In Blockchain we trust

adult-bitcoin-blockchain-1037914 (1)The first thing we do, let’s disintermediate all the lawyers.

 

Imagine a virtuous world where someone says they would do something and then actually did it. Blockchain promises to revolutionize the economy since the need for virtue simply disappears. Advocates claim that Blockchain immensely raises the level of trust in the system. Alternatively, one could argue that it removes the need for trust.

 

Presently, we are more of a trust but verify type of society. If you want to buy a car, you search for comparable vehicles, haggle for the best price and sign pages of legal documents. Banks have you sign reams of paperwork and generally place a security interest on the car. The Bank also confirms the car is free of any liens. You then generally pay on time for the next four years. If you miss a couple of payments, then the bank may have to launch some proceedings for collection.

 

Undoubtedly you have heard of Bitcoin somehow in conjunction with Blockchain. Let’s ignore the Bitcoin frenzy for now and focus on what drives it.

 

Blockchain comprises a continuously growing list of records called blocks. These blocks link together using cryptography that are resistant to data modification. So instead of a single ledger of transactions held by one organization, it creates an open distributed ledger that can record transactions between parties in a verifiable way. One earlier block cannot be altered without the consensus of later blocks.

 

Blockchains can be public or private. MasterCard’s Blockchain can’t be viewed and may not have any purpose outside of marketing since all of its transactions run through the existing infrastructure. This harkens back to the time when companies advertised they were Y2K compliant.

 

You clamber down the rabbit hole and you encounter smart contracts. The name again seems a bit of a misnomer since the contracts operate a simple logic of if this happens then that happens next.

 

Smart contracts use computer protocols intended to enforce the performance of a contract. They can be fully or partially self-executing. Once various conditions are fulfilled, assets are transferred and funds are released. This transaction appears visible to all users but all parties remain anonymous.

 

We can look to Ethereum as having one of the better systems for establishing these smart contracts. Ethereum uses its own cryptocurrency called Ether. In our car example the history of the car and the dealer’s transactions reside on the Blockchain which is public. You contact your bank which has instant access to your credit history. The bank can transfer funds immediately and the dealer can arrange for the vehicle transfer by the time you get back from your test drive.

 

So long as you continue to authorize payments to the bank, all remains well. If you decide to stop payments, then the car’s systems could be disabled the next time you try to start it. Welcome to the internet of things.

 

The Blockchain concept does have the potential to extend to all types of commercial transactions. House purchases could be reduced down to days from the existing weeks it presently takes. This would require a public ledger of real estate titles, planning permissions and certificates of title. Sweden’s land-ownership authority conducts Blockchain property transactions in various staged pilot projects. A three to six month transaction could take hours instead. All that extra efficiency must come out of some intermediary’s pocket.

 

The removal of intermediaries impacts large swathes of job categories.  Any sort of job category that involves creating trust in a transaction may no longer be required. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners strongly claims that Blockchain is no mere hype train. This strong endorsement may have the effect of reducing the need for Certified Fraud Examiners by using Blockchain instead.

 

One paper suggested that insurance payouts could applied to Blockchain. They suggested that an automated system could indicate if an insured fell within an area that was recently flooded. Insurance payments would then be automatically issued.

 

Ultimately, Blockchain can be seen as a foundational change. Immense barriers remain for its adoption for businesses, government and individuals. The incorporation of Blockchain may take years.

 

However, a major function of lawyers includes the trust but verify aspect. As real estate transactions become more blockchainish, then the role of the lawyer would be substantially reduced.  This may finally drive the concept of hourly billing into a strict transactional fee type of relationship with clients.

 

Harvard Business Review goes so far as to say intermediaries such as lawyers, brokers and bankers may no longer be necessary. Not so much a ‘the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’ as ‘let’s disintermediate all the lawyers.’ This may not have the same emotive content, but the result would be same, lawyer wise.

 

From Lawyers Daily

GoogleLaw and creative destruction of the legal profession

beating-construction-crushing-37409 (1)Google and artificial intelligence may not be the end of the legal profession, but, boy, can you see it from here.

I anticipate encountering what Joseph Schumpeter euphemistically called creative destruction. Innovation destructs archaic business models and creatively releases capital to be deployed elsewhere — a benign description of being out on the street with your law degree.

Perhaps it’s too hyperbolic, but, for example, Google has made a database of federal and state case law and legal journal articles available via its Google Scholar search. In their defence, lawyers can now purchase on Amazon the “Please Do Not Confuse Your Google Search With My Law Degree” coffee mug.

For a simpler DIY approach, YouTube displays more than 146 videos on family law. This also includes shuffle playlist for greater variety.

For comparison, AI factors into more than 38 per cent of regular enterprise planning for mainly customer interfaces. As for law firms, it’s likely not so much. Most of law firm and in-house planning centres on how to augment regular legal work with new AI tools to make this more effective and efficient.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., apparently, eliminated 360,000 hours of legal work creating legal security documents by the use of COIN, for Contract Intelligence, to review commercial loan agreements. The bank plans to use AI to analyze credit default swaps . . . since things worked out so well last time.

Other forms of AI can review entire contracts, interpret sections and even recommend sections that are not there. These recommendations can depend on which side of a particular transaction you happen to be. Similar to customizing streaming music systems, one can imagine the type of customization that can occur as you adjust the lever from buyer focused over to seller focused. We await the ultimate customization that includes sliding the scale either to the far left or far right into the “jerk” setting.

I tried a contract review application one time with a simple release. No comments came back. I imagine legal associates would be ecstatic to receive something back from a senior lawyer without any comments. I was hoping for at least one “atta boy” type of meme.

Instead of augmenting legal practice, another perspective suggests a client-based focus where the system asks questions and directs the client to certain resources. For example, The DoNotPay website helped users successfully appeal hundreds of thousands of parking tickets by having the client answer a number of questions. The system then interprets the situation and prints out a draft letter to send to the authorities.

I tested DoNotPay over the weekend and can confidently assert that the experience replicated that of retaining some legal firms. The site took in my request, said it was sorry to hear that and told me if I could email more information it would get back to me in 24 hours. Nice immediate reply, but a solution may come a bit later. Notwithstanding the delay, the value proposition — benefits divided by total costs — cannot be beat. The system is free.

So, where do the law societies stand among all of this creative destruction? Their mandate includes the protection of the public. However, the other two mandates generally include advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law, which requires the public disclosure of legal codes and processes. Societies also facilitate access to justice. This suggests making it as easy as possible for the general public unable to afford a lawyer access to some form of legal information.

This type of access does not mean providing paper or online brochures but a more customized response. In other businesses, chatbots can ask an advancing series of questions and provide a more “intelligent” and applicable answer. This forms the entire basis behind a customer-focused type of interface.

A new client-driven model suggests perhaps an Uber approach. Uber does not own cabs and tries not to employ drivers. The courts have imposed some obligations here. Generally, Uber is a simple platform that connects customers and drivers. A similar approach could connect a client and a lawyer providing the most cost-effective service. Cost is not everything, but as the law becomes more commoditized, then perhaps being “the better lawyer” may not carry the day if everyone uses the same type of AI platform to research and provide a result. And, yes, everyone shall likely have their respective settings maximized over to jerk, so there will still be plenty to argue about.

From a policy analysis perspective, one appreciates the different approaches each law society brings to the table and the complicated socio-economic analysis that would be required to balance justice access and public protection. The 2014 CBA Legal Futures Initiative outlined a number of areas that the legal profession could take to remain relevant. Implementation of the recommendations may be slow in coming.

The various law societies currently have authority over who can practise law. One can easily imagine a public lobbying effort to storm the ramparts to allow some form of AI system that can ask questions and guide the individual to a possible area where help could be found. There is nothing like a bit of urgency to assist in the legal change management process.

 

 

Canadian Lawyer November 6, 2017

Technology wants to be friends!

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Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more, no more, no more, no more
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back
No more

 

Ray Charles

 

Generally, technology provides certain expected benefits. Other benefits appear totally unexpected.  As an early adopter of technology, I tried using an automotive navigation system a couple of times. Driving in a large unknown city can be intimidating, so I like to have some gentle guidance on where to go. Anything more than this level of guidance causes my frontal cortex to freeze up. As you know, numerous people ended up in rivers, lakes and oceans simply following navigation system directions with no further frontal cortex involvement of their own.

 

For example the WAZE application allows you to avoid traffic tie-ups, but it expects you to think about what you are doing. Their terms of reference includes the following exclusion;

You agree and acknowledge that you assume full, exclusive and sole responsibility for the use of and reliance on the Service, and you further agree and acknowledge that your use of or reliance on the Service is made entirely at your own risk. You further acknowledge that it is your responsibility to comply with all applicable laws (including traffic laws) while using the Service.

 

I rented a car in Toronto along with a nurturing navigation unit without even a cursory review of the terms and conditions. I find the street layouts somewhat intimidating. Where I come from, whenever you have a street, with an overpass on top, iced with a further freeway on top of that, I believe myself in a futuristic metropolis.

 

The rental agency gently explained how the global positioning system (GPS: godforsaken poor sap) worked. I later sat in the car while the system accessed the satellites. I believed that they could have been talking, planning or eventually scheming about how they intended to take over the world, starting with me.

 

My propensity to allow an authority figure to tell me what to do becomes a factor here. I expressed a bit of free will and left the parking lot before the GPS managed to access its cabal of satellites. The cement parking lot seemed to block access. I will remember that for when the machine apocalypse finally comes.

 

The unit gave me a choice of a nurturing female voice or a big brother type of male voice. I went with the female voice thinking that I would need more understanding while driving in the big city. The GPS “Gennie” located its conspirator satellites and told me to continue driving forward. Any sort of takeover requires complicity in the subject, so I started to relax. Gennie’s female voice softly directed me to drive downtown and gave me fair warning of upcoming exits, merging highways and veering lefts or rights. She comforted me and appeared to be on my side.

I followed her directions to the letter and found myself between a series of pylons and within an area exclusively for trains. She continue to console me by saying how close I was to my destination. I eventually found an exit to this apparent train trap.   The machines showed their cleverness. But just not clever enough.

 

Time heals all wounds apparently. Rather, stupid never learns. I rented another Gennie when I flew to the west coast. The Victoria airport is at the tip of a peninsula and you have to travel south for 20 miles before you can eventually travel north up the island. I thought with no rail lines around and no stacked concrete freeways, I would be relatively safe.

 

I wanted to find a slightly shorter route that would hug the coastline and allow me to shoot up north faster. The Victoria rental agency parks its cars outside and the new Gennie found its conspirator satellites easily. Too easily.

 

I followed the traditional highways down the peninsula, and as I hoped, Gennie got me off the highway quickly. We turned, I say ‘we’ since I thought Gennie and I were off on an adventure of sorts. A safe adventure. More of a Walt Disney type of adventure with guardrails, standard safety features and no lines.

 

The new route turned out to be far quainter than the traditional highway route. The maximum road speeds became lower than highway speeds. However, one must slow down to appreciate the beauty of the area.

 

We made another turn down another street. Even quainter, more suburban and slower. However, one must slow down to a crawl in order to read the various historical site signs. Life goes too quickly not to absorb the local flavor.

 

We made another turn down a gravel road. This area now epitomized quaintness, and at complete stop now, I could even get out and smell the roses without fear of drive-by rose thorn scratches.

 

The very short line of stopped cars ahead of me had people inside that appeared to be waiting. Looking ahead, I could now see that the road actually ended up into the ocean. Another car stopped behind me. They cut off my escape route. I admonished myself for being so gullible for falling into another GPS trap. Although this one seemed to be a fairly low speed trap. A quick mind should be able to figure out an escape.

 

Perhaps Gennie thought I would be driven by peer pressure to drive my vehicle into the water to drown. I scope out alternate escape routes.

 

The best place to start seemed to be the corner store beside me where they sold coffee. And ferry tickets. I realize that Gennie wanted me to take the ferry and not to drive my car into the water. Although this has been known to happen.

 

I bought a coffee and a ferry ticket while making nonchalant conversation as to the timing of the next ferry. I then squeezed in a further question as to what the weather might be like where we were going with the hope I would find out where we were going. One of the more helpful quaint inhabitants gestured to a far point on the other side of the channel and suggested that whatever I saw across the way would likely be what the weather would be like. His mouth smiled, but I could sense that his eyes suggested ‘dumb-ass’. I went back to the car.

 

The ferry ride turned out to be very pleasant, uneventful and short. This gave me a good chance to get out of the car, watch the sea and feel the wind. Having seen the sights, read the historical markers and smelled the roses, I appreciated the new experience. Technology provided these unexpected benefits.

 

I took the ferry less travelled.

 

 

Gary Goodwin

garywgoodwin@gmail.com

204 232 3916

Legal Operations 101

 

billing-bureaucracy-cop-33596

I fought the law and the law won.

I fought the law and the law won.

Buddy Holly

 

Legal operations emphasizes the effective and efficient delivery of legal services in-house. This relatively new discipline addresses a number of organizational issues. Counsel should no longer fight against the organizational assimilation, but they should instead work at becoming part of it.

 

Admittedly, Legal Operations even sounds cool. Someone going to the Legal Department sounds a bit like going to the old style department stores to look at furniture with your parents.

 

The best part of being in-house involves being part of an organization. The most difficult part of being in-house appears to be being part of an organization. LO helps with the effectiveness of being part of that organization.

 

We need to identify some of the issues that LO can alleviate. Dealing with organizational activities comes with the territory, AKA Willey Lowman. Some of this can be great when you are off to a retreat to do some strategic planning. Even if this involves going even further north during the winter since its off-season and there can be some great buys.

 

Another issue recognizes that in-house counsel require updates as to what is happening outside of their own department or function. The watercooler used to help with that, but now we have the ethereal coffee shop that we use for Microsoft Teams. This seems to lack the same level of integration and networking, but the coffee at home tastes better.

 

With limited resources, the next issue involves trying to educate your clients ahead of time. This really means being involved with the planning process.

 

Counsel need to demonstrate the value of the legal department or function. One must resort sometime to counting all of the icebergs or landmines the organization missed because of your risk management activities.

 

Sometimes the organization asks you to do tasks or projects outside of your area. This recognizes your abilities outside of your law degree, shows additional value and facilitates your engagement in other areas of the organization. Leading the business planning process can be a great way to demonstrate value and learn about other areas of the organization. Some refer to this as scope creep. I actually refer to this as ‘chipping in’.

 

The final and potentially greatest issue involves the need to reduce overall legal costs. Moving from a cost center to a profit centre can be a great achievement, so long as in creating profits you still have time to avoid that iceberg. The collision is what people generally remember, not that great business plan you put together.

 

LO competencies solve or alleviate some of the above issues. For example, learning the budgeting system goes far to learning the business and keeping on the CFO’s good side.

 

A major competency includes document management. Bringing in or learning how the DM operates can go far in alleviating time and costs. You waste a great deal of every day searching for a document, or searching for a document that never existed. DM search mechanisms can quickly bring you up to speed when it comes up with the ‘document not found.’ If you have every tried to prove a nullity, you can appreciate how an electronic search can substantially reduce the amount of grief.

 

Document management includes increased knowledge management. KM seems to be another term that comes and goes in favor. You can have all of the facts and information, but you need context for these two things in order to reach the knowledge plateau. Ultimately, you want the wisdom plateau when you accumulate all of the necessary institutional knowledge. Hopefully this occurs before retirement.

 

Another part of DM includes standardized contracts. Most organizations already have this. So if you do, then add it to your ‘to do list’ so that you can check it off. There is no greater feeling when it comes to setting out to accomplish something you have already accomplished.

 

Paperless policies form an integral part of document management. Previously people would scan a document but still keep the paper copy in another file. You simply have to face the situation and shred the original. Unless it is a negotiable instrument. You should keep those for a few days to make sure the scan to the bank works. I have scanned in personal cheques and shredded them immediately. This practice will catch up with me some day, but right now, I am just living on the edge.

 

Another competency involves project management. When taking my MBA, I went for a two-day seminar on PM. I spent a week cramming on using Microsoft Project software thinking that this would be the emphasis. However, we spent the two days learning to talk to one another and to listen to what the other person was saying. I did not learn anything significant about software, but it improved my relationship with my significant other. Good win there.

 

During the PM seminar, we all met up in the banquet hall. The large crowd waited at their tables, mostly patiently, for dinner. The seminar leader announced that if anyone could tell a project management joke, their table would be first in line for the buffet. I immediately stood up and asked ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?” Dramatic Pause here. “Because it was a critical path.” (Which is a major project management term that one needs to learn.) It was a groaner, but my table got to eat first. Or at least I did. The rest of my table wanted to put a bit distance between them and me.

 

The benefit of these LO techniques, excluding the lame joke telling, facilitates an effective in-house legal department and reduces the amount of legal work sent outside of the organization. Reducing outside legal work can result in reduced budgets, alternative fee arrangements or retention agreements.

 

Another LO benefit allows focus on higher priority and more strategic work. There appears to be a synergistic and not a sum zero effect. By spending more time on legal operations, this allows the remaining time spent more effectively on the legal function.

 

This is not quite the same thing as doing more with less since you need the LO expertise. You do more legal work but you need a bit more LO at the same time. If you are single legal officer worker (SLOW), then you need to become a FAST (Following A Strategic Tempo) legal operator. Yes, the acronyms sound contrived, but all business articles require several.

 

Becoming involved in other aspects of the business can be a bit of a cultural shift. Picking a few areas where you can provide value quickly and effectively would show other parts of the organization your value. Focusing on how you can help others achieve their business objectives provides the greatest value.

Not-for-profit does not mean no profit How to optimize your volunteer time

adult-african-descent-american-1345085Not-for-Profit organizations aspire to be the best in their field. These mission driven organizations differ from standard for-profit corporations, and directors understand the pivotal role a high performing board can play in such an ambitious mission driven venture. Directors often ask what approach they could follow to foster this need for a high performance organization.  Other directors express concern that board and committee meetings do not deal with important and strategic issues facing the organization.  In addition, board and committee meetings can take too long for time-constrained directors. Could an improved governance model help deal with these issues? Directors often direct these type of questions to the lawyers on the board.

 

Board Criteria

The form of the board should follow its function. If you have a fully formed board wondering about expanding its function and looking for something to do, then you may have an issue.

The board needs its own terms of reference and this end dictates the form of the board. The existing terms of reference for a board should fall within three main objectives: setting direction through the mission and the strategic plan, obtaining resources through fundraising and investing, and monitoring performance by objective setting.

All organizations need a mission statement. The board should have a major role in ensuring that the strategic plan fulfills the mission of the organization. Various important and strategic issues constantly arise that can facilitate or impair the accomplishment of the strategic plan. Addressing these issues should be a major focus of the board.

Fund raising itself provides means to enhance capacity for the organization to increase mission impact.  The organization’s mission and goals clearly convey what the organization strives to accomplish. Organizations today use additional means to increase their impact; for example through strategic partnerships with other organizations, and collectively through coalitions and networks.  The most substantial contribution a director can make is not necessarily through financial giving. This broadened focus on other skills, expertise, connections and innovative ideas would increase the board’s effectiveness in advancing the organization’s objectives.

Finally, objective setting and achievement of these objectives should be monitored by the board. This monitoring and reporting should be at level allowing the board to see how the organization moves toward achieving the strategic plan. Highly detailed reports are more appropriate for management purposes to facilitate day to day operational changes.

 

Director Criteria

Achieving the organization’s goals depends on the engagement of diverse sectors of society.  This requires expansion of the partnerships that share your organization’s mission to leverage resources and to achieve shared goals.  Such engagement and expansion requires the broadest possible vision for the organization’s future growth, new linkages to emerging networks, and innovative ideas for connecting with diverse communities.

Achieving a high performing board requires adding diversity. The organization must ensure the board of directors comprises members who have the time, talent and resources to help the organization reach its objectives.  Making board and committee attendance as effective as possible would facilitate this board makeup.

Board Meeting Agenda Optimization

Meetings should be focused directly on the board’s top strategic and policy priorities. Agendas should focus on high-priority issues at each meeting with discussions led by those groups responsible for the preparation of background and supporting information.

The board agenda comprises the mindset of the directors. Agenda items illustrate what the board considers to be strategic and important. Engaging agendas reduce time spent on passive reports and more time spent on discussion of strategic matters.

Committees should continue to report on important matters and other recommendations requiring board approval. In addition, Committee chairs have the option to move their various reports to a consent agenda if no important matters or recommendations are being brought to the full board. Directors can review the reports at a later time and any questions collected as they arise. Directors could simply speak to the staff liaison if the matter is somewhat simple. In addition, the questions could be reviewed at the board level or perhaps answered in a directors mailing if the question was seen as relevant to the entire board. Other matters to be addressed by the board come up on an irregular basis. This could be standardized somewhat by clearly stating in advance what items will be addressed:

Important board and committee issues could include topics that cannot be fully addressed in a report and that should have the input from the full board. For example, questions on a campaign may require fuller explanation on logistics, director involvement, project management concerns and synergy with the board.

Committees

Committees should be designed to facilitate the operations of the board and not act as another level of management. Other committees such as Personnel Policy, Governance, Audit and Nominations could meet in person or by conference call prior to the traditional board meetings. Reports from these various committees can be provided during the board meeting. In order to facilitate greater attendance, the directors should be able to attend by conference call. This would also have the benefit of allowing other new directors from diverse backgrounds the ability to attend meetings. Committees can add other stakeholders to act in an advisory role and to enlarge the framework. Adding stakeholders acts as a mentoring process for eventual nomination to the board.

Change management and Implementation

A new board structure focuses on how directors should deal with new emergent issues and how the board should refocus its energy. To facilitate this refocusing, directors must start a gradual transition in the board’s structure and processes.

Innovations require a change management process prior to proceeding with any implementation. Those impacted by any potential changes can act as barriers to change or as blocks of inertia. Directors must provide opportunities for input and instill a sense of urgency for the changes. Directors acting as change agents and champions should also be looking for some early wins and a way to celebrate those wins.

Potential change issues to be discussed at board meetings

  1. Should the board’s main objectives be setting direction through the mission and the strategic plan, obtaining resources through fundraising and investing, and monitoring performance by objective setting?
  1. Should there be fewer committees with directors operating at a higher level?
  1. Should the Board meeting agenda be structured for mainly discussing strategic and important issues?
  1. Should directors apply themselves to their areas of expertise without necessarily be expected to fundraise?

New board structures and processes can help maximize a not-for-profit’s impact on its mission. New governance models require careful planning and even more careful implementation.

 

Everything you wanted to know about Cannabis But thought it too illicit to ask.

blur-cannabis-close-up-606506

 

Canadians absorbed and inhaled the new Cannabis Act without any major societal destabilization. Now that the initial debris settled, the overall haze may increase. What should you know about cannabis before the haze obscures your vision?

 

The Act proposes to reduce illicit activities in relation to cannabis and provide for the licit production of cannabis. One does not see the word licit very often, or ever. Apparently, everything appears licit unless described somewhere else as illicit. This column shall make prodigious use of the word licit.

 

One of the main licit activities listed in the legislation includes the licit possession of 30 gms of dried cannabis. This compares favorably to the licit possession of the 35 gms of sugar found in your regular coke. Interesting aside, upcoming legislation will make it no longer licit (meaning illicit) to market unhealthy food and beverages to children.

 

The Cannabis Act allows up to four cannabis plants in a dwelling. The growing regulations previously limited plant growth to no more than one metre, but the feds removed this restriction. My previous plant growing experience would seem to indicate that an oversized plant would not have been a problem, and would rather be quite unlikely. I normally rely on the Darwinism approach that only plants that can survive in the drought environment I normally provide, followed by an occasional torrential drenching.

 

Cannabinoids comprise the psychoactive substance in cannabis, and THC is the main drug at issue. Cannabis also contains, cannabidiol, CBD, but this has no psychoactive properties on its own. CBD may assist in the body’s metabolism of THC. Sort of a digestive aid perhaps.

 

One company’s stock skyrocketed once the stock market heard that Coke was waxing philosophically about incorporating CDB into one of its lifestyle drinks. Coke may be considering getting back to its roots by adding other drugs into its mix since it already includes caffeine. And perhaps even more mind expanding: Sugar. Admittedly, this is more body expanding than mind expanding. But perhaps Coke wants to get back to its original roots when the formulation included trace amounts of cocaine according to Snopes.Com.

 

CBD seems to provide other positive attributes, but its oily quality may make a liquid formulation unpalatable. And CBD leaves a bitter taste in your mouth comparable to that opportunity/investment/person that you did not follow-up on but still see around occasionally.

 

 

 

Not surprisingly, the LA Times provided a helpful guideline on the recommended gms of THC usage. Raw cannabis contains vey little of the active THC psychoactive compound. Heating triggers a chemical process called decarboxylation, which facilitates the chemical conversion into THC. More than half of the THC can be lost in this process. Therefore, a standard joint of .3 gms can deliver 12 mg THC through toking and the rest is lost. A vaporizer can deliver 17 mg. Perhaps Vaping should be renamed Voping in this situation.

 

No less than Business Insider conducted some experimentation and discovered that a ‘few hits’ would provide the ideal ‘goldilocks’ state of relaxation. Participants at this level did better in job interviews and other calculations. More than this amount resulted in greater stress with the participants. The study did not clarify if the higher-level THC participants’ increased stress arose from having trouble finding the interview rooms.

 

THC possesses psychoactive properties, which mean it changes brain function by altering perception, mood, consciousness, cognition or behaviour. As dire as this sounds, other chemicals such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine reside in this psychoactive category. Apparently, these last three chemicals cause greater levels of addiction.

 

We can neatly categorize these drugs into two categories, agonists and antagonists. THC falls into the agonist category, which is responsible for increased activity in the brain’s neurotransmitters. Those that partake minimally apparently see an increase in philosophical thinking. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol fall within antagonist category and these drugs interfere with synthesis or block postsynaptic receptors. These people develop an intolerance for philosophical speaking if it delays them from getting their dose. The first two are stimulants while the last is a depressant.

 

THC also assists in the metacognition. Knowing about knowing. This includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or problem solving. This may have some interesting applications when trying to divine new legal strategies for a particularly complex situation. We would only suggest perhaps testing a very senior partner under very controlled circumstances not within the office. So only try this at home kids. Of course, get the proper medical, legal and insurability advice before attempting anything like this.

 

If THC increases metacognition, we may start to see cannabis in situations requiring creative thinking. I overheard a senator asking about how to turn off the smoke detectors. There may be a connection.

 

One of the other major factors giving the federal government more of a natural high would be the potential $618 million in tax revenue coming from the sale of cannabis. This would likely expand to a billion or more in the future.

 

For drivers, the feds operate on a zero-tolerance policy. You would be better off being nowhere near your car when partaking considering we are talking about THC detection in nanograms, which is a billionth of a gram. In comparison, a grain of salt is 58,000 nanograms. Once you get your A.I. billing program, you might start billing at this infinitesimally small level.

 

The federal THC limit is 2-5 ng, which results in up to $1,000 fine and tests showing greater than 5 ng results in a $1,000 mandatory fine and prison sentences for subsequent convictions. Drivers with .05 mg alcohol and greater than 2.5 ng have the same penalty as over 5 ng.

 

So don’t be a dope and drive.

 

 

photo

 

 

 

HR Cannabis Policy and Watching the Watchers

blur-bud-cannabis-1466335.jpg‘Got to Get You into My Life’[i]

Paul McCartney’s love song to pot

With the legalization of cannabis, employers, companies and employees now wonder how to deal with this new chemical in the workplace. Although HR departments already deal with alcohol, nicotine and other recreational drugs, (and I refer to HR staff using these drugs to handle stress) cannabis challenges them even further.

 

The provinces intend to pass their own cannabis legislation. The Ontario Cannabis Act (soon to be renamed) prohibits recreational cannabis within the workplace. And unlike medical cannabis, there is no ‘workplace cannabis’ category exception.

 

Some federal departments passed their own requirements. The RCMP members cannot use cannot use cannabis within 28 days of a shift while some police use a fit for duty criteria. The Armed Forces use much more specific terms. Here members must not partake 8 hours before performing any duty. This increases up to 24 hours if they are handling explosive ordnance. I naively thought that all ordnance was explosive, but ordinary ordinance includes things like jeeps. Explosive ordnance includes things like ordnances that explode.

 

For the rest of the provinces one of the main criteria involves a safe work environment. Companies need to ascertain what THC levels would be appropriate for their particular type of work. However, we must add a note of caution as to watching the watchers. Legal counsel must ascertain if cannabis policies slant more towards enabling cannabis use by particularly hard working, overly stressed and easily swayed HR departments. And staff in general.

 

  1. Look for memos containing chaotic numbering systems.

If the cannabis memo from the HR department starts with a rambling introduction, and the rest of memo includes numbering systems similar to

Firstly…

Nextly….

Thirdly…..

Finallidly……,

then rest assured the duty to draft the memo should be sourced out to another department.

 

  1. Unusual Training Locales

Training seminars in tropical locations are nothing new. However, if HR insists upon going to local tropical greenhouses and conservatories, then the business planning sessions may not deal with your particular business and may deal more with hydroponics. Insist upon the rooms with no windows and open doors for informative PowerPoint presentations instead.

 

  1. The HR department becomes overly familiar with legislation

In this situation, not only does the HR department know the federal and provincial cannabis legislation better than the legal department, but HR also knows far more about regulations regarding neonics pesticides and fertilizer licensing procedures. Once again facilitating hydroponics.

 

  1. Occupational Health and Safety Compliance increases substantially

Normally, the proper use of safety glasses, white work overalls and plastic gloves should be encouraged as this increases workplace safety. However, if you see such a person wearing all this equipment in your downtown law office, and you know someone already removed all the asbestos from the ceiling, then you must investigate for a potential grow op.

 

  1. All of the Alcohol and Drug Policies have been reviewed and expanded

 

A review of existing policies needs to cover the proper and legal use of cannabis. If the next policy iteration includes new a process, various unknown ingredients and ends with the words “bake at 350 for 45 minutes”, then rest assured this is not a work related process. This could be a chocolate brownie cannabis delivery system process.

 

  1. Staff Benefits have been amended

Increasing staff benefits provide organizational motivation. If your organization includes a cafeteria, then be observant for subtle changes. A cafeteria express line which only handles ‘munchies’ enables cannabis use.

 

  1. International Travel

Needless to say, travel to the US with cannabis would be prohibited, as would admitting to using cannabis, investing in cannabis companies or even having a Bob Marley song  on your smart phone. However, be on the lookout for new travel costs under the designation of ‘Mule reimbursement”.

 

  1. Cannabis Use within certain limits

Other organizations have a range of 8 hours, being fit for duty, or 28 days depending upon the function. If the rule then becomes more like no partaking within 28 feet of the front door, then the rules may be a bit too lenient.

 

  1. Discriminatory Use

 

Continued use of medical cannabis depends once again on the job function. If the cannabis impacts on the person doing the job are unknown, then the employer only has to go so far in the duty to accommodate. However, look out for any discrimination if the HR policies mandate cannabis use for those in highly stressful, unpredictable and treacherous roles such as dealing with people constantly. Like HR staff. You may have a discriminatory policy.

 

 

 

[i]  “‘Got to Get You into My Life’ was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot,” Paul McCartney told Barry Miles for the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now.