Dasi Menakadasi holds a joint while smoking marijuana to celebrate the legalization of recreational cannabis, in Vancouver on Wednesday October 17, 2018. Today marks one year since pot was made legal in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

In the news: Legal pot celebrates first birthday, leaders hit final strides of campaign

Campaign stays hot as election creeps closer

What we are watching in Canada …

Today marks one year since pot was made legal in Canada.

Police, lawyers and advocates say that one year into cannabis legalization, Canada has a long way to go toward stamping out the black market and pot-impaired driving.

The weed is expensive, the selection is limited, the black market persists, and licensed stores are scarce.

While many residents remain proud of Canada for bucking prohibition, a lot still buy cannabis on the sly, because taxes and other issues mean high-quality bud can cost nearly twice what it did before legalization.

Much of the drug’s production and distribution over the years has been controlled by outlaw groups, including the Hells Angels, and replacing such criminality with safe, regulated sales is a key goal of legalization.

Yet legal sales in the first year are expected to total just $1 billion, an amount dwarfed by an illegal market still estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion.

“We can’t call it a success at this point,” Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford, B.C., police department said of the law change a year ago Thursday.

He said organized crime’s market share and youth consumption have not yet fallen, and tools to detect stoned drivers are still lacking.

But Serr, who also co-chairs the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police drug advisory committee, said resources and workloads have not changed much.

“When you talk to chiefs all across the country, the sky didn’t fall.”

READ MORE: Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

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Also this …

Leaders are making it for hotly contested seats in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia as the clock ticks.

After spending Wednesday wooing voters in Quebec, the leaders of the three biggest parties are separating, only Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau staying behind.

He started in Montreal yesterday before road-tripping to a rally in Sherbrooke and today he’s going the other way, beginning in hotly contested Trois-Rivieres and making several stops as he heads back west to Montreal again.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is hitting the Toronto suburb of Brampton and then making a stop in the city before flying east to a rally in Pictou County, N.S.

And New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is starting in Welland, Ont., near Niagara Falls, where former MP Malcolm Allen is trying to take back his old seat.

Green Leader Elizabeth May is on Vancouver Island, making numerous stops along the highway from Campbell River to Ladysmith, where the Greens see their best chances to add to their two seats.

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Thank you for flying with us, everyone.

Several Canadian airlines have scrubbed the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” from their in-flight announcements, or are considering the change.

The move replaces the gendered language with non-binary terminology as part of a broader shift toward corporate inclusivity.

Air Transat says it has stopped using the salutation as well as its French equivalent, “mesdames et messieurs.” Air Canada says it will do likewise and Porter Airlines jettisoned “ladies and gentlemen” in 2018.

WestJet and Sunwing still include the phrase in their in-flight announcements, but say they are mulling an edit.

In February, major U.S. airlines said they would change their ticketing process so that passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines, representing a victory for advocates of transgender recognition.

READ MORE: ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ a phrase of the past on board some airplanes

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What we are watching in the U.S. …

A British family that made an unauthorized crossing from British Columbia into the United States was deported Wednesday after nearly two weeks in federal custody, ending an ordeal that family members called the worst of their lives.

The extended Connors family, which includes four adults, toddler twins and an infant, had been held at a detention centre in Berks County, Pa. They’ve since been returned to England, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

Eileen Connors, 24, has said she and her family mistakenly crossed the border into Washington state while trying to avoid an animal in the road on the Canadian side near Vancouver and were swiftly taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol. Connors’ affidavit said family members were subsequently incarcerated in a series of cold and dirty immigration facilities and “treated like criminals” as they waited to be sent home.

U.S. officials have asserted the family crossed the border on purpose, noting their vehicle was observed “slowly and deliberately” driving through a ditch to cross into U.S. territory in Blaine, Wash., on Oct. 2. Two of the family members had previously been denied entry to the U.S., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

READ MORE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

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On this day in 1970 …

Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte’s body was found in the trunk of a car in St. Hubert, Que. He was a victim of FLQ terrorism.

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Pretty cool pad …

For about US$23, you can either get a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon or spend a night at the company’s distillery in Kentucky.

The Louisville Courier Journal reports the company has posted its Clermont property on Airbnb, with reservations running from Oct. 21 through the end of the year.

The online posting says stays include a distillery tour and tasting. The posting also promises that the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath rental comes with a bar fully stocked with premium Jim Beam bourbons.

The posting is signed by Fred Noe, the seventh generation master distiller and Beam’s great-grandson.

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Your health …

Public health concerns over vaping have cast a haze over expansion excitement in the cannabis market.

The production and sale of cannabis derivatives become legal today, but Christopher Carlsten, the head of respiratory medicine at University of British Columbia, would have liked to see legalization of cannabis vaping products postponed.

“These products get out there and then we chase our tails trying to figure out what’s going on, why we are seeing the toxicity, and then try to regulate retrospectively, which is a dangerous way to do things,” says Carlsten.

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment apparently linked to vaping.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that the number of confirmed and probable cases of the severe pulmonary illness jumped to 1,299 across 49 states, including 26 deaths.

No one device, product or substance has been linked to all the cases, but health authorities there are urging people to stop using electronic cigarettes, specifically for products containing THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a compound found in cannabis.

READ MORE: First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness in B.C. ‘not surprising’: UBC prof

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Celebrity news … Celine Dion is back on stage while still battling the lingering effects of a throat virus.

The Quebec superstar’s voice quivered as she returned to performing in Ottawa this week.

Dion acknowledged for the crowd at a show on Tuesday that she was struggling and she wasn’t living up to her own expectations.

The show marked Dion’s first concert since doctor’s orders forced her to delay a number of Canadian tour dates.

Several weeks ago, Dion postponed six shows in Montreal as she dealt with the virus. Some of those dates where moved to November while others were bumped to next February.

READ MORE: Celine Dion embarks on world tour in September

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The Canadian Press


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