One Hour Into Legalization, Canadian Cops Write First Weed-Related Traffic Ticket

Winnipeg police are off to a white hot start so far, as the first weed-related traffic ticket has already been issued.

The first ticket was issued by Winnipeg Police Service traffic division inspector Gord Spado around 1AM when he found somebody getting lit in their car — that’s only 59 minutes after the green good stuff was legalized.

“An hour into legality, and something illegal,” said Inspector Spado.

Winnipeg police quickly took to Twitter to share the news.

The tweet garnered a ton of negative responses pretty quickly, with many people seemingly upset with the new rule. One user even went so far as to ask if Spado could have been sure that it was even THC that the perp was smoking.

Although highly probable that the cannabis was purchased illegally (it only became legal at 12:01, so it’s unlikely somebody could get their hands on it that quickly), the ticket only pertained to the fact that the weed was consumed in a car. “It doesn’t look like anything was pursued as far as the illicit component of it goes,” said Spado. “I think that’s just the education piece of our members, knowing where to go with that. It’s still new to us, too, right, so we’re still learning.”

According to Spado, it will be hard to say for sure if weed was acquired illegally. Same goes for edibles, as it will become increasingly difficult to tell if the snacks people consume in their car are actually just regular snacks.

“If somebody has an edible in a car and we can prove it, that’s also an offense,” he said. “Sometimes we can [prove it], sometimes we can’t. And when edibles are legally produced commercially, then it might be a little bit easier, because there’ll be packaging and things like that that might be visible.”

Don’t let the passive Canadian stereotype fool you — the perpetrator was hit with a hefty ticket in the amount of $672, which isn’t even the most expensive marijuana-related fine you can receive.

While a driver carrying cannabis on them can rack up a $237 ticket, consuming cannabis in a car either on the highway or off-road will run you $672. Same goes for smoking or vaping in a public place or provincial park. These fines are nothing in comparison, however, to growing non-medical cannabis in a Manitoba County residence or supplying it to a person under 19. Those things will cost you a cool $2,542.

It also goes without saying that driving under the influence can be dangerous; a recent study done at McGill University showed that waiting at least six hours after consumption is the safest time to drive.

So, take it slow, Canada. No need to ruin a good thing right away.

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No Fee or Waiting Period to Get a Pardon for Past Cannabis Convictions in Canada

As Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana nationwide on Wednesday, government officials announced a simplified and cost-free process to receive a pardon for past minor pot offenses. Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Canada’s Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told ABC News that a law was being drafted to streamline pardons for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis.

“We will be introducing legislation to introduce an expedited pardon process, with no fee, for those with previous convictions for simple possession of cannabis,” Bardsley said.

Bardsley said that pardons for past low-level pot crimes were in the interest of justice and fairness.

“The reason we’re doing this is because it’s now something that’s legal, and the consequences of the criminal record are disproportionate to the gravity of the offense,” said Bardsley.

He also noted that the pardons would only apply to crimes of possession for personal use and “not for trafficking. We’re not talking about dealers or producers or anyone of that sort,” Bardsley said.

Under current Canadian law, those with minor marijuana convictions can apply for a pardon of their offense after staying free of other criminal charges for a period of five years. But the process is pricey, costing CA$631 (about US$480). There will be no charge for cannabis possession pardons under the new policy announced on Wednesday. Offenders will be required to apply in order to receive a pardon, however.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at a press conference on Wednesday morning that pardons for minor convictions are in line with changing public opinion about cannabis.

“We will be introducing a new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been convicted for possession of cannabis,” Goodale said. “It becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws from a previous era are changed.”

Recreational Pot Now Legal in Canada

The announcement of easier pardons for pot possession convictions coincided with the enactment of the Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, making Canada the first G7 nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As recreational sales of cannabis became legal early Wednesday morning, Ian Power became one of the first people in Canada to buy a gram of legal recreational pot. After making his purchase at a Tweed dispensary in St. John’s, Newfoundland at five seconds after midnight, Power told reporters outside the store that the experience would be a memorable one.

“I think it’s one of the biggest moments of my life,” Power said. “There’s a tear in my eye. No more back alleys.”

Power added that he intended to keep his purchase, rather than smoking it.

“I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall,” Power said. “I’m going to save it forever.”

Tom Clarke, who sold marijuana illegally for 30 years, opened a cannabis retail store in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. He made his first legal sale to his father as customers waiting in line cheered.

“This is awesome. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” Clarke said. “I am so happy to be living in Canada right now instead of south of the border.”

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Canadian Police Urge People to Stop Calling Them About Cannabis

In what is perhaps a good reminder that officers of the law also benefit when cannabis is legalized, the Toronto police force celebrated Canada’s new weed state by laying out a sassy new awareness campaign aimed at your insufferable nosy neighbor. “Asking what to do with your frozen meat during a power outage is not a 911 call,” tweeted the police force in a series of multimedia posts on Tuesday. “Smelling weed coming from your neighbour’s home isn’t either.”

The cops’ pointers are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the massive cultural shift taking place in the country of 36.29 million, where marijuana became legal for possession, sale, and cultivation on Wednesday after Parliament passed Bill C-45 this summer. Canadians may also have to become accustomed to the fact that marijuana products are probably at the top of many of their loved ones’ holiday gift lists—Canada’s census organization has estimated that there will be some $1.02 billion in sales of weed substance by the end of 2018. On a more serious note, governmental organization Health Canada has launched a reasoned campaign that aims to educate teenagers on important subjects like driving while under the influence of weed.

Canadian cops are still prohibited from on-the-job toking, but cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, Regina, and Montreal have made it clear that officers are allowed to consume marijuana when they are not on duty. The Canadian military has okay’d the usage of green for soldiers as long as it is not within eight hours of reporting for service. But such permissiveness is not the case everywhere. Calgary has taken a zero tolerance policy on stoner cops, which the police officers’ union has made clear it will fight. Toronto police will not be allowed to consume marijuana within 28 days of serving on active duty.

One hopes that Canadian law officers will now find themselves with more time to deal with important issues well beyond leafy green horticulture—despite the re-training challenges that will need to be undertaken by K-9 units. As police chief Mark Saunders explained, the shift occasions a learning opportunity for all involved. “This change represents a significant transition, not just for members of the Toronto Police Service but for all Canadians,” said Saunders. “Going forward it is important for everyone to take the time to educate themselves on legalisation.”

The police officers’ campaign seems to have a good time breaking down a list of time-wasting reasons to bother Canadian 911 operators, including an adult smoking a joint, neighbors growing marijuana, needing directions because you took a wrong turn on the freeway, and running out of minutes on one’s phone. Let this be a reminder to be considerate of emergency operators’ time!

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Governor of Michigan Officially Bans Cannabis-Infused Alcoholic Drinks

After winning nearly unanimous approval from Michigan lawmakers, a bill banning the possession, sale and consumption of cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks arrive on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed it into law on Tuesday. Now, the state of Michigan, a state without legal adult-use cannabis, has a law on the books prohibiting marijuana-infused beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks. The new law carves out a space for researchers to study cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages. But there are no indications any such research is currently underway in Michigan.

Michigan Just Outlawed a Cannabis Product That Doesn’t Exist

Michigan legalized cannabis for medical use ten years ago. And this November, Michigan voters will have the chance to make it the tenth state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis. Meanwhile, state regulators are scrambling to approve a backlog of cannabis business licenses on a compressed timeline that threatens to close down nearly one hundred dispensaries. But considering these two pressing realities, a recent expansion of Michigan’s medical use program and an impending vote on adult-use legalization, many are wondering why the state would legislate against a reality that doesn’t exist yet.

House Bill 4668 amends two sections of the state’s liquor laws. The first change is a fairly technical one about the state liquor commission’s use of public funds. The second change addresses weed-infused alcohol. The bill states, “a person shall not use or offer for use, possess, sell, or offer for sale marihuana-infused [sic] beer, wine, mixed wine drink, mixed spirit drink, or spirits.” Anyone who breaks the law is guilty of a misdemeanor. Research hospitals, state institutions, private colleges and universities, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies conducting research into cannabis-infused drinks are exempt from the new rule.

Asked why lawmakers felt the need for such a bill, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) pointed to Colorado. “This is happening in Colorado and […] we’re going to end up with it here.” Jones went on to call cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages a “recipe for disaster.” But Jones is only half right about Colorado. Colorado does have THC-infused wine and beer. But these products are non-alcoholic. Similarly, alcoholic beverages are available with CBD-infusions, but not THC. The reason for this is simple: retail cannabis shops aren’t licensed to sell booze. Vice versa, liquor stores don’t have the license they need to sell weed. Interestingly enough, infused drinks and foods are slated to be the biggest sub-industries in the cannabis space.

Michigan Will Vote on Adult-Use This November

In sum, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks aren’t legal anywhere. Even in states with legal weed, allowing unlicensed retailers to sell alcohol or cannabis is a surefire way to invite federal enforcement actions. Sure, there’s nothing stopping anyone from creating their own home-brewed cannabis cocktails. So far, however, regulated retail products containing both THC and ethanol simply don’t exist. Or in the words of Michigan NORML chapter board member Rick Thompson, the law affects “zero people in Michigan”. And that would be true whether or not voters legalize adult-use this November.

Of course, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks could exist in the future. Both Canada and California are supporting research efforts into cannabis-infused drinks. And flagship beverage companies like Constellation Brands are beginning to partner with cannabis producers to develop such products.

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Canadian Delivery Service Announces Willy Wonka Lottery to Celebrate Legalization

A cannabis delivery service is celebrating the legalization of weed in Canada by delivering free munchies to as many people in Toronto as possible on October 17. And on top of the free snacks, the promotion will be even more exciting with a Willy Wonka-style lottery for the first day of legal recreational pot.

Cannabis delivery platform Eddy is sponsoring the contest and is inviting potential customers to sign up for the giveaway on its website in order to be added to the list to receive free munchies. Contestants can increase their chances and move up the queue by sharing the promotion on their Instagram account and tagging friends.

Those lucky enough to receive free munchies will also be in the running for an extra special prize as “four randomly selected winners will receive a Lucky Green Ticket which will entitle you to a tour of a local weed factory (also known as a licensed producer cultivation facility, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue),” according to the webpage for the promotion.

Restrictions on Cannabis Advertising

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada this week, companies wishing to compete in the newly legal market will have to employ creative strategies like the Eddy promotion to gain the attention of consumers. But Bill C-45, as the country’s pot legalization measure is known, includes strict restrictions on advertising. The rules prohibit testimonials, celebrity endorsements, brand mascots, and glamorous images. But the laws lack specifics, which is causing confusion for both cannabis businesses and advertising firms, according to Scott Hulbert, the managing director of promotional products company Ideavation.

“It’s still really gray,” Hulbert told Canada’s Advertising Specialty Institute. “It’s a moving target, as far as legalities, restrictions and advertising opportunities. Will it be like tobacco, which is very restricted in its advertising, or alcohol, which has been given more of a carte blanche? We just don’t know.”

Hulbert said that licensed producers (LPs) will have the expertise necessary to navigate the regulations governing cannabis advertising.

“These are not mom-and-pop operations,” Hulbert said. “There are private equity firms behind these pot companies. They have deep resources. It’s a cash-rich industry, and there’s so much money backing the LPs and retailers. So there’s tons of opportunity for promotional products, as long as the government allows it. I think at first there will be a lot of guerrilla marketing and companies will advertise how they want until they’re told they’re not allowed to do it that way.”

Pete Thuss is a marketing partner at Talbot Marketing. He said that while he isn’t currently seeking clients in the cannabis industry, he believes that there will be some opportunities for savvy marketers who are quick to enter the new market.

“I think the excitement is there and I do believe this will open a new market for the promotional products industry,” Thuss said. “At first there will be a big push to gain market share and to raise awareness for those retail outlets carrying the product, probably for the first 10 to 12 months. But once it settles down I think it will slow.”

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Move Over, Pumpkin Spice. Try these CBD-Infused Recipes for the Fall

It’s Autumn. Can you feel it? The cold breeze sweeps in and freezes your face. Your fingertips feel the distant tingle of winter and your pace quickens, as you tighten your jacket around you just a little more snugly. Yes, summer has faded, leaving you with the annual seasonal dilemmas: What will you be for Halloween? Will you go home for Thanksgiving or travel to Bermuda instead? Is hot cider on the menu of your regular coffee joint? Is mulled wine being served at your favorite nightspot yet?

Here at High Times, we’re also considering some pressing fall predicaments. Namely, what cozy October comfort recipes would best be suited for CBD drops and tinctures? Move over, regular old pumpkin spice. Make room for a new generation of autumnal delights.

Whether you’re a sweet or savory person and whether you prefer to chew or sip, we’ve got you covered with these must-try seasonal CBD recipes. We’ve compiled a menu consisting of a beverage, an entrée, and two dessert options.

Mountain Elixirs’ Warm Up and Wind Down Cider

Move Over, Pumpkin Spice. Try these CBD-Infused Recipes for the Fall

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This first recipe is a classic hot cider recipe with a new twist by Kyle West, an award winning bartender in the Denver area. He uses CBD-infused bitters by Strongwater Mountain Elixirs, and “makes enough to share or enough to not care.” Adding bourbon is optional, but highly encouraged.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz spiced apple cider
  • Juice of 1 blood orange (1.5-2 oz)
  • 10 (quarter-sized) slices of ginger
  • 4 gooseberries (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 oz Strongwater Old Fashioned Syrup (or mulling spice simple syrup)
  • 3 oz Bourbon or rye whiskey (optional)
  • 20 dashes of Mountain Elixirs Aromatic or Orange CBD Bitters

Directions:

In a small pot, add ingredients 1-6. Heat until it simmers. Let sit on low heat for 15 minutes. Strain out ingredients from cider. Add bourbon and bitters to cider. Serve warm. Garnish with large orange zest, slice of blood orange, pomegranate seeds, and one gooseberry. Serves up to 4 people.

Pizza Alla Zucca Barbaro a.k.a. Pizza with Pumpkincreme

Move Over, Pumpkin Spice. Try these CBD-Infused Recipes for the Fall

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Next, our entrée: a pizza with CBD Pumkincreme recipe by Luca Ligorio, Chef de cuisine at Regina Margherita, where one could find the “best pizza in Vienna.” This pizza serves two and is infused with Blattgold CBDrops. This recipe uses some European measurements (such as grams and Celsius), so keep a conversion chart handy when preparing this mouthwatering dish.

Ingredients for the original dough:

  • 200 g of plain flour (ideally type 0)
  • ½ packet of Germ (about 20g)
  • 5 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)

Dough Preparation:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 3 tbsp lukewarm water and stir in 4 tbsp flour. Knead with the hands or the mixer (dough hook) until the dough comes off the edge of the bowl. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  2. Pile the remaining flour on a work surface, salt and stir in the yeast mixture with a fork. Then add the oil and the remaining water.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured work surface until it is smooth and elastic. Then place the dough ball in a bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 hours in a warm place until the circumference has doubled.
  4. Knead the dough vigorously again and form four round, equal sized balls.

Ingredients for the Pizza:

  • 300g pumpkin
  • 150g boletus
  • 140g mozzarella
  • 100g buffalo ricotta
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2ml CBDrops
  • 300ml hot vegetable soup (bouillon)
  • 150g porcini

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ° C top and bottom heat and lay out a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel the pumpkin, deseed and cut it into small cubes. Peel onions and cut them into fine pieces. Mix buffalo ricotta in a bowl with a little salt and add 1ml Blattgold CBDrops.
  3. Heat some butter, fry the pumpkin and onion until glassy, add a little bouillon several times while frying over medium heat.
  4. Remove and purée slightly more than half of the squash. Mix the rest of the Blattgold CBDrops, salt and pepper into the puree and put aside.
  5. Heat some butter and fry the porcini mushrooms until golden brown, set aside.
  6. Spread the pumpkin puree on the pizza base, cover with mozzarella, season with a little salt and pepper and place in the oven.
  7. Before serving, sprinkle the remaining pumpkin and the mushrooms on the pizza. Form the ricotta as small balls and distribute on the pizza in all corners.

Tip: Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and drops of Blattgold over it as a garnish.

Frosted Pumpkin Spice Bars

Move Over, Pumpkin Spice. Try these CBD-Infused Recipes for the Fall

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And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of the meal: dessert! To get an even amount of CBD in each bar, Craig Henderson of Extract Labs suggests, “The best way to infuse a pumpkin spice bar (say, this Betty Crocker recipe) would be to mix it with the frosting, as it would distribute a better dose.” His frosting recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of tincture to this recipe during mixing process. If the bars are baked in an 8 x 12 pan, cut them into 3 x 5 squares for a total of 15 bars. When iced, each bar will contain about 1 serving of tincture (33 mg CBD).

Stoner Candy Bites

Move Over, Pumpkin Spice. Try these CBD-Infused Recipes for the Fall

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This recipe was created by Thu Tran for Vice’s hit cannabis cooking show Bong Appetit, which just released their first cookbook, Bong Appetit: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Weed. Thu Tran is the creative genius behind Food Party, a show that blends cooking with puppets, interactive snacks, and pure unadulterated weirdness. Tran suggests using “flower-infused butter,” but you can use regular butter or add CBD to the butter in place of THC.

This recipe yields 60 pieces, so it’s the perfect treat to bring to your next Halloween party.

THC Content (if following the flower-infused butter recipe):

1.1 mg per piece; 66.8 mg total recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed potato chips (we recommend Kettle brand with sea salt)
  • 2 cups crushed thin pretzels
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes or Corn Chex
  • 4 tablespoons CBD-infused butter (or THC-infused butter)
  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 pound unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons candy sprinkles (optional)
  • Maldon sea salt (optional)

Directions:

Line a 9 by 13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the potato chips, pretzels, and corn flakes and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the infused butter. Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the marshmallow-butter mixture over the potato chips mixture and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared sheet pan and spread in an even layer, pressing it to flatten. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until cool.

Pour water to a depth of 2 inches in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Put the chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over (not touching) the water in the saucepan. Heat, stirring, until chocolate has melted and is smooth.

Spread the warm chocolate over the mixture in the pan. Top with the sprinkles or a scattering of sea salt, if desired. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cooled completely. Cut the potato chip–marshmallow mixture into sixty 2 by 1-inch pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Add a tablespoon of infused coconut oil to the chocolate to make the chocolate thinner and easier to work with as well as up the (THC or CBD) dose.

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Cannabis Consumption Will Be Permitted in Canada’s National Parks

In the United States, the ongoing federal prohibition against cannabis creates some interesting legal contradictions. In states with legal adult-use, for example, federal prohibition creates pockets of land where federal law holds and state law doesn’t. Basically, any land the federal government controls is under federal jurisdiction. And that means places in the U.S. like national parks and forests, wilderness preserves and wildlife refuges are no-cannabis zones, even if they reside in a state, like California, with legal weed. North of the border, however, will be a different story. Under the Cannabis Act of 2018, cannabis consumption will be permitted in Canada’s National Parks.

Campers and Hikers Can Legally Consume Cannabis in Canada’s National Parks

There are currently 39 National Parks in addition to eight National Park Reserves in Canada. These parks and reserves cover about 126,700 square miles of the country, or about 3.3 percent of its total area. And there is at least one in each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories. Canada’s park system is also immensely popular. From 2016 to 2017, Parks Canada says 15,449,250 people visited the country’s national parks and reserves. And once Canada’s Cannabis Act goes into effect tomorrow, October 17, those visitors will be able to consume cannabis on park grounds.

Just two days ahead of legalization, Parks Canada announced a rule change to permit campers to smoke cannabis. The authorization applies specifically to registered campsites in National Parks. Hikers will also be able to enjoy cannabis on National Park hiking trails and anywhere in the untrammeled backcountry. But visitors won’t be able to smoke weed in all park common areas, like picnic shelters and playgrounds. And that’s to help minimize children’s exposure to cannabis smoke.

Canada’s National Parks are A Cannabis Destination

There will be some restrictions to cannabis consumption at certain National Park facilities. At public day-use areas, cannabis consumption will be subject to provincial rules regarding consuming weed in public. But rules regarding public consumption can also vary from town to town within the same province. In Alberta, for example, the massive Banff National Park, Canada’s most popular, won’t allow visitors to consume weed in shared public areas. But at day-use areas around Lake Louise in Alberta, public consumption will be totally okay.

Keeping track of which town has which rules could get tricky, but parks should have signs posted, and visitors can look up information online. Still, given the federal legalization of cannabis, it’s unlikely that Canada’s National Parks will become any less permissive than they were prior to October 17. In on-the-street-interviews with Ontario residents about Parks Canada’s decision, many said smoking weed in National Parks is already extremely common. Tomorrow, it will also be legal.

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Ahead of Cannabis Legalization in Canada, Facebook Lifts Ban on Weed Pages

As the legalization of cannabis comes to Canada this week, Facebook has ended its “shadow ban” of cannabis-themed pages. Last week the social media platform announced the changes, which became effective on October 11. Prior to that time, search results were filtered to exclude pages with words such as “cannabis” and “marijuana” in the title. Even pages for government regulators like California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control were affected by the ban. Additionally, many cannabis pages were deleted without warning by Facebook.

Sarah Pollack, a spokeswoman for Facebook, told MarketWatch via email that the new policy will allow cannabis pages for legitimate businesses and organizations while minimizing illegal drug sales.

“We are constantly working to improve our search results so that we minimize the opportunity for people to attempt illicit drug sales while showing content that is allowed on Facebook and is relevant to what you are searching,” Pollack said. “When searching ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana,’ Pages that have been verified for authenticity will now be included in search results.”

New Verification Process

Pollack said that cannabis organizations and businesses who complete a verification process will now be included in results of searches of those words. The company will continue to monitor the platform to ensure it is not used for illegal sales of cannabis and other drugs.

“This is a change in our tactics when it comes to what is discoverable when using Facebook Search. Our Community Standards make it very clear that buying, selling or trading non-medical, pharmaceutical drugs, or marijuana is not allowed on Facebook,” Pollack said to Forbes. “People largely find this content that violates our policies by searching for it, so we have made it harder for people to find content that facilitates the sale of drugs on our site. We also look to make content that does not violate our policies discoverable in Search. We use a combination of the latest technology in search ranking and our team of reviewers who work 24/7 to minimize the opportunity for illicit drug sales. We’re constantly auditing and improving this process in order to do better.”

Social Media Struggles

Jacqueline McGowan is the director of local licensing and business development for K Street Consulting, a Sacramento based lobbying firm. She created a private Facebook group to track cannabis regulation in California in 2016, but intentionally left out any reference to marijuana in the name. McGowan told High Times via electronic message that Facebook’s new policy is a big change for the industry.

“Cannabis companies have struggled to keep their social media platforms alive for years,” McGowan said. “I’ve watched as countless pages and endless content have been deleted; and I knew from the inception of my group, that I needed to protect it from becoming obsolete. As a first consideration, not having the words marijuana or cannabis in my group’s title was much more important to its potential survival, than to boast that we track cannabis regulations. Survival became a much more vital goal and I have been able to maintain the group thus far, because of it. Now that Facebook has retreated from its restrictive stance on cannabis, we are becoming less handcuffed in our ability to inform, educate, and market to our audience.”

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Georgia Cops Called About Potential Domestic Abuse Arrest Actress Erica Mena For Weed Instead

Reality show performer Erica Mena’s roommate didn’t realize reporting a potential domestic abuse situation would send her to jail on charges of marijuana possession. On Friday night in John Creek, Georgia, witnesses at the house of the Love & Hip Hop cast member heard the sound of someone getting slapped upstairs. They decided to call the police and both Mena and her boyfriend Clifford Dixon were taken into custody. Dixon was picked up for criminal trespass and Mena found herself headed to jail when cops found “baggies of weed and possible THC wax in her bedroom and her kitchen,” reports TMZ.

According to Source, Mena posted bail and will have a court date in a few weeks. She looks irate in her mugshot, which is a fair reaction to the situation. Though the police found no visible marks on either Mena or Dixon related to the slap, two people did confirm at the scene that a broken door had been kicked down by Dixon when Mena locked it to hide from him. Cops seem to have been unable to hold their focus on the potential domestic violence situation when they discovered evidence that an adult woman had been smoking and dabbing cannabis in her own home. No word yet on what effect officers think such punitive actions towards potential abuse victims will have on domestic abuse reporting rates.

Recently, Georgian legalization advocates’ hopes were raised when two bills were introduced to the state’s Congress that would have reduced criminal charges for marijuana arrests statewide. Neither bill passed. Georgia has had its current medical marijuana program since 2015, which authorizes the use of low THC cannabis oil. Prescriptions must be based on a list of limited medical conditions that was expanded by the Senate in 2017 to include “intractable pain” and PTSD.

The house where Mena and Dixon’s arrests took place is located some 27 miles outside of Atlanta proper, where marijuana has been decriminalized through city councilperson Kwanza Hall’s 2017 ordinance. Though the law bars prison time for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Atlanta, it has not kept weed from being motivation for police interference even within city limits. Officers say a moving van with rapper Ty Dolla $ign in it was pulled over in September after they detected the smell of marijuana coming from it, resulting in the performer being taken into custody on drug charges. The rapper’s legal representation insinuated that his celebrity motivated cops to arrest Ty Dolla $ign while letting the six other occupants of the car go without charges.

Mena was a regular on Love & Hip Hop: New York before moving to Atlanta and joining the city’s cast for the show’s seventh season. She also has played roles on CSI: Cyber, Master of None, and Nick Cannon’s MTV comedy show Wild ’n Out. Regardless of her travails over the weekend, she has managed to keep a sunny outlook on social media, commenting to Monday morning’s crowd on Twitter, “Feeling extra UP today!”

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Dispensaries in British Columbia Told to Shut Down Before Legalization

Canada is less than two days away from becoming just the second nation in the world with legal cannabis. But as Canada’s legal industry comes online this Wednesday, the nation’s vast and well-established network of marijuana retailers is about to become more illegal than ever. Once Canada’s Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, takes effect, unlicensed private retailers won’t just be breaking the law, they’ll also forfeit any chance of ever obtaining a license to operate legally. And that’s why British Columbia officials are advising the province’s dispensaries to shut down by Wednesday. Assuming most will, cannabis consumers in B.C. may have a hard time purchasing cannabis from a legal storefront. When Oct. 17 rolls around, B.C. will have just one licensed retail store.

Illicit B.C. Weed Dispensaries Advised to Shut Down Ahead of Legalization

Across Canada, illicit dispensaries have served as a kind of stopgap for non-medical cannabis consumers as the country wound its inevitable way toward legalization. These private, unlicensed, non-medical retailers were never legal, of course, but they operated as a kind of open secret. And aside from routine raids and crackdowns, officials have largely turned a blind eye to these underground “pharmacies,” especially with full legalization on the horizon.

In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, residents know where these illicit shops are. Tourists can even look many of them up on popular weed apps. And many may be under the impression that once Oct. 17 hits, they can stroll into their neighborhood cannabis shop the same as any day, only now with the law on their side. And for sure, many of these illicit dispensaries could remain open, opting to take their chances. But B.C. officials say they’re rolling out a new enforcement branch with the power to seize cannabis from illicit dispensaries. It could also assess the owners with fines of double the value of the cannabis seized.

Those who want to operate legally, then, will want to close their doors to the public, according to British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth. And they may want to get going on the application process. Indeed, over 170 retail operating license applications have already piled up in the provincial ministry. British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has to review and consider all of them. So far, they’ve found 62 of them to be complete and under consideration by local governments. Just 35, however, are under review in jurisdictions that are ready to pass council resolutions approving local cannabis retail.

In Canada, Legal Cannabis Won’t be Built in a Day

After all that, the provincial ministry still has to complete background checks and security clearances on all principles, and to ensure organized crime has no ties to an applicant’s revenue stream. Farnworth says B.C. will see more shops open their doors in the coming months. But on Wednesday, just one licensed cannabis shop will open in Kamloops. All other legal cannabis purchases will have to go through B.C.’s online LCRB portal. Farnworth says the province has made sure the website won’t crash due to the anticipated surge in traffic on Wednesday.

As for the dispensaries currently operating illicitly in B.C., they’ll have to close if they ever hope to become legal retailers. Farnworth says that there’s no “grandfathering in” of currently existing dispensaries. They’ll have to go through the application process like all other retailers. Many have already begun the process, but they will have to close down until they obtain the required permits.

GlobalNews is reporting that British Columbia is both ahead of and behind other provinces in terms cannabis retail. Ontario, for example, has fallen behind after changing its regulations to permit private retailers alongside the LCBO. New Brunswick, by contrast, has a private retail industry fully licensed and ready to go. In Alberta, provincial authorities have given out temporary licenses to private cannabis sellers. So, yes, weed will be legal across Canada on Wednesday. But access to licensed shops and legal storefronts will be highly uneven from province to province, at least initially.

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