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Canada to legalize recreational marijuana

“It’s a step in the right direction”

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The Canadian Senate has passed a bill to permit the possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in a landmark decision.

The bill now must obtain royal approval before becoming law.

The bill would permit the possession of 30 grams of dried cannabis, however age restrictions are expected to follow those relative to alcohol.

Per residence, Canadians will be allowed to own four cannabis plants per residence, although Quebec and Manitoba will have a ban on home cultivation.

Rules on smoking marijuana in public vary between provinces and territories.

Once the bill becomes law, the government will determine when it will come into effect.

CTV reports:

OTTAWA — The Senate has voted to pass Bill C-45, the government’s legislation to legalize cannabis, meaning that recreational marijuana will soon be legal across Canada.

Some parliamentarians are calling it an “historic” moment in this country, while others are warning of the work left to be done: raising public awareness about the implications of this incoming major social policy change.

After more than a year of intensive study in both the House and Senate, the bill cleared the final legislative hurdle Tuesday evening, passing by a vote of 52 to 29 with two abstentions from the Independent Senators from Quebec: Sen. Marie-Françoise Mégie and Sen. Rosa Galvez.

The vote was on a motion from Sen. Peter Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate, to accept the government’s position on the Senate’s amendments and pass the bill as is. It was all that was left in a short round of legislative ping-pong spurred by the upper chamber amending the government legislation.

The House of Commons will be notified of the Senate’s decision. After that, all that is left will be Royal Assent to officially pass the bill and for the government to determine when the new law will come into force.

Leader of the Independent Senators Group Sen. Yuen Pau Woo told reporters after the vote that the mammoth study of Bill C-45 was “a bit of a stress test” for the increasingly Independent Senate.

He said now, the work will have to begin on implementing the legislation, and making sure Canadians understand what this new regime means.

“We are now moving where in the legalized industry we have the chance to push out the illicit elements, we have the chance to do research on cannabis, we have the chance to properly educate our young people on the harms of cannabis use, and all of this should be the focus of the whole country now,” Sen. Woo said.

The legislation — an electoral promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party –allows adults in Canada to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis. It sets out parameters around the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of the drug. It also creates new Criminal Code offences for selling marijuana to minors. The proposed federal law spells out that it will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to buy pot, but allows for provinces and territories to set a higher minimum age.

In a tweet, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was the bill’s sponsor, and first introduced the legislation in April 2017, said it was “an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada.”

The federal government is expected to formally respond to the bill’s passage Wednesday morning in the House of Commons foyer.

Last week, the government announced it would be accepting most but not all of the Senate’s more than 40 proposed amendments to Bill C-45. Among the 13 amendments that the federal Liberals rejected were the proposal to allow the provinces and territories to ban home-grown marijuana, and a proposed change to prohibit pot producers from distributing branded merchandise.

Earlier in the evening, an attempt by Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan to insist on an amendment to let provinces ban marijuana home cultivation, failed.

Reacting to his effort to push back on the government’s rejection of the change, Carignan said his attempt was to give the provinces a right he believes they should have, in an effort to circumvent what is now likely: the matter winding up in court.

Senators spent much of Tuesday offering their final thoughts on the legislation, with some expressing disappointment and frustration over MPs not accepting the Senate’s changes, and raising remaining concerns with the legislation as it stands.

Others argued that the upper chamber had done its due diligence and that it was time to concede to the will of the elected House of Commons, and pass the legislation.

In calling the vote, Senate Speaker George Furey had a slip of the tongue and called “all those in flavour” instead of “all those in favour,” sending snickers through the chamber. “It’s getting late,” Sen. Furey said.

Speaking with reporters following the vote, Sen. Harder said he was finally pausing after the manoeuvrings and the procedural wrangling to acknowledge that after a very lengthy debate, Canada is on the cusp of legalization after nearly a century of prohibition.

“It is a step in the right direction and what we now need to do is to insure as we move forward in implementation, that everybody plays their role, that everybody understands the obligations that they have and uses the opportunity of the next number of weeks to inform themselves of what a legal cannabis market means for them, their family, their communities, and the opportunities and risks that it poses,” said Sen. Harder.

So is marijuana legal? No.

The bill still needs to receive Royal Assent, which is expected as soon as tomorrow. That is the final step — essentially the Crown approving the bill. It’s overseen by Canada’s representative, the Governor General.

Once it passes, the government is expected to declare the date that legalization will come into force and be applicable.

On CTV’s Question Period, parliamentary secretary and the federal government’s point-person on pot, Bill Blair said he expects the date to be some time this September.

That window of time between when the bill passes and when it becomes federal law is to allow for the provinces, territories, municipalities, police forces, and other stakeholders to make sure their piece of the pot pie is operating in accordance with the new rules.

Blair said the date they decide on will be informed by discussions with their provincial and territorial counterparts, which have been given the ability to set regulations in their jurisdictions as to how a legalized marijuana regime will operate.

What you need to know:

Many of the decisions around how legalized marijuana is sold and used will be up to the provinces and territories. Here is what you need to know about what will be allowed:

  • The federally mandated public possession limit of 30 grams of dried cannabis has been maintained across the country, with most jurisdictions opting to keep their legal marijuana-smoking ages in line with those for drinking alcohol.
  • Bill C-45 allows individuals to grow up to four marijuana plants per residence, though some provinces, like Manitoba and Quebec, plan to ban home cultivation.
  • Provincial and territorial plans vary widely on whether you’ll be able to smoke in public.
  • Provinces and territories also differ on whether pot shops will be publicly or privately owned. For those opting for publicly owned stores, these will be operated by provincial Crown corporations that sell liquor. In some cases, provinces have even created subsidiaries of these companies with names. Unless otherwise noted, these will be standalone stores wholly separate from those that sell alcohol.
  • While dried cannabis and cannabis oil — both of which will be sold in 2018 — can be used to make edible products at home, the federal government has said that packaged edible products won’t be commercially available.

Outcome of drug-impaired driving bill pending

Bill C-45 was introduced alongside Bill C-46 which specifically deals with impaired driving. The government has hoped throughout the process that the two bills would pass in close succession.

This legislation proposes changes to the impaired driving laws to give police new powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests, and would make it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit.

However, the Senate amended Bill C-46 to remove the provision that allowed police to conduct random roadside alcohol tests. The Senate also sought to legally downgrade impaired driving offences so that they are not classified as “serious criminality” in order to protect foreign nationals and permanent residents from losing their statuses or becoming inadmissible to Canada after such a conviction.

On Monday, the government gave notice of its position on the Senate changes, stating that it “respectfully disagrees” with these two changes. However, in the motion the government indicates it is willing to accept a handful of other Senate amendments to the legislation.

The House has yet to send this message back to the Senate but once that occurs, Bill C-46 is in for a similar final debate and vote, as seen with Bill C-45, where senators will have to decide whether they insist, or accept and pass the bill.

The House of Commons is scheduled to adjourn for the summer on Friday, June 22, but the Senate is set to sit for a week longer. There is always the potential of an early adjournment, or the opportunity to sit longer in exceptional circumstances.

It’s about time an end to the hysteria surrounding this matter has come about somewhere on the map. Canadians have developed the common sense not to cage people for owning a plant, and ruining citizen’s lives over a matter of such triviality.

 

 

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colum

Now If they’d just mellow out and stop getting butt hurt about their feels. The original SJW’s smoked it and they weren’t half bad. 😉

ColinNZ
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ColinNZ

Headline correction: ‘Canada to stop criminalising recreational use of Marijuana’.

Let’s not forget that this is just a plant that grows naturally all over the planet, and it has a number of proven health benefits. It’s criminalisation was the act of corrupt politicians with their corrupt agendas, and I suspect almost all of them participated in it’s recreational use, before and after they criminalised it.

Patrick Woolley
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Patrick Woolley

The West is falling apart. As a former heavy drug user, it’s absolutely bonkers to legalize any of these drugs. The sort of cognitive effects that these drugs cause makes any comparison with alcohol utterly ridiculous.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

The Duran

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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