Sober start as recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House Washington D.C. Sat. Oct. 13. An American cannabis producer is warning Trump that Canada is poised to dominate the North American marijuana industry

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House Washington D.C. Sat. Oct. 13. An American cannabis producer is warning Trump that Canada is poised to dominate the North American marijuana industry

Canada has legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana, making it the world's second and largest country with a legal national cannabis marketplace.

TerrAscend Corp.'s roughly 1,400 percent climb from its 52-week low, reached a year ago this week, made it the biggest gainer ahead of Canada's legalization of recreational pot Wednesday.

The move isn't without controversy, including debate over pardons (which the country will hand out to those convicted of having 30 grams or less), and the laws vary by province so they require some scrutiny.

While Trudeau cast the bill in a public health lens, in order to make marijuana more hard for teenagers to access and erode black market profits, the global financial community is eagerly looking at Canada to see how legalization plays out.

"I'm super happy, this is an historic day for Canadians and for the world because we're really setting a precedent here", said Isaac Langille outside a store in Halifax, where he bought the legal limit of 30 grams, spending C$344 ($264) on products from Aphria Inc. and Organigram Holdings Inc. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences exchange-traded fund fell 4.8 percent in Toronto, while the US -listed ETFMG Alternative Harvest fund fell 3.7 per cent.

In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 - about 15 per cent of the population.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing - you're never ever going to be one of the first people able to buy legal recreational cannabis in Canada ever again", said Stone, a 32-year restaurant and bar manager. But because the country uses USA dollars, its legal marijuana sellers can not tap into US -regulated financial systems such as US banks or the major credit card networks, which are forbidden from handling drug money.

Each item comes with a government seal - the word cannabis above a red Maple leaf - and people can also make their purchases online, or at more than 100 stories the Associated Press reported would be open across the country.

Mr Trudeau's office have said the prime minister "does not plan on purchasing or consuming cannabis once it is legalised".

Meanwhile, industry players and watchers have said to expect product shortages at the outset.

Canadians also can order marijuana products through websites run by provinces or private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by mail. Buyers can't touch or smell the products before they buy.

At 12:07 a.m. local time, the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission tweeted: "You like us!". Our website is experiencing some heavy traffic. "It's going to take a few years before we have a fully functioning, mature system that's working the way it's supposed to ... but over time you are going to see the black market decline".

A patchwork of regulations has spread in Canada as each province takes its own approach within the framework established by the federal government.

Legalisation began at midnight with shops in Canada's eastern-most provinces the first to sell the drug.

Marijuana will be available to purchase either online or in retail stores depending on the province.

"It was extremely emotional", he said.

Linton is proud that Canada is now at the forefront of the burgeoning industry. "So it's about an education project on the Canadian side to make sure that we weed out - no pun intended - all those accidental problems", Masse said.