Canada Rolls Out A ‘$1 Billion’ Privatized Medical Marijuana Industry

CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as energy shares rise on Gulf storm threat

But even as the new system privatizes distribution, critics fear regulation under the conservative-led government will make it harder for patients to get access to the drug. In Canada, medical marijuana has been legal but highly regulated for more than a decade. Patients with doctor approval could grow or have someone else grow small quantities or request limited amounts from Health Canada, the national healthcare department. But the conservative-led government voted earlier this year to effectively scrap that system in favor of a privatebut also strictly regulatedsystem, targeting the flow of legal marijuana into the black market and shedding Health Canadas role in marijuana production. Health Canada will phase out the current system, under which it sells registered users marijuana grown by Prairie Plant Systems , by the end of March. Instead, starting Tuesday, medical marijuana users, or aspiring users, can send in an application directly to sanctioned corporate producers , along with a doctors note (or in some cases, a nurses note). If approved, they can place an order, pay the market price (the black market price is about $10 a gram; officials say the medical marijuana price will drop below that within a year), and wait for the secure courier to deliver their weed. (MORE: Majority of Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana ) There are nearly 40,000 people registered to use the drug under the current system in a country with a tenth the population of the U.S., and the government expects that number to balloonup to 450,000 by 2024and fuel what could become a $1.3 billion domestic pot industry. But the government expects that the privatized system, with only heavily-vetted producers (so far there are two licensed distributors, of at least 156 applications), will help ensure a higher level of oversight. Were fairly confident that well have a healthy commercial industry in time, Sophie Galarneau, a senior official with Health Canada, told the Canadian Press. Its a whole other ball game. The new regulations have failed to win over advocates for legalized marijuana, who have faced strong resistance from the conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Canada should give even failed refugee claimants proper health coverage: Editorial

energy output, the price of oil rose on supply concerns. With the U.S. government shutdown dragging into a fourth day, investors watched closely as Republican members of the House of Representatives got together to chart their next course of action. But the market appeared to shrug off fears that lawmakers will fail to resolve the budget crisis and prevent a debt default. Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments, said the TSX will tread water until the U.S. political situation is resolved but will make gains as the economy improves and commodity prices stabilize. “Everyone is sitting on their hands, waiting for Washington to make their move,” he said. “They’ll have their bickering and fighting, but ultimately they’ll come to an agreement.” “I don’t see it having a huge impact on Canada,” he said, but added that the longer the U.S. impasse lasts, the more negative it could be for the Canadian market. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 37.36 points, or 0.29 percent, at 12,772.48. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, advanced 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.4 percent to C$66.23, and Toronto-Dominion Bank was up 0.4 percent at C$91.53. Energy companies climbed, with Suncor Energy Inc added 1.2 percent to C$36.67, playing the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher.

These are just a few examples of how Prime Minister Stephen Harpers decision to deny medical treatment to failed refugee claimants and those arriving from countries considered safe unless their condition is deemed a public threat is playing out a year later, according to the Toronto-based Wellesley Institute. People are suffering. Its as simple as that. As the Stars Nicholas Keung reports, the Wellesley Institute examined the impact of the cuts in a 19-page report this past week. It shows three trends, all anticipated by critics of the federal cutbacks well before they took effect. People with serious problems are being charged thousands of dollars for treatment. If they cant pay, theyre told to go away. And those who might qualify for some coverage are needlessly denied because health officials are confused about the new rules. Its a shameful way for Canada, a nation of immigrants, to treat those who seek refuge on our shores. The Wellesley Institute study provides ample confirmation that Ottawas policies are harming women and children. Its hard to believe that this will resonate with anyone but the most right wing of government supporters. Most Canadians arent that heartless. And Immigration Minister Chris Alexanders office did him no great service this week by sneering that the taxpayer shouldnt have to shell out for gold-plated health-care coverage for such people. An x-ray for a kid with pneumonia?