Beyond the dope headlines of Canada’s weed legalization

And a few more pot puns you didn’t need

This is from our weekly Discourse newsletter. Make sure to share it and subscribe here.

You might have noticed a lot of puff pieces and headlines full of dope puns this week about the legalization of cannabis. But how can you weed out the half-baked stories and satisfy your high expectations when hashing out the tough questions about this budding industry?

As your bud, I thought I’d share some important questions that might be getting lost in the haze of mainstream coverage — questions that go beyond simply establishing where you can buy pot and the different laws in each province.

If you want to be blunt and let me know what other burning questions are being left out of the mainstream coverage, toke some time to email me here.

Did you hear?

Updates from our Cowichan team.

Haley Guest practices a low brace with help from canoe instructor Rick Bryan near the Duck Pond in Lake Cowichan

Can $750,000 solve climate change? Very unlikely. But our reporter in the Cowichan Valley, Jacqueline Ronson, teamed up with our videographer Uytae Lee to break down two referendum questions facing the valley’s community on Oct. 20: whether to fund water management and affordable housing strategies.

If you’re in a province or territory that is heading to a municipal ballot box in the next few weeks, you will likely have a few referendum questions to consider too. So before you head to the polls, double check your local government’s website for your full ballot.

Updates from our Scarborough team.

At The Discourse, we believe our reporting should be driven by what people want to know. That’s why we spent the past few months asking Scarborough residents what issues they think matter most in their community. After listening to two dozen people, we heard lots of questions about transit, safety, combating stereotypes, and arts and culture. Help us figure out which story ideas to dig into first by voting in this poll. You have from now until Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET to vote.


Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences voting (or not voting) in municipal elections, in response to our last newsletter.

We heard from readers all over Canada, including the Yukon, Ontario and B.C.. Overall, most of you said you want to vote and believe it’s an important civic duty. “I see it as a responsibility and respect for community and for those running; and to help people who echo my vision for the future get elected,” wrote Ann Andersen from Duncan, B.C.  

We also learned about the barriers to voting, many of which were around access to information. You told us in some of your communities the media is only focused on incumbent or well-recognized candidates; there’s not enough events where the public can ask questions; there’s a lack of information on candidate’s tangible ideas and platforms; and most information is only available online.

One candidate’s profile I investigated showed where to vote and pictures of his children, but no platform,” lamented Bev Buckway in Whitehorse, Yukon.

We have a ways to go when it comes to making municipal election information easy to find and access. But here are some of the strategies we heard, as shared by you, our readers:

  • Going online and directly emailing candidates with your questions
  • Finding and creating groups on social media to have online discussions about local issues
  • Heading to the local library and asking staff about events and available print resources
  • Following groups like this one called Policy-Pop Up that break down local issues at community gatherings

If you want to take part in more solutions-oriented conversations we invite you to become a member of The Discourse. As a member, you’ll get to go behind the scenes of our editorial process and make an impact by contributing to our investigations. Sign up here.  [end]

*Editor’s note, Oct. 25. 2018:* An earlier version of this story misspelled Ann Andersen’s last name.


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