Canada becomes second country to legalize marijuana nationwide

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Tom Clarke, an illegal pot dealer for three decades, was among the first to make a legal sale in Canada when his store opened at midnight local time in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland.

The 46-year-old from St. John's arrived outside Canopy Growth Corp.'s Tweed store at 8:30 p.m Tuesday.

The first purchase, rung in by Canopy chief executive officer Bruce Linton at five seconds after midnight, was paid for by Nikki Rose, 24, who bought one gram for Mr. Power and three grams for herself at a total cost of $49.98 after tax. "I think the social stigma of the "stupid stoner" or the criminal element for using cannabis, a benign substance, as my choice of medicine or recreation, I think that's gonna change", says Power, who plans to frame his historic purchase instead of smoking it. "Prohibition has ended right now", he says.

The day was historic for the country as adult Canadians will be able to legally smoke recreational marijuana after almost a century-long ban.

People in Canada are cheering, enduring long lines and honking their vehicle horns in support as the country's first marijuana dispensaries open their doors Wednesday.

But Newfoundland and Labrador's unique position, with a time zone 30 minutes ahead of the rest of Atlantic Canada, made the night extra special for buyers like Power.

Although cannabis becomes legal on Wednesday, only one legal dispensary will be opening its doors in British Columbia.

Still, global businesses and investment funds have been hovering around the market for years, waiting for the time when they could legally invest in large-scale industrializing marijuana cultivation and distribution.

Non-medical cannabis will only be sold in standalone cannabis retail stores, and will not be sold alongside other products, such as liquor.

Sales of derivatives like edibles will be legalized next year.

Legalizing cannabis is expected to create an industry worth more than $4 billion in Canada.

"Additional licensed cannabis retail stores will open in the coming months, as private cannabis retailers proceed through the regulatory and permit process", the province said.

The number of stores that will open Wednesday remains unclear, but there could be as many as 100 brick-and-mortar government-run or privately operated locations, depending on whether they pass final inspections or get product shipments in time. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed this week that 62 applications have been reviewed so far, and 35 are close to being approved.

"October 18th is going to look very much like October 16th, in many ways", Farnworth said.

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.



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