Canada legalises recreational use of cannabis

Daniel Fowler
October 17, 2018

On Wednesday, Canada becomes the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace.

As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, adults will be allowed to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, according to a bill that passed the Senate in June.

The prime minister 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. "I am so happy to be living in Canada right now instead of south of the border".

Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has spent two years working toward expanding that to include recreational marijuana. 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.

The Canadian Press has learned the announcement on setting aside minor marijuana convictions of the past will come the same day the government ushers in a historic new era of legalized cannabis.

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In most of the country, the legal age will be 18 or 19, the same as for alcohol, but Quebec has promised to boost the cannabis consumption age to 21.

As of Tuesday the drug was still illegal, and officials at the media briefing said any charges or cases before the courts could still be prosecuted after legalization.

Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington-based lobbying organization that has been pressing for legalization since 1995, said it is time for the U.S.to follow Canada's lead.

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

While Mulroney is calling on her federal counterpartto approve more devices, she says Ontario is "ready" for legalization. Tobin, a longtime convenience store owner, said they will be cutting a ribbon and cake. She hopes to make money from pipes, bongs and marijuana paraphernalia. "If age verification fails, the product will be returned to the LDB and full purchase price and associated taxes will be refunded", the B.C. LDB said in a release.

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