opinions on cannabis, to help steer the province’s official cannabis guidelines. “[The survey will carry] lots of weight,” Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told the CBC in July. “It’s important from our perspective to hear directly from Ontarians.”

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The results of this Ontario survey are still being digested, but in a Forum Research survey conducted in April 2016, 52% of Ontario respondents expressed the opinion that the best place to sell legal cannabis would be dedicated cannabis dispensaries. More recently, a survey conducted by Nanos Research in July 2018 found that 55% of Ontario residents preferred cannabis be sold by licensed private retailers rather than province-run liquor stores.

Clearly, Ontarions love their non-LCBO cannabis dispensaries—so why is the government, which made so much noise about valuing citizens’ input, killing them dead? Perhaps the dream is to incorporate everything people love about independent dispensaries into the forthcoming government shops. Or maybe it’s just a middle-finder to the illegal dispensary scene and any and all who appreciate it.

Stay tuned for on-the-ground reporting from Toronto.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

How Are Canadian Patients Using Medical Cannabis?

This article is sponsored by Tilray, one of the largest and most sophisticated producers of medical cannabis in the world. Tilray is dedicated to providing safe, consistent, and reliable products to patients and furthering clinical and observational research examining the therapeutic potential of cannabis.


It seems like every day brings a new study about the ways medical cannabis can be used in healthcare. But how are patients already accessing medical cannabis, and in what form? And more importantly, how is it impacting their quality of life? A new study led by Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access for Tilray, and Leafly’s own Nick Jikomes, PhD, provides some of the first answers to these questions.

Tilray’s Philippe Lucas presents data from the company’s latest patient research. (Courtesy of Tilray)

The Tilray Patient Survey 2017 saw the company partner with academics and researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria on the largest survey of Canadian medical cannabis patients ever conducted, tracking the responses of 2,032 patients across Canada.

Patient Preferences

Medical marijuana patients who responded to the survey were a median of 40 years old, and men outnumbered women almost two to one. About one in five respondents (22%) had private insurance, but just 3% got financial assistance to help defray the cost of their medical cannabis prescription.

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Respondents were more or less evenly split between their preferences for indica (25%), sativa (22%), and hybrid strains (21%)—just ahead of users who had no preference at 17.5%. High-CBD strains were favored by just 14.5% of respondents, but CBD-heavy varieties made a strong showing among respondents who used extracts and concentrates—50% looked for a high-CBD strain in those products.

Medical Cannabis Instead Of…

Nearly 70% of users reported that they substituted medical cannabis for a previously prescribed medication. The leading substance that medical cannabis replaced? Opioids (36%), with antidepressants (21%) and other pain medications following close behind.

“In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less,” said Lucas, the lead author on the study. “This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.”

Tilray cannabis oil capsules. (Courtesy of Tilray)

These findings are consistent with US-based research by Bachhuber et al. (2014) showing a nearly 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths in medical cannabis states compared to neighboring states that did not allow the medical use of cannabis.

It wasn’t just prescription drugs that cannabis helped patients phase out, though. Nearly a third of participants (31%) reported that using medical cannabis had helped them cut their tobacco use, and half of those respondents had quit using tobacco altogether. In addition, 44% of those surveyed reported that medical cannabis helped them consume less alcohol, and 26% said that cannabis products served as a substitute for illicit drugs.

The study also found that the two main conditions that drive patients to seek medical cannabis were chronic pain (38%) and mental health issues (40%), including anxiety and insomnia.

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Although cannabis use for medical purposes is gaining acceptance as patients choose it for a variety of health challenges, it doesn’t fit the traditional “take two and call me in the morning” format of other prescriptions. With so many ways to work medical cannabis into a healthcare plan, researchers asked participants how they prefer to get their daily dose.

Flower Power

Despite the variety of delivery methods now available for medical cannabis, respondents tended to stick with a classic: flower was far and away the most popular choice for patients. Most patients (74%) used cannabis on a daily basis, and average consumption was about a gram and a half every day, translating to just over 19 ounces a year. A lot of that was consumed as joints, the most popular method of smoking medical cannabis. 

A package of medicinal flower. (Courtesy of Tilray)

But while traditional flower was the most popular form of cannabis among Canadian patients, new ways of ingesting it are growing in popularity. Almost half (47%) of participants reported that their main cannabis delivery method was non-smoking. Vaporizers, including gear like e-nails and vape pens, were the favored method for 31% of respondents.

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Bringing up the rear, juicing was the least popular method of consuming cannabis, with just 0.2% of survey takers calling it their primary method of use. Topicals like oils and salves just edged it out as the most popular forms of cannabis consumption among 0.3% of patients.

Cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.

Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access, Tilray

Takeaways

The data patients shared with researchers demonstrates that the long-held promise medical cannabis holds for treating a broad array of conditions is starting to be realized. In particular, the initial findings of this study highlight the potential of medical cannabis to help address North America’s opioid crisis by providing a safer substitute in the treatment of chronic pain. Now, authors of the study are drafting the data into a number of academic publications that will help to better understand and contextualize the results.

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“I’ve had the privilege of working with medical cannabis patients for over 20 years, and it’s an honor to be able to share their experiences through studies like the Tilray Patient Survey 2017,” Lucas said.

Disclaimer: Tilray and Leafly are both subsidiaries of Privateer Holdings, Inc.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.