Drug-impaired driving concerns as Canada legalises cannabis

Elias Hubbard
October 18, 2018

Ontario residents can now legally buy cannabis online, though they'll have to wait until early next year to purchase some from a store.

The global financial community is eagerly watching.

A dream came true at midnight for Newfoundland man Ian Power: He became the first person to legally buy marijuana in Canada for recreational use.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made legalising the drug a 2015 election promise in a bid to take the market away from organised crime.

Speaking of the law and how it may lead to young adult consuming more pot, Antonio Vigano, a medical marijuana specialist and research director at the Sante Cannabis clinic in Montreal, told the AFP: "As a doctor and as a father, I do not agree with the legalization of recreational cannabis".

The bill legalizes marijuana but leaves it up to each province to set age limits and decide how to sell it.

The number of stores that will open Wednesday remains unclear, but there could be as many as 100 brick-and-mortar government-run or privately operated locations, depending on whether they pass final inspections or get product shipments in time.

For insights into the federal law that hems in pot promotions, Maclean's turned to Sara Zborovski, a lawyer in Toronto with the firm Norton Rose Fulbright, who advises clients on the Cannabis Act as part of her regulatory and commercial law practice. And, all provinces will only have marijuana flower available.

In legalizing weed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made good on a campaign promise and the move is expected to result in the injection of billions of dollars into Canada's economy, including from USA cannabis tourists.

A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf is flown during a 4/20 rally to demand the legalization of marijuana on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 20, 2012.

Canada's move came after months of preparations and legislative wrangling. "By taking this bold and principled step, Canada will likely become an inspiration for many other countries".

"It's an awesome day in Canada right now".

The government announced late a year ago that medical marijuana would be allowed, and the country is due to hold a national referendum by 2020 on whether to legalize and regulate adult use of marijuana.

After running up dramatic gains in the lead-up to legalization, cannabis shares failed to join the party Wednesday.

In the USA, it's a different ballgame.

In the United States, recreational cannabis has been legalised in eight states, while countries such as the Netherlands and Spain have decriminalised pot possession.

Canada needs to "take a deep breath" as US states such as Colorado and California did not have a seamless system at the outset either, said Cam Battley, chief corporate officer for licensed producer Aurora Cannabis.

The top 10 stocks with the biggest gains from their yearly lows include some well-known companies such Tilray Inc. and Canopy Growth Corp. - the two biggest pot producers by value - and MadMen Enterprises, which just bought medical pot firm PharmaCann for US$682 million. It's the largest corporate investment in a marijuana cultivator to date.

Molson Coors recently entered a joint venture with Hexo, a publicly-traded cultivator, to produce marijuana-infused beer for the Canadian market, among other deals.

"We'll leave it to the … Ontario Cannabis Store to continue to put products out there that the people of Ontario are looking forward to purchasing", he said.

But spray carefully - while the oil will get you high, it's not compatible with latex condoms, according to the manufacturer's website.

-Travelers can not transport marijuana in or out of Canada. Uruguay was the first.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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