Cannabis and Advertising

Should cannabis companies be allowed to advertise their products? We talk about the current advertising restrictions for medical cannabis and whether or not they should apply to the recreational industry.


Ian Chamandy, Founding Partner of Blueprint Business Architecture; John Fowler, CEO of Supreme Pharmaceuticals; Rebecca Jesseman, Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse; Deepak Anand, Executive Director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association; Will Stewart, 

The Genetics Bottleneck

What does legalizing cannabis at the federal level really mean? We use the genetics bottleneck to look at federal regulation for recreational consumption in Canada.


David Brown, Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief at Lift; Will Stewart, Managing Principle at Navigator Ltd.; Deepak Anand, Executive Director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association.

Cannabis and Public Health

Creating policy for recreation consumption of cannabis is not an easy task. There's a natural tension between public health and industry interests and this week we're discussing the public health perspective on legalization.


Rebecca Jesseman, Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse; Mark Pugash, Director of Corporate Communications, Toronto Police Service; Marcus Charles, Co-founder of JUJU 

Legalized: Colorado, Washington, and Canada

This week, we're looking at other states that have gone through legalization. We're comparing regulations in Colorado and Washington and discussing how they could apply to Canada.


John Prentice, CEO of Ample Organics; Rosy Mondin, Executive Director of the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada; Marcus Charles, Co-founder of JUJU Joints; Rebecca Jesseman, Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Navigator launches new podcast on cannabis

I'm pretty excited to share our latest project with you. Today, we launched Legalizedour new podcast which will look at the emerging cannabis sector from a public affairs and regulatory perspective. 

This is kind of like episode 0.5, to set the stage for our first episode. There are a number of competing objectives and goals with legalizing recreational marijuana use. There are also a lot of questions that need to be answered: How will distribution work? Who will be responsible for what? What will be legal on day one?

Join us as we talk about all of these issues and consider where regulation is headed. 

Political Traction Dissects #MyDemocracy

This week we had to take the show on the road. An unexpected trip to Montreal meant we had to get a little bit more creative with our production. So instead of going through our top three issues, we decided to focus on the top issue of the week: electoral reform. And this week, when we say electoral reform, we mean the Liberal government’s survey that generated a lot of criticism both online and offline.

According to the site, the purpose of the survey is: is an innovative way to join the national conversation on electoral reform. By answering a few questions, you can draw a picture of your democratic values. You can share your results with friends. It only takes a few minutes to answer and your feedback will help shape a healthier democracy.
As you answer the questions, remember that there are no wrong answers and your individual responses will always remain anonymous. This is a different way of consulting Canadians – we hope you enjoy this, and learn something too. Thank you for participating.

However, our special guests had some different feelings about its intention.

Political Traction: Is CETA still on?

This week Allie, Colin and David talk about CETA, Canada’s refugee policy, and Trudeau getting heckled at a youth labour conference and take a break from talking about American politics.


Will we, won’t we? Earlier this week, there was drama here and across the Atlantic when the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada seemed to fall apart only days before it was supposed to be signed. Wallonia, a region in Belgium, wants safeguards on labour and environmental and consumer standards. They’re also looking for some protection for Walloon farmers in competition with Canadian farmers. Belgium’s federal system requires all six of its regions to be on board to be able to approve the agreement. Considering this deal has been seven years in the making, this was a pretty big deal.

But, everyone has since made up – or at least come to some sort of a consensus. As of Thursday, it appears the deal is back on.

Refugee Policy

This week, the Conservatives put forward a bill to fast-track Yazidi refugees into Canada. MPs voted unanimously to formally declare the persecution of Yazidis by ISIS a genocide and to prioritize Yazidis over the next four months. However, while the government has promised to the fast-tracking, they haven’t given any hard numbers.

Trudeau gets heckled

The Prime Minister attended a youth labour forum this week, but wasn’t met with a warm welcome. A number of delegates turned their backs on Trudeau and refused to engage with him on a number of issues, including global warming and precarious work.

Earlier in the week Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated that short-term contracts and high job turnover rates were the new normal for youth employment. Many of the delegates found these remarks offensive and that Morneau was suggesting it’s something millennials should just learn to deal with. Additionally, many at the forum heckled Trudeau for continuing with a number of initiatives and targets set by the previous government.

Because of all this, Trudeau basically ended up scolding the room. Whether or not the forum will end up tarnishing the Prime Minister’s brand is debatable, though. The attendees of the forum might be more left-leaning than the average Canadian, and not necessarily representative of the youth vote.

Can It Please Be November 8th Already?

Ugh. Where to start? I mean, where to begin with this most depressing of American presidential campaigns? November 8, 2016 just can’t come soon enough, right? We’ll just all wake up from this horrible dream, relieved it’s over and get back to normal. Such a peaceful thought. If only we could live our lives through rose-coloured lenses. Truth is, I know things aren’t right in this world when I find myself agreeing with a Globe and Mail columnist. John Ibbitson recently predicted that while Trump will likely lose, “he is the final warning to the elites.” I’m afraid he hit this one on the head:

“Unless political elites of both the left and the right become more humble, unless they once again ask themselves how their agendas will play in Peoria, the next rough beast might slouch over the corpse of the republic.”

We shouldn’t underestimate the strength of the anti-establishment sentiment in the US. It’s not going away anytime soon. Those of us looking for a return to normal are in for a surprise if Clinton wins. Her victory will bring immediate relief to just about everyone north of the border, but we won’t have time to catch our breath before an unsatisfied, unhappy underbelly of discontent rears its ugly head. I’d like to think the anti-establishment movement could shed itself of the racist, bigoted, protectionist elements that make it such a foul movement. But, I suppose that’s probably a pipe dream. I’m not the only one yearning for a return to something a little more—I don’t know—gosh darn sincere.

And for a brief moment, we all got that aw shucks sincerity. You may have heard of him. He was an Internet sensation for a couple days (that’s like 80 years in Internet age). Yep. Ken Bone, ye of perfect meme nomenclature. Amongst the wreckage of personal attacks that plagued the second presidential debate, this man-in-the-red-sweater asked a snoozer of a question about energy policy. Proving just how nerdy we really are, the Internet found love at first sight. In hindsight, I suppose it makes sense; Ken provided a respite from the divisiveness of this horrible campaign—a breath of fresh air in a moist, damp locker room.

What followed was as predictable as a Harlequin romance.

We Find Love

Within hours, people already had their perfect Halloween costume. Ken’s Twitter followers grew from a mere 7 to a whopping 250,000. He got play on the Late Night circuit and for a brief time symbolized all that is right with the world. We wanted to know why he went with a red sweater. We wanted him as a candidate. We couldn’t get enough. Why didn’t we see more of this in this campaign?

I’m not sure Ken knew what predicament he found himself in, but it was pretty much the worse place to be: the Internet’s hero. Once you reach that level, you can only fall, usually with a bruising thud. And when the Internet turns on you, it cuts deep. In truth, we all leave a trail on the Internet. And as we started digging, we found that our shiny new object wasn’t so shiny after all.

Our Hearts Are Broken

The debate question everyone loved…“what step will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”…wasn’t as innocent as it first appeared. Ken works in the coal industry for a company that opposes climate regulations and has dodged current legislation to be environmentally friendly. In hindsight, his question seemed a little more self-serving.

He took to his fame by hosting a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). Sure, he was a gracious host, and started a T-shirt campaign to raise funds to fight homelessness — but he foolishly used his old username, which made it dead simple for anyone to dig into his past musings. He apparently left a comment on a pregnancy subreddit describing expecting mothers as ”beautiful human submarines.” He confessed to viewing naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and, uh…enjoying it. He committed felony insurance fraud and even suggested the shooting of Trayvon Martin was “justified.” He used his fame for a one-off Uber promotion in St. Louis. Just like that, our hero had become an “ignorant bonehead”, and a seedy sell-out.

We Piece Some of it Back Together

With the nasty stuff out of the way, some writers tried to paint a picture of a man—who like the rest of us—has many layers. No single person can be summed up in an Internet meme. This same Ken also wrote that he’s a conservative who likes Obama. He wrote a compassionate response to a rape victim. He condemned Stanford rapist Brock Turner.

Now Ken spends what appears to be considerable effort defending himself. He has clarified some of his comments. “I do not condone the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Justifiable means legal, not right.” His Twitter feed now contains links to threads and articles that defend him. He still has fans who work feverishly to push out a more sympathetic narrative of Ken. But most of us have moved on. We’ve already had enough of Ken. He’s yesterday’s news.

I’ll leave it to Ken and his fanbase to defend his words and deeds. I only highlight his story as an example of how fickle we are. We don’t have time for old news. We move from one meme to the next in just about the same amount of time Usain Bolt runs 100 meters. It’s an unforgiving place—time is never on your side, and people are apt to remember the most negative thing that was last said about you. Never mind the full story or context. That’s boring. We want to be entertained.

But, we’ve gotten to the point where that entertainment is blurry. It’s not fun, even if we try to make it that way. There’s no escaping the slog of this campaign season. There was one symbol—even if we never really took it seriously— that was supposed to provide some kind of light in a dark world. Ken, version 1.0, made the Internet pleasant, at least for a couple hours. Now that light doesn’t shine so brightly. In a way, Ken has become a symbol of this campaign. Whenever we have thought that it might get better, it only gets worse. Everywhere we look, it’s ugly. All of it. And I’m afraid it only gets uglier here on in, no matter what happens on November 8.

On that cheery note, let me get back to what really matters.

As originally published for Navigator Ltd.