A Crash Course for Investors on the Lingo of (Legal) Weed

A Crash Course for Investors on the Lingo of (Legal) Weed
Ontario launches website for selling legal weed, says Canada Post will handle deliveries
In a policy change made without fanfare Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now says Canadians who work in the legal cannabis industry here will be free to enter the United States.

It’s a major reversal of a position announced in late September, when a CBP statement on marijuana legalization in Canada said that “as marijuana continues to be a controlled substance under United States law, working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect admissibility to the U.S.”

“There are some students that would like to see cannabis banned on campus or object to its legalization, but ultimately this policy is about the health and safety of students, communicating throughout the process and making sure that we minimize the impact on anyone who chooses not to consume. Whether students choose to consume it or not, they don’t want their university experience to be hampered by legalization.”

It now says that “a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S.”

In its report, the cannabis working group acknowledged that recreational cannabis is a public health issue and the university has “an opportunity to help avoid errors of the past associated with the harms of tobacco and alcohol,” aligning its policy with the intent behind legalization, reducing the stigma around cannabis while increasing health and safety.

“It’s a 180-degree turnaround from their statement two weeks ago,” says Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Blaine, Wash.

As a result of Calgary’s ban on public cannabis consumption, the university there has prohibited consumption anywhere on its campus, with Mount Royal University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology following suit. The University of Lethbridge has unveiled plans to create five areas on campus where cannabis consumption will be permitted.

“I think this is a best-case scenario. It should make the Canadian government a lot more comfortable knowing that Canadians doing this in Canada won’t be denied entry. It still tells Canadians they can’t get involved with the U.S. cannabis industry, and a lot of these big companies will be, but at least it protects Canadians doing it legally in Canada.”

The ban potentially affected everybody involved in Canada’s legal cannabis industry, from retail workers to people involved in support activities like accounting.

“Nobody knows how this is going to play out at all, but we do want to make sure that residents on campus don’t have to cross the campus to smoke or put themselves at risk by having to leave campus entirely. But we’d rather start with a small and reasonable number and see which changes need to be implemented over time.”

In late September, B.C.s solicitor general Mike Farnworth pointed out that hundreds of provincial government employees involved in the legal cannabis industry in the province were in danger of being banned for life from entering the U.S.

READ MORE: Gov’t employees working in legal pot industry may be denied entry into U.S., says B.C. solicitor general

The statement cautions that Canadians can still be banned at the border for trying to enter the U.S. for reasons related to the American marijuana industry. Although legal in a growing number of states, medical and recreational cannabis are both still illegal under U.S. federal law.

“One thing we know is that the smell, people who don’t like it really don’t like it,” Leitch said. “We can’t guarantee that people passing through campus won’t get a whiff of it, but we can expect that people will respect one another.”

Language barring “abusers” of drugs banned in the United States, including marijuana, remains in place. Any level of use of these drugs is considered abuse.”

“The university has a really interesting opportunity here. If Edmonton wasn’t so liberal with its cannabis laws we might not have the same level of opportunity,” said Adam Brown, University of Alberta Students’ Union, vice-president external communications.

On paper, this creates a situation where a cannabis store worker could be banned for using the pot that she is employed to sell — but not for actually selling it — but Saunders doesn’t think it will work that way.

“Calgary has chosen to be stricter with cannabis legalization but Edmonton is taking a different approach, and it doesn’t make sense to ban cannabis use on campus when it will be available for public consumption in the community.”

“It’s literally a week before legalization, and the Americans finally have taken a common-sense approach.”

The cannabis working group did not recommend any changes to the university’s current tobacco use policies, but will develop a clean air strategy to minimize the potential impact on students, staff and faculty.

“Here they are, issuing statements that are vitally important to Canadians and the Canadian government, and you’d think the Canadian government would at least issue a press release and say ‘Hey, it’s not as bad as everyone was anticipating.”

“A big one for us would be the Lister Centre,” said Leitch, referring to the university’s largest residence at 87 Avenue and 116 Street, home to approximately 2,200 students.

The Ontario Cannabis Store has launched part of its website, which includes a ton of detailed and nuanced information about marijuana. OTTwp

A week from now, Canada Post will be delivering plain packages containing pot to residents across Ontario.

The Crown corporation has the contract to deliver weed for the government’s online store that opens for business Oct. 17, the day recreational cannabis is legalized across the country.

The online store will be the only legal channel for Ontarians to buy cannabis for nearly six months after legalization.

The site also says OCS will only sell natural, not synthetic, cannabis and will take steps to ensure customers' personal information is protected and that the transactions are kept private, including keeping the word "cannabis" off of credit card statements. Only VISA or MasterCard will be accepted for the time being. 

The provincial Conservative government plans to licence private businesses to operate bricks-and-mortar marijuana stores, but they won’t open until April 2019.

The government plans to allow "tightly regulated" sales at retail stores set to launch in April, with OCS operating as the exclusive wholesaler to the stores.  The Ontario Tories estimate their plan will see between 500 to 1,000 shops licensed a short time after legalization with no cap placed on licences.

Portions of the Ontario Cannabis Store website went live Wednesday night. You can find the website at ocslearn.ca/learn.

The OCS will sell dried cannabis, capsules, oils and pre-rolled joints, but no seeds for the time being. Accessories such as bongs and grinders will also be sold on the site. About 70 strains of pot will be available when the site launches, with a goal to ramp that up to 150 strains within a few months.

Canada Post will deliver the dried flower, oil, pre-rolled joints and gel capsules that will be for sale on Day 1.

​Customers will be able to buy up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis in each transaction. This matches the legal possession limit. However, OCS officials confirmed Thursday that there's nothing to stop customers from buying more than 30 grams in separate transactions.

And there’s no need to worry the neighbours will find out. “When we ship orders, we deliver in discreet, plain packaging so the nature of your purchase is not revealed.”

The website says the products will be delivered by Canada Post in plain "child-resistant, tamper-evident containers and are received directly from licensed producers" and should be delivered within one and three days anywhere in Ontario.

A delivery agent will check ID when the package is delivered. If no one is home, packages will not be left at the door.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

The Ontario Cannabis Store will be careful with personal information collected by customers, says the website. “We understand that our customers expect us to keep their purchases confidential, and so we have made a deliberate choice to protect personal information.

For now, the OCS has launched a learning website which includes basic information about cannabis, including safe consumption practices and health risks, methods of consumption, cooking safely with cannabis and answers to legal questions. 

“We only collect information that is necessary for each transaction. We won’t use or share it for any other purposes and it will never be sold to third parties. All information will only be kept for the minimum length of time required by law, and then deleted as soon as possible.”

The Ontario Cannabis Store has supply deals with 32 Health Canada-licensed cannabis growers who will provide the products.

The online store will provide information about the content of THC, the chemical that makes users “high,” and CBD, a component that is not psychoactive and can have medical benefits. “Easy-to-use search filters” will allow customers to search for products based on their preferences, says the website.

Officials with the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) held a technical briefing with reporters today, less than a week before recreational cannabis use becomes legal in Canada on Wednesday. 

The Ontario Cannabis Store has launched part of its website, which is packed with information. OTTwp

Each product listing will include the percentage of THC and CBD, as well as the plant type and terpenes, which are fragrant oils found in plants which produce a unique taste and smell.

The website is packed with information. It explains the cannabis plant, including strain types and an explanation of THC, CBD and terpenes, which are responsible for the taste and smell of cannabis.

Visitors to the site must first enter their birth date to confirm they're older than 19. The age is then verified using identification upon delivery.

The website also outlines the health risks of using marijuana, includes guidelines for lower-risk use, and warns that the effects of using the common drug range from “pleasant to very unpleasant.”

Much of this so-called "learning" information will be available on the OCS' sales website as it begins processing transactions next week.

People use cannabis to relax, feel happier, more social or more energetic, to become more focused, creative or productive, and to increase appetite and arousal, says the website.

However, “because cannabis interacts uniquely with each individual, it’s possible that you’ll experience something different than what you may expect.”

The information provided is detailed and nuanced. For example, the website explains that while it was once thought that the species of cannabis — sativa or indica — was solely responsible for the effect, that can be misleading. Many cannabis users are under the impression that sativa strains provide more energy, while indica strains are more calming or sedating.

“While some of this basic knowledge may still apply, now that hybrid strains have been cultivated by growers for so many years, references to the effects of pure species may no longer be relevant or helpful,” says the website.

“Today, there are hundreds of strains of plants ⎯ each bred for specific characteristics and often intended to produce specific effects for consumers.

“While many licensed cannabis producers are trying to cultivate new strains to reliably produce certain desired effects, the science of producing a product with consistent effects for every person is not yet well enough understood, and much more research will be needed before this is possible,” says the website. “This is another reason it’s not possible to completely predict the experience you will have.”