Title: Will a Supreme Court case end provinces’ pot monopolies before legal stores even open?
Author: Global News Canada
Date: 23 November 2017
Extract: As provinces begin drafting laws for the control and sale of cannabis on their territories, a case that the Supreme Court of Canada will hear in a few weeks threatens to derail their plans.
Ontario and Quebec, for instance, want to create provincial cannabis monopolies. As a consequence, Quebecers and Ontarians would be prohibited from mail-ordering recreational cannabis from licensed producers outside their home province or buying pot from anyone other than their provincial government.
But on Dec. 6, the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments in a case that could mean the end of state-run monopolies as they apply to another favourite Canadian vice: alcohol.
If the justices rule in favour of a New Brunswick man fighting against provincial liquor monopolies, the decision will almost certainly trigger lawsuits across the country seeking to dismantle similar government-run corporations for marijuana, according to legal and trade experts.
“It would mean big changes — a more free and fair cannabis industry,” said Jack Lloyd, one of the lawyers representing marijuana activists who received intervener status in the Supreme Court case.
Title: Cities grapple with bylaw and regulation changes as they race to make legal pot deadline‘. It’s a challenge for all of our members,’ the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says
Date: 22 November 2017
Extract: The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has put together a primer to help cities get ready for cannabis legalization. The six-page document urges municipalities to “begin their internal process immediately to ensure that regulations, laws, and bylaws are in place by the time the federal cannabis legislation comes into force.”
Title: Proposed pot regulations open door to craft growers, licensing non-violent offenders. Liberals give Canadians until Jan. 20 to respond to new marijuana regulations
Date: 21 November 2017
Extract: Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has released the Liberal government’s proposed cannabis regulations, opening the door to craft marijuana producers, allowing low-risk offenders to participate in the industry and offering some leeway on packaging.
Canadians have until Jan. 20 to offer opinions either through an online questionnaire or by providing a written submission on the measures before they are implemented.
Title: Horgan warns against overtaxing burgeoning cannabis industry
Author: Globe & Mail
Date: 22 November 2017
Extract: B.C.’s Premier is warning cities they can’t gouge cannabis businesses with licensing fees if the province wants to squeeze out the sizable black market once the drug becomes legal next summer.
John Horgan said Wednesday that all levels of government must be careful not to tax the drug too heavily if the legal supply is to compete with prices in the underground market. For municipalities, that means not “piling tax upon tax” by charging high fees for legal cannabis firms to operate in their communities, he told reporters during his weekly news conference.
“If the regional governments, for example, want to have their business permits and permits to operate in city limits, that’s going to increase the cost of the product to consumers and it may well be that the black market survives this transition,” he said. “I want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Canada’s cannabis black market is estimated at about 400,000 kilograms a year, although it’s not clear how much of that is from online sales from dispensaries, which ship their products undetected through Canada Post.
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Title: Available in stores to 19 and up: N.L. government unveils rules for legal pot. Marijuana products to be sold in private retail stores, but regulated and distributed by NLC
Date: 23 November 2017
Extract: The Newfoundland and Labrador government has released details of how marijuana legalization will work in the province.
The legislation will allow for the sale of marijuana in private stores, but it will be licensed and regulated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).
There will be some cases where the NLC will sell marijuana products, where there are no alternatives in that area. Innovation Minister Chris Mitchelmore said there will also be an online option, where those in isolated communities could purchase pot online.
The legal age to buy and consume pot will be 19, and youth possession will be prohibited and will result in a fine rather than a criminal charge.
At Thursday’s news conference, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said the NLC will set prices for marijuana, but that the details are still being worked out.
Title: Quebec’s cannabis bill leaves more questions than answers, lawyers say
Author: Lexis Nexis
Extract: Employers are disappointed the Quebec government failed to provide new rules and guidance under its recently unveiled legal framework for the consumption, sale and distribution of marijuana, according to employment and labour lawyers.
Unlike Ontario’s Bill 174, which explicitly bans the use of cannabis in workplaces, Quebec’s new legislation (Bill 157) is conspicuously silent over marijuana usage in the workplace, prompting concerns over how public and private sector employers are going to achieve the thorny balance between employee privacy and workplace safety in the absence of clear rules, added the labour lawyers.
“In Quebec there are a lot of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and it is unrealistic to believe that all of these businesses have in place zero tolerance workplace policies dealing with alcohol or drugs,” said Élaine Léger, a Montreal labour, employment and human rights lawyer and part of a new nine-member cannabis practice group with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.