Game on!

On December 11th, 2017 the Canadian Federal Government announced that it will release 75% of the cannabis excise tax revenues to help support the other orders of government that are on the front lines of legalizing cannabis nationwide.

That will spark the next debate (and will be interpreted differently) by Provinces, Territories, First Nations and Municipalities as to where the burden of implementation is transferred when it comes to the costs of enforcing this impending legislation. Similarly, where the benefits are actually realized will be debated.

Still shrouded in secrecy is whether the federal government provided up-front funds to assist the other orders of government in developing their own legislation or to assist in paying for communications to the organizations that must ultimately help administer the changes made to Canadian laws, societal norms and to the economy in general.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is calling for a strong partnership among all orders of government. Now, does the FCM, or indeed the municipalities it represents across Canada, legitimately believe that a strong partnership can possibly be developed within the next 100 days, given the historic mal-treatment of municipalities by the other two orders of government? Even amongst municipalities, the Canadian Big City Caucus will no doubt advocate to their respective Premiers that it is they (the big cities) who carry the largest burden.

This is a money battle yet to play itself out. The dividing of money is a problem that the federal government has easily downloaded onto the provinces. The dividing of it with municipalities will be a battlefield in 2018.

There also remains further dialogue that must take place between the Federal Government and the country’s First Nation leaders. It has been the position of principle by the Assembly of First Nations that it will be the First Nations and not the federal, territorial or provincial governments that will determine the rules around the use and sale of cannabis products on reserves.

During the summer of 2017, Alberta’s mid-sized cities received a summary of interviews and heard from several mid-sized city mayors from the state of Colorado. Colorado has been an early leader in the US on cannabis legislation and its impact on communities.

The results of those interviews revealed more than 20 significant considerations that Canadian municipalities need to assess as the downloading of responsibilities of this federal initiative begins. The details of those considerations were substantial. They included such things as zoning, signage regulations, setbacks from schools, distances from daycares and dealing with an unexpected number of rental properties being converted to substantial grow operations for the below market price street market.

School and health authorities found themselves having to address edibles at school, and increases in emergency room activity in hospitals. Although data are slow to be reported, anecdotally there is an increase of youth court activity being experienced in Colorado for a variety of reasons. Examples reported were the advent of new phenomena of brownie parties for youth, and pill parties for older teens.

In Canada, some of those municipal considerations will overlap with provincial considerations, some will overlap with agency jurisdictions (police and fire) and there will be overlap with the school and health jurisdictions as experienced in Colorado. Perhaps schools are being ignored, or at worst being forgotten, in this entire conversation.

The Colorado experiences (and now in several other US states) are coming to grips with the implication of the legalization and state decriminalization of cannabis/marijuana products. Products sold as edibles, vape products and old-fashioned joint smoking are creating a gold rush of opportunities, some of which were not contemplated by US lawmakers at the time of the conception.

In Canada, that rush to city hall to obtain a new cultivating permit will be met with excitement by many. But, health professionals, law enforcement personnel, school teachers and the first responders will all be wondering what the affect is on their day to day activities. And parents will be weighing the opportunity of purchases, growing decisions and personal usage against the risk of their own child’s well being.

It is also seen by many that there is a blurred line between the medicinal industry and the recreational industry. To some it is clear that there is a pure distinctionand the law delineates some of that distinction. To others, there is undoubtedly confusion created by the variety of products, and a blur exists determining whether the intended use is for recreation to relax or to simply kill the arthritis pain.

The development of public policy, and indeed private corporate policy, is left to many who do not have the knowledge or wherewithal to pull it off. Whether it is policy development by condominium associations across Canada, seniors residences or post- secondary student matters, there is much work to be done.

Here are a few more important issues that remain to be debated:

*The merits of the new legislation, as various governments and jurisdictions grapple with what local or regional policy structures may look like.

*Provinces must address the approach to storage plus sales and distribution of various cannabis products, division of tax revenues, health concerns and more.

*Municipalities are faced with permit decisions, signage restrictions, bylaw changes, training, employee drug testing policies and much more.

*Law enforcement agencies will need to develop new protocols and procedures.

Much of this is being done in a vacuum of knowledge, a shortage of skills and a lack of funding from the federal government to do the right jobor to do the job right.

Canadians in all walks of life will come across new policies and procedures that are affected by this. Indeed most of those policies are yet to be developed. Schools, emergency rooms, first responder vehicles, public recreation complexes and hospice care facilities will all face the question of what equipment to carry or what procedure to have in place.

In some cases, Canadians will become informed by chance, others through involvement by their own circumstances, while others will work to become involved in helping write those very policies as they experience a new modus operandi for their own set of circumstances.

Opportunities abound. From air conditioning installers to the lighting industry to the ventilation market, there will be some who are able to capitalize on the new openness of cannabis as a societal norm.

Much of what was underground money will now end up in the coffers of the Canadian banks. That is one of the fundamental reasons for Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal Liberals embarking on this generational legislative change. One can only hope it results in the intended consequences.

Just as it has taken nearly a century for Canadians and Americans to come to grips with the upside and downside of marijuana, it may very well take many more years to establish the effects of these changes being made across North America.

Finally, there is the argument as to whether there is actually more money entering the economy in the first place (as a result of the legalization) as is claimed by some, or is the limited supply of consumer money simply being shifted from one area of spending to anotherthe cannabis money shell game? This writer thinks the latter.

As I prepare to speak in August on this topic at the 14th Annual Global Conference on Ageing in Toronto, if you have any thoughts on this matter, please email me at nolan www.nolancrouse.com


The “Penalty of Leadership” – MacManus ad for Cadillac

Excuse the gender bias in this, but it is a good read

The most famous MacManus ad was for Cadillac. It first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post of January 2, 1915. The car was not pictured; only a small rendering of the Cadillac “coat of arms” still in use today appeared at the top of the page.

Headlined “The Penalty of Leadership,” it struck so responsive a chord with the public that Cadillac still receives requests for reprints. (The ad’s focus on men reflected the times.)

Here’s an abridged version:

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity.

Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work.

In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same.

The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction.

When a man’s work becomes the standard for the whole world, it also becomes the target for the shafts of the envious few.

Whatsoever you unite, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius.

The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership.

Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroybut only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant

There is nothing new in this.

It is as old as the world and as old as human passionsenvy, fear; greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass.

And it avails nothing.

If the leader truly leads, he remainsthe leader.

Just lead, let the naysayers and critics chase you – if they chase you – they are chasing the leader…


These are words from “The Talmud”

These are words from “The Talmud”

“In a harbor, two ships sailed, one setting forth on a voyage, the other coming home to port. Everyone cheered the ship going out, but the ship sailing in was hardly noticed. To this, a wise man said, “Do not rejoice over a ship setting out to sea, for you cannot know what terrible storms it may encounter, rejoice rather over the ship that has safely reached port and brings its passengers home in peace,”

And this is the way of the world. When a child is born, all rejoice; when someone dies, all weep. We should do the opposite. For no one can tell what trials await a newborn child; but when a mortal dies in peace, we should rejoice, for he has completed a long journey, and there is no greater boon than to leave this world with the imperishable crown of a good name.


Thanks to the employees of the City of St. Albert

To the Employees working for the City of St. Albert

October 16, 2017

I will still be around lots in the next couple weeks and as we see each other, I would like to touch base with as many of you as possible and offer my face to face heartfelt thanks. Let’s stop and chat.

I wish to thank each of the employees of the City for your service to the public and also for your support of me personally over the past 13 years. Heck, perhaps some of you may have even voted for me during the past 4 elections. Those who have come to know me, know that I attempt to serve with the eye to the betterment of St. Albert day in and day out; and I have come to know that you do equally do so.

I have said on so many occasions that the City has demonstrated a reputation of outstanding hiring, and for that, the community should be pleased and proud. The work ethic, technical knowledge, depth of professionalism and community contribution is and has been outstanding by the City employees for decades. This community is a product of many great groups, residents, volunteers, businesses and outstanding City staff who, for decades have worked to build a better tomorrow.

My 13 years on Council has deepened my faith and trust in City staff and I have no issue whatsoever with the departments, the Unions, the Management, the non-union staff etc. I say “keep up the great work”.

As Mayor, part of my job was to defend staff when I needed to and represent the community to the City Manager when I needed to. It is also part of my role to work with Council so that individually or collectively, staff members are treated with respect. I get pushed to the limit on this once in a while as we know!!

I know I have had a personal brand as a Mayor demanding excellence and demanding of the best possible results all the time. And you deliver! For that I say thank you.

As I close out this chapter, thank you again and I look forward to seeing you in the community in the years ahead; all of us deepening the Botanical Arts City brand.

And …….. no, I do not know what I am doing next!!

All the best and thanks

Nolan Crouse