No Fee or Waiting Period to Get a Pardon for Past Cannabis Convictions in Canada

As Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana nationwide on Wednesday, government officials announced a simplified and cost-free process to receive a pardon for past minor pot offenses. Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Canada’s Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told ABC News that a law was being drafted to streamline pardons for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis.

“We will be introducing legislation to introduce an expedited pardon process, with no fee, for those with previous convictions for simple possession of cannabis,” Bardsley said.

Bardsley said that pardons for past low-level pot crimes were in the interest of justice and fairness.

“The reason we’re doing this is because it’s now something that’s legal, and the consequences of the criminal record are disproportionate to the gravity of the offense,” said Bardsley.

He also noted that the pardons would only apply to crimes of possession for personal use and “not for trafficking. We’re not talking about dealers or producers or anyone of that sort,” Bardsley said.

Under current Canadian law, those with minor marijuana convictions can apply for a pardon of their offense after staying free of other criminal charges for a period of five years. But the process is pricey, costing CA$631 (about US$480). There will be no charge for cannabis possession pardons under the new policy announced on Wednesday. Offenders will be required to apply in order to receive a pardon, however.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at a press conference on Wednesday morning that pardons for minor convictions are in line with changing public opinion about cannabis.

“We will be introducing a new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been convicted for possession of cannabis,” Goodale said. “It becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws from a previous era are changed.”

Recreational Pot Now Legal in Canada

The announcement of easier pardons for pot possession convictions coincided with the enactment of the Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, making Canada the first G7 nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As recreational sales of cannabis became legal early Wednesday morning, Ian Power became one of the first people in Canada to buy a gram of legal recreational pot. After making his purchase at a Tweed dispensary in St. John’s, Newfoundland at five seconds after midnight, Power told reporters outside the store that the experience would be a memorable one.

“I think it’s one of the biggest moments of my life,” Power said. “There’s a tear in my eye. No more back alleys.”

Power added that he intended to keep his purchase, rather than smoking it.

“I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall,” Power said. “I’m going to save it forever.”

Tom Clarke, who sold marijuana illegally for 30 years, opened a cannabis retail store in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. He made his first legal sale to his father as customers waiting in line cheered.

“This is awesome. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” Clarke said. “I am so happy to be living in Canada right now instead of south of the border.”

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Canadian Police Urge People to Stop Calling Them About Cannabis

In what is perhaps a good reminder that officers of the law also benefit when cannabis is legalized, the Toronto police force celebrated Canada’s new weed state by laying out a sassy new awareness campaign aimed at your insufferable nosy neighbor. “Asking what to do with your frozen meat during a power outage is not a 911 call,” tweeted the police force in a series of multimedia posts on Tuesday. “Smelling weed coming from your neighbour’s home isn’t either.”

The cops’ pointers are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the massive cultural shift taking place in the country of 36.29 million, where marijuana became legal for possession, sale, and cultivation on Wednesday after Parliament passed Bill C-45 this summer. Canadians may also have to become accustomed to the fact that marijuana products are probably at the top of many of their loved ones’ holiday gift lists—Canada’s census organization has estimated that there will be some $1.02 billion in sales of weed substance by the end of 2018. On a more serious note, governmental organization Health Canada has launched a reasoned campaign that aims to educate teenagers on important subjects like driving while under the influence of weed.

Canadian cops are still prohibited from on-the-job toking, but cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, Regina, and Montreal have made it clear that officers are allowed to consume marijuana when they are not on duty. The Canadian military has okay’d the usage of green for soldiers as long as it is not within eight hours of reporting for service. But such permissiveness is not the case everywhere. Calgary has taken a zero tolerance policy on stoner cops, which the police officers’ union has made clear it will fight. Toronto police will not be allowed to consume marijuana within 28 days of serving on active duty.

One hopes that Canadian law officers will now find themselves with more time to deal with important issues well beyond leafy green horticulture—despite the re-training challenges that will need to be undertaken by K-9 units. As police chief Mark Saunders explained, the shift occasions a learning opportunity for all involved. “This change represents a significant transition, not just for members of the Toronto Police Service but for all Canadians,” said Saunders. “Going forward it is important for everyone to take the time to educate themselves on legalisation.”

The police officers’ campaign seems to have a good time breaking down a list of time-wasting reasons to bother Canadian 911 operators, including an adult smoking a joint, neighbors growing marijuana, needing directions because you took a wrong turn on the freeway, and running out of minutes on one’s phone. Let this be a reminder to be considerate of emergency operators’ time!

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ICP’s “Hallowicked 2018” Tour Dates Canceled in Lubbock and Laredo

There’s not much else to say about this post.  Unfortunately, due to the massive amount of rain we’ve had in Texas, it has forced the Wicked Clowns to cancel their shows in Lubbock and Laredo.  You can get refunds wherever you purchased tickets.

See the official post from ICP below.


from Faygoluvers

Rhode Island Approves Medical Marijuana as Autism Treatment

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) approved on Tuesday the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for autism. The decision is effective immediately and is “a final action of RIDOH, subject to judicial approval,” according to a report from local media.

The health department’s decision places several requirements on doctors who decide to recommend medical marijuana for their autistic patients. Physicians are directed to consider “pharmaceutic grade forms of pure CBD” before recommending medical marijuana. Doctors must also document the reasons for using medical marijuana and the decision not to use pharmaceutical alternatives. They must also consult with specialists in the fields of child psychiatry, pediatric neurology, or developmental pediatrics and make an assessment of progress at least three months after the patient’s initial dosage of medicinal cannabis. Doctors must discontinue the use of medical marijuana if they do not see an improvement in the patient’s condition.

Joseph Wendelken, a RIDOH public information officer, said the requirements were intended “to ensure that the patient’s physician is consulting with the appropriate subspecialist to evaluate the risks and benefits.”

Parents Urge Approval

In April, parents petitioned the health department to allow them to use cannabis therapies such as CBD to treat their autistic children, arguing that autism should qualify as a debilitating medical condition. At a hearing on the petition in August, Nicole Cervantes testified that her autistic son had been banging his head so hard his forehead became misshapen. When she began treating him with CBD, however, his condition greatly improved.

“He has been able to focus more,” Cervantes said. “He no longer bangs his head.”

She said that she hoped the board would help her find the best treatment options for her son.

“If I don’t fight for him, who does he have?” Cervantes asked.

Dr. Randal Rockney of Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence also testified at the hearing. He said that the use of medical marijuana therapies could help to  “manage the behavioral manifestations” of autism. He also said that the use of CBD as a treatment for autism warranted further investigation.

“A trial of such a medication to manage the behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorder would be a good idea,” Rockney said.

Dr. Henry Sachs, the medical director at Bradley Hospital in Riverside, Rhode Island, said in a statement to local media that he also believed that more research into the use of medical marijuana is needed.

“As health care providers, we rely heavily on research findings to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of any new treatment,” Sachs said. “Of course, those standards would need to be met around the use of marijuana treatment for patients with autism. Research is currently lacking in that area.”

Medical Cannabis In Vermont

Vermont approved the use of medical marijuana for registered patients with a qualifying debilitating medical condition and a doctor’s recommendation in 2004. The relatively short list of qualifying conditions includes cancer, HIV and AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and chronic pain. The program currently has approximately 4,500 registered patients.

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Governor of Michigan Officially Bans Cannabis-Infused Alcoholic Drinks

After winning nearly unanimous approval from Michigan lawmakers, a bill banning the possession, sale and consumption of cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks arrive on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed it into law on Tuesday. Now, the state of Michigan, a state without legal adult-use cannabis, has a law on the books prohibiting marijuana-infused beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks. The new law carves out a space for researchers to study cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages. But there are no indications any such research is currently underway in Michigan.

Michigan Just Outlawed a Cannabis Product That Doesn’t Exist

Michigan legalized cannabis for medical use ten years ago. And this November, Michigan voters will have the chance to make it the tenth state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis. Meanwhile, state regulators are scrambling to approve a backlog of cannabis business licenses on a compressed timeline that threatens to close down nearly one hundred dispensaries. But considering these two pressing realities, a recent expansion of Michigan’s medical use program and an impending vote on adult-use legalization, many are wondering why the state would legislate against a reality that doesn’t exist yet.

House Bill 4668 amends two sections of the state’s liquor laws. The first change is a fairly technical one about the state liquor commission’s use of public funds. The second change addresses weed-infused alcohol. The bill states, “a person shall not use or offer for use, possess, sell, or offer for sale marihuana-infused [sic] beer, wine, mixed wine drink, mixed spirit drink, or spirits.” Anyone who breaks the law is guilty of a misdemeanor. Research hospitals, state institutions, private colleges and universities, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies conducting research into cannabis-infused drinks are exempt from the new rule.

Asked why lawmakers felt the need for such a bill, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) pointed to Colorado. “This is happening in Colorado and […] we’re going to end up with it here.” Jones went on to call cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages a “recipe for disaster.” But Jones is only half right about Colorado. Colorado does have THC-infused wine and beer. But these products are non-alcoholic. Similarly, alcoholic beverages are available with CBD-infusions, but not THC. The reason for this is simple: retail cannabis shops aren’t licensed to sell booze. Vice versa, liquor stores don’t have the license they need to sell weed. Interestingly enough, infused drinks and foods are slated to be the biggest sub-industries in the cannabis space.

Michigan Will Vote on Adult-Use This November

In sum, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks aren’t legal anywhere. Even in states with legal weed, allowing unlicensed retailers to sell alcohol or cannabis is a surefire way to invite federal enforcement actions. Sure, there’s nothing stopping anyone from creating their own home-brewed cannabis cocktails. So far, however, regulated retail products containing both THC and ethanol simply don’t exist. Or in the words of Michigan NORML chapter board member Rick Thompson, the law affects “zero people in Michigan”. And that would be true whether or not voters legalize adult-use this November.

Of course, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks could exist in the future. Both Canada and California are supporting research efforts into cannabis-infused drinks. And flagship beverage companies like Constellation Brands are beginning to partner with cannabis producers to develop such products.

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