Inside Canada's First Legal Recreational Cannabis Stores

Canada,Marijuana,Recreational marijuana

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.

Canada is only the second nation after Uruguay to legalise the drug, although countries such as Portugal have decriminalised it - meaning those caught with the drug face civil punishment, such as a fine.

In just the past year, the market capitalisation of firms including Canopy Growth and Tilray has increased fivefold, to a total of more than $10 billion on the NY stock market.

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.

The law came into effect at midnight and locals in some communities braved the cold to buy their first legal grams of the drug.

How well it goes could have an impact on Canada's next election in 2019, and on whether other countries follow in its footsteps.

"When people start to see the consequences (of legalisation) they will blame Trudeau's failures for it", opposition Tory leader Andrew Scheer commented. The BBC took stock of several Canadian cannabis so-called "ganjapreneurs" who took part in this new legal high. Around 4.9 million already smoke.

Jones was excited about this morning's turnout at the store, with people coming from across the province and even across the border to come see the facility. A series of Mexico Supreme Court rulings beginning in 2015 began laying the groundwork for marijuana legalization by holding that people should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use.

The federal government set the minimum legal age for consumption at 18, but most provinces and territories have raised it to 19, except Quebec and Alberta.

Canada now world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace

The federal government announced Wednesday that legislation will be introduced to waive the waiting period and fee for those seeking a pardon for minor pot possession offences.

Sales of derivatives like edibles will be legalised next year.

Hundreds of licensed growers have sprouted in anticipation of the end of pot prohibition, attracting major investment.

But it's also a way for the Canadian government to earn tax revenues - and the cannabis business is booming, generating interest from investors the world over.

It's still unclear if legalisation will undercut the black market. California, the largest legal market in the US, earlier this month became the first state with a law mandating expungement of criminal convictions for marijuana-related offenses that no are longer illegal. In that short time, about 140 pot companies have gone public in Canada, with a combined market value of more than C$60 billion ($48 billion).

"I think Canada will become a world leader in cannabis - it's exciting and something we can be proud of", Tokyo Smoke vice president Josh Lyon told AFP. Canadian officials have said they want to take a "public health approach" to limit youth access to pot, displace the illegal market, and ensure safety requirements for cannabis, according to a fact sheet on the initiative.

Some doctors, however, remain wary.

Consultants in pressed black aprons served a mostly older clientele browsing varieties of dried cannabis and bottles of tinctures.

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