Cannabis enthusiasts have a reputation for being pretty laid back. But even the chillest of people — long-dogged by prohibition laws — have a keen sense of injustice. The past year brought industry scandals, dubious drug policy and hypocrisy that enraged weed lovers, even in the age of legalization.
There was the Nova Scotia man with a disability who was evicted from his apartment for smoking medical cannabis on his balcony; an alleged outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease caused by a cannabis company’s cooling tower, and a sin tax on medical cannabis that do. Really, there was no shortage of weed stories to be pissed off about.
Here are some of the worst offenders that got under the cannabis community’s collective skin in 2019.
The bubble bursts, the layoffs begin
Cannabis media companies were not immune. Civilized Life laid off its entire staff in advance of being acquired by a U.S. analytics company, and Lift & Co made the “difficult” decision to cut 13 jobs — both just weeks or days before the holidays. And management at Weedmaps cut employees after deciding to require proof of licensure for the businesses it lists (although reps did not confirm if the two incidents were related).
And breaking the hearts of legacy stoners across North America: the iconic High Times magazine may be on its way out after struggling with declining advertising revenue for the past few years.
Quebec cemented its reputation this year as the least weed-friendly province in Canada, at least when it comes to regulated products.
The CAQ government decided to raise the legal minimum consumption age from 18 to 21, to the ire of harm reductionists everywhere. The province also opted to ban the sale of cannabis vapes as well as most edibles, with the exception of a few beverages.
Emery, who denied that he was inappropriate with Olsen, is also alleged to have given LSD and ecstasy to underage girls, creating an environment of sexual harassment at Cannabis Culture and the now-defunct Pot TV, and writing an online diatribe regarding how to coerce women into having unwanted anal sex.
Both Marc Emery and his former wife Jodie, whom is not accused of impropriety (although a statement from Marc suggested she was aware of the issue), were dropped from appearing at multiple conferences shortly thereafter.
Licensed cultivators seemingly go consequence-free
Winnipeg cultivator Bonify had its licence suspended by Health Canada after the company was busted for hawking 200 kg of unregulated weed. They had that same licence reinstated by the federal regulator just months later.
Meanwhile, a Winnipeg man was sentenced to 10 months in jail for possession of 85 grams of illicit weed, and First Nations dispensaries on reserves have been raided, as have unlicensed dispensaries across the country.
Some critics contend the real takeaway from 2019 is that licensed producers can get away with selling illicit product without consequences, while less powerful businesses and individual citizens continue to pay the price.
Want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world of cannabis? Subscribe to the Cannabis Post newsletter for weekly insights into the industry, what insiders will be talking about and content from across the Postmedia Network.
Written by Emma Spears