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Canada: Medical Marijuana Sellers Persevere Despite Crackdown

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana sellers in Canada are charging ahead despite recent crackdowns.

In Toronto, half of the city’s 83 known unlicensed stores have been targeted in raids and shutdowns that started May 26. Police have executed search warrants and seized products from stores they believe are selling to recreational consumers. But as the federal government moves toward full Canada marijuana legalization slated for a spring 2017 introduction, representatives from industry associations and medical marijuana stores met to discuss how to continue to operate.

Reuters reports:

"At Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at a marijuana-smoking lounge and attended by about 50 people, operators whose stores were raided told the audience what to expect. A lawyer spoke about how retailers can best deal with police.

Some unlicensed stores have been accused of selling to people without proper prescriptions. Some, such as the Cannabis Culture franchise in Toronto and Vancouver, sell openly to recreational users.

The federal government, which sets laws on both recreational and medical marijuana, has given little direction to municipalities on how to deal with either. Cities have used different regulatory and enforcement methods. Currently, only a few federally approved producers are allowed to sell medical marijuana – and only through the mail."

Canada: Vancouver Grants First Marijuana Dispensary License

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vancouver last week became the first city in Canada to issue a marijuana dispensary license after creating a separate set of bylaws regulating the establishments.

The Wealth Shop, just outside the gates of the University of British Columbia in the Vancouver neighborhood of Point Grey, got the city's first license to operate a cannabis business, reports Katie Shapiro at The Cannabist.

The store, which hasn't yet opened for business, will be required to pay an annual licensing fee of $30,000 to the City of Vancouver. The majority of already existing pot shops operate as "compassion clubs," which require a $1,000 fee to get a license. Currently, both types of shops still operate outside the Canadian federal government's medicinal cannabis program.

British Columbia: First Canada Cannabis Business License Issued In Vancouver

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Last month Canada's health minister announced that legislation to legalize marijuana will be introduced next spring. Changes are beginning to take place in Vancouver, where the first license was issued last week for a cannabis business.

The Wealth Shop, located just outside the gates of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, received the first license. Operating as a for-profit dispensary, the store must pay an annual licensing fee of $30,000 to the City of Vancouver.

As the country prepares for legalization, other provinces are watching Vancouver to see how it’s getting done. The Wealth Shop is just one of a number of BC-based dispensaries looking to expand eastward, with a store slated to open soon in Toronto.

Councillor Kerry Jang (the Vision Vancouver party’s lead on cannabis issues) told the CBC that the granting of the first medical marijuana business license is “exciting” and that “it shows that the bylaws we created are working. We have another two [stores] under final review. There’s another 21 shops across the city in the first stage of the development permit.”

Jang contends Vancouver’s medical marijuana licensing process is proving to be well conceived, and that other Canadian cities, including Toronto, are now studying the regulations.

“We’re actually bringing some order to the mess that it was,” said Jang.

Canada: Marijuana Gold Rush As Vancouver, BC Gets 176 Applications

VancouverMedicinalCannabisDispensary[BenNelms-TheGlobeAndMail]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vancouver, B.C. says it has gotten 176 applications for medical marijuana related businesses after imposing new license requirements earlier this summer.

Sixty-nine of those have the potential to be licensed as compassion clubs, while the rest have applied as retail businesses, the city announced on Friday, reports Tiffany Crawford at the Vancouver Sun.

Business licenses for compassion clubs -- nonprofit groups also offering additional health services like nutritional counseling, massage and acunpuncture -- are significantly lower. Those clubs paid $1,000 each, compared to the standard retail license of $30,000 for the rest of the medical marijuana businesses.

The deadline for applications closed a week ago, on August 21, and any medical marijuana businesses that missed the window of opportunity must close their doors, or city officials warn they'll take enforcement action, including hefty fines and lawsuits.

City staff will now review the applications, with particular attention to zoning regulations. Some of these relate to whether the shops are located in permitted commercial zones, and whether they are at least 300 meters from schools, community centers, places that serve "vulnerable youth," as well as other medical marijuana related businesses.

Canada: Supreme Court Rules Medical Marijuana Legal In All Forms

CanadaCannabisFlag[TheDailyChronic]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian medical marijuana patients can legally use all forms of cannabis, the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday.

Medicinal cannabis patients will now be able to legally consume marijuana, not just smoke it, reports the BBC.

Cannabis oil is now legally allowed instead of only dried marijuana flowers, making it easier to infuse food products.

The right at stake was described by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association as the right to personal autonomy in medical decision-making – no matter what medical science may say about the wisdom of the decision, reports Sean Fine at The Globe and Mail.

The case began back in 2009 when former head baker Owen Smith of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, a British Columbia collective, was charged with trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana. Smith was caught baking 200 cannabis cookies, reports Trinh Theresa Do at CBC.

A B.C. judge acquitted Smith and gave the Canadian government a year to change laws about marijuana extracts. The case then went to the Supreme Court.

Canada: Marijuana, Rock and Roll To Meet At B.C.'s CannaFest 2015

CannaFest[BCPainSociety]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two natural allies -- rock and roll and cannabis -- will be together in August at a musical festival in Grand Forks, British Columbia.

CannaFest 2015 will bring together musicians and people to educate about the healing power of marijuana, according to organizer Chuck Varabioff of the B.C. Pain Society in Vancouver, reports Daybreak South at CBC News.

"I deal with sick people every single day," Varabioff said. "I wanted to give back something to them, where they're able to come forget about their pain, their problems, anything they have negative going on in their life, and come out and experience something positive."

"It's all about the movement; it's all about the people coming together and promoting a product they believe in," Varabioff said.

This is the second year that Varabioff has organized CannaFest. The first one took place in Vancouver last year.

Grand Forks Mayor Frank Conrad said he won't "delve into the marijuana issue because that is a federal issue," but said he believes the event will help stimulate the local economy.

The B.C. Pain Society is a medical marijuana dispensary that houses Canada's first cannabis vending machines.

CannaFest 2015 will take place on Aug. 7 and 8 at James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks, B.C. One-day passes are $50, and two-day passes are $75.

Global: Partnership To Develop Cannabinoid Therapies For Ocular Allergies

InMedPharmaceuticals(logo)

InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Tuesday announced it has formed an exclusive strategic collaboration with the University of Debrecen, Hungary, to develop novel phytocannabinoid-based therapies (plant-based cannabinoids) to treat ocular allergic symptoms.

The collaboration will leverage InMed's proprietary Intelligent Cannabinoid Drug Design Platform (IDP) and will be led by one of the world's leading cannabinoid researchers, Dr. Tamas Biro, MD, PhD, DSc. Dr. Biro has extensive research experience in studying the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the closely related transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in various human diseases.

Under the discovery and development collaboration InMed's IDP Platform will be used to identify cannabinoid- and non-cannabinoid-based phytochemicals for ocular therapies focused on reducing various pro-inflammatory cytokines in in vitro and in vivo models.

"We have accumulated significant experience and expertise in developing cannabinoids to treat ocular disease, which forms the basis of this strategic collaboration," said Dr. Sazzad Hossain, chief scientific officer of InMed. "As we prepare to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials of our lead phytocannabinoid-based drug candidate CTI-085 for glaucoma, we look forward to expanding our ophthalmic therapy pipeline by developing ocular anti-allergic drugs, where we expect Dr. Biro's 18 years of experience in this specialty field to be invaluable."

Canada: LEAP Stands With Police Officer Banned From Speaking About Drug Legalization

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BC Human Rights Tribunal to Release Prelim Decision on Cop's Right to Advocate for Drug Legalization

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on Tuesday will release a preliminary decision regarding a complaint of political discrimination against the Victoria Police Department for muzzling an officer who advocates for drug legalization. This particular decision will focus on whether senior police officers at VicPD can be held personally liable for illegal conduct in this matter, setting an important precedent in police accountability.

The decision will be released shortly after 12 pm PT at the following link:
http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/decisions/2014/dec.htm

In 2010, the Victoria Police Department banned Constable David Bratzer from speaking off-duty as part of an expert panel on harm reduction. Since then, he has faced progressively more severe restrictions regarding his off-duty advocacy for drug policy reform.

In 2013, after years of harassment, and fearing for his livelihood, Constable Bratzer filed his complaint citing “political belief” as a protected ground of discrimination in Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code. In advance of the decision today, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is publicly affirming its support for his struggle to regain his voice:

Nevada: Cannabix Releases Renderings and Video of Marijuana Breathalyzer

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Cannabix says its hand-held THC marijuana breathalyzer is being developed to give law enforcement and employers the ability to test for recent consumption of the THC component of marijuana -- and interestingly, the company is featuring this product, presumably a tool in the War On Pot, at a generally pro-weed trade show in Las Vegas. Prototype renderings are being showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo.

"Cannabix Technologies Inc. is pleased to report the release of its first publicly available device renderings and video presentation of its Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer," the company announced in a prepared release. "Cannabix is developing a feature rich, durable, hand-held THC breathalyzer device for law enforcement and the workplace.

Media files and video which show the design and features of the prototype are available for online viewing at cannabixtechnologies.com. The product renderings will also be showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo from November 12-14, at the Rio in Las Vegas. Cannabix senior executives will be sharing the video demo and discussing prototype development progress at booth 219.

New York: Canadian 'Pot Playboy' Gets 27 Years For $1 Billion Drug Trafficking

JimmyCournoyer(PotPlayboy)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Canadian man who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers, and who was known as the "Pot Playboy," was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, according to prosecutors.

Jimmy Cournoyer pleaded guilty in May 2013 to money laundering charges, along with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and cocaine, reports the Associated Press. The 34-year-old native of Laval, Quebec was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court.

Gerald McMahon, Courtnoyer's lawyer, said prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of being a drug kingpin which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, reports Allan Woods at The Star.

His sentence will also involve him forfeiting $1 billion to the U.S. government along with $11 million in drug proceeds, prosecutors said in a statement which thanked 19 police departments including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Cournoyer's organization, based in Montreal, had ties to international drug cartels and organized crime, prosecutors claimed. His lifestyle of hanging out with celebrities like Leonard DiCaprio included a Brazilian supermodel girlfriend and a super-expensive Bugatti Venyon automobile.

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