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Will Canada soon legalize recreational marijuana?

The ignorance of the Canadian Prime Minister

Marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco and its use should be widely discouraged in Canada, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, says. The remarks came during a recent federal leaders’ debate, in which Harper clashed with Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over the issue of legalization. The Prime minister is vehemently opposed to the idea, saying that regulating its sale in the same way as cigarettes or alcohol would do nothing to keep it out of the hands of kids.

The Liberals support legalization;  Trudeau, the Liberal leader, argued during the debate that if marijuana were legal and regulated, young people would be less able to easily get the drug than they are currently. When asked how the Conservatives square that position with the fact medicinal marijuana is currently used by thousands of Canadians to treat a variety of causes, Ignorant Harper said there’s overwhelming evidence about the drug’s long-term effects. Trudeau went on to accuse the Prime Minister of implementing  anti-marijuana policies that allow the drug to fund “criminal organizations, street gangs and gun-runners.“It is our intention to stop Mr. Harper’s failed approach on marijuana,” Trudeau added.

Canadian propaganda

Last year, Health Canada kicked off an anti-marijuana ad campaign saying the drug was responsible for lower IQs, a statement derived from two separate studies whose conclusions have since been challenged and debunked. The Prime Minister also often links  marijuana use to increased risks of mental health issues, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, but medical research on that is divided as well. Harper likened what the government is trying to do with marijuana to its tobacco control strategy. “We’ve spent a couple of generations trying to reduce the use of tobacco in Canada with a lot of success,” he said. “Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage — marijuana is infinitely worse and is something we do not want to encourage.” The Canadian Cancer Society notes that while 85 per cent of lung cancers can be directly linked to smoking, evidence is still needed to know whether there’s a similar cancer risk posed by smoking marijuana, at this point it is believed that marijuana is not a risk for lung cancer and their is no evidence as of yet that it is a risk. The health minister said that she was skeptical that the government can keep marijuana out of the hands of children. “We know that our experience with alcohol says otherwise,“. She also repeated the  oft-used claim that should the Liberal plan succeed, marijuana will be available for sale in corner stores. However, Trudeau said he was not “comfortable” with the idea”. “At this point, I don’t think corner stores necessarily are rigorous enough at checking ID to make me comfortable with that as an option,” he said. The Liberals will legalize marijuana and an elected Liberal government would begin working to legalize and regulate marijuana “right away,” Justin Trudeau says. “The Liberal Party is committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana,” Trudeau said, The Liberal Party Leader declined to set a firm timeline for legalization, but vowed to make it an early priority if elected on Oct. 19. He said legalizing marijuana would fix a “failed system” and help “remove the criminal element” linked to the drug. Trudeau said legalization could happen anywhere from a month to “a year or two” into a Liberal government, but he would make sure the process gets underway shortly after taking power. Trudeau has voiced his support for relaxing marijuana laws in the past, but he has largely stayed away from addressing the issue during the election campaign.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has said, in the past, that he supports decriminalizing marijuana. However, he has not committed to legalizing it.

How Marijuana became illegal in Canada

Cannabis was added to the Confidential Restricted List in 1923 under the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill after a vague reference to a “new drug” during a late night session of the House of Commons on April 23, 1923. Historians usually point to the 1922 publication of Emily Murphy’s “The Black Candle” as the inspiration for the addition. Murphy was a member of the “Women’s right to vote movement” and police magistrate (justice of the peace) who wrote a series of articles in Maclean’s magazine under the pen-name “Janey Canuck,” which formed the basis of her book. She uses numerous anecdotes culled mostly from anti-drug reformers and police to make her arguments, which make strong links between drugs and race and the threat this poses to white women. One  chapter is entitled “Marahuana – A New Menace”, and makes the claim that the only ways out of cannabis addiction are insanity, death, or abandonment.

Medical marijuana in Canada

Since July 2001, Cannabis is legal to possess, consume, or grow for medicinal purposes under certain conditions within the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations issued by Health Canada. Canada was the first country in the world to legalize medical marijuana. The cultivation of the hemp plant of the genus Cannabis is currently legal in Canada for seed, grain and fiber production only under licenses issued by Health Canada.

Regarding the use of weed recreationally, in a country where alcohol, tobacco, refined sugar, and even personal beliefs are enshrined in law… marijuana has no business being  outlawed. Trudeau is showing that he has a new Canadian vision for the 21st century. The old days of religious driven ethics and policies are dying out with the 65+ generation and its about time. It is time to legalize and regulate pot. It would generate tons of revenue, create numerous small businesses and jobs and significantly reduce costs to the public. One Canadian citizen says, “I hate feeling like a criminal, because I enjoy relaxing after a hard days work. I have never enjoyed drinking, I don’t smoke cigarettes. I should be able to have a “Pause, for the Cause” once in a while, in the privacy of my own home. But the government would rather lock me up instead”.

Public Opinion

Since 2003, public opinion polls have found most Canadians agree with decriminalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes., “The use of marijuana should be decriminalized”. A 2015 poll conducted by Forum Research showed that 68% of Canadians are in favor of relaxing cannabis regulations.

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Marijuana Now tax deductible

Medical marijuana is now tax deductible in Canada.

More big news on the medical marijuana front, now the Canada Revenue Agency — the nation’s tax collector — says it’s cool with medical marijuana users claiming the costs of their weed as a medical expense, so long as they buy their pot from a licensed producer. Medical marijuana patients in Canada now have a reason to celebrate. Have times changed.

Medical marijuana is now on  the CRA’s list of eligible medical expenses.

Medical marijuana is now on  the CRA’s list of eligible medical expenses. Yes, Canadians, you can expense your legal medical marijuana if you’re a valid patient purchasing products from a licensed producer under Health Canada’s guidelines. The Canada Revenue Agency has confirmed that medical cannabis purchased under prescription is an allowable medical expense at tax time. The CRA website includes medical marijuana and marijuana seeds on its list of eligible medical expenses. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/llwxpns-eng.html#marihuana

The Canadian Cannabis Industry

The news, according to wawa-news.com, came in an August 24 letter from the CRA to the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association, which has been lobbying the CRA to clarify the issue. http://www.cmcia.ca/ , Specifically, the letter notes “that while amendments to the Income Tax Act have yet to be introduced to recognize the MMPR, “[T]he CRA will not disallow eligible medical expenses claimed for the purchase of medical marihuana allowable under these new regulations”.

Write off medical marijuana, CRA says

This is an important step in acknowledging the legitimacy of the way patients use medical marijuana, to help manage the symptoms of a range of health conditions. It’s very good that the CRA is recognizing medical marijuana as eligible since it is clearly a physician prescribed remedy. “This is an important step,  because it allows patients to write off a major component of their health-care costs,” CMCIA spokesperson Cam Battletold CBC News. Neil Belot, Executive Director of the CMCIA. “We have been working with the CRA and the Department of Finance for several months to clarify this issue, and we’re extremely pleased that cannabis regulated by Health Canada has been recognized as an allowable tax expense. It’s very good news, and will help make the use of cannabis as medicine more accessible and affordable for patients.”

Medical marijuana could be covered by insurance, experts say

Canadians who have been prescribed medical marijuana could one day see their insurance company footing the bill, experts predict, following the introduction of new Health Canada rules that allow for the sale of cannabis oils.

Cannabis Oil now legal

Health Canada announced revamped medical marijuana regulations earlier this month after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that users of the drug should be permitted to consume it in other forms, such as oils and edibles, rather than having to smoke dried buds. Health Canada has been clarifying its rules for licensed medical marijuana producers to allow them to produce and sell cannabis oil.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose had initially said she was outraged by the Supreme Court of Canada decision, which lets patients consume marijuana, not just smoke it. The government had tried to limit medical pot use to dried marijuana only.

But the ruling left a grey area with producers being limited under the law to selling dried forms of marijuana even though patients were allowed to consume other forms.

In a recent statement, Health Canada said the new interpretation was effective immediately and intended to eliminate uncertainty.

Producers are not allowed to sell plant material that could be used to grow pot, the statement said. It also reiterated that compassion clubs and dispensaries are illegal.

Health Canada ‘Dragged kicking and screaming’ to court

Ambrose said her department was meeting “the requirements dictated by the Supreme Court of Canada.”

“Health Canada is doing so in a manner that respects the rule of law, protects public health and public safety, and reflects the serious health risks with marijuana, especially for youth,” Ambrose said in a statement released by her office.

Ambrose’s statement makes three separate references to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has called for marijuana to be legalized and regulated. The Conservatives frequently attack Trudeau’s position on marijuana, alleging he would make it easier for teens to get pot.

Kirk Tousaw, the lawyer who represented the respondent in the Supreme Court case, said he was surprised Health Canada is taking small steps to progress, but noted the federal department had to be “dragged kicking and screaming” by the court.

Edibles are illegal in Canada and maybe for good reason.

Tousaw said he’s concerned the licensed producers still aren’t allowed to sell products other than oil and fresh bud and leaves — for example, it remains illegal for them to sell brownies, tea or other products that are now legal for medical marijuana patients to consume. Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical officer is reiterating her support for a ban on edible marijuana baked goods and other treats as city council finalize regulations on Vancouver’s illegal pot dispensaries. Dr. Patricia Daly says she supports the city’s proposed regulation. however she wants a ban on edibles that are packaged as candies or baked goods because they pose a health danger to youth. “There’s no other medicine — including medicine used for people in intractable pain or cancer — that companies are allowed to format in the form of candy or baked goods that might appeal to children,” Daly, who supports legalizing and strictly regulating marijuana, says recent evidence from the United States noted that edible pot was responsible for at least 2,000 reports of poisoning of children under the age of six. Edible pot can cause serious effects in children, like coma, seizures, and even stop their breathing, said Daly. “That’s occurring even in states that require childproof containers and labeling on their products, so that’s clearly not sufficient,” she said.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association, however, is calling for the regulation of edible pot, saying the proper packaging and labeling would make the products as unattractive and inaccessible to children as possible.

How to Write off Medical Marijuana

Canadians legalized medical marijuana in 2000 via the Marijuana Medical Access Program (MMAP). In order to legally deduct medical marijuana as an expense on their taxes, Canadian residents must do two things: have a physician’s authorization and have purchased their medicine from a licensed producer. The agency says a taxpayer can write off “the amount paid to Health Canada or a designated producer for a person authorized to possess or use the drug for medical purposes under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations or exempt under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.” The CRA states that, “the amount paid to Health Canada or a designated producer for a person authorized to possess or use the drug for medical purposes under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations or exempt under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” will qualify. Medical expenses for a taxpayer, spouse or common-law partner, and his or her dependent children can be declared on Line 330 of the T1 tax return. A CMCIA spokesperson told CBC the average per-patient cost of the drug is about $7.60 a day, or $2,774 per year, depending on dosage and type. For 2014, CRA’s threshold for allowable medical expense deduction is 3% of a client’s net income or $2,171, whichever is less.