Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cannabis activists challenge new Canadian laws

Cannabis activists prepare to fight for changes to evolving legalization laws - Toronto - CBC News - Canadian Press:

November 4, 2017 - "Cannabis activists say that while they've succeeded in helping to push for marijuana legalization across the country, their work is far from over.

"The federal government has committed to making recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018, but has tasked provincial governments with establishing their own business and regulatory models.... Activists say ... provinces such as Ontario, which plans to levy fines of up to $1 million on businesses that illegally sell recreational weed, are wrong to try and monopolize marijuana sales.... Others say they plan to crusade for medical marijuana users, who they feel are being left behind.... Still more say their efforts will involve pushing for relaxed consumption rules, such as marijuana licenses for restaurants and other public spaces....

"Lisa Campbell of the Ontario Cannabis Consumer Retail Alliance said marijuana activists were once shunned for the cause they championed.... Once recreational cannabis is legal, however, she said she and others will push to work directly with government to shape more effective policies on everything from dispensaries to the availability of edible products....

"For Abi Roach, owner of a cannabis lounge in Toronto, the fight will centre on an effort to create safe public spaces for cannabis consumption. Ontario's current proposals ban the use of recreational marijuana in public spaces or workplaces, shutting the door on the possibility of licensing establishments....

"Medical marijuana use will be the focus for Toronto-based advocate Tania Cyalume.... She said storefront dispensaries staffed by knowledgeable employees are essential for medical patients, adding a government-controlled cannabis retailer, like the ones proposed for Ontario and New Brunswick, won't be able to address the clientele's more complex needs.

"Cyalume said she plans to push for looser regulations on dispensaries, which the Ontario government has 'officially put on notice,' but said she also hopes to speak up for cannabis users who can't often advocate for themselves."

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