As Canada Legalizes Marijuana, It Moves to Pardon Pot Possession

As Canada Legalizes Marijuana, It Moves to Pardon Pot Possession

"Prohibition has ended right now". A festive atmosphere broke out, with some customers lighting up on the sidewalk and motorists honking their horns in support as they drove by the crowd.

As marijuana enthusiasts continue celebrating this historic day for Canada, here's a quick primer to get you up to speed.

Where can I buy it?

The first-ever legal sale of cannabis occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador at midnight, local time. In Colorado, for instance, dried flower use made up 47 percent of last year's fourth-quarter sales, with demand for edibles and concentrates growing especially fast.

The waiting period and the cost of applying for a pardon, known as a record suspension, have proven hard for some people saddled with records.

One of those cannabis crusaders was Thomas Clarke, a long time advocate for legalization who also planned to open his store, Thomas H. Clarke's Distribution, at midnight in the rural community of Portugal Cove-St. He wrote in his high school yearbook that his dream was to open a cafe in Amsterdam, the Dutch city where people have legally smoked weed in coffee shops since the 1970s. "Teenage Tom is really happy", Clarke said. "We're doing it because we know it's not good for our children", Mr Trudeau said.

Back on Water Street, The Natural Vibe opened to slightly less fanfare than Tweed, but a line of customers still stretched down the street, with some saying waiting in line was "akin to Disney World".

The game for Canadian cannabis producers will change forever this morning when, somewhere in some eastern Canadian province like Newfoundland or Prince Edward Island, someone purchases the first federally legal, adult-use cannabis product in any G7 economy.

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Smoking or vaping of cannabis is allowed in public places where tobacco is permitted in many provinces or territories, but others such as Manitoba have a ban on public consumption.

Trudeau told reporters that parents will play a role in talking to their kids about the drug and repeated his oft-stated view that a regulated market for marijuana - a pillar of his 2015 election campaign - will keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian kids and combat the flourishing black market.

Uruguay was first was the first country to legalise marijuana, in 2013.

Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said there are "very significant" health and social risks related to edible forms of the drug - products expected to be widely purchased on the black market while it remains illegal to produce or sell them.

The most populous province is working on its regulations and doesn't expect stores until next spring. Some are operating government-run stores, some are allowing private retailers, some both.

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, the official government distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C., has entered a contract with Canada Post to deliver online cannabis orders to customers.

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