Cannabis becomes legal in Canada

Elias Hubbard
October 18, 2018

In Ontario it will be the only option until retail stores are up and running next year, with a last-minute policy change unveiled by the new government.

By the time the store opened up at 10, there were dozens of people anxiously awaiting their turn to enter.

The phrase, "For responsible consumption", was painted on a wall behind the cash registers.

The AP reported that more than 100 legal pot shops are expected to open on Wednesday.

Thomas MacDonald, 22, said he came to the downtown Montreal store mainly out of curiosity. "We just made history", said the 46-year-old Ian Power, who bought a gram in St John's, Newfoundland to become one of the first people to buy the drug legally in the country. The shops remain a popular attraction, especially in Amsterdam, but the drug remains illegal elsewhere in the country and purveyors have long complained about having to resort to the black market to obtain it since cultivation is outlawed. One widely circulated gag typical of the mood showed a supposed satellite image of Canada after legalization, engulfed entirely in smoke. "I'm not cold. It's freezing cold out, but I'm not cold".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended legalisation - the fulfillment of a 2015 campaign promise - as meant to protect young people and to shut down drug dealers. On Monday, polling firm Abacus Data reported that 70 percent of Canadians - across all parts of the country and political affiliations - support or can accept legalisation.

Topher Graham and Tristan Risk, who were buying pot at the stand, said they took the day off work to celebrate legalization.

Former President Vicente Fox, who calls himself a soldier in the global campaign to legalize marijuana, earlier this year joined the board of directors of venerable cannabis publication High Times to advance his agenda. While Quebec and Alberta set the buying age for marijuana at 18, the legal age across the rest of the country is 19.

Cannabis will now be sold in stores and ordered online, with the drugs posted to customers' homes.

Canadians can also order marijuana products through websites run by provinces or private retailers and have it delivered to their home by mail.

"Honestly just the fact that you can go into a store and legally buy cannabis, I just can't wait to actually be able to do that", she said.

Because cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S., Canada's investment bankers do most of the industry's deals and its stock exchanges list most of the industry's stocks. A small team of employees answer questions but don't make recommendations. Can police fairly make sure people don't smoke and drive?

Canada officially legalized recreational marijuana Wednesday, but if you plan on traveling to the United States' northern neighbor and bringing back a celebratory token from your travels, think again. Consume our brand of cannabis and your yoga practice will improve, or you'll feel much more excited about life, or you'll become a more chill person.

A senior government official earlier told The Associated Press that those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be eligible for a pardon. So, the counsel I've been giving to clients is keep the spirit of the act in mind.

Law enforcement of those driving under the influence of marijuana could be patchy.

"Although cannabis use is widespread in Canada the burden of a criminal record for minor cannabis possession has fallen onto these groups", he said in an email.

Goodale was flanked by other key ministers who have shepherded the cannabis file through a legislative and bureaucratic maze: Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

"Cannabis is not the devil's weed".

Meanwhile, British Columbia saw similar activity Wednesday morning.

There's also the issue of economic competition between cannabis businesses in bordering states and provinces.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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