Canada to pardon small possession convictions as it legalises marijuana

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Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced a plan to pardon past convictions for simple possession, giving people "greater access to job opportunities, education and housing".

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Members of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, Air We Share and Airspace Action on Smoking and Health tried to share the message from the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Wednesday. Each Canadian province has set its own age limit and rules on how to sell the drug - with some opting for storefronts and others pushing business online.

Countries around the world, many of which are just approving medical marijuana, are watching Canada's recreational legalization, which combines federal rules with varying provincial regulations. Perry reiterated that it does not matter if an American is crossing between a state that has legalized recreational marijuana and Canada, like in Vermont, or Washington.

That's in part because cannabis sold in government-approved stores includes markups and taxes, and some say the cost of legal marijuana could drive people back into the black market.

Recreational pot use is now legal in Canada.

The proposal is subject to approval by Parliament.

"I'm going to get some marijuana and I've been waiting 50 years for this", said Hubert Bergeron as he stood in line outside a retail cannabis store in Transcona operated by Tweed. I'm not even going to smoke it.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to parliament, reiterating why he had been campaigning for this legislation over the last few years.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province's government-run online store processed 38,000 orders by midmorning.

Canada on Wednesday will become only the second country in the world to legalize marijuana nationally.

And business was booming throughout the day as sales kicked off across the country.

"Canada is setting a strong example for how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level", Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement released earlier this week.

US Customs and Border Protection have reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under US federal law and those caught at the border with pot would be subject to arrest and prosecution.

Even though Canadians are now allowed to have a certain amount of marijuana in their possession, they're prohibited from possessing illicit cannabis. "Some are just imposing blanket prohibitions", she said, which could be a form of discrimination on the basis of disability.

Green Party leader Mike Schreiner also criticized the government for not passing its cannabis bill before legalization. More than five million Canadians are projected to purchase the drug in 2018, representing about 15 percent of all citizens.

"The ship is already sailing at the velocity it can sail at in the USA", said Richard Hahn, executive director of Crime and Justice Program at New York University.

Fedeli said he was happy with initial reports on the store's sales and defended some of the more unusual products available on the site, including an "intimate" spray with cannabis ingredients designed for amorous couples.

There's lots of money to be made.

. "You're not allowed to see the product visible from the street", said Lawson.

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