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Canada to pardon pot possession as it legalises cannabis
New Zealand Herald
Wednesday 17 Oct 2018
A senior government official said those with a record will be allowed to apply for a pardon.
Canada becomes the second country after Uruguay to legalise so-called recreational marijuana. Tom Clarke, 43, will be among the first to legally sell recreational marijuana when his shop opens at midnight in Newfoundland, Canada's easternmost province.
"I am living my dream. Teenage Tom Clarke is loving what I am doing with my life right now," he said.
Clarke has been dealing marijuana illegally in Canada for 30 years. 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.
At least 111 legal pot shops are planning to open across the nation of 37 million people on the first day. That is a small slice of what ultimately will be a much larger marketplace.
No stores will open in Ontario, which includes Toronto. The most populous province is working on its regulations and doesn't expect stores until next northern spring.
Canadians everywhere will be able to order marijuana products through websites run by provinces or private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by mail.
Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001.
Canada's national approach has allowed for unfettered industry banking, inter-province shipments of cannabis and billions of dollars in investment — a contrast with national prohibition in the United States. Nine US states have legalised recreational use of pot, and more than 30 have approved medical marijuana.
A patchwork of regulations has spread in Canada as each province takes its own approach within the framework set out by the federal Government. Some are operating government-run stores, some are allowing private retailers, some both.
Alberta and Quebec have set the minimum age for purchase at 18, while others have made it 19.
The provinces also have been able to decide for themselves how much to mark up the marijuana beyond the 10 per cent or $1 per gram imposed by the federal Government, and whether to allow residents to grow up to four plants at home.
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