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BC government warns public of potential bad bud

Study showcases potential risks of illicit cannabis use, according to BC’s Public Safety Minister

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If you are smoking up, the BC government wants to be sure the product is coming from licenced sellers.

As part of a pilot study, the BC Cannabis Secretariat sent 20 dried cannabis samples to a federally licensed analytical testing lab in February, 2021. The samples – which had been seized by the provincial Community Safety Unit from illicit retailers – contained a total of 24 distinct pesticides, along with “unacceptable levels of bacteria, fungi, lead and arsenic,” according to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

The study claims some growers may be engaging in practices that pose risks to consumers and employees handling the product, as indicated by the frequency and variety of contaminants identified.

“My message to people who choose to consume cannabis is simple,” said Farnworth.

“Buy from legal sellers whose regulated product is subject to national requirements that are in place to protect you.”

Farnworth also said in addition to the health risks, purchasing illegal cannabis means you could be supporting organized criminal operations who “pose a danger to our communities.”

There are more than 370 legal cannabis stores in BC, and roughly 160 illicit stores have either been forced to or voluntarily shut down since enforcement began after non-medical marijuana became legal, according to Farnworth.

“When the arguably six billion dollar industry was legalized, few, if not none of the groups previously involved have gone away. The market just opened up to legitimate buyers,” a former Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit senior officer told the Western Standard.

“Those guys were already well established in production, distribution, marketing, sales, wholesale, and retail across Canada … and they also have roots in the US.

“Organized crime groups are also going to farmers up the valley and saying, ‘Look, I’ll build you a barn if I can use it for five years.’

“They are making huge profits at half the cost of government cannabis … some of these barns are doing 10 million dollars a year in wholesale prices, and of course this money and these organizations are often connected to the lower Mainland conflict.”

Farnworth has said in contrast to buying contaminated products which contribute to organized crime, the public can instead buy from a licensed seller and “feel assured that the tax revenue will go toward the public services that we all rely on.”

The National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health set forth a list of evident limitations to the analysis, such as how the small sub-sample is not representative of all illicit cannabis in Metro Vancouver. The samples may have been produced by 20 different growers, or one. They may have been grown within Metro Vancouver or may have been sourced from elsewhere.

The National Centre elected not to perform health risk assessment using the data, due to concerns of over or under-representing the risk to the public.

“This is a continuation of the same fear mongering tactics,” Jodie Emery, Canadian cannabis activist and publisher of Cannabis Culture told the Western Standard.

“The government needs to accept responsibility for tainted cannabis. When they complain about dangerous shady people who are involved, it’s because they themselves have criminalized it, they’ve kept it criminal. This incentivizes people who are shady and unscrupulous.

“If the government allowed the mom and pop shop to operate, they would do it with pride, honour, and integrity … but when the government threatens prison time and massive fines, the market goes to people who are potentially dangerous. Cannabis wasn’t legalized, it was just corporatized.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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Edmonton anchor fuming after pride flag ripped down

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

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An Edmonton news anchor is furious after a Pride flag was ripped down from its pole outside her home.

“I am LIVID right now,” tweeted Breanna Karstens-Smith, a Global anchor.

Karstens-Smith

“This just happened at my house. Someone came and tore down our Pride flag. No one touched it for a year when it was a Canada flag but now that it’s for pride this happens.

“THIS IS WHY WE NEED PRIDE MONTH.”

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

Pride flag torn down

“And they are greatly mistaken if they think we’re not putting another one up. Ordering a new flag pole now. Flag is thankfully fine but we got it from @thequiltbagyeg and would love to see more in our city,” she tweeted.

“Our flag is back up and our house feels right again. Thank you for the kind messages of support. The best part is hearing from people now putting up their own flags. I’d love to see photos of them. Happy Pride.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Regina chamber CEO calls COVID-19 protesters ‘narrow, dimwitted, racist’

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy,” said John Hopkins.

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Regina Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins denounced COVID-19 protesters and their message in an email sent to the organization’s members.

“The anti-mask group in Regina are a very small but loud group. They have been protesting for months. They believe that they have a right to not wear a mask,” Hopkins wrote.

“Some are of the view that there are tracking devices in the masks and still others believe that this is a global conspiracy.

“…the anti-maskers have crossed the line. They have been harassing business owners, people on the street and now their latest target, kids at schools. In my opinion targeting kids is too far, way too far.

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy. They certainly have the right to say what they want but the same rights and privileges extend to the rest of us….

“Racism is a vicious challenge that we need to address as a country, province and community. The time has come to act and stand up.”

The Western Standard asked Hopkins what harassment had occurred in Regina.

“There’s a candy shop on 13th Avenue,” Hopkins said.

“The business owner asked them to put on a mask and they refused and business owner refused to serve them.”

The incident from May 26 was watched almost 30,000 times on a YouTube video. The would-be customers were standing outside on the deck of the business across from the serving window.

“There has been some altercations between anti maskers and other people, actually on the street, I believe on Albert Street,” Hopkins said.

“And throughout the course of the last 14 months on, generally speaking, it’s just been people on the side of the street.”

Hopkins’ accusation of racism concerned comments made about Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“There were some very troubling remarks about Dr. Shahab that the premier addressed. We were quite concerned about that… as well as other sort of comments on telling people to go home and that type of thing on some of the signs.”

At a December 14 press conference, Premier Moe said the “end was in sight” for COVID-19 restrictions, but he was “embarassed” at “racist”,”foolish”, and “idiotic” comments made by a protester at the legislature. In a video posted days before, a man tried to say Shahab’s name a few times unsuccessfully before commenting, “can’t get these foreigners’ names right.”

Regarding students, Hopkins said, “I’ve heard that they were at a school and that they were talking to kids at a school this past week….and parking in the school parking lot….I just think going to the school is a bit much.”

Hopkins said masks help.

“It blows my mind that somehow when the Chief Medical Officer – not only one, but many across the country, and in fact, globally – are saying, wear a mask, I think it’s pretty straightforward wearing a mask is one of the things that can help people stay safe…Even though we’re making headway against the virus, it’s still out there that masks aren’t doing anything. And I find it just bizarre.”

The email was posted on the Freedom Alliance Facebook page by Kevin Volk.

“Check out this crap that was sent to me,” Volk wrote, urging people to phone the chamber to express their displeasure.

Volk told the Western Standard he had a cleaning business and had been a chamber member “for well over ten years.”

“This is just another slap in the face for business owners. The chamber has been pushing for businesses to remain closed even tho they are supposed to help businesses. They have done absolutely nothing for small businesses owners,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canadians hit with millions of dollars of COVID fines

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

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The feds have issued tickets for close to $3 million for COVID-19 scofflaws who have refused to quarantine at hotels after arriving back in the country, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Other tickets handed out include fines for fraudulent COVID-19 test results.

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

“I think it is important that we adhere to the public health advice that we are all getting, that we do our part as Canadians to try and protect our health care system,” Health Minister Patricia Hajdu earlier told reporters.

Records show a total 988 air passengers were each ticketed $3,000 for “refusing to go to government-approved accommodation” on arrival in Canada. The majority of tickets, 621, were issued at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport followed by Vancouver (194 tickets) and Montréal (173).

Cabinet on January 7 passed an order requiring all air travelers to prove they were COVID-19-free with tests taken a maximum 72 hours prior to arrival. An identical order for cross-border drivers was invoked February 22.

The Canada Border Services Agency found 62 travelers with fake tests, said the report, and four were each ticketed $3,000.

Another 9,003 travelers were cited for not having proof of a valid test, including 4,583 drivers and 4,420 air passengers.

“This would include individuals who did not test at all, who were in possession of tests outside the required 72-hour time frame, tests that did not originate from the required country of origin, tests that are suspected fraudulent and other reasons,” wrote staff.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair defended the enforcement.

“Cancel your vacation plans,” Blair told reporters February 12.

“Stay home. Respect the rules. We believe that through these effective measures, appropriate screening and the testing measures in particular that we have put in place coupled with robust and enforced quarantine orders, it is the best way to prevent variants from spreading across our borders into Canada.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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No Media Bailouts

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