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This Week in Cannabis: Top Stories From Across Canada From Dec. 14-20

Health Canada announces proposed regulations for edibles, extracts, and topicals, theCanadian Automobile Association’s latest PSA against impaired driving is a flop, and Manitoba announces plans to levy fees on Indigenous on-reserve cannabis stores, setting themselves up for a messy Indian Act legal challenge.

Weve rounded up this weeks top stories from across Canada.

Top Headlines From Around the Web

CAA Presents: Reefer Madness 2018

The Canadian Automobile Association meant well in producing PSA videos as part of a campaign warning young drivers against the risks of impaired driving. Unfortunately, the team they hired to produce the ad had apparently never met people under the influence of cannabis. The ad bears greater resemblance to Reefer Madness than to anyone’s experience getting high.

Twitter was quick to mock the ad, while Dr. Rielle Capler, who co-authored Canadian Drug Policy Coalition recommendations on how talk to the public about cannabis-impaired driving, noted the video did everything the CDPC’s guidelines had cautioned against.

Manitoba To Levy Social Responsibility Fees on First Nations Retailers

Manitoba Conservative Premier Brian Pallister has committed to enforcing his government’s “social responsibility fee” on First Nations cannabis retailers. He argued, “Every Manitoban has a social responsibility, and any company in Manitoba that wants to market cannabis—whether it’s on-reserve, off-reserve, on urban reserves, I do not care—shares that social responsibility.”

The decision places his legal team on a collision course with the Federal Indian Act, under which personal property of a band member on reserve is tax-exempt, but businesses can sometimes be taxed.

When the fees were announced this summer, some First Nations leaders argued the provincial government does not have the jurisdiction to levy fees on reserve, while others argued the Conservative government had shut First Nations out of the discussion of the fees entirely. At least one Manitoba Chief is considering legal action.

Aleafia’s Acquisition of Emblem Merges Two Controversial Companies

On Thursday, Aleafia acquired Emblem Corp—a medical cannabis company started by John H. Stewart, who was president of Purdue Pharma Canada and later CEO of Purdue USA during the era in which Purdue was “fraudulently misbrand[ing] Oxycontin” as non-addictive and helping create the opioid crisis.

Aleafia has likewise been a lightning rod for criticism as former Toronto Police Services Chief and long-time cannabis opponent Julian Fantino chairs its board of directors.
As Toronto police chief, Fantino is best remembered for comparing legalizing cannabis to legalizing murder. Later, serving as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Stephen Harper Conservative government, Fantino distributed flyers to his constituents reminding them Justin Trudeau had illegally used cannabis as an MP, and claiming the “Liberal Agenda” was to normalize cannabis and sell it in local stores. As late as 2015, Fantino was quoted as saying, “I am completely opposed to legalization of marijuana.” Less than two years later, when Fantino was asked about the statement, he responded, “I was addressing a different era at that time.”

The Aleafia-Emblem deal represents one of the first significant mergers of the post-legalization era, which many analysts have suggested will be characterized by massive consolidations. Aleafia and Emblem both claim they will now offer the largest network of medical cannabis clinics in Canada.

To Do List

Festive Fantasy

TORONTO, ON — Finish your holiday shopping at this festive marketplace hosted by High5 and Smoke Show on Friday, Dec. 21 from 7 p.m. While the location is still TBA, the event promises drag queens, burlesque acts, hot chocolate stations and ‘Holidaze Catering,’ along with plenty of 420-friendly gift ideas.

Jokes N Tokes

VANCOUVER, BC — The cannabis-themed comedy show series lands in Vancouver on Dec. 23 for an evening featuring professional comedians and rising stars. Tickets are $10 online.


The High Life Episode 2: Damian Abraham Talks Pot, Punks, & Parenthood

PODCAST — On the sophomore episode of this Leafly Canada podcast, Damian Abraham, the legendary vocalist for the punk band Fucked Up, talks about embracing cannabis as an alternative to prescription drugs, finding access to cannabis on tour, and openly discussing cannabis with your kids.

Investing in Cannabis

PODCAST —This week on EXTRACTED, Bruce Campbell speaks about how to identify good investment opportunities in the cannabis space and what it is that sets licensed producers apart.

Jesse B. Staniforth's Bio Image
Jesse B. Staniforth

Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.

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