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Canada Is Legalizing Cannabis. Here’s What You Need to Know.

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Canada Is Legalizing Cannabis. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Canada is poised on the edge of a cultural revolution and dramatic social experiment as it prepares to legalize marijuana on Wednesday.

Although the move has been planned since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, the country is scrambling to get ready for the big day because while the federal cannabis act sets a broad skeleton, Canada’s 13 provinces and territories set their own rules — including where marijuana will be sold and where it can be consumed.

Not all of those rules have been announced yet. And they conflict from one part of the country to the other, leaving many Canadians confused.

Here are answers to some of the questions tokers and nonsmokers alike are asking as Canada gets set to make history:

In some provinces, weed will be legally sold only in government stores; in others, only in private stores; and in others there will be a mix. No bar or restaurant will be able to sell marijuana, at least not at first.

Ontario, Canada’s most-populous province, will have privately run stores starting on April 1. Until then, cannabis will be available legally only online, from a government-run site.

Most shoppers in British Columbia will also buy from the government, and mostly online as there will initially be just one store, in Kamloops.

Quebec will have 12 government-run dispensaries open on Wednesday. Cannabis counselors — government employees — will advise on, among things, which marijuana strains induce relaxation or euphoria, as well as possible harmful effects.

Saskatchewan will have 51 stores, all privately run. Alberta will have 17, all private also, but the government will offer online sales.

On legalization day, only fresh or dried flower, seeds, plants and oil will be available. Legal marijuana will have lower levels of THC, the chemical that brings on the buzz, than most products now on the black market.

The law will not allow cannabis-infused edibles and concentrates until next year. So those craving pot-infused gummy bears, baked goods, barbecue sauce and drinks will have to wait to buy them legally.

It is unclear whether cannabis creams and cosmetics will ever be approved.

That will depend on quality.

Quebec shops plan to have many strains available at around $7 or less in Canadian dollars (about $5.40 in United States dollars) per gram to remain competitive with the black market.

A special marijuana excise tax, to be divvied up between the federal government and the provinces, will be included in the price; sales tax will be added at the cash register.

Illegal drug dealers across the country have already responded by lowering their prices. Some in Montreal, for example, are offering two joints for the price of one.

[For future coverage of marijuana legalization in Canada and other Canadian news, subscribe to our weekly Canada Letter newsletter.]

The legal age for marijuana use will be 19 in most provinces, and 18 in Quebec, although its newly elected government has vowed to raise the minimum age to 21.

It will be a federal crime to supply marijuana to minors — with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

Canadians will be allowed to possess, carry and share with other adults up to 30 grams of marijuana. That’s enough to roll roughly 60 normal-sized joints.

Canadians hoping for pot-fueled revelry anywhere they like will be sorely disappointed. Like drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, the smoking of marijuana in public places will be circumscribed, depending on the province.

In Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, outside Calgary, people will be able to smoke weed where they can smoke cigarettes. In Ontario, that means streets as well as parks, but in British Columbia, smoking isn’t allowed in parks or on community beaches.

In Halifax, there will be designated toking zones.

“Somebody has to build an app that will give guidance on what the rules are in that specific geographic area, because it is confusing,” said Trina Fraser, an Ottawa-based commercial lawyer who specializes in cannabis. “People will figure it out where they live, but where it will get complicated is if you are traveling for business or pleasure.”

Across Canada, many hotels and rental landlords are banning marijuana.

But illegal marijuana cafes and lounges have thrived for years in Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Windsor, Ontario. Taming them will not be easy.

Still, in much of the country, most marijuana consumption will take place in homes, behind closed doors. And if you are homeless, or a renter, in a province where outdoor consumption remains illegal, you “will have nowhere to smoke it,” said Jack Lloyd, a lawyer who specializes in cannabis cases.

The law, he said, gives permission but not a constitutional right to use cannabis.

[More than 40 percent of Canadians have tried marijuana. Read more on how legal pot will change the culture of Canada.]

Aspiring pot cultivators will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household in most parts of the country, though Quebec and Manitoba have banned do-it-yourself marijuana production.

If you are in British Columbia, be sure to keep your plants far from the backyard fence or streetside window. Any plants that can be viewed from a public space solicit a fine of 5,000 Canadian dollars or three months in jail.

Smoking marijuana in workplaces is illegal. But the severity of enforcement will depend on your job.

Employees who handle dangerous products or operate heavy machinery may face stepped-up or new drug tests. Airline pilots face tough restrictions on how near to the start of shifts they may use marijuana.

The armed forces will have specific orders for its members and the Calgary Police Service has banned pot use by off-duty officers.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto’s police force will ban most officers from using marijuana within 28 days of reporting for a shift.

You will face a fine of at least 1,000 Canadian dollars. Penalties can also include up to five years in prison for cases that do not result in injury or death, or life for cases causing death.

Most police forces will rely on roadside sobriety tests. Others will use roadside saliva tests. But most people suspected of driving while high will ultimately be given blood tests. Refusing any of the tests will be a crime.

Training for police officers is lagging, however, and the federal government has acknowledged that most forces, including its own Royal Canadian Mounted Police, still don’t have the ability to perform blood tests.

Yes.

Around 330,000 Canadians are registered to receive medical marijuana, which has been legal in Canada since 2001, and many will continue to get their weed through that system because medical marijuana may be cheaper, and some drug plans cover it.

Medical users can carry far more than recreational users — 150 grams versus 30 grams.

The Canadian Medical Association is skeptical about marijuana for medical purposes because it is largely untested. It considers recreational use a potential health risk like drinking.

“Canadians are entering this new reality,” said Dr. F. Gigi Osler, the association’s president. “One of our messages continues to be: Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe.”

The government has vowed to shut it down, but hundreds of illegal dispensaries exist across Canada, and some are determined to remain. In British Columbia, for example, many illegal pot purveyors do not want to pay for expensive government licenses.

In Toronto, the bohemian Kensington Market area is peppered with illegal dispensaries. Most people expect the police to have extra motivation to close them now, given that the government will profit from legal marijuana sales and taxes.

[What should Canada expect when it legalizes marijuana? Thomas Fuller, a New York Times correspondent, shares some lessons from California, where the black market still dominates.]

Big. We’ve written articles about it. You can read them here, here and here.

About 500,000 Canadians are believed to have criminal records for marijuana possession, according to Bill Blair, the cabinet minister on cannabis and a former Toronto police chief.

There has been a vocal movement calling for amnesty for those people. So far, it has gone unanswered.

To get a government license to grow or sell pot, you must first pass a stringent security check that eliminates anyone convicted of drug trafficking, corruption or violent offenses. .

Canadians who admit at the border to using marijuana may be refused admission, according to the United States border authorities. But the border agency said it would not routinely quiz Canadian travelers about their cannabis habits after Wednesday.

Employees of marijuana companies and their investors will generally be allowed to enter the United States, the agency said, if they are not coming on marijuana-related business. But the agency said those people might no longer be able to obtain or hold cards that speed up border crossings.

Funny you should ask. Canada’s young and telegenic prime minister, Mr. Trudeau, has admitted to smoking pot a few times, including once while he was an elected member of Parliament. But he said he never really liked it.

What are your unanswered questions around marijuana legalization in Canada? Let us know in the comments below.

Article originally found at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/world/canada/marijuana-legalization-explainer.html

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Marijuana and CBD companies can’t advertise on Facebook and Google, so they’re getting creative – CNBC

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David Bozin used to get cuts and scratches on his arms when it came time to bathe his golden retriever, Jax, who rebelled against the prospect of being dunked in water.

Then he learned that dogs, like humans, respond to the properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a cannabis compound that helps the body relax without producing intoxicating effects. Bozin got to work on a line of CBD-infused dog products, including a dry shampoo and puppy treats, that he calls ZenPup.

But in trying to find customers for his new company, Bozin faces a unique challenge in today’s market. He doesn’t have access to Google, Facebook or Instagram (owned by Facebook), which have banned CBD and marijuana promotions. The two dominant online advertising platforms account for 57 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, according to eMarketer, and almost all emerging brands today count on Google’s search ads and Facebook’s precision targeting to efficiently get the word out.

“Facebook is not the end all, be all. Instagram is not the end all, be all,” Bozin told CNBC. “Does that mean you’re not going to see as much traffic at the get go? Sure. But at the end of the day the most important point is conversion,” or getting people to buy your products, he said.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 10 states and Washington, D.C., and available for medical purposes in many others parts of the country. CBD is a bit more complicated because the laws are murky.

Currently, 47 states allow some form of CBD sales. The 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress passed this week, allows states to decide if CBD products made from hemp can be sold in their jurisdiction. However, it doesn’t protect the products from the Food and Drug Administration, which can penalize companies for making inaccurate health claims.

“We avoid talking about anything too specific about what the product will do,” said Cary Smith, senior vice president at agency North 6th Agency. “If you come from an educational standpoint, you skew towards less restrictions, and have a bit of a larger organic reach.”

With so much uncertainty in the market, Google and Facebook have shied away from allowing marijuana and CBD advertising, taking a similar approach to how they handle tobacco and related paraphernalia. When it comes to alcohol, Google prohibits companies from targeting underage users or promoting unsafe behavior, while alcohol advertising on Facebook has to adhere to local laws.

In the absence of Google and Facebook, ZenPup has been forced to find alternative ways to launch its products. The co-founders, who worked in marketing and public relations, are spending time building relationships with media companies, high-end dispensaries and pet accessory retailers, along with other brands that might be open to partnering with a CBD provider. They’re finding popular social media influencers, who can support the products organically on their accounts.

ZenPup has also focused on clean, attractive packaging so that it’s appealing for “shelfies,” or staged product photos that people post on their feeds.

“Those younger consumers are looking for something different from an aesthetic standpoint, that also is top quality and at a good price point,” said Nicholas Weatherhead, ZenPup’s chief marketing officer and co-founder.

Other approaches are available to CBD companies, depending on the specific industry. Hillary Wirth, media director at the agency Noble People, said there are plenty of ways to get your brand in the right place.

To promote Viceland’s digital show “Weed Week,” in April Noble People bought local and national TV ads with DirecTV and Comcast, as well as on channels like IFC , USA and BBC America, and focused on pornography site Pornhub. There are also digital ad networks like like Traffic Roots that allow marijuana and CBD ads.

“So you can’t advertise on Facebook or Google – it’s not the end of the world,” said Wirth. “There are plenty of other media channels that will get you contextually next to relevant weed content.”

Noble People got creative in other ways. The firm organized a Washington, D.C., Viceland event to allow people to “Smoke Weed with Jeff Sessions.” But it wasn’t the former attorney general — just a man from Wisconsin with the same name.

Another approach is storytelling and finding a narrative that can generate PR.

For example, branding agency Abel told the story of Charlotte’s Web, a dietary supplement company named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who suffered from epileptic seizures. With the help of CBD, Figi was able to to reduce her seizures and improve her health.

With “brands like Charlotte’s Web, the founders, who are very positive about the cannabis opportunities, have been able able to use PR as a marketing channel,” Abel CEO Julian Shiff said. “The word of mouth is so strong they are developing a tribe around their brand.”

Sponsoring sporting events and concerts are effective ways to find brand resonance. Smaller gatherings can work as well. Recess, which makes a CBD-infused seltzer, holds information events at places like hip-hop yoga chain Y7 Studio and samplings at Rise by WeWork. The company is based around a beverage, but it’s really trying to sell a lifestyle, said CEO and founder Ben Witte, who used to run mobile strategy for ad tech company AdRoll.

Witte said Recess has reached 50 times its projected sales this year, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The product is mostly sold online, but is also available in New York City stores.

“The most important thing is to have a clear mission and purpose,” Witte said. “The best way to communicate that mission and purpose is not through a Google or Facebook ad.”

Original Article at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/facebook-google-dont-allow-cbd-ads-so-zenpup-has-to-get-creative.html

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How Cannabis Could Become The Next Real Estate Disrupter – Forbes

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Outdoor restaurant renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

For a while it looked like the best thing to bring to a neighborhood was a new Whole Foods grocery store. One study showed that homes in these neighborhoods would appreciate at a much faster rate than if they were near a Trader Joe’s (and both were better than a Starbucks). Another sign a neighborhood is on the cusp of revitalization is when the yoga studios start vying for space with the arthouses. Usually it is not long after that the expensive coffee shops and cupcake stores start showing up at street level. But now that so many states have passed laws favorable to the marijuana movement, the next big thing to bring a neighborhood back from the brink just might be the increasing number of organizations that work in the industry.

Downtown Los Angeles could be the first case study to see this phenomenon in action. Next month, a seven-story building in the heart of Los Angeles’ Jewelry District will open up, filled with tenants who all have cannabis somewhere in their job description. The 67,000-square-foot Green Street Building (the name is in reference to its anchor tenant, the Green St. Agency, which works solely with clients in the marijuana industry) will house everything from co-working spaces to an art gallery, dispensary, restaurant, law firm, luxury spa and lounge. Real estate investment company Bow West Capital purchased the property last year for a reported $14 million. Once open it will be the largest real estate space dedicated to cannabis in the U.S.

“The buildings in [the Jewelry District] have not received the proper upkeep, allowing for low sale prices of the buildings but also requiring full renovations,” said Matthew Rosenberg, CEO and Founder of M-Rad, Inc, the design team behind the project. “With the prosperity and funding in the cannabis industry on the rise, this is a perfect combination for this exciting new industry to make this area their home, with Green St. being the catalyst.”

While there are not many residential properties for sale within the Jewelry District itself, data from Realtor.com shows the few that are on the market have a median asking price of $525,000. Surrounding neighborhoods vary quite a bit with the neighborhood of Florence-Graham about five miles away to the southwest seeing median list prices of $440,000 compared to Greater Wilshire a few miles to the northeast seeing median list prices of $1.7 million.

Lounge renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

M-Rad took the 1913 building and completely renovated the interiors to create mixed-use spaces that cater both to the requirements of offices and restaurants as well as the unique needs of cannabis companies. They needed to create the right proportion of an open-plan design matched with a set of cloistered, secluded rooms for those who want privacy. Here are some images of the interior provided exclusively to Forbes.

For example one concept for behind the hidden door of the library bookshelf could be the Bud Bar, with a custom-designed table. (Interested? A Forbes contributor put together a Gift Guide which includes some of the most unique marijuana rolling papers, with some that are made from gold and others that look like money.)

Concept of tableDesign by M-Rad Inc.

The lounge, MOTA—which if, like me, you didn’t know is a Spanish slang term for marijuana (at least one dispensary out there has ascribed the words Medicine Of The Angels to the letters, but the term doesn’t have its origins as an acronym)—will complement the restaurant which may prepare cannabis-infused menu items and have a U-shaped bar designed specifically for potential cannabis tastings. It will also have fully transparent windows into the kitchen so guests can see the food being prepared. Sound-proof rooms are also available for private meetings and the Flower Room can be a designated smoking area. [Update: The design team followed up after this was published to clarify these features are just in concept stage and have not been confirmed or approved. No cannabis products will be sold on site based on current plans.]

MOTA Cafe renderingDesign by M-Rad, Inc.

“The companies who are part of the building are some of the biggest players in the industry,” says Rosenberg. “Which will bring in high-level clientele and investors who may feel encouraged to invest in the development of the area. The building itself will host a number of cannabis-related programs such as cultural activities and gastronomic experiences which will attract new clientele.” Some of the big names affiliated with the project are prolific investor Gary Vaynerchuck, who is a 50% stakeholder in Green Street Agency, and Vicente Sederberg LLC, dubbed The Marijuana Law Firm, is one of the tenants.

Typically neighborhood revitalization follows the pattern of stores opening up on a neglected city block one retail space at a time. But this model is different. By bringing a critical mass of companies to the neighborhood all at once, the sudden influx could accelerate the resurgence all the more quickly. Los Angeles’ Jewelry District could become a major player in a matter of months, not years.

Follow me on Twitter @amydobsonRE

Article originally found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/amydobson/2018/11/27/cannabis-as-real-estate-disrupter-how-the-largest-marijuana-retail-space-plans-to-revamp-a-district/

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[Winner] November 1, 2018 Giveaway (Episode 2)

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Brady Shepherd wins our 2nd Rate.Review.Win! Giveaway!

hosted by Automatic Weapons

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