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Old 03-20-2017, 06:00 PM   #331
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The irony
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:47 PM   #332
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https://www.theguardian.com/society/...ork-for-canada

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The wild west of weed: will legalisation work for Canada?
Canada’s current ‘green rush’ makes Amsterdam’s coffeeshops look restrained – but Justin Trudeau hopes to tame it by making recreational cannabis legal
Mike Power
Wednesday 29 March 2017 16.21 BST

Opposite a bleak government building in suburban Ottawa, Canada, a barebones “cannabis clinic” – with just a cash register, jeweller’s scales and a glass counter – is doing a brisk trade. “Pirate! Muslim! Gangster! Yes! We all smoke!” shouts one teen as he high-fives the owner, Rohmi. He pockets his pungent bag and bounces out, giggling.

On the wall, there’s a menu listing today’s special: moonrocks – buds rolled in cannabis oil then dipped in powdered hash at C$40 (£24) a gram. There are cans of Canna Cola; potent, weed-laced gummy bears; a mound of gooey hashish smelling of dark chocolate, hops and pine resin.

If this is medicine, it’s unclear what the illness is, other than sobriety. It makes an Amsterdam coffeeshop look tame – and it’s this free-for-all, wild-west-of-weed attitude that Canada’s government wants to tame by legalising cannabis during prime minister Justin Trudeau’s first term in office. Laws that will legalise cannabis for recreational use will be announced in the week of 10 April, and will be passed by July 2018, say government sources, making Canada the first G7 country to do so.

Globally, cannabis prohibition is being briskly dismantled, a wave of decriminalisation or legalisation sweeping south through the Americas, with states such as Colorado leading the way. California voted to legalise recreational use in November 2016. The US currently has 29 states offering legal medical marijuana and eight states with legal recreational cannabis markets. Countries including Uruguay, Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, Colombia and Chile are either creating legal markets for medicinal cannabis or relaxing rules on possession and cultivation. In the EU, Germany is preparing for imminent full medicinal legalisation, and the Republic of Ireland voted in December 2016 to allow medical use. In the UK, medical marijuana is available in the form of a tincture spray, Sativex, but access is severely limited.

What is different about Canada’s plans to legalise is the scope of the law change – it will be legal, nationally, for anyone over the age of 18 to use cannabis for pleasure next year.

Trudeau told journalists early this month that he wanted to seize the profits of the criminalised market and use the income to help those with drug problems. But his main aim in legalising the drug was to make it harder for children to get hold of it, arguing that alcohol laws showed that proper controls and regulations work. “It’s easier for a teenager to buy a joint right now than a bottle of beer, and it’s not right,” he said. “We know by controlling and regulating it, we are going to make it more difficult for young people to access marijuana.”

The evidence is on his side: in Colorado, where cannabis has been legal since 2014, teen use has fallen by about 12%, due to a combination of factors including a smaller black market and better drugs education.

Ironically, however, the upcoming change in Canada has prompted a huge growth in outlaw dispensaries. Rohmi and hundreds of other dealers selling in kerbside clinics are claiming to be operating under rules allowing Canadians to use cannabis to treat complaints as diverse as insomnia, ADHD and chronic pain. In reality, they are cashing in and riding the pre-legalisation green rush.

Police are clamping down, with dozens of raids in recent weeks, but the mood on the streets and in the clinics is one of delighted anarchy, with some outfits simply reopening the day after a raid in a new spot.

Rohmi says he takes C$15,000 in cash every day, and claims his business is an act of civil disobedience. “We’re doing this as a Gandhi type of thing. Peaceful protest, activism,” he says. Isn’t he afraid of getting robbed? He laughs and nods at a plank in the corner with the word “Bertha” scrawled on it. “I got Bertha, she’s my security!”

The road to legalisation in Canada has been long and circuitous. Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2000. By 2012, under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, there were 40,000 Canadians growing cannabis at home, says Chuck Rifici, a cannabis entrepreneur and former chief financial officer for the centre-left Liberal party. “The average Canadian is not particularly concerned with cannabis usage, or its illegality,” he says, with wry understatement. Some of these homegrowers now illegally supply the clinics that are commonplace in all Canadian towns, while there are 38 licensed producers for the medical market, which has 130,000 users.

Trudeau, who won the 2015 general election for the Liberals on a promise to free the weed, has spoken of his own cannabis use in casual terms, cementing his image as a modern progressive. Trudeau sought policy advice from Bill Blair, an old-school cop famed for his zero-tolerance approach to cannabis when he ran the force in Toronto. Trudeau told Blair he wanted to legalise cannabis to stop criminals from preying on kids, and Blair agreed that this was the best way to present the policy to the public.

Cannabis is popular in Canada – one-third of 18 to 24-year-olds use it, as do 3.4 million of all Canadians, 10% of the country’s population. For comparison, in the UK, there are about 2 million users, 3% of the population.

Blair told Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper in January: “Our intent is to legalise, regulate and restrict. There needs to be reasonable restrictions on making sure that we keep it away from kids, because I think that is very much in the public interest.”

Trudeau set up a taskforce, led by Blair, in June 2016 to write the roadmap towards legalisation. A more moderate and Canadian approach is hard to imagine. Experts included researchers and academics, patients and lawyers, users, chiefs of police and fire departments, and government officials and associations.

Steve Moore, of British thinktank VolteFace, which is campaigning for legalisation in the UK, says Canada’s model is more sensible than that of the US. “The American states that have legalised are too libertarian, with their billboards and TV advertising,” says Moore, who lauds Trudeau’s focus on tackling crime and reducing youth access. The Canadian path to legalisation is at once liberal and conservative, adds Moore, who believes such an approach could work in the UK.

The Canadian taskforce’s paper made more than 80 recommendations, including a minimum age of access – 18 – with restrictions on advertising, and guidance on production, manufacturing and distribution. It laid out measures for testing, packaging and labelling, with a strong emphasis on education around the risks of use, especially driving under the influence. It drew no conclusions on whether legalisation would lead to increased use, and instead took a harm-reduction and public-health approach – acknowledging the risk inherent in cannabis use and proposing ways to mitigate it.

Police will admit privately that the cannabis clinics aren’t a priority. “We have other problems,” says a source, drily. A public emergency has been declared in the state of British Columbia, where opiate users are dying in unprecedented numbers. With a population of just 4.6 million, in 2016, there were more than 900 deaths from fentanyl, a super-strong synthetic opioid. In the UK in 2015, there were just 11 fentanyl deaths, and 1,201 heroin deaths, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The Canadian government is preparing for the public-health problems that an estimated 600,000 new smokers will bring. No one yet has a satisfactory answer as to how driving under the influence will be managed, since a roadside test for the drug is still not sufficiently accurate, and no agreed metric of cannabis impairment has been set.

Another day, another dispensary; this time, Montreal. I decide to register to see how strictly procedures are observed. They have run out of forms, so I am handed a laminated document that I fill in with a whiteboard pen, claiming a bad back and occasional anxiety. I’m registered in minutes, and wander into the striplit room for my medical consultation. The staff know little about the dosage, onset or duration of effects for the drugs they are selling me, and hand me a small pinch-seal bag of capsules with a handwritten label on it: “20mg THC”. A child could open it in a second – and they look like sweets. It is easy to see why a more regulated market solution is being urged.

An altogether more orderly vision of the future can be found a short drive from Ottawa, in the town of Gatineau, western Quebec, where a licensed medicinal cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary, is expanding ahead of legalisation, hoping to supply the new market. We approach the farm and more than 100 security cameras silently track us. We kit up in hazmat suits, shoe covers, hair- and beardnets (the site has to follow safety rules drawn up for opioid factories) before we enter the grow room.

The unmistakable aroma of 1,200, two-foot female cannabis plants is like a gentle slap in the face, but I’m blinded by 1MW of high-pressure sodium light beaming down on the spiky leaves and budsites.

The plants are stretching towards a bespoke arched glass roof that shelters them from the Canadian winter, pumping out THC in a fruitless search for a male. It’s a female-only space; pollen from males would fertilise them, rendering the bud seedy and worthless. This room can produce 350kg of marijuana a month, says Adam Miron, the firm’s co-founder. A similar operation in the UK would currently carry up to a 10-year jail sentence.

The crop will sell for an average of C$10 a gram, and as the company is vertically integrated, selling via next-day mail order, all profits stay in-house. Miron flips fluently between biology and marketing matters, to legal and political issues, and back to branding. He introduces his master grower, Agnes Kwasniewska, a permanently delighted and highly educated Polish-Canadian who takes pride and interest in every plant.

We enter the drying vault through a thick steel door, where millions of dollars of product lie curing in temperature-controlled cases. There’s a litre flask of cannabis oil worth C$80,000, which is passed between the terrified visitors as if it’s plutonium. Every gram is documented from seed to bag. Every gram will be taxed, and children will not be allowed to buy it. Trudeau and Blair would be happy.

Just as the 1,200 plants in Gatineau were being tended by Kwasniewska, a vast, illegal grow was discovered in Wiltshire in a nuclear-bomb shelter, with three trafficked and enslaved Vietnamese teenage boys tending about 4,000 plants, imprisoned behind a five-inch steel door. Industrial-scale cannabis farmers in the UK have often used trafficked children who are imprisoned for months and forced to water and monitor and protect the plants from rival gangs. Upon discovery, the children, already abused and exploited, are jailed.

Canada, meanwhile, is creating a C$20bn-a-year industry that will employ thousands of people, minimise public-health harms, cut teen access to the drug and save the taxpayer millions in enforcement costs. There’s a sense of energised hope and cautious optimism in every conversation you have: Canadians feel that change is coming.

Miron’s desire to grow this business is impassioned and infectious, and seems more than simply financial. What drives him? “Two years ago, my father had terminal lung cancer,” he says. “Very terminal. He was given months to live. He didn’t have much breath capacity, but I will never forget holding a vaporiser to his lips as he sat on the porch with me, and he managed to inhale a few puffs. He slept there, free from pain for the first time in days, resting. He was my first customer.”
i have some stuff to say about this but would like to see if anyone else has any thoughts about the article (or the cannabis legalization movement in general) before i go on about it.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:07 PM   #333
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Anyone see the United Airlines video? It's absolutely appalling.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:11 PM   #334
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i especially liked how united's ceo only apologized for "re-accommodating the passenger"
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:31 PM   #335
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Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
i especially liked how united's ceo only apologized for "re-accommodating the passenger"


I still don't understand how someone can be forced to volunteer...

There's a really good article I read today about how airline travel is really shitty because of deregulation and mergers: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/w...=vicetwitterus
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:43 PM   #336
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I still don't understand how someone can be forced to volunteer...
i was in the army, i understand on a bone-deep level how someone can be forced to volunteer.

if you're interested in the kind of stuff in that article, you would probably like wendover productions' youtube channel. maybe you've heard of it. they have lots of cool aviation industry videos (among other topics).

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Old 04-10-2017, 11:13 PM   #337
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Originally Posted by nbelcik View Post
I still don't understand how someone can be forced to volunteer...

There's a really good article I read today about how airline travel is really shitty because of deregulation and mergers: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/w...=vicetwitterus
Meh, I'm not sure I'm sympathetic to arguments about air travel being shitty. In real terms, it's vastly cheaper to travel by air than it used to be. Consumers have shown time and time again that, given a choice between price and comfort, they'll choose price - so airlines accommodate that. If you want to pay a bit extra for more comfort, the options exist. It's still reasonably priced compared to the "golden age" of flying.

It's still a reasonably competitive industry, despite the mergers. Airlines are fairly profitable now because of low fuel costs, but, historically (i.e. until very recently), it's a money-burning industry. There are a few exceptions to this - namely, routes that become natural monopolies from large hubs to very small destinations (the DFW-XNA flights of the world), especially when they are filled with people flying on their employers' money.

I fly every week for work - in economy - so I put up with my fair share of garbage. But I do think that attacks against the industry are a bit overblown.

Not to excuse UA's behavior today, of course. That's garbage worth criticizing.
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Old 04-11-2017, 12:30 AM   #338
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Meh, I'm not sure I'm sympathetic to arguments about air travel being shitty. In real terms, it's vastly cheaper to travel by air than it used to be. Consumers have shown time and time again that, given a choice between price and comfort, they'll choose price - so airlines accommodate that. If you want to pay a bit extra for more comfort, the options exist. It's still reasonably priced compared to the "golden age" of flying.

It's still a reasonably competitive industry, despite the mergers. Airlines are fairly profitable now because of low fuel costs, but, historically (i.e. until very recently), it's a money-burning industry. There are a few exceptions to this - namely, routes that become natural monopolies from large hubs to very small destinations (the DFW-XNA flights of the world), especially when they are filled with people flying on their employers' money.

I fly every week for work - in economy - so I put up with my fair share of garbage. But I do think that attacks against the industry are a bit overblown.

Not to excuse UA's behavior today, of course. That's garbage worth criticizing.
Very much agreed. I fly quite a bit and yes it's easy to complain about the service. but the reality is also that US airlines are competing against highly subsidized state-sponsored flag carriers with endless pockets of taxpayer cash.

People who want the industry to go back to regulation days don't know what what they are talking about.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:38 AM   #339
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but the reality is also that US airlines are competing against highly subsidized state-sponsored flag carriers with endless pockets of taxpayer cash.

People who want the industry to go back to regulation days don't know what what they are talking about.


What?
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:07 AM   #340
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What?


Flag carriers get preferential treatment, per say. In some countries, they're quite literally nationalized airlines. State-owned. American Airlines, I believe, used to be one. But that's history, they're entirely a private company now. Just with the registration of being a flag carrier.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:11 AM   #341
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Meh, I'm not sure I'm sympathetic to arguments about air travel being shitty. In real terms, it's vastly cheaper to travel by air than it used to be. Consumers have shown time and time again that, given a choice between price and comfort, they'll choose price - so airlines accommodate that. If you want to pay a bit extra for more comfort, the options exist. It's still reasonably priced compared to the "golden age" of flying..
It's entirely possible that airline travel is cheaper (again you are speaking from the US point of view, not all of us have the same level of competition and lower prices available) AND it is also a terrible experience.

And it simply isn't true that if you want to pay a "bit" more for comfort, the options exist. Sorry, they do not. I travel fairly often, both economy and business/first. There is nothing you can do to pay "a bit" more, other than maybe upgrade to economy seats which are labeled premium (lol) buying you a couple more inches of leg room. These seats also are few in number so even if you have the intention to upgrade you often won't have the actual ability to do so. The food, if you want to call chips and chocolate bars and hummus with crackers acceptable on 5+ hour flights, has to be bought at exorbitant prices. I am therefore not sure what you are referring to when you say that for a bit more you can have the comfort you want. Really the only comfort you're going to get is upgrading to business or first and those options are completely out of reach for the majority of people unless they are using miles to upgrade (and doing so like a year in advance).

I would not complain if we were in fact given some option between economy, which on some airlines feels like cattle class, and business/first. What is worse is for those of us outside of US, Canada specifically, we live in an oligopoly of 2 national airlines and a couple of small regional ones. I recently flew to San Diego on Air Canada Rouge. "Rouge" is their cheaper airline and it's truthfully unbearable. It is akin to a Greyhound in the sky but with less leg room. I am 5'8 and I could not have adequate leg room, and had to sit with the knees of the man behind me digging into my back. A complicating factor is that I have a blood clotting disorder so I have to shoot up with heparin to make sure a flight like this basically doesn't kill me. My husband is 6'1 and had to sit spread eagle the entire time, which must have been fun for the woman next to him. Needless to say I will never fly Rouge again, but the issue is on this particular flight path you don't even have the option of flying the regular Air Canada planes (not that they are anything to write home about but at least the space is manageable).

I get that most consumers will just look for the lowest price, especially in the era of online booking where you can compare among airlines. Which is fine, but I think a significant portion WOULD be willing to pay "a bit" more as you say for something better except that something doesn't actually exist.
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Old 04-11-2017, 01:00 PM   #342
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Flag carriers get preferential treatment, per say. In some countries, they're quite literally nationalized airlines. State-owned. American Airlines, I believe, used to be one. But that's history, they're entirely a private company now. Just with the registration of being a flag carrier.


Right, but I'm trying to understand the endless pockets, and which crowds are longing for now defunct regulations?
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:33 PM   #343
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Report of explosives thrown at Borussia Dortmund team bus while it was preparing to go to their Champions League game this afternoon.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:53 PM   #344
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It's entirely possible that airline travel is cheaper (again you are speaking from the US point of view, not all of us have the same level of competition and lower prices available) AND it is also a terrible experience.



And it simply isn't true that if you want to pay a "bit" more for comfort, the options exist. Sorry, they do not. I travel fairly often, both economy and business/first. There is nothing you can do to pay "a bit" more, other than maybe upgrade to economy seats which are labeled premium (lol) buying you a couple more inches of leg room. These seats also are few in number so even if you have the intention to upgrade you often won't have the actual ability to do so. The food, if you want to call chips and chocolate bars and hummus with crackers acceptable on 5+ hour flights, has to be bought at exorbitant prices. I am therefore not sure what you are referring to when you say that for a bit more you can have the comfort you want. Really the only comfort you're going to get is upgrading to business or first and those options are completely out of reach for the majority of people unless they are using miles to upgrade (and doing so like a year in advance).



I would not complain if we were in fact given some option between economy, which on some airlines feels like cattle class, and business/first. What is worse is for those of us outside of US, Canada specifically, we live in an oligopoly of 2 national airlines and a couple of small regional ones. I recently flew to San Diego on Air Canada Rouge. "Rouge" is their cheaper airline and it's truthfully unbearable. It is akin to a Greyhound in the sky but with less leg room. I am 5'8 and I could not have adequate leg room, and had to sit with the knees of the man behind me digging into my back. A complicating factor is that I have a blood clotting disorder so I have to shoot up with heparin to make sure a flight like this basically doesn't kill me. My husband is 6'1 and had to sit spread eagle the entire time, which must have been fun for the woman next to him. Needless to say I will never fly Rouge again, but the issue is on this particular flight path you don't even have the option of flying the regular Air Canada planes (not that they are anything to write home about but at least the space is manageable).



I get that most consumers will just look for the lowest price, especially in the era of online booking where you can compare among airlines. Which is fine, but I think a significant portion WOULD be willing to pay "a bit" more as you say for something better except that something doesn't actually exist.


I'm going to disagree with you about "a bit". I fly American Airlines typically, and their Main Cabin Extra product comes at about $30-$50 more on a ~$200 one-way flight, with honestly very generous legroom, which I consider to be a perfectly reasonable price to pay. Not within everyone's reach, of course, but it's not like they're pricing it in Monopolistic McMoneybags style. A ~25% price increase seems rather fair for something that takes up ~25% of a seat.

I'm going to agree with you about flying Canada, though (and yes, my perspective in my first post is 100% about the US - I should have caveated it thusly.) The lack of competition in that market is astounding (also caveating that you deal with it more than I). It's borne out by tiny regional jets setting capacity far below what it should be on what you'd expect to be major routes like LGA-YYZ. Every time I go up to Toronto I'm astounded by how expensive the tickets are.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:39 PM   #345
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You may have that option but I have never EVER seen premium economy so cheap. I don't fly a lot within the US so that may be the reason, but it's really not the case on long haul international flights no matter the airline. For example, a premium economy seat to HK or Tokyo from Toronto would cost $1900, which is more than 2x the cost of an economy ticket on a couple of airlines. About a 115% increase, which is really not "a bit". The cheapest I can find is about a 65% mark up, but on an airline I'd probably choose not to fly. And given that premium economy seats really only make sense on flights of 5+ hours which feature bigger planes (like the Dreamliner, there the premium economy seats are REALLY comfortable), it's pretty crappy if this is your best choice.
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