JAMESON BERKOW CANNABIS INDUSTRY REPORTER
PUBLISHED MAY 12, 2019
Marilyn Gladu (pictured above), federal Conservative Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, once recited an anti-pot poem on the floor of the House of Commons. She currently serves as the party’s health critic. If Andrew Scheer becomes Prime Minister (which recent polls show is a real possibility), and Ms. Gadhu retains her seat, she has a reasonable chance of being named federal Health Minister, and the de-facto head of the cannabis file.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Cannabis Professional, Ms. Gladu pledged her party would not reverse cannabis legalization. However, she did say a Conservative government would, among other things, take a harder line on regulatory enforcement, a softer approach to marketing restrictions for edibles and would consider banning home cultivation outright. What follows are direct transcriptions from Ms. Gladu on what her top cannabis-related priorities would be if she finds herself in cabinet later this year.
There is a real gap in Health Canada enforcing its regulations. Across the country we are hearing of people who either have a medical license that has been combined with other people and they are growing way more plants than they’re allowed. Or they haven’t done anything about the odour so they’re depriving their neighbours of enjoyment of their property because of the skunky smell, or they haven’t taken adequate security precautions. Definitely one of the things Conservatives will do is make sure regulations are enforced.
I don’t accept at the beginning that there are inadequate resources. I think there are lots of inspectors within Health Canada and it is a question of priority. It isn’t as if they need to go find out where there are concerns. People are forwarding letters through me to the head of Health Canada saying look at these locations, the police are saying they are not there to enforce Health Canada regulations but honestly, Health Canada is not responding to those things.
PREFERENCE FOR SUPPORTING LARGER PLAYERS OVER CRAFT GROWERS
The people who are large in this business, Canopy Growth and Tilray and Aurora, these are people who are adhering to the regulations, mitigating the odour, putting security in place, so the government is recognizing [through the cannabis licensing changes Health Canada announced last week] it would be better to have more of those and less of the, shall we say, one-stop cowboy that wants to put up a steel frame with plastic bags that doesn’t meet the regulations. Who is going to invest millions of dollars in a plant with no government certainty on licensing? I think that clearly was an error in judgement on the part of the current government. I think though, the intent to try to focus on those people that will obey the regulations, that is a good intent. There are multiple ways to get there and I think we do not want to exclude small craft growers, but why punish those that are paying the rules?
We don’t want to discourage small businesses, but on the other hand we have to balance that with the rights of the neighbours and the owners of property to have their rights protected. I think there is a sweet spot in the middle where you can encourage small craft growers, but let’s face it many of them have been operating illegally and have not been prevented from continuing to operate illegally.
Colorado five years down the road still has not gotten rid of organized crime, mostly due to the fact that they allowed for home growing and so they have huge issues with that. Washington state did it better – they took their medicinal marijuana system and extended that to recreational and they were able to reduce organized crime to less than 20 per cent of the market. We would definitely look at [changing the home grow rules]. This is an area where real estate folks are concerned about the mould that may be growing in people’s houses and who is responsible for paying for the audit that is needed before you can sell that property? There are people that own property that do not want their tenants to be growing marijuana in their property and they don’t have any rights under this current legislation. There is more to be done in that area. The federal government essentially gave everyone an individual right to grow [cannabis] in their home and there have been multiple people who are not happy about that. We’ve had the Indigenous people say that some of their nations want the ability to not allow anyone to grow.
FEWER PACKAGING RESTRICTIONS FOR INFUSED FOODS AND DRINKS
We need to learn from those that have already legalized edibles. We are [about to] come out with products that may not be competitive to the organized crime market that is already in place and has beautiful graphics and much higher levels of THC in their edibles, so you have to have a competitive offering. If you’re only allowing people to create edibles that are in plain white packaging that have a much lower dosage, will that be competitive in eliminating the organized crime market? I think that is a question that remains to be answered but it is certainly something we are going to be watching. The reality is, the government is trying to be well-intentioned about making sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of children but it is 30 per cent of the market today, it is being accessed by children. I think we need to not be naive and recognize that these products… when the competition is at a certain level and you’re trying to compete, you can’t do that with a less competitive offering.
MORE FOCUS ON ADVANCING LEGALIZATION GLOBALLY
There is really, still, a lot of border-crossing anxiety. We should be speaking more to our neighbours to the south and we should probably be having conversations with the United Nations because [legalization here] did break three treaties we have with them and I think there is an appetite in the world to update those treaties to reflect the change in world perspective on this issue. Those are steps as well that we would take. [Q: Are our diplomats not already doing that?] Jane Philpott when she was in the role was doing that role on the world stage with the UN on this file but then Bill Blair who took the file over has been, shall we say, distracted by the asylum-seeker issue and so hasn’t really done anything there.
Source: Globe and Mail.
JAMESON BERKOW – CANNABIS INDUSTRY REPORTER
PUBLISHED MAY 7, 2019
OTTAWA, May 8, 2019 /CNW/ – Health Canada is introducing changes to align the approach to cannabis licensing with the approach for other regulated sectors, such as pharmaceuticals.
Effective immediately, Health Canada will require new applicants for licences to cultivate cannabis, process cannabis, or sell cannabis for medical purposes to have a fully built site that meets all the requirements of the Cannabis Regulations at the time of their application, as well as satisfying other application criteria.
With respect to existing applications, Health Canada will complete a high-level review of applications currently in the queue. If the application passes this review, the Department will provide a status update letter to the applicant, indicating that it has no concerns with what is proposed in the application. Once the applicant has a completed site that meets the regulatory requirements, the Department will review the application in detail, in priority based on the original application date.
Health Canada is implementing these adjustments following a review of its current licensing process, which identified opportunities to better allocate resources. For example, more than 70% of applicants who successfully passed Health Canada’s initial paper-based review of their application over the past three years have not yet submitted their evidence package to demonstrate to the Department that they have a built facility that meets the regulatory requirements. As a result, a significant amount of resources are being used to review applications from entities that are not ready to begin operations, contributing to wait times for more mature applications and an inefficient allocation of resources.
To support applicants, Health Canada has made available additional guidance on the licence application process and on the regulatory requirements regarding Good Production Practices and physical security measures. The Department is also working to establish service standards for the review of applications, which will increase predictability for applicants. Health Canada will continue to provide enhanced support to Indigenous-affiliated applicants through its Indigenous Navigator Service. It will also implement additional measures to support applicants applying for a micro-class licence.
These changes are part of Health Canada’s commitment to the continuous improvement of its administration of the cannabis licensing program. Building on changes made in 2017 and 2018, the new approach responds to feedback from applicants about the time it can take to become licensed and the fact that there is now a larger number of applicants seeking to enter a growing and maturing legal market.
Since the changes in May 2017, Health Canada has licensed more than 129 new sites—nearly triple the number of sites licensed in the four years prior. There are now more than 600,000 square metres of space under active cultivation. Based on standard industry averages, this is enough cultivation space to produce approximately 1,000,000 kilograms of cannabis per year, which is roughly equivalent to independent estimates of the total cannabis (legal and illegal) consumed in Canada.
There are no changes to the regulatory requirements, including the rigorous security clearance process for key personnel and corporate directors. Furthermore, Health Canada will continue to inspect all facilities before a licence to sell products to the public is issued.
Health Canada will continue to work closely with new and existing licence applicants to ensure that they are aware of the new application requirements.
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Health Canada, Media Relations, 613-957-2983, [email protected]; Public Inquiries, 613-957-2991, 1-866-225-0709
The Canada Revenue Agency allows for cannabis purchased under prescription to be claimed as a “medical expense” deduction.
By Jane Switzer • Mar 19, 2019
Green bud, grey area: Medical cannabis consumers buy products directly from licensed producers, but they must pay for it out of pocket – sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars a month.
Medical cannabis generally isn’t covered by third-party health insurance plans because it doesn’t have a drug identification number (DIN), a regulatory stamp of approval issued by Health Canada. Sun Life became the country’s first major insurance company to offer optional coverage for medical cannabis in 2018, while Manulife also launched optional coverage for participating individual and group plans in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart. A handful of employers may offer some type of coverage through their employee group benefit plans, but for many consumers, the only opportunity for financial relief comes through the taxman.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows for cannabis purchased under prescription to be claimed as a “medical expense” deduction on your federal income taxes. Here’s how it works:
Who qualifies to claim medical cannabis?
Anyone with a prescription from an authorized medical practitioner to purchase cannabis from a licensed producer. Producers are legally required to issue receipts, which you’ll need come tax filing time. Hold on to the paper copies, or find out how to access your receipts online. In case of an audit or review, the CRA recommends keeping receipts for six years.
What can you claim?
The amount paid for fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oils, and cannabis seeds and plants procured from a licensed producer – basically, product only. You cannot claim costs related to growing or accessories such as lights, containers and other storage, fertilizers, vaporizers, pipes, capsules, or capsule filler machines.
How do you file?
Check your receipts and tally up the amount you spent on medical cannabis, and add the total to any other allowable medical expenses you plan to claim on your T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return, the most basic form filed by individual Canadians to complete their income tax return. If your return is prepared by a professional, submit your receipts to them. If you use tax software to complete your return, you’ll be prompted to enter your medical expenses in the deductions and credits section.
Medical expenses don’t have to be calculated by the calendar year, but by any 12-month period ending in the current tax year (2018). If you already claimed these expenses on your last tax return, you can’t claim them again.
What gets deducted?
Your total eligible medical expenses minus the lesser of $2,302, or 3% of your net income (your income after taxes). Depending on how much you make and amount of medical expenses claimed, the threshold can be high. Here are two examples using different incomes and the same $2,500 in medical expenses:
If your net income is $70,000, you must deduct $2,100 from your total medical expenses. You will receive a credit of $400.
If your net income is $30,000, you must deduct $900 from your total medical expenses. You will receive a credit of $1,600.
Each province and territory has different tax laws and policies, but you only have to submit one return through the CRA. Except for Quebec, all provinces and territories let the federal government collect income taxes and administer the returns. Quebec residents file both a provincial income tax return with Revenu Québec and a federal return with the CRA.
The deadline to file your income tax return for the 2018 year is April 30, 2019, or by June 17 if you’re self-employed.
Sourced from: Lift & Co.
MCRCI is excited to be teaming up with Integrative Alternative Health Service (IAHS) in Red Deer, Alberta! We are happy to be able to offer our industry leading experience to patients in Red Deer and surrounding areas.
MCRCI is joining forces with IAHS; taking over their medicinal cannabis service, adding, support, resources and experience. We will be offering our services to patients (new & old) at IAHS including both our Basic and Production memberships.
IAHS’ mission is to transform how Health & Wellness is perceived through integrative therapies & education focused on Mind, Body & Soul. Bringing these services to your front door. IAHS offers service across Central Alberta so call them today at 587.679.4247 for more information.
Our services through IAHS include:
Evaluation of a patient’s eligibility for medicinal cannabis
Access to Health Canada & ACMPR program
Additional support, as needed, for patients under 18 and patients with no previous
Support from MCRCI educators in understanding the advantages of different licensed
producers and their products
Support from MCRCI educators on cannabis as a medicine, strains, and administration
The arrangement of appropriate follow-up visits with the physician
Adjustments in a cannabis treatment program as needed, to include changes in daily
amounts authorized, re-issuing of medical documents, and additional documentation
Assistance in responding to employer concerns regarding the use of cannabis for
Access to MCRCI educators for ongoing support and guidance
Guidance in the federal ACMPR program
Information regarding dispensaries and/or compassion clubs
Timely reminders to renew ACMPR authorization
Discounts on accessories and products (books, vaporizers, etc.)
“(Dr. Ian) Mitchell, who is participating in a randomized controlled study on the effects of cannabis on patients with post-traumatic stress syndrome, said a lot of what is known about the harms of marijuana also comes from observational data.
He also noted randomized controlled studies examining the benefits of marijuana have been suppressed for decades due to a research blockade in the U.S.”
Read more: Kamloops This Week
Voting is NOW OPEN for the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Awards!
We are pleased to say the Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre has been nominated as Top Clinic!
It is now up to our wonderful patients to help us win!
Go to: https://canadiancannabisawards.com/vote/
Under the ‘Products & Places’ category, select ‘Top Clinic’
Click ‘Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc.’
We want to thank each and every one of you for supporting us throughout the years.
Looking forward to many more years of assisting patients!
Winners will be announced at the CCA Gala on November 29, 2018 and posted online November 30, 2018!
The Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc. is now open in Halifax, Nova Scotia!
MCRCI is now coast to coast across Canada after having opened our doors in Halifax.
We are excited to have the opportunity to assist patients on the East Coast offering our education and guidance in medicinal cannabis and Health Canada’s Access to Medicinal Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) program.
MCRCI began our commitment to helping patients in 2010 opening our first location in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Since then we have been able to open our doors into 2 more BC cities, Vernon and Kamloops allowing us to help patients in the Okanagan Valley and surrounding areas.
Our move to Halifax has been something that we have been working toward since our initial opening in 2010. We are very proud to now have our feet on the ground on the East Coast! After spending time in Nova Scotia, our team has met wonderful individuals who we believe are a great representation of the patients we will be meeting moving forward.
We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about cannabis as a medicine to contact us at our new Halifax location:
128 – 1535 Dresden Row
Phone: 902 405 5553
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 902 417 1413
Information released July 2018
For the full PDF version, please follow this link: Complete Provincial Breakdown for Cannabis Regulations – July 2018
The budding marijuana industry is spurring new research around cannabis that will have long-term effects on a variety of fields, from farming to new medicine, as companies look for solid scientific data on the substance.
With the looming legalization of recreational pot next summer, and the expansion of licensed medical marijuana producers, scientists at the University of Guelph say more organizations are turning to researchers for help growing better plants.
The Ontario university has a long horticultural research history and some of its staff and students are already deep into the study of medicinal marijuana.
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On Friday, a team of two environmental science professors and a graduate student published a research paper — one they called the first of its kind and the first of many to come — about optimizing the growth of medicinal cannabis indoors.
The study looked at the rate of organic fertilizer in soilless products holding cannabis before it flowered and the optimization of tetrahydrocannabinol — the primary psychoactive part of cannabis — and cannabidiol, which has been touted as a potential treatment for certain forms of epilepsy.
“There is hardly any scientific information on how to produce these plants and now there is so much interest in this area,” said Youbin Zheng, who led the study funded by a licensed medical marijuana producer as well the federal government.
Words such as “OG kush” and “grizzly” — types of marijuana strains — have now appeared in a scientific journal, this time in HortScience, and there’s more to come.
Zheng and fellow professor Mike Dixon have a series of studies in the pipeline that examine the effects of irrigation, lighting, fertilization and soilless technology on cannabis growth as they try to bring scientific rigour to marijuana research.
Building on anecdotal evidence
Dixon is blunt when reflecting on the current cannabis research landscape.
“Much of the work now is largely based on anecdotal bulls–t from people who think they have it all figured out and did all their research in their basements,” he said.
The idea now, he notes, is to take the medicinal marijuana world from the backwoods to pharmaceutical-grade production.
Liberals’ pot bill tweaked to add timeline for edibles
Cannabis black market will thrive without an inclusive legal industry, MPs hear
Dixon has been part of pioneering research into the growth of plants in space and is using that knowledge and technology to help grow better medicinal marijuana. He plans to leverage the windfall of research money coming in from cannabis companies for his work.
“I’m shamelessly taking advantage of the cannabis industry sector’s investment,” he said.
“The bottom line is we’re developing technologies that will allow Canadians to exploit production systems in harsh environments.”
Marijuana production companies — there are more than 60 approved by Health Canada now — need a “huge number of trained scientists,” Zheng noted.
Then there are the potential medical applications associated with marijuana — there are more than 150 compounds found in cannabis that need to be explored, Dixon said.
Another big area is vertical farming — where crops are grown in stacks in vast warehouses with artificial lighting, either in solution or with soilless products — that can allow cold-climate countries to grow food year round, Dixon said.
The results of research on marijuana — driven by interest from the cannabis industry — could be applied to other areas, he explained.
“The funding isn’t coming from food, which has the lowest possible margin as a commodity, but pharmaceuticals,” Dixon said.
“But we can use this research to develop life-support technology, as in food, which can become an economic engine for a country like Canada that will carry us for the next 300 years.”
The dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, at the University of Guelph said the cannabis industry is also expected to help draw new students to the school’s programs.
“One of our greatest challenges is recruiting people into our programs because people typically don’t understand the fact that agriculture and food are high-tech, high-growth sectors and demand an awful lot of people for really interesting careers,” said Rene Van Acker.
“The cannabis industry is doing us a favour by drawing a lot of attention to the sector and drawing attention to the fact it is a high-skill, high-tech area.”
© The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press