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Can weed revitalize struggling small towns?
They're also pretty happy.
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Treating cannabis as a dangerous and deviant, while treating alcohol as normal and beneficial, is just bad policy and bad advice.
While newspapers fall over themselves to be scandalized by 100 grand going towards policing 4/20 once a year, they are silent about the much bigger expense of fighting the pointless war against cannabis. The fact is that Vancouver's cannabis activists have saved the city many millions of dollars over the years.
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The federal government's goal is to have a legalized system in place by June 2018.
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There are many who ascribe the value of a sin tax to non-medical cannabis use. The argument for high taxation levels is to increase government revenues and discourage the use of an inebriating substance. Proponents of this argument might go as far as to say the more tax the better. This creates a problematic externality.
Considering how important cannabis is to our province in every way, it's surprising that legalization hasn't been a bigger topic in this election. Legalization could be a big boon for B.C., or it could be a devastating blow to our provincial economy. We need a premier who will get it right.
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Bringing the public perception of marijuana to a place where women, especially moms, are comfortable being identified as cannabis users may not sound like a big deal, but this is about so much more than enabling more moms to get high - it's about data, health and wellness.
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Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws recently made headlines by announcing they will cover medical cannabis for their employees. But the devil is always in the details. While these two chains should be praised for their progressive steps forward, we also need to ask who this coverage is provided for, how much is being covered, as well as how this fits with the overall long-term strategy to position pharmacies as the front-line dispensers of medical cannabis.
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If we are concerned about public safety we need to make it more attractive for people to grow, distribute and consume cannabis legally than illegally so that there is engagement with public safety mechanisms. Right now it is far more attractive for people to grow and consume illegally.
Having a retail system operational in every province by July 1, 2018 is incredibly ambitious. One way that the government might intend on meeting this timeframe is a phased-in approach to the sale of recreational cannabis, for example allowing initial delivery by mail only, while the storefront model works itself out.
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We often create policies that are meant to protect youth, particularly around drug use. But what we actually end up doing is criminalizing and victimizing them further. With regulation we'll actually be able to start to undo some of the harms caused by prohibition - harms a lot worse than the use of cannabis itself.
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Two major studies in the US have found that the states which have cannabis dispensaries have much lower rates of opioid use and deaths. This makes sense, because cannabis is often used as a pain reliever, just like opioids are. When people have easy access to a safer pain-reliever, cannabis, they are less likely to use the more risky one, opioids.
The way the media and government treats the idea of minors and cannabis or minors and alcohol is very different. When a dispensary is alleged to have sold some cannabis to a minor, they face a police raid and harsh commentary in the media. But the daily sales to minors from liquor outlets is not treated like a big deal at all.