Cannabis becomes legal in Canada

Ivan Schwartz
October 17, 2018

It's official. The first legal recreational cannabis has been sold in Newfoundland and Labrador, marking a historic first across the country. Aphria Inc, trading at $17.72, and Aurora Cannabis, which saw shares fall to $13.85, were each down more than five per cent at the open.

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.

It will still be against the law to pack bags with pot when travelling internationally even into areas or USA states where marijuana is already legal.

However, many provincial governments' approval of only a small number of shops so far, and a shortage of weed supplied to these stores, means most Canadians' first toke on Wednesday will likely be of black-market pot.

There remain unanswered questions on some key issues around how legal cannabis will work in Canada.

As Canada welcomes legalization, supply shortages could develop, as happened in some U.S. states when legalization arrived.

Online cannabis customers will have to pay a $10 shipping fee, and any buyers who appear to be under 25 years old will be asked to prove they're of legal age when the drugs are delivered by Canada Post.

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The move fulfils a campaign promise of Canada PM Justin Trudeau who claimed decriminalising the drug would keep profits out of the hands of crooks. Canada has gone to pot.

The Liberals have been working closely with provinces and territories to strike the right balance on regulations to undercut the illegal market, Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said Tuesday.

British Columbia, which plans both province-run and private outlets, has only one government store 350 kilometers (220 miles) from its biggest city, Vancouver. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed this week that 62 applications have been reviewed so far, and 35 are close to being approved.

Much of the paperwork needed for a blanket amnesty resides in local courthouses out of the immediate and easy reach of the federal government and the Parole Board, officials say. At the time he said legalization will be a process and not "a single-day event".

Law enforcement going forward could be patchy. "We're doing it because we know it's not good for our children", Mr Trudeau said.

Cannabis possession became a crime in 1923, but Trudeau argued that the nearly century-old law was ineffectual, given that the country remains one of the world's heaviest recreational users of the drug.

Other reports by GizPress

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