Canada Rolls Out A ‘$1 Billion’ Privatized Medical Marijuana Industry

But even as the new system privatizes distribution, critics fear regulation under the conservative-led government will make it harder for patients to get access to the drug. In Canada, medical marijuana has been legal but highly regulated for more than a decade. Patients with doctor approval could grow or have someone else grow small quantities or request limited amounts from Health Canada, the national healthcare department. But the conservative-led government voted earlier this year to effectively scrap that system in favor of a privatebut also strictly regulatedsystem, targeting the flow of legal marijuana into the black market and shedding Health Canadas role in marijuana production. Health Canada will phase out the current system, under which it sells registered users marijuana grown by Prairie Plant Systems , by the end of March. Instead, starting Tuesday, medical marijuana users, or aspiring users, can send in an application directly to sanctioned corporate producers , along with a doctors note (or in some cases, a nurses note). If approved, they can place an order, pay the market price (the black market price is about $10 a gram; officials say the medical marijuana price will drop below that within a year), and wait for the secure courier to deliver their weed. (MORE: Majority of Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana ) There are nearly 40,000 people registered to use the drug under the current system in a country with a tenth the population of the U.S., and the government expects that number to balloonup to 450,000 by 2024and fuel what could become a $1.3 billion domestic pot industry. But the government expects that the privatized system, with only heavily-vetted producers (so far there are two licensed distributors, of at least 156 applications), will help ensure a higher level of oversight. Were fairly confident that well have a healthy commercial industry in time, Sophie Galarneau, a senior official with Health Canada, told the Canadian Press. Its a whole other ball game. The new regulations have failed to win over advocates for legalized marijuana, who have faced strong resistance from the conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In November, even as two states in the United States voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the Harper government passed strict minimum penalties for people who grow as few as six marijuana plants. They treat pot like its plutonium, says Blair Longley, head of the single-issue Marijuana Party that fielded five candidates in the 2011 parliamentary elections.

CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as U.S. shutdown hits energy, boosts gold

Australia will play France in Paris on Oct. 11 before meeting Canada. Cahill will equal Peter Wilsons record of 60 matches as Socceroos captain if he skippers the team against both France and Canada. Osieck says the Canada game will offer some new players a chance to shine. “If they do well, they have the opportunity to stay. And if they don’t do well, I will look for other people,” he said in an interview on the Football Federation Australia website. The Australians were thrashed 6-0 last month in Brazil in their last outing. “What we learned definitely is that we still have a long way to go” said Osieck. “We played a top-class opponent, probably one of the best teams in the world, on their home soil and at that stage our team was not ready.” Floro’s 21-man roster for the Australia game features seven MLS players including four from Toronto FC: defenders Ashtone Morgan and Doneil Henry and midfielders Kyle Bekker and Jonathan Osorio. Midfielder-forward Russell Teibert comes from the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Australia game falls in FIFA’s international match window Nov. 15-19.

Floro names Canada roster for Socceroos game against former manager Holger Osieck

government shutdown hit the energy and financial sectors, but boosted the bullion price and gold-mining stocks. A day after The Democratic-led U.S. Senate voted to kill Republicans’ latest attempts to modify an emergency government funding bill, hopes the debt crisis would be resolved soon began to dwindle. The uncertainty spurred a jump in gold, which is seen as a safe-haven asset, as investors placed bets on the commodity. Gold stocks gained as a result. “The market continues to say: ‘This is a temporary blip, don’t get too distracted by it, but drive on, ‘” said Robert McWhirter, president and portfolio manager at Selective Asset Management Inc. Investors will start to panic only if the shutdown extends beyond a few weeks, he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 8.44 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,839. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. The financial group fell 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada , the country’s biggest lender, dropped 0.5 percent to C$66.35. Toronto Dominion Bank gave back 0.3 percent to C$92.04. Energy shares shed 0.8 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd falling 1.8 percent to C$32.23 and having the biggest negative influence on the market. Suncor Energy Inc lost almost 1 percent to C$36.81.