Cannabis Company Hopes to Replace Jobs Lost in Mill Closure in Small B.C. Town

Arnold Meyer spent 40 years working at the Tolko Industries Ltd. mill in Merritt, B.C., but then he faced the reality of being laid off.

The 62-year-old was one of about 200 employees who lost their jobs in 2016, crippling the economy of the small town in British Columbia’s southern Interior and prompting politicians to promise to restore the ailing forestry sector.

Two years later, the province’s lumber industry is still facing challenges, but a new sector is revving up. A cannabis company hopes to build a grow facility in Merritt, replacing jobs, including Meyer’s that were lost in the mill closure.

“It sounds good to me. They said they want me to be one of the first hires for when the plant opens up,” said Meyer, who held various positions at Tolko, where he mostly drove machinery.

Emerald Plants Health Source Inc., or EPHS, purchased a massive chunk of land in the city and plans to build an initial 3,700-square-metre facility before building up to potentially more than 100,000 square metres.

The facility would eventually employ more than 200 people in a range of jobs, from low-skill trimmer roles to higher-paid management jobs.

Members of the company first learned about Meyer in a Canadian Press story on whether marijuana had the potential to revitalize small towns hit hard by resource job losses. In the 2017 article, Meyer said he hoped a cannabis company would create jobs in the community.

“It just resonated with us as a group as we read that article, that this could really change people’s lives in Merritt,” said Jeff Hancock, executive vice-president of Emerald.

“I think that’s really what Arnold Meyer symbolizes to us as a company.”

Emerald also hopes to contact others formerly employed by Tolko. There are many transferable skills from mill work to cannabis and other skills can be learned, Hancock said, adding the company had good conversations with city staff and plans to put in its formal application soon.

It aims to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and plans to start production in the second or third quarter of the following year, he said.

Newly elected Merritt Mayor Linda Brown said some younger Tolko employees left town to work at other mills run by the company or seek other employment, while some older employees found themselves retiring earlier than planned.

Brown said she still has questions for Emerald, including whether the jobs will pay well, but she expects to support an application when it’s put forward.

“We need industry. We need developments in there. That’s what I got elected on, was that kind of a platform, developing the city,” she said.

The mill closure devastated the community and any company that wants to bring in jobs is welcome, said former mayor Neil Menard.

“It’s a whole different industry for us. I don’t know much about it. I hope it would pay good wages and good benefits,” he said. “It can’t be anything but good.”

Tolko did not return a request for comment but said in 2016 a lack of timber supply forced it to close the mill. The union that represented the employees declined comment.

Emerald is a Health Canada-licensed producer that already has a facility in Montreal. Hancock and others with the company have energy industry backgrounds and have developed ways to reduce the energy costs associated with cannabis, he said.

Merritt also provided the company with the “unicorn land” it had been seeking, in terms of zoning, size and energy assets, Hancock added.

Meyer was skeptical when Emerald first contacted him but now he’s looking forward to meeting company representatives in Merritt soon, he said.

Asked how it felt to be part of their inspiration for the project, Meyer laughed.

“My chest got big and my head started to swell and I got a bunch more feathers in my hat,” he joked.

Source: CTV News

Regina’s 1st Legal Cannabis Shop Open For Business

The Queen City officially has its first legal place to buy recreational cannabis.

The Cannabis Co. YQR, located near Regina’s Warehouse District, opened its doors at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Several people eagerly waited outside for the store to open, curious to see what they would find. 

Tyrell Satther was one of those people. He said it was his first time in a legal cannabis shop.

“My mind is just running,” he said.

“My mind is just running,” he said.

“It’s kind of a new experience. It’ll be cool I think,” said the Regina resident.

The shop sells dried cannabis and items used for consuming cannabis, as well as clothing, among other things. 

Their prices for dried cannabis currently range from $8.88 to $14.63 per gram.

The shop’s owners were not available for an interview, but CBC has been told the store is expecting to have more products available in the future.

One of the store’s first customers, who asked to be called Jon, said his overall experience in the store was good, especially since he was one of the first people to legally buy recreational marijuana from a Regina store.

“It’s definitely a really cool experience. I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime,” he said.

“Everybody was really friendly.”

The Cannabis Co. YQR opening comes about three weeks after recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada.

At the time of legalization, there were no cannabis stores open in Regina or Saskatoon, sending some shoppers to stores in the cities’ suburbs.

The Regina store, located at 1306 Broad St., is scheduled to be open until 8 p.m. Saturday.


A Look Inside ‘The Little Book of Cannabis’

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In her first book, The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life, Seibert explores common myths and misconceptions surrounding the cannabis plant, including whether or not cannabis use can cure cancer, help us get a better night’s sleep, enjoy steamier sex and act as a weight loss aid.
“For many years, I’ve found cannabis to be useful, not just in my own life, but for many people in my community and around the world. I like the idea of showing people how beneficial its use can be, even if it’s something they might not completely understand,” she says.

A Peek Inside The Little Book of Cannabis

Having interviewed some of the world’s top researchers, medical professionals and consultants, Seibert is able to address some of society’s most burning questions about the stigmatized plant. Breaking her research down into 10 categories, she presents evidence-based ways that cannabis may be able to improve peoples’ lives.

“I think one of the most interesting things I learned was the relationship between cannabis and mental health,” Seibert explains. “Many people believe that early cannabis use can lead to mental health issues, or that it can exacerbate anxiety, but in my research, I learned that these risks are often overstated, and that cannabis can be a valuable tool for individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

A truly fascinating aspect to cannabis is that it affects different people in different ways. For example, in some cases, a little bit of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could be just what a consumer needs to relax at the end of a long day, but too much THC could also cause that person to feel anxiety. For this reason, many cannabis users are starting to look for products made with cannabidiol (CBD), the compound that doesn’t produce a feeling of euphoria the same way that THC does.

Cannabis use around the world

The United Nations 2017 World Drug Report indicated that there could be as many as 238 million people around the world who consume cannabis, making it the most widely used drug globally. This makes sense when one considers the same report also found cannabis is grown in 135 countries around the world.

Education around safe consumption is necessary for a smooth transition into a post-prohibition era and Seibert delivers with safe consumption and dosage information and tips that are easy to follow. For example, when asked about consuming edibles, Seibert says, “Not only does it take longer for a user to feel the effects of an edible, the effects usually also last longer. And rather than feeling the effects cerebrally, edible highs are felt throughout the whole body.

The Little Book of Cannabis is available on October 17, 2018 from Greystone Books. The book features a foreword by Dr. Rav Ivker, a family doctor in Boulder, Colorado and the author of eight books, including Cannabis for Chronic Pain.

Source: The Growth Op

Growing Pot in Canada: What It Means For You

You can grow your own legal marijuana plants — so long as you can grow them from seeds that you bought legally.

And just at the moment, there aren’t any, so you can’t. Provincial cannabis monopolies would like to sell seeds, but licensed producers aren’t selling seeds to them.

Eventually, once seeds and young plants become legally available, it will be impossible to tell whether your plants were grown from seeds that started on the right side of the law.

But currentlyit will be obvious that they weren’t.

How long can that odd state of affairs go on? Not forever — Ottawa is issuing small-scale growers “nursery licences,” which will eventually be a source of seeds and plants for legal sellers, apart from the licensed producers.

Nursery licence holders are also allowed to buy seeds from grey-market producers, on a one-off basis — they have to declare them once when the licence is applied for, and not ever buy anymore after that.

So when will you be able to try your hand at pot gardening? Canopy Growth promises seeds by next spring, and an expert we talked to expects it to happen within the next three to six months. But right now, pot-growing is still another detail of legalization that has yet to be filled in.

What You Need to Know About Cannabis Legalization in Canada

The legalization of cannabis is new in Canada. The rules are different depending on where you live, and there is a lot that still remains to be seen as far as how the law will develop. If you have questions about the legalities of cannabis use, consult a lawyer. The following is not legal advice and does not take the place of speaking to a licensed lawyer in your area.

Cannabis has been getting a lot of air time recently, but despite all of the discussion, there are still some unanswered questions. What we know for sure is that the government intended to regulate cannabis use, and has done exactly that. This is why there are so many rules around who, how and where Canadians can use cannabis.

WHAT IS LEGAL?

One of the complicating factors is that, although cannabis is legal federally, each province and territory has the ability to make its own rules with respect to many of the ways cannabis is used (such as who can sell it, who can buy it, etc.). In most of the country you have to be 19 years old to buy cannabis, though the age is 18 in Quebec and Alberta. In terms of where to buy it and where you can use it, the rules are different province by province. The good news is that each province and territory has made this information very easily available, and a quick online search for your province will bring up the rules you need to be aware of.

The issue gets even more interesting, though, when we consider the fact that there are other sources of rules regarding cannabis besides the federal and provincial governments. For example, your employer or your condo building may have rules that mean you can’t use cannabis even though it is legal.

AT WORK

Employers typically have drug and alcohol policies in effect for their workplaces. Just as an employer would not want you to show up to work if you were drunk, many also don’t want you to be under the influence of cannabis while working. Many employers updated their drug and alcohol policies in anticipation of legalization, and you would have to abide by these rules. The failure to follow the rules could lead to being fired or, depending on the type of work you do, to criminal charges. You should always make sure to understand your employer’s policies and, if you are the employer, to make sure there is clear communication about the rules.

IN YOUR CONDO AND APARTMENT

When it comes to apartment or condo living, this is another case where you may not be able to do something that is legally permitted. Many buildings pre-emptively updated their smoking policies to include a ban on cannabis that was formerly applied only to smoking tobacco. In condos and apartments, people are living so close together that it is nearly impossible to prevent smells from traveling. When you factor in different residents’ allergies, health issues, personal sensitivities, etc., the easiest rule is often that tobacco and now cannabis are outright banned. Sometimes medical marijuana users are exempt from the rules and, depending on when the policy came into effect, sometimes existing users are grandfathered until they move out of their unit. But more and more we are seeing complete bans of tobacco, and the rules for cannabis have followed suit.

GROWING PLANTS

A note on growing cannabis plants. According to the law in most provinces (not Manitoba or Quebec), recreational cannabis users can have up to four plants per household. However, here again many condos and apartment buildings have disallowed this. Growing can cause flooding, fires and the growth of mould. Many condo insurance policies require a ban on growing, so it is often an easy decision for condo boards. When buying a condo, it is really important to make sure you understand all of the condo rules. If you care about an issue like cannabis use one way or another, you want to make sure you understand if this is something that is permitted or not.

TRAVELING TO THE U.S.

Another major issue with legalization is travel to the United States. Federally, the U.S. does not permit the use of cannabis. And since border agents have to try to make sure nothing illegal is going to happen within the U.S., they’re given broad discretion to turn people away if they think there’s a chance that those people will do something illegal (in this case, using cannabis). There’s no hard and fast rule because of the discretion involved, but we’re told a few things that may help to set expectations.

Firstly, if you admit to using cannabis or having used cannabis, you may be denied entry. You could also be banned from entering in the future. This has always been the case, but the issue has been brought to the forefront of people’s minds because of legalization. You shouldn’t lie at the border – doing so could get you in more trouble – but if you’re concerned you should speak to a lawyer in advance of your trip or simply choose your travel destinations accordingly.

If you work for a cannabis company, there may be a difference between traveling on business and traveling for personal reasons. If you are traveling on business, chances are you’ll be denied entry. For personal reasons, you may be admitted to the U.S., but then again you may not. It really is impossible to say with certainty, and we’re going to have to let a bit of time pass to see the data on admission, rejection and bans. We’ve been warned that even owning shares in a cannabis company could raise alarm bells at the border, and again we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.

It goes without saying that you should never travel to the U.S. (or anywhere) with cannabis on you. Just because it’s legal in Canada doesn’t mean that you can have it on you when you go to another country. You could get in lots of trouble, and you would be subject to the rules of whatever country you’re visiting.

Legalization in Canada has brought with it a number of questions that we still can’t answer. Always make sure you know the rules where you live, and follow them. There are tough penalties in place for people who break the rules, and not being aware of the rules does not excuse you. When it comes to living in condos and apartments, be prepared for bans because of the nature of those buildings and how close everyone lives to their neighbours. And when it comes to travel, consider your destinations carefully. You shouldn’t lie at the border (and remember that border agents can look you up online or on social media!). If you use cannabis or are involved in the industry, there’s no guarantee that you will be allowed into another country. Just do your diligence about the places you are going to visit, and consider whether you’re prepared to risk being turned away.

Source: The Loop


Lower-Potency Cannabis Options Speak To An Increasingly Attentive Mainstream Audience

For years, the marijuana industry has been involved in a kind of arms race toward creating super-potent cannabis products. Looking to provide veteran consumers enhanced highs and more bang for the buck, manufacturers over the past few years have gone full throttle to produce cannabis offerings with greater levels of THC (the psychoactive component in weed that gets users high). But that trend looks to be ebbing, in some respects, as an increasing amount of marijuana retailers across North America position themselves toward lower-dose creations that speak to an expanding mainstream audience. Many consumers — some of whom are new to legal weed or are less-frequent users — want to sample the brave new world of pot products without the fear of marijuana’s potentially adverse side effects. That often means taking it slow and low, as far as potency is concerned.

A considerable amount of the recent activity in lower-dose products has coincided with the increasing tide of marijuana legalization over the past several years in the U.S., which now counts 31 states having legalized cannabis for medical purposes and nine states and the District of Columbia for recreational adult-use. On November 6, four more states — North Dakota, Michigan, Missouri and Utah — will include the question of legal weed on election ballot initiatives. A prime mover for the industry has also been Canada’s historic legalization of adult-use cannabis countrywide on October 17. Being the first G7 nation to fully legalize pot, now for the first time in the country’s history there is mass access to legal marijuana. And retailers know that many of those consumers will likely have had very little experience with weed and far less of an adventurous mindset than frequent users do.

cannabis report by Deloitte, titled “A Society In Transition, An Industry Ready To Bloom,” highlights the shift, saying, “Legalization is expected to attract more of a conservative experimenter — typically one who is aged 35-54, has a university or graduate school education, and has family or other responsibilities. They’re expected to consume less than once a month.”

Those users are very likely to prefer dipping a toe into the cannabis waters rather than doing a rooftop cannonball into the deep end. Because a decent portion of today’s cannabis flower tests at about 18-22 percent THC content, caution is vital at those levels for anyone who isn’t a seasoned pot user. The large majority of marijuana available in North America today has been clocked between approximately 15-18 percent THC, and is typically suitable for moderate to experienced users — but still provides a considerable high-octane buzz. Now, marijuana products are showing up in the 5-10 percent THC range, many of them also rich in the very popular non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD), which the New York Times notes has taken the country by storm.

Marsha Thierry says she’s very happy to hear that there are less-potent options available now at retailers. “I’m an occasional dabbler,” she says. “A lot of the marijuana you see for sale tends to be really high in THC, and that can be intimidating. I want an amount that I can be sure I can handle. I don’t want a white-knuckle ride on a Friday night out.”

Medical Marijuana User Challenges Cannabis-related Driving Infraction

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VANCOUVER—One of B.C.’s first legal disputes since legalization over cannabis-related driving violations is headed to court for review.

A Victoria man received a 24-hour licence suspension for drug-impaired driving and a fine for possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle, according to Sarah Leamon, a partner at Leamon Roudette Law Group and a criminal defence lawyer specializing in impaired driving.

“It’s important for us to get some clarity on this and for us to understand how these laws are going to be applied and interpreted,” Leamon said.

The man asked the lawyers at Leamon Roudette to speak on his behalf and to keep his name confidential at this time, Leamon said.

According to Leamon, her firm’s client told the officer during the traffic stop that he had not used drugs or alcohol that day — a claim he still maintains. But he was nevertheless asked to step out of his vehicle after identifying himself as a federally licensed medical marijuana user, she said. A field sobriety test was issued by the officer, who concluded the man was impaired.

But the man obtained a medical marijuana licence in the first place because he found cannabis to be an effective treatment for pain and mobility issues associated with his rare arthritic spinal condition, Leamon said. It’s these mobility issues, the man suggested to his lawyer, that may have influenced the officer to erroneously conclude that he was impaired.

The standardized field sobriety test, according to the RCMP, consists of an eye examination, a “walk and turn” test and a “one leg stand” test.

But Bowen Osoko, community engagement lead for the Victoria Police Department, noted that a number of questions accompany those tests. One of those, he said, asks whether an individual has any medical conditions that could affect their ability to complete the tests.

The Victoria Police Department was unable to respond immediately to the rest of the man’s claims, though Osoko suggested there was very little they could offer by way of comment as the matter was being brought before the courts.

Leamon said her colleague was in the process of filing a petition for judicial review as she spoke.

Whereas a 24-hour suspension for alcohol-impaired driving can be resolved through an ICBC adjudicator, there is no such avenue to dispute a 24-hour drug-impaired driving suspension. Instead, such disputes may only be addressed by filing a petition for judicial review in the B.C. Supreme Court — a peculiarity of process Leamon said may be in need of reform.

“That’s something that the government might want to review in the future and determine whether or not they should be having an administrative review process for these kinds of offences,” she said.

The other infraction, cannabis possession, stems from what the man contends the officer told him was “cannabis residue” on the dashboard of his vehicle and was unrelated to any amount of cannabis being found on his person or in his car, said Leamon.

B.C.’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA) treats transporting cannabis by car in much the same way as alcohol. Open containers must not be accessible to the driver or passengers, and those containers that are within reach must be unopened and in their original packaging. But Leamon said her firm’s client disputes both that he had broken these laws and that there was any kind of residue on his dashboard.

A dispute has been filed for the man’s CCLA infraction, Leamon added, and a court date will be coming up at some point soon.

No police report on the incident is currently available. And while the man’s medical licence entitles him to be in possession of cannabis at all times due to his condition, there is a grey area regarding how federal and provincial laws might interact in cases like this one, Leamon said.

This grey area, she added, is only one of many, which makes even seemingly routine cases like this man’s traffic stop particularly important to examine as conflicts between brand-new and existing legislation at the provincial and federal levels start to emerge.

“This speaks to all of these little nuances and perhaps difficulties, growing pains, when a previously illegal substance becomes legalized,” she said. “There are a lot of little corners that need to be covered here, and this is just one of them.”

Source: The Star

Alberta, Canada Runs Out of Marijuana

Ontario-based cannabis giant Canopy Growth Inc. is working flat-out to meet that demand, having already supplied the Alberta market with 250,000 product units, with another 50,000 coming next week, said its CEO, Bruce Linton.

“The trucks continue to pull out of this place, it’s a busy road,” he said of the company’s flagship operation.

Consumers in Alberta could see a healthier supply by year’s end, he said, but that could be temporarily upended in the spring when potentially hundreds of retailers open their doors in Ontario.

“There’s going to be a new, unique channel that needs to be filled,” he said.

“It’s going to go in layers, it’s going to continue to take some time.”

But he said demand for cannabis should be diluted by the availability of more edible oil capsules this year, and the introduction of vaped and cannabis beverage products in the second half of 2019.

For now, even though growers constantly have finished product in the hopper with phased production, it typically takes four to five months to produce mature buds, said Linton.

“It starts to be a complex algorithm,” he said.

Canopy continues to ramp up production, expecting to increase its growing space from four million to six million square feet over the next year, including a 90,000-square-foot production-warehouse facility in Edmonton, he said.

In the context of the entire country, he said, “Alberta’s been treated well by us and I suspect by others,” he said.

“It makes it commercially challenging when the supply chain ebbs and flows,” she said.

“I’ve still been unable to obtain my pre-rolls.”

Though the cannabis production sector has had months — and in some cases years — to prepare, Canopy’s Linton said it’s much more difficult and time-consuming to ramp up to fully meet demand.

“It’s what 95 years of prohibition does to demand, and we found out pretty quick,” he said.

Source: Calgary Herald

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