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December 2015 NORML Canada Newsletter

No Legal Cannabis in Saskatchewan

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said the time has come for marihuana legalization. That is good. She – along with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger – support cannabis being sold in liquor stores. It is unclear whether they would oppose cannabis being sold in privately owned retail stores. BC premier Christy Clark says she will work with the federal government on legalization. Most provinces are thinking about what a legalized regime should look like in their province. Not so in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall seems to have suggested that he will not permit legal cannabis in Saskatchewan.

Paul Lewin

Colombia Signs on to Legalize Medical Marijuana

President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree to allow the therapeutic use of medical marijuana on December 22. The Colombian government also confessed that some enterprises, including some international firms, have shown interest in cultivating and selling medical marijuana in the country. However, there are still no plans yet to fully legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The current law in Colombia allows possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana, and cultivation of 20 marijuana plants for personal use.

Edgar Bernal-Martinez, @EdgarBMZ

Medical School in Vermont Provides Course On Science of Marijuana

As the push for the use of medical marijuana continues, the University of Vermont is gearing up to offer some education on the science of marijuana. The class, due to start in the spring of 2016, has received a lot of attention. Nearly 90 graduate and undergraduate students have signed up for the class. The class is also open to the general public, allowing members of the legislature, or those in law enforcement or medicine, to attend.
The course will cover marijuana taxonomy; medical chemistry of cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant; physiological effects; emerging therapeutic applications; and the historical, political and socioeconomic influences on marijuana legislation.

Edgar Bernal-Martinez, @EdgarBMZ

Free Joints on Christmas Eve in Denver, Colorado

A nonprofit in Colorado gave away thousands of pre-rolled joints to the homeless on Christmas Eve in an effort to raise awareness about the homeless. Nick Dicenzo, Cannabis Can founder and the organizer of the pre-rolled hand-outs, told reporters that he is trying to raise awareness about homelessness in Colorado by bringing people together with marijuana and encouraging them to donate to the cause.
It remains illegal to use marijuana in public in Denver, but it can be gifted to anyone over 21. No money can be exchanged and each person can only carry up to an ounce at a time.

Edgar Bernal-Martinez, @EdgarBMZ

Where is Marcus Richardson’s Pardon?

Marcus Richardson’s 2011 application for a pardon on his 1998 possession for the purpose of trafficking charge remains unprocessed. In 1998 a judge found that he had 6 kilograms of cannabis in his car that he was bringing to the BC Compassion Club Society. He received a suspended sentence and probation. The 42 year old father of three is now unable to travel to the United States and his pardon application is stalled. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was recently asked if general pardons would be offered to cannabis convictions. She said consultation would have to happen before any decisions would be made.

Paul Lewin

Air Canada Refuses Medical Cannabis Patient

On December 17, 2015 Michael Korchak of Burlington, Ontario was not permitted to board an Air Canada flight from Halifax to Toronto because he had medical cannabis. He showed up three hours early for the flight with his paperwork ready. Officials confirmed he was legally entitled to possess the cannabis for medical purposes. However, Air Canada told him it was company policy to permit medical marijuana only in pill form. As is widely known in the medical cannabis community, the herb is much more effective than the pill. He had to fly with Porter. Mr. Korchak is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. Air Canada have since changed their policy and indicate that they now permit medical cannabis.

Paul Lewin