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Liberals to announce marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018

The Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018.

CBC News has learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10 and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan.

Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who has been stickhandling the marijuana file for the government, briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and the legislation during caucus meetings this weekend, according to a senior government official who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity.

Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, briefed the Liberal caucus on new marijuana legislation, which leaves the provinces to decide how marijuana is distributed and sold, according to a senior government official. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Provinces to control sales

The federal government will be in charge of making sure the country's marijuana supply is safe and secure and Ottawa will license producers.

But the provinces will have the right to decide how the marijuana is distributed and sold. Provincial governments will also have the right to set price.

While Ottawa will set a minimum age of 18 to buy marijuana, the provinces will have the option of setting a higher age limit if they wish.

4 plants per household

As for Canadians who want to grow their own marijuana, they will be limited to four plants per household.

Legalizing marijuana was one of the more controversial promises Justin Trudeau made as he campaigned to become prime minister.

 

But in their platform the Liberals said it was necessary to "legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana" in order to keep drugs "out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals."

The Liberals had promised to introduce legislation by the Spring of 2017. Announcing the legislation the week of April 10 will allow the party to hit that deadline.

Raids raise questions

Trudeau referred again to that rough timetable a few weeks ago when he said the legislation would be introduced before the summer. But at the same time he also warned that it wasn't yet open season for the legal sale of marijuana.

"Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply," Trudeau said in Esquimalt, B.C. on March 1.

That warning became more concrete a week later, when police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities carried out raids on marijuana dispensaries and charged several people with possession and trafficking, including noted pot advocates Marc and Jodie Emery.

Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana was seen as one of the reasons for the Liberals' strong showing among youth voters in the 2015 election. 

But at the NDP's leadership debate in Montreal Sunday, which was focused on youth issues, several of the candidates pointed to marijuana legislation as an example of a broken Liberal promise.

"I do not believe Justin Trudeau is going to bring in the legalization of marijuana and as proof that ... we are still seeing, particularly young, Canadians being criminalized by simple possession of marijuana," said B.C. MP Peter Julian.

Federal marijuana legislation to be introduced in spring 2017, Philpott says

Original Article By David Cochrane, CBC News Posted: Mar 26, 2017 9:00 PM ET

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As investors flock to Canada’s burgeoning marijuana sector, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is signaling recreational pot sales aren’t imminent.

Lawmaker Bill Blair -- the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort -- confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said.

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The government is also looking for ways to control production, distribution and consumption of legalized marijuana, while testing it for quality and keeping it out of the hands of minors, Mr. Blair said.

“We will take as much time as it takes to do it right,” Mr. Blair, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s justice minister, said in an interview Monday. “I’m pretty reluctant to suggest a specific time frame, frankly, because I don’t know how long this will take in each of our 10 provinces and three territories.”

Mr. Blair’s comments come as Canada’s nascent marijuana industry balloons, with investor optimism being fueled by analyst estimates that recreational sales could start as early as 2018.

The government’s plan to introduce legislation in the spring of 2017 “could pave the way for the legal sale of recreational cannabis by 2018,” Canaccord Genuity analysts Matt Bottomley and Neil Maruoka said in a November research note. Canada’s recreational pot industry has the potential to reach $6-billion in sales by 2021 if legalization occurs along “expected timelines,” according to the note.

Canopy Growth Corp. became the first marijuana unicorn in 2016 and had a valuation of $1.9-billion on Monday. Other producers, including Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Aphria Inc.Inc., have seen their share prices surge more than 400 per cent in the past 12 months.

Canopy shares fell as much as 7.5 per cent in Toronto while Aurora tumbled 5.1 per cent and Aphria slid 3 per cent.

Dampened Buzz

“If they delay, there’s going to be a lot of eggs that are going to break in this business,” Chris Damas, an analyst at BCMI Research in Barrie, Ont., said by phone Monday. “The valuations are extreme.”

Licensed marijuana producers are in the midst of expanding their capacity and there will be a “huge amount” of excess cannabis if Canada delays legalization, Damas said. The analyst said Mr. Blair’s previous comments suggest it’s unlikely the government will introduce a bill by June and companies with huge valuations “won’t have any serious business” if the recreational market takes longer to come to fruition.

“There could be a lot of disappointment,” he said.

In a separate interview Monday with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Mr. Blair said the government was going to design a legalized marijuana system that included measurement and testing of products, as well as enforcement. While the proposed legislation is due this spring, “it’s not sufficient to simply come forward with a bill,” he said.

The government may also explore ways to direct revenue from marijuana sales to funding additional drug treatment, including for fentanyl as Canada grapples with an opioid crisis, he added.

Since taking a position on legalization ahead of the 2015 election, Trudeau has gradually turned toward emphasizing safety, saying regularly it shouldn’t be easier for youth to buy marijuana than to buy beer. Putting the file in the hands of a prominent law-enforcement veteran is another signal the government is approaching legalization with an eye to tight regulation.

Blair declined to comment on whether the regulations could be finalized by 2018 -- an expected election year in Ontario, home to Canopy and other companies -- or 2019, when the next federal election is scheduled.

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation issued a report in December that recommends the Canadian government regulate the production of marijuana while provinces control the distribution and retail sales, including through dedicated storefronts with well-trained staff or by mail.

Original Post: JEN SKERRITT AND JOSH WINGROVE

Bloomberg News, Published Tuesday, Mar. 07, 2017 2:10PM EST

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Does The Trump Govt Threaten Recreational Marijuana?

There were always some questions about what a Trump Gov’t would mean to the cannabis industry.  With very little mention of it during the elections and after him taking office, industry participants and companies had no clear indication on what his presidency would mean to the cannabis industry.  Today, comments from press secretary Sean Spicer has shed some light on what their thoughts are on the subject of medical and recreational marijuana.  

While the comments haven’t given a green light for moving forwards with cannabis reforms at the federal level, it does look like the president appreciates medical marijuana laws.  However the recreational marijuana initiatives by various states may come under scrutiny and become questionable under Jeff Sessions at the Dept. of Justice.   The comments below don’t give much indication on what this would mean to the recreational market, but it does create a lot more uncertainty.    The question around the recreational market will be left to the Dept. of Justice and Secretary Sean Spicer does believe there will be greater enforcement around it and the DOJ will be looking into it further.  What “greater enforcement” means to States who have current or planned recreational laws is uncertain, but we are confident they will get more aggressive with the illegal and grey market area when it comes to marijuana sales and use.

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 2/23/2017, #15

Q     I have a question on medical marijuana.  Our state voters passed a medical marijuana amendment in November.  Now we're in conflict with federal law, as many other states are.  The Obama administration kind of chose not to strictly enforce those federal marijuana laws.  My question to you is:  With Jeff Sessions over at the Department of Justice as AG, what’s going to be the Trump administration’s position on marijuana legalization where it’s in a state-federal conflict like this?

MR. SPICER:   There’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.  

I think medical marijuana, I’ve said before that the President understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them.  And that's one that Congress, through a rider in 2011 -- looking for a little help -- I think put in an appropriations bill saying the Department of Justice wouldn’t be funded to go after those folks.  

There is a big difference between that and recreational marijuana.  And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people.  There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of the medical -- when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.  

So I think there’s a big difference between medical marijuana, which states have a -- the states where it’s allowed, in accordance with the appropriations rider, have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana.  That’s a very, very different subject.

Q:  So is the federal government then going to take some sort of action around this recreational marijuana in some of these states?

MR. SPICER:  Well, I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice.  I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it.  Because again, there’s a big difference between the medical use which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was in terms of how the Department of Justice would handle that issue.  That’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice I think will be further looking into.  

So what does this mean for companies operating in the recreational market?  It surely does create uncertainty and that is something the market doesn’t like.   The cannabis sector has gained much attention over the last year, especially leading up to the US elections and after.  Many of the stock prices has risen significantly over the last 6 months as the industry is anticipating the recreational market will continue to expand in the various states which have moved towards legalization. 

What does this mean for investments in the US related cannabis industry?  We believe that the euphoria in company valuations and the stock price rising as it has over the last 6 months will become subdued.  The sector needs to take a breather and digest the potential outcome of anti-recreational DOJ.  While we remain optimistic on the sector overall, investors should keep in mind the stock prices and valuations probably have gotten ahead of themselves and are likely for a correction.  We will be providing an update to our newsletter subscribers very shortly on what this means to their current and future investment strategies and objectives when it comes marijuana stocks with exposure to US markets.  Sign up for our newsletter to get additional insights and opportunities on the cannabis sector.

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Marijuana Stocks haven’t risen much after the U.S. Elections and the win by Donald Trump.
The five states have voted on full legalization, while four other states could legalize medical marijuana.
Here are the results: California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada have voted to legalize recreational marijuana in their states, while Arizona rejected its measure.  Four other states — Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota — passed ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana.    A recent poll suggests a majority of Americans support the legalization of Marijuana, now with these new states voting in favor of marijuana reform and legalization we could be on the way toward a majority of citizens living in a state that allows for some form of legal marijuana.

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Oregon State Guide for Recreational Marijuana Businesses

The following news release was issued by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, they have provided a guide for potential entrepreneurs and businesses interested in applying for a recreational marijuana license.  If you are considering opening up a marijuana business in Oregon, please reach out to us at www.investinmj.com and contact us if you need assistance in financing, marketing or setting up your commercial grow operation.  We have many contacts in the industry that are very interested in helping you succeed.  We can leverage out contacts with many other commercial marijuana growers to assist you, some of which may even consider a joint venture with you.

We wish you all the best in opening up a marijuana operation in Oregon, these are very exciting times but they do come with some risk, Invest In MJ is here to help you mitigate them.  
IMJ Admin.

 http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Documents/BusinessReadinessGuide_RecreationalMarijuana.pdf

State Produces Guide for Recreational Marijuana Businesses

Designed to Help Navigate State and Local Government Requirements

November 20, 2015

Portland, Oregon – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has released a “Business Readiness Guidebook for Oregon Recreational Marijuana Operations” for individuals interested in applying for a recreational marijuana license.  The guidebook was produced under the guidance of Governor Kate Brown’s office, with contributions from more than a dozen state agencies that directly regulate the marijuana industry or regulate business.

“Obtaining a license from the OLCC is just one step to establishing a marijuana related business,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC.  “The OLCC wants to help this industry become successful and compliant, and having this guide to help navigate the business regulatory process is an important component of that effort.”

From building codes to odor control, from waste management to workplace safety, the Business Readiness Guidebook provides an overview of the rules and requirements within the larger regulatory framework under which all businesses in Oregon must operate.

By pointing to where up-to-date state and local information can be found the OLCC expects the guide will help businesses be better prepared to establish legal recreational marijuana operations in Oregon and comply with state and local law.

The “Business Readiness Guidebook for Oregon Recreational Marijuana Operations” can be found on the OLCC website and will be updated with current information as it becomes available.

For more information:
Mark Pettinger, Spokesperson
Mark.pettinger@oregon.gov  (503) 872-5115
www.marijuana.oregon.gov

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Fred Brown
    Fred Brown says #
    While recreational pot usage is controversial, many people agree and believe that the drug should be legal for medical uses. Onlin
  • Kaylee Ward
    Kaylee Ward says #
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  • Kaylee Ward
    Kaylee Ward says #
    Thoughtful blog post . I loved the points ! Does anyone know if my company could possibly access a fillable Lex Homeowners/Dwellin

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